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Jenica Oliver Wants to Make Fractional CMOs the Next Big Thing

The founder of Dallas-based Blueprint Marketing Group is on a mission to make sound marketing strategies more accessible to companies of all sizes.
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Sitting down at a table at true food Kitchen in Preston Center, Blueprint Marketing Group founder Jenica Oliver welcomes me with a hug and a big, friendly smile. As she orders the Ancient Grains Bowl (sesame-glazed sweet potatoes, charred onions, snap peas, portobello mushrooms, avocado, and a pumpkin seed pesto) and I opt for the Tuscan Kale Salad with chicken, Oliver shares how much she loves her profession. “Marketing has always been my passion,” she says.

After earning a bachelor’s in business administration from Texas Tech and an MBA from SMU, Oliver began her ascent up the corporate ladder. Her resume reads like a Rolodex of major local consumer packaged goods brands, including stints with Dean Foods, Borden Dairy, and Mission Foods. She regales me in stories of new product launches, recalls, and attention-getting campaigns that she helped to execute in her 20-year career.

But Oliver’s business journey is anything but ordinary. After the economy tanked, in 2009 she was laid off from her director of marketing role. “To say I was devastated would be an understatement,” she says. “But I pushed those feelings aside and focused on what to do next.” Oliver became intentional about putting herself back into the job market by growing her network and seeking out the right opportunity. That’s also when she gave more focus to Blueprint Marketing Group, an LLC she first formed in 2008 to take on project work as a side hustle. 

Oliver’s persistence paid off—she landed a senior director role with Borden Dairy in 2010, reporting directly to the company’s CMO. But again in 2016, she found herself unemployed after her position was eliminated. “I’d like to say that I dove headfirst into entrepreneurship, but I was pushed,” she says. “With discomfort comes growth, though. And in hindsight, getting laid off was one of the best things that could have happened to my career.”

The LLC Oliver formed became her main focus thereafter, and she re-launched with a new mission. “I hope to be a resource for small businesses and nonprofits that don’t always have access to on-staff marketers or agencies to help grow,” she says. “Everyone should have access to good, quality marketing strategies and direction.”

With her women- and minority-owned consultancy, Oliver is also working to popularize the idea of fractional CMOs—an outsourced C-Suite executive with part-time hours and a proportional cost. When large companies lose their marketing leadership, Oliver steps in as an executive consultant while a replacement is found. For midsize and smaller companies with junior-level marketers and leaner budgets, Oliver offers strategy and guidance that is cost-effective. 

A niche where fractional CMOs are making headway is in the startup space, Oliver says, where she can position a company to be more attractive to investors, help lead consumer research on new products, or get a product into the test market. She has also worked with companies through ownership changes and buyouts to ensure brand continuity and eliminate bumps in the road that come with newness.

“One thing I know for sure is that although people think marketing is easy, it is not,” Oliver says. “It’s a discipline like everything else and should be treated as such. Just like you’d hire an attorney for a legal issue or an accountant for financial advice, marketing leadership is no different.”  


Brandon J. Call

Brandon J. Call

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Brandon J. Call is the former executive editor for D CEO magazine. An award-winning business and data journalist, Call previously…

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