In the New Year, what will you do to accelerate your career in Marketing?
Get a promotion? Change companies? Switch marketing disciplines? Become a consultant?
What is the common thread across Marketing these days? It’s technology. While Marketing has always been about telling a story at scale and establishing a general feeling for an organization amongst the audience, the tools available have changed a bit. Marketers who have embraced these tools have always accelerated their careers, maintaining relevance. Tools are leverage: knowing how to create leverage will always make you more valuable to clients or employers. And knowing how to leverage storytelling better than others will continue to be valuable.
In another post, I’ll discuss career paths for marketers, but today I want you to consider why marketing technology and operations is no longer the backwater I once believed it was seven years ago. In fact, a few months into my first Marketo install, I became concerned I would be stuck in some backwater called “marketing operations” before I even knew it was a thing. And once I saw that it was real and I could accelerate my career with it, I never looked back.
While jobs can range widely in terms of experience required and salary made, I’ve noticed that skilled marketing operations professionals tend to make more earlier than their marketing peers. Here is the data I was able to compile.
Salary Statistics – Oct 2015
I collected this data last year (methodology below) and am showing it here so you can see the changes from last year to this year.
|Salary Comparison – Oct 1, 2015||Salary Range – US – Annual|
|Role||Level||Glassdoor||Glassdoor Avg||Salary.com||Salary.com Avg||PayScale.com||Payscale Median||Indeed Avg|
|Marketing||Director||97k – 199k||105k-196k||$146,588||79k-160k||$120,000||$140,000|
Consider that a “regular” Marketing Director in Glassdoor had a low range of $97,000, while a Marketing Operations Director had a low of $126,000 per year. Just having those “operational” skills meant a 30% starting bonus for experienced marketeers. Less experienced marketers could expect a range bump of 18% and a wider range of salary at lower experience levels. And while it’s not good to compare Indeed vs. Glassdoor’s average, we can see that Marketing Operations often matched or exceeded non Operations roles.
Spring 2016 – Martech Roles
At the Marketo Summit in May 2016, martech pros Jason Seeba and Inga Romanoff compiled data from a survey of Marketo users, which showed skilled martech adopters were making high salaries. I did not have the raw data to make this more comparable to other data sources, however, it’s interesting to note the ranges available to those with Marketo skills.
More importantly, it appears that it only takes 1-3 years to make over $100,000 per year. If you are stuck at under $100k, perhaps a solid year of marketing automation is all you need.
|Median Salary||$100,000.00||124,000||1-3 Years|
|Top Quartile||$150,000.00||3+ years|
And if we look at title type, we can see that the most skilled Marketo users, have much higher chances of making over $150k per year. Those who choose to become Consultants (and I recommend this for many people), will find it easy to make over $100k. Being a consultant for barely a year permanently boosted my salary over $100k. It’s not a life for everyone, but it can be eye opening – many of the top marketers I look up to spent some time as a consultant.
|Salary by Title – Greater than||Range|
|Manager||45% over 100k|
|Director||85% over 100k|
|Consultant||80% over 100k|
|Consultant||40% over 150k|
|Marketo Champ||30% over 150k|
|Marketo Champ||60% over 100k|
Be careful here because this analysis isn’t looking at years of experience. From what I know, however, many skilled Marketo and martech leaders are achieving Manager and Director roles two to five years earlier than their peers. Of course, your ability to manage people and talk your way into a role will help just as much. But consider the types of projects, influence, and reports a top martech leader will do versus other marketers early on. The top martech performers can tell a better story such as “I did xyz to accelerate leads through the funnel by 300% in 6 months” or “The project I did demonstrated marketing influenced deals were 50% greater on average than sales generated alone.” Who is getting the promotion?
Salary Ranges – December 2016
Recently, I updated the averages and ranges I collected from 2015. Within this period, the economy has improved and the demand for skilled martech talent has increased. We can see 5% to 20% bumps for marketing operations talent overall, and from 2015 to 2016 – at least on Glassdoor. Salary.com does not have more recent titles, like Marketing Operations, however, it does appear the salaries have increased slightly since 2015. PayScale’s process takes into consideration bonuses and work culture, which make it harder to run this analysis. From what I can tell, PayScale is showing a steady salary across Marketing from year to year. Indeed.com is the only site that shows a possible decrease for some regular marketing staff.
|Salary Comparison – Dec 26, 2016||Salary Range – US – Annual|
|Role||Level||Glassdoor||Glassdoor Avg||Salary.com||Salary.com Avg||PayScale Range||Payscale Median||Indeed Avg|
Let’s do a Y/Y comparison for Glassdoor.
|Role||Level||2015 Range||2017 Range||2015 Avg||2017 Avg|
|Marketing||Director||97k – 199k||102k-200k||$151,342|
|Source: Glassdoor, US self reported salaries, Jan 1, 2017|
The decline in averages and ranges versus other marketing roles is surprising, especially with Directors. This data shows marketing operations has lower salaries than other marketers. I’m not worried here because Glassdoor appears to be including a lot of unrelated roles with the word “operations” and roles that are not well matched with what we think of as “marketing operations/automation.” I was unable to filter these out or to see what other search changes had occurred since October 2015.
Glassdoor’s data is also not comparing years of experience. As we saw with Jason’s data, you could spend 3 years in marketing automation out of college and likely hit $100k easily, whereas it might take 8 years of “regular demand generation.”
Another way to look at this data — and be careful — is that more and more marketers are becoming skilled enough at marketing technology that it’s not always viewed as a separate job anymore. Given the number of roles out there for “marketing operations/automation” managers alone, I suspect that this is not the reality, yet.
Average Ranges from Indeed.com
When I took the original Indeed data above, it showed a very different story than the one today. The good news is that the 2 year comparison they do have demonstrates the following data, as of Jan 1, 2017. (The chart and percentiles only July 2012-May 2014).
- Marketing Operations Director: $95,000 average, ranging from $65k-195k and 64% higher than all other job postings
- Marketing Operations Manager: $82,000 average, ranging from $75k-225k, and 42% higher than all other job postings.
- Marketing Operations Specialist: $74,000 average, ranging from $65k-195k, and 28% higher than all other job postings.
Now compare that to “regular marketing” with no “demand generation” attached.
- Marketing Director: $74,000 average, ranging from 75k to 225k, 29% higher than all other job postings
- Marketing Manager: $66,000 average, ranging from 75k to 225k, 14% higher than all other job postings
- Marketing Specialist: $49,000 average, ranging from 45k to 135k, 15% lower than all other job postings
A quick search showed “demand generation” often paid much more than regular marketing and sometimes more than operations at higher levels. Ultimately, do your research to make the right decision for you.
A Word on Methodology and Sources
On January 1, 2017, I ran some new searches that had very different data than I had on December 26, so I would urge you to consider how each site’s data can change or how different search methods may provide different results.
Also, I didn’t take into consideration other disciplines such as Advertising, Brand, Creative, Product Marketing, Email Marketing, User Experience, Customer Marketing, or B2B vs. B2C. Much of the data looks at US National and is self reported. Jason and Inga’s data does look at some US regional differences, where non coastal areas may experience a 10% to 20% lower salary across all disciplines due to cost-of-living differences. You can look up sites like city-data.com or EIU City Data to compare cost-of-living across global cities.
The salary data shown represents the available data on the date of analysis from the sites listed. Each site has limited analytical tools, so I did what I could based on title keywords and locations available. I used a Range based on the distribution the site provided, if it provided it. I also used average instead of median since most sites provided that statistic.
- Glassdoor: based on US National average and range for dates shown. [Example].
- Salary.com: based on New York US data, with titles like Database Marketing.
- PayScale: limited due to involved comparison process.
- Indeed.com: based on NY search.
- Marketo Summit Survey: I used the provided Median and ranges from the slide analysis. Raw data was unavailable. Keep in mind the sample set is likely heavy on Marketo users.
New Salary Information for 2017
In 2017, additional surveys came out, including one from Marketo.
- Marketo Summit 2017 Updated from Inga and Jason
And if you’re curious about the trends, here’s a survey from 2011.
A word of marketing career advice
I know many of us look at our peers in Sales, Strategy, or Engineering and see higher salaries. I know Marketing sometimes has a bad rap as a place to go if you couldn’t cut it as an engineer or finance expert. Or let’s face it – it seems “easy” in college to take a business major. Then reality sets in that unless you were an engineer or finance major, starting salaries are LOW in marketing. Marketing in some sectors is more valued than in others. There’s always a path to success if you think hard enough and deliver value.
Take the chip off your shoulder and become an expert in one area of Marketing to start, and if you love tech and don’t like programming, learn Martech to become more than “just a marketer.” If you are just starting out, advance faster than your peers by taking on marketing technology: learn a tool like Marketo and in two years I am confident you could double your salary or better. There are top marketers just like there are top engineers. Get there faster by combining your love of marketing with the skills of an engineer. Another route to early success is marketing plus finance or marketing plus databases.
[Updated: August 24, 2017 with new data links]
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