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Guest Blog | Tomi Kinnunen » The Interim Marketing Manager


Director of marketing for hire - the factor of growth 

The use of interim managers is increasing in Finland. However, when compared to countries like the United States or Sweden, the interim management market is still underdeveloped.   

Currently, interim managers are only used by a few forward-thinking Finnish companies. These few progressives want to rapidly develop their operating methods and skills and understand the importance of flexible resourcing in achieving their goals. In Finland, interim managers are most often used as temporary CEOs in turnaround situations or as financial managers during personnel changes. Interim roles for other positions, like CMO, are rarely utilized.  

The interim managers I know in Sweden, have a different experience. Swedish business decision-makers use an interim CMO immediately when there is an unexpected personnel change. They also use them as a tool when the salaried team's performance is not at a satisfactory level, whether due to a lack of management, competence, or resources.


Immediate impact on operations 

An interim CMO is a quick and effective solution for companies at all levels. The interim manager is usually available in 1-2 weeks from the assignment announcement, even quicker in some cases. Often, the biggest delay in getting started is the traditional recruitment or selection practices of the buying organization. If the hiring company can move fast, sometimes the interim manager can be ready to begin work within a few days.  

When filling a marketing gap, speed is a key advantage. A marketing function that is not managed or suffers from acute under-resourcing does not support the achievement of business objectives in the best possible way. By bringing in a CMO swiftly after a need is identified, companies do not lose their momentum.  

Speed is also related to the fact that skilled interim managers can get down to business without long orientation periods. Their extensive experience in various industries and versatile commercial tasks helps them to get working with confidence quickly. In addition, interim manager's activities are not slowed down by office politics or exposure to the organization's internal beliefs and assumptions. Thus, their effectiveness is also increased.  


Speaking the language of management 

The interim CMO's competence profile is often too high for the task at hand. This is not something to see as a negative, but rather a point in their favor. Over-qualification makes it possible for the interim manager to get a strategic grip from day one. An interim CMO speaks the language of management and accelerates cooperation between different functions, avoiding partial optimization and siloing. 

The interim CMO thinks like a CEO. Their most important objective is to achieve the goals of the company and the assignment, as well as strengthen future competitiveness. As an external expert, it is easier for interim managers to detect the factors that support growth and tackle them in a solution-oriented manner. The interim CMO brings knowledge and skills, but also an understanding of the wider partner network. Partner management is key, especially in cases where there have been significant changes in market dynamics and the old ways of working are not enough. In this case, the interim CMO brings an objective view of what should be done internally and what should be done with an outside partner.  


Part-time or full-time solution?  

The service of an interim manager can be purchased as needed, as it is not always justified to purchase a full-time service. The interim CMO can work, for example, simultaneously with the Marketing Director, focusing on a strategic project or development work, in which case the suitable workload can be, for example, 1-2 days a week for 4 months. This increases flexibility and cost efficiency even more and speeds up the development of the company's commercial operations.  

An interim CMO is a viable solution even when the company does not need to recruit a permanent marketing director. The previous example can work for a young growth company or a company that is just creating its marketing functions.


Tomi Kinnunen

Independent Brand Accelerator

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Tomi has more than 20 years of experience working with leading Finnish brands, and he helps companies in marketing development as an interim manager and consultant. 


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