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The conversation of salary and pay can be a sensitive one, but is nonetheless necessary in that it is a prime component in the process of finding the top-tier talent to add to your company’s marketing team.

Calculating the “right” compensation for any given role or professional is no simple task, especially in the marketing space. Marketing is always evolving, forcing marketers to adapt (and leading to rapid changes in pay standards as well). Compounding the issue is that there’s little transparency or reliable data across the industry on this topic.

Of particular import is how to plan to incentivize and compensate your marketing leaders. When it comes to marketing success, nothing is more important than talent. And the importance of talent grows exponentially the higher up the ladder you look.

So, what’s the best way to determine a reasonable salary “scale” for your marketing executives if you want to make sure you’re offering competitive rates for top talent? While there is no perfect answer, there are a few measures one can take to establish a starting base that is fair to both you and your employee, such as building a general salary scale for reference.

Your employees your business’s most valuable assets and adding the right people to your team is a vital mission.

Here are some tips to make the process of determining how much you should pay your marketing executives a little less daunting.

Determine the Value of the Role

Analyze the value of the job by laying out all of the responsibilities and expectations from the role. List out details of the scope of the position to get a comprehensive idea of what you’re paying for. Understanding the scope of the position and what it demands is essential, especially for marketing roles, to fully understand the value of the position you’re paying for.

The demands and pressures marketers face are constantly changing. Different fields – from social to SEO to content – all require different responsibilities with discrepancies in the time and effort needed to succeed.

However, the base salary shouldn’t solely rely on the value of the role. It’s important you assess the value of the candidate themselves for the position as well. Do you value experience and certain certifications? If you do, you probably regard the value of a seasoned marketer with 5+ years of experience more than one who’s just starting off.

So, thoroughly assess the values of the role you’re looking to place and the potential candidates you have lined up – these are necessary steps you can’t avoid.

Compare Compensation Standards

Conduct a little research and see what your competitors and the market are offering for a specific role.

Seeing what the median pay for a certain position is will help you determine whether you’re able to offer competitive pay or not. Remember that candidates also have access to online resources and are able to look up and compare salaries themselves. Thus, they will expect you to offer pay that’s at least at market rate.

If possible, do some homework into what competitors are offering to their employees for similar roles to set a reasonable range for your offer. It can be difficult to get accurate visibility into this subject–this is often information that companies prefer to keep close to their chest when possible. But you may be able to reference stockholder reports or leverage your network to get some clues.

Consider factors like location and the size of your business when you’re comparing salaries – there may be a major discrepancy between what your company can offer marketers in your city versus another location.

We’ve conducted some research to come up with a fairly broad range of what you’d expect a given role to make based on location and company size. For instance, the expected median salary for Head of Marketing differs between cities like San Francisco, New York City, and Seattle:

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There are a various factors, but business size (usually how much annual revenue a company makes) is one of the most reliable in anticipating a salary range for a given executive role.

Develop a Reasonable Range

After assessing the values of the position and candidate, get an idea of what range is fair to offer them for what they can bring to your business.

How much more value are they adding to your business? Don’t just think about how much more revenue they bring into your business (such as a salesperson), but also consider how much money they’re saving you as well (such as an SEO analyst).

Marketing jobs nowadays require very specific skillsets that can be hard to come by, and companies might be surprised at what it costs to get top-shelf talent. As the laws of supply and demand dictate, when you’re looking for a rare, specialized skillset you need to be willing to pay for it. The good news is that a great marketing leader is worth their weight in gold.

Marketers who can analytically prove ROI are generally worth paying a little more – they have evidence they’re worth it and have a strong position at the bargaining table.

Setting a cap on the most you’re willing to pay ensures you don’t go over what is worth paying for. Determining the minimum amount you’re willing to pay ensures that you aren’t offering a salary that underpays or undervalues the role.

Take Advantage of Resources and Tools

As an extension to the research you should conduct when evaluating salaries for a given position, take advantage of resources and tools readily available for you to use.

Guides on how to determine salaries for marketing executives should be viewed as a rough starting point and should be tailored to meet the business’s objectives accordingly. Every business and organization is different so the same rules and guidelines won’t be applicable to every one.

Tools like an executive salary calculator can be used to help you evaluate how much your marketing executives should be paid. For example, this interactive marketing executive salary calculator enables you to filter by location, job title, and company size.

Many organizations employ compensation consultants to help determine what salary they should offer employees. This expertise can be situationally useful, should be approached cautiously as they tend to not have an up-to-date idea of what marketing professionals make these days.

If you want to utilize the services of other experts, consider contacting a marketing recruitment specialist that’s familiar with their local talent market.

Be Open to Negotiation

Know that top candidates may want to negotiate their salaries so try to be flexible and keep an open mind on hearing them out. Remember, top marketers know their worth. Thanks to today’s analytics capabilities, it’s never been easier for an expert to points out how much value they bring. That gives them a strong position at the negotiation table.

Seasoned marketing professionals generally know how to go about bargaining for better pay and bonuses so it’s important to be mindful of what they have to say for a successful negotiation that’s fair to both sides. Be open to negotiation and you may be surprised – they may persuade you with valid points as to why they deserve a better pay.

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