All things considered, right now is a great time to be a marketer. Our field is extremely dynamic and exciting, creating new opportunities for ambitious marketers to grow their careers (and their salaries). Furthermore, marketers have unprecedented ability to track and demonstrate their value thanks to a growing suite of analytics tools and tactics.
Watch It: Why Marketing is the Best Place to Be for a Successful Career
Yes, not everything is sunshine and roses for all marketing professionals. But for anyone with a little experience, a proven track record and a partnership with a good marketing talent agency, the national job market is pretty ripe for the picking.
Businesses large and small are scrambling to catch up with the demands of a fast-moving, increasingly digital business environment. Media are increasingly fragmented, consumers are more mobile, and new technologies and channels emerge constantly. That means endless opportunities for ambitious marketing professionals with the right skillsets and a track record of success.
Your Position of Strength with a Marketing Talent Agency
Demand for exceptional marketing, digital, and analytics talent is rising steadily, and the supply of talent isn’t keeping up. That creates a skill gap businesses are struggling to fill, and puts people who possess the right skills and experience in a position of strength.
If you’re one of them, you can use that position to win exciting new career opportunities and negotiate for higher pay.
However, it’s important to keep a realistic perspective on your position and not overreach. Abusing your position of strength in a candidate’s market can ruin an opportunity, sour a relationship with a future employer, or put unrealistic expectations on yourself.
If you’re looking to make a big marketing career move, follow these tips to negotiate the best possible compensation without jeopardizing a great opportunity.
Don’t Wait Until You’re Desperate
One mistake we see as a marketing talent agency is that many professionals don’t consider a new job opportunity until they urgently need it. For instance; they’ve been laid off and need work fast, or become deeply unhappy with their position and become desperate to escape. That can put you in a place where you lower your standards and weakens your case for a good salary.
Instead, the best time to look for new marketing roles is when you’re happily employed.
When you’re financially secure and satisfied with your job, then you’re in a low-stress situation and you’re not desperate to escape. You’re in a strong mental state, and have the power to say “no” to any offer–after all, you’ve got a good thing going for you! You can afford to be picky with any opportunity and only choose the most interesting jobs that come your way. And if the salary ranges you’re seeing aren’t what you want, you have more agency to hold off and wait for a better opportunity.
Avoid Being the First to Commit to a Number
At some point during the recruitment and interview process for a given marketing job, you’ll probably be asked how much you’d like to make in that position.
For nearly any negotiation, you want to avoid being the first to put an offer on the table. You risk undervaluing yourself or putting yourself way out of their range. Instead, you want to get your prospective employer to be the first to suggest a number.
How to Negotiate Your Salary, Signing Bonus & More as a Marketer
When you get asked, it’s wise to try and defer the first move to the business. Respond with an answer along the lines of:
“I fully understand the position and your company and think I’d be a great fit. I only ask what you think is fair for someone in a role with that sort of responsibility and my kind of experience.”
Ideally at that point they will respond with a salary range which you can then accept, decline, or counter offer. Regardless, you’re in a position with more options and leverage.
Don’t Enter Negotiations Unarmed
In some cases, the business will refuse to make an offer first and insist that you state your desired compensation. When this happens, you need to have a range in mind and be able to make your case for it.
Do some research into what people with similar titles are making in similar markets. Most published marketing salary guides are not extremely accurate, but they can have some value as a starting point. Leverage your network and ask a marketing talent agency who understands the talent market in that area. If you’re vying for a senior leadership position, consider pointing the employer to our Interactive Marketing Executive Salary Calculator.
Most importantly, do some personal reflection on what would be the minimum amount required for you to consider leaving your current situation for this new opportunity. Keep in mind that compensation is important–but it’s not everything.
It only makes sense to work towards a reasonable benefits package that’s as favorable as possible for you. But don’t negotiate yourself out of a job. How much exactly is safe to push for varies, but for most marketing jobs it’s right around 10%.
So if you’re especially convincing and a great talent fit, a company offering $100,000 could probably be pushed for around an additional $10,000 without too much resistance, and so on.
Be Careful What You Wish for
It’s usually fine, even expected, to negotiate comfortably within the Wiggle Room Zone. But once you start pushing its boundaries you put yourself in a precarious position. One potential outcome is that you’re removed from consideration altogether. Smart businesses are willing to pay top marketers well. But if you’re in competition with other talented professionals who are willing to work for a bit less, you might well get passed over for a more affordable option.
If you do manage to achieve that significantly higher salary, understand that it will probably come paired with exponentially higher expectations and demand to drive results.
You may earn the higher compensation you fought for, at least for a while. But you might not be able to keep up with the disproportionately increased demands.
How to Walk Away
One of the best aspects of being in the marketer’s position of strength is that you have the discretion to walk away from a job opportunity if things just aren’t working out. This is especially true if, as I mentioned earlier, you’re being proactive about your career and not waiting until you’re desperate to get a new job.
There are plenty of reasons to consider walking away. Many organizations are a few years behind when it comes to reasonable marketing compensation standards (especially for marketing executive salary), and simply won’t be able to give you a competitive offer. Sometimes as you learn more about the opportunity you discover it doesn’t align well with your career goals and personal growth.
Whatever the case, always be professional when rejecting an offer or declining to continue negotiations. Resist any temptation to be condescending or snarky. There’s no need to burn bridges or develop a reputation, especially in today’s socially connected world. You never know who you might work with in the future!
Instead, express your gratitude for the consideration and tell them you’re going to consider other options.
At this stage, both you and the employer have probably invested a fair amount of time into the process. Thus, a best business practice is to inform the hiring manager via a phone call (NOT email or text message!).