June 30, 2015

Marketing Chart: Salaries for digital marketing positions increase by 3%

SUMMARY: In every issue of the Chart of the Week, we bring you data on what really works (and what doesn’t) with customers.

However, you can’t put these resources into action without the right people on your team … or without getting yourself on the right team.

In this week’s Chart, we’ll explore the latest salary data based on 3,567 actual placements in 2015 for digital marketing positions and provide an analysis to help both employees and employers.
by Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content

So far in 2015, Mondo has placed 3,567 digital marketing professionals in New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Denver, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale and Washington, D.C. Here is a look at salary data from those placements …

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Digital marketing salaries keep pace with other industries

According to research from Hay Group and WorldatWork published by the Society for Human Resource Management, "U.S. workers can expect a median base salary increase of 3 percent in 2015 across all main employee categories and most industries."

Mondo’s placement data shows that digital marketers are keeping pace with the expected national average, reporting an average increase of 3% across all digital marketing placements.

Creative Services Directors receive the biggest salary increases

That is just the average pay increase. The pay rate change varied between positions.

For example, Creative Services Directors appear most in demand, with an 8% increase in salary over 2014.

Chief Marketing Officer salaries are flat compared to 2014. Although, CMOs are holding on to their jobs longer. Long considered a short-term position, average CMO tenure has increased from 23.2 months in 2006 to 45 months in 2013, according to Spencer Stuart.

Big data analysts, a much-hyped position of late, are only hitting the national average of a 3% increase, less than most other digital marketing positions.

Don’t be average if you're an employee …

Those are just the average salary increases for each position. Within positions, however, there is a significant difference in salaries.

For example, salaries for Creative Services Directors ranged from $81,000 to $185,000, meaning some Creative Service Director is making a 128% higher salary than her peers.

For Chief Digital Officers, the variation was $156,000 per year all the way up to $301,000 per year — a 93% difference.

Even positions with the least variation — Search Engine Optimization / Search Engine Marketing Specialist and Big Data Analysts — had a 38% variation between the lowest and highest salaries.

Why the difference?

There are likely variations between cities, industries and different sized companies. For example, according to Sperling’s Best Places, a salary of $156,000 in Fort Lauderdale should increase to $319,642 in San Francisco.

Performance differences among individuals will always be a factor as well. After all, employers aren’t looking for just average employees.

"When recruiting for talent, I always start by looking at personality traits like drive, creativity, a crushing attitude, general awesomeness," Philippe Dore, Founder and Managing Director, Stoked Digital LLC, said. "All this before even asking about expertise in the role for which I am recruiting. I often don’t even get to the second part."

How can you show this drive in your chosen profession? There are many, many answers to that question. Let me give you one self-serving response. At MarketingSherpa, it’s our job to help you do your job better. Subscribe to MarketingSherpa newsletters to read case studies about email, inbound, B2B and consumer marketing from our reporters that show a behind-the-scenes look at how your peers are improving marketing performance, and demonstrate your drive by improving your own.

… or an employer …

Of course, many of us aren’t only employees. We’re also actively recruiting and building teams of our own. Now that you have an idea of what salaries potential employees (and your current team) are looking for, what else can you do to attract, acquire, keep and grow talent?

"What we are seeing is the external delivery of customer experience ... and the leading edge companies are also now reflecting that with the internal experience," Ian Preston, General Manager, Preston Human Capital Group, said.

"We have a major hospitality client, and they refer to their customers as 'guests.' And they treat their employees like guests. They provide them with lunch, not just a sandwich bar — you can order your lunch from the chef prior to coming in in the morning. The women’s restroom has a three-way mirror to see what you look like in the back. Again, they do that with their guests, so why wouldn’t they do it with their employees?" Cathy Preston, President, Preston Human Capital Group, said.

"One week per year, you and your immediate family, including your parents, can go to one of their resorts. So you experience what the guest is experiencing, and you can portray that each and every day," Cathy Preston added. "Training and development is embedded in this organization, where they’re investing thousands of dollars from director level on up."

"The generation that we’re just exiting — there was all that external cost cutting, getting things more efficient. What got lost along the way was personality, an environment where people felt they were part of the team, part of the family and so the loyalty component went out the window. Now we’re starting to emerge from that, and it’s getting added back in. There’s a recognition of what’s important and, when it gets disregarded, it hurts your productivity long-term as an organization," Ian Preston said.

… or none of the above

Attracting talented employees, or becoming one, is not the only path. Many are opting out of the employee-employer relationship entirely.

"Another significant trend we're seeing this year is the increase in the number of digital marketing freelancers. We predict the digital marketing workforce mix in the next three to five years will become a 50/50 mix of freelance to permanent professionals," Laura McGarrity, Vice President of Digital Marketing Strategy, Mondo, said.

"The move to freelancers in digital marketing is being driven by the flexibility to turn resources on and off, access to experts and hard-to-find talent, seasonal or unforeseen project needs, ability to ‘try before you buy’ and increased productivity," McGarrity said.

Related Resources

Digital Marketing Salary Guide (via Mondo)

Interview preparation guide (via Preston Human Capital Group)

Marketing Career: Free salary guides for direct and online marketing

The Modern Marketer (via Mondo)

Digital Marketing: Content marketing, social media and SEO predictions for 2015

Base Salary Rise of 3% Forecast for 2015 (by Stephen Miller on SHRM)

Average CMO Tenure: 45 Months (But That’s an Improvement) (by Suzanna Vranica on The Wall Street Journal’s CMO Today)

Cost of Living Comparison: Fort Lauderdale, Florida to San Francisco, California (via Sperling’s Best Places)

When a Failing Company Hires You as Chief Marketing Officer — Inspirational Turnaround Story

Email Marketing: A customer-focused mindset at ATP World Tour

In-Person Team Training (from MarketingSherpa’s parent research organization, MECLABS Institute)

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