Introducing the Portfolio CMO, Part 2 of 3

Review: The last blog, introduced the concept of the Portfolio CMO — a job title which “doesn’t exist” [at least before these blogs]. It means Portfolio Career + CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) … a salaried employee who brings a life-career portfolio to bear on behalf of an employer on a pro-rated, part-time basis. It brings long-term, consistent management to a companies’ marketing efforts. Also reviewed were the needs of Small or Micro businesses; that even if they have a key player with good marketing intuition, they may lack the skill-set to create long-term strategy or tactics. Finally, a case study of a recent project as a Marketing Consultant was presented to contrast the meanings of a Marketing Consultant, Marketing Generalist and Portfolio CMO.

Imagine Steve Jobs in the Apple garage, taking out the trash.

Imagine Bill Gates in the Microsoft garage, recycling bottles of Mountain Dew.

Before Apple employed 400 gazillion marketers, before Microsoft had a marketing budget of a gazillion dollars, they were micro businesses. The entreprenuer had to take out the trash. Small and micro businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs share a common problem: no help – i.e., no staff, no budget, no institutional memory, nada.

So where do small businesses, micro businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs turn for marketing help? To a Marketing Consultant, Marketing Generalist and/or a Portfolio CMO.


Example 2: Being a Marketing Generalist for a 2-person auto repair shop

It was mid-day, and I was the only one there. The two bays at my auto service center were empty, and the owner, a good-hearted, honest fellow, admitted business was down – “‘way down.” He had counted on word-of-mouth for 20+ years, and it had never failed him. He even had been in the top 10 when searching Google for auto service in his community.

But now when he searched Google, national chains filled the top 10. His little shop didn’t have a website. They had become invisible.


Hiring a marketing company or consultant was out of the question. But he needed immediate help. So I became “the Swiss Army Knife of marketing”, e.g., a Marketing Generalist. I became the strategist, writer, creative director, video producer, project manager and team builder.

For the BUSINESS STRATEGY, I suggested he barter services with a graphic artist, web master, and SEO consultant. The MARKETING STRATEGY to increase local digital visibility the cheapest, fastest way. Thus, we sought to get reviews on Google, Yelp and Angie’s List, and to build a site, thereby create a digital footprint. Further, I recommended a short video, and neighborhood advertising with Facebook and Angie’s List.

As it happened, one of his regular customers was a stellar graphic artist. I found an SEO expert who needed car repair! I drafted the creative in exchange for installing struts on my Mazda 3. The SEO expert put together a simple grocery list of SEO steps that our client would actually do in exchange for figuring out what was wrong with her Passat. The graphic artist grabbed a minor detail of my creative and turned it into a bold retro theme, which is spectacular! He also coded the site – in exchange for work TBD.


The results were increased calls and increased business. On Google, the position of Tonka Auto Center is #1 right before their Car Talk review, and in above a shop with a similar name with years of online presence. Search results for “auto service plymouth mn” is only Top 30, but compared to zero, and riding  no PPC and no further advertising, at least he’s there. His 18 5-star reviews help. Not bad for zero out-of-pocket.

But I am not their Marketing Consultant nor their Portfolio CMO. A Marketing Generalist is called “the Swiss Army Knife of marketing” because they have at least fundamental knowledge in a wide variety of media tactics, and, hopefully, the management skills to get them implemented. That is what I did – create a site, execute some fundamental SEO and a video review. A variety of media is what a Marketing Generalist does.


Is there overlap with the definition of a Marketing Consultant and Portfolio CMO? Absolutely, but a consultant tends to be highly specialized or highly focused, working on narrowly defined tasks. But both titles stand in stark contrast to the role of Portfolio CMO, which will be the subject of my next blog.

Stay tuned!

© 2019 Craig Sinard

Craig Sinard is a Portfolio CMO, Marketing Generalist and Marketing Consultant, depending on your needs. He creates strategies to put your brand and position in harmony. He also has deep content creation experience, especially in video production, web and virtual reality.