Marketing & Customer Relations Pros Salary Trends
- Stagnant salaries. Salary trends and pay rates remain largely unchanged across marketing, customer service and engagement roles.
- Data dominates. Marketing pros focused on data analytics continue to see strong, consistent salaries.
- Remote resilience. Despite challenges, remote and hybrid working models prove successful for customer service roles.
Marketing, customer service and customer engagement professionals looking for a big payday may have to wait a bit, as pay increases for these professionals have dwindled since the start of the year and wages are now largely flat. Let’s look at what salary trend experts are saying about what’s going on for marketing and customer relations professionals.
“For all three disciplines, pay rates remain fairly stagnant,” said Sean McLoughlin, vice president of operations at HireMinds. “The heightened wage growth of 2021–2022 has cooled off. According to the Indeed Hiring Lab, year-over-year salary growth has hovered at around 3% to 5%.”
Salary Trend: Marketing Pros With Data Focus Will Fare Best
Of three job areas — marketing, customer service and customer engagement or experience — marketing pros will fare the best over the remainder of 2023 when it comes to payroll, especially if the worker has the right job focus — customer data and the tools used to analyze and act on it.
“Within marketing, product marketing, analytics and demand generation roles continue to see strong, sticky salaries,” McLoughlin said. “Customer service positions have been more of a mixed bag. Companies that view customer service as a cost center vs. a revenue center have often slashed roles. This has depressed wages and we are seeing the lowest growth here.”
Customer experience and engagement roles tend to be a mixed bag as well, McLoughlin said. “Similar to marketing, roles that are tied to sales or revenue growth continue to be in high demand. CX roles involving technical skills are also seeing resilient wage gains.”
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Salary Trend: Pay Rates Will Level off for the Remainder of 2023
If one can call it “good news,” for all three disciplines, the expectation for the remainder of 2023 is that wage growth will stagnate and pay rates will level off, but not fall.
“We’re not seeing or hearing about any actual wage reductions at this time,” McLoughlin said. “Economic uncertainty is an over-used phrase, but there seems to be a lot of ‘wait and see’ attitude when it comes to the market. So far, the tech slowdown hasn’t affected other industries, but given the potential of more interest rate hikes, a confluence of factors could cool the job market further.”
For marketers, the expectation is that the pay and benefit trends of the first half of 2023 will repeat, McLoughlin explained.
According to the 2023 salary study by MarketingProfs, the median pay for a corporate chief marketing officer in 2023 is $175,500. Median pay for a vice president of marketing is $154,500. Median pay for a marketing manager is $85,000. Glassdoor pegs the annual salary for digital marketing pros at $57,000.
Flexible Work Bolsters Marketing, Customer CX Roles
For customer service professionals, the expectation is to see an emphasis on onsite work versus remote work. “I expect the same pay and benefit trends to continue regarding wage growth in 2023,” McLoughlin said. The pay site Salary.com lists the median pay for a customer service representative as $37,400.
“Even for CX professionals, the same wage growth trends from the first half of the year will mostly likely extend to the second half of the year,” McLoughlin continued. “We’re seeing clients put an emphasis on either front line sales and renewal growth or technical skills, and we expect that specialization and optimization focus to continue.” Online employment marketplace site ZipRecruiter lists the median salary for a customer engagement specialist at $48,800.
On the bright side, the nation’s economy has remained strong, and as the market picks up gradually, marketing and customer engagement professionals can look forward to pay rates going up.
In the meantime, one of the immediate benefits for many marketing and customer engagement pros has been a more flexible work environment.
“In customer service, the overwhelming majority of employees are agents. This has not changed, and the number of agents worldwide has not changed significantly over the past couple of years,” said Max Ball, a principal analyst at Forrester Research. “COVID obviously drove huge changes with the move to a work-at-home model. Before COVID, only about 10% of agents worked at home and this was considered a significant perk for the best performing agents.”
It turned out that contact center employees can work well in a remote structure, Ball explained. The most common approach now is a hybrid structure where some agents work remotely — some coming in two or three days a week — and others come in every day since they do not have a good working environment at home.
“In 2021 and 2022 there was a lot of stress on companies between the great resignation and the challenges of keeping agents connected and productive,” Ball said. “During this time, I had a fair number of inquiries from brands on the best way to keep remote agents engaged or on strategies to hire and keep agents from leaving.”
Agent churn is typically always high, Ball continued. The average is around 30% annual turnover, but some very large contact centers have 100% or higher turnover. But during this time, turnover was 5% to 10% higher than normal.
“This has largely dissipated, and I don’t get many of that sort of inquiry anymore, and things appear to have returned to something more normal,” Ball said.
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The Right Skills, Experience and Attitude to Earn a Candidate Top Dollar
Earning top pay in any job field requires having the right combination of skills, experiences and personal traits.
“When launching any marketing search, our clients universally ask for two skills, no matter the discipline,” McLoughlin said. “They look for marketers who have worked closely with a sales organization to drive growth. They also look for marketers who are able to tie their activities back to revenue growth and business objectives. Hiring managers are looking for markers who enable their sales teams and help their company achieve their business objectives.”
Technical Know-how, Sales Skills Key to 2023 CS, CX Roles
“For customer service individuals, our clients are consistent in asking for candidates who are systems thinkers that recognize patterns and help develop procedures and feedback loops to ensure a quality customer experience and better product improvements,” McLoughlin explained.
Upwardly mobile customer service pros often take on a voice of the customer role for the product organization, McLoughlin explained. Clients consistently ask for such pros who have the experience or skills to solve other problems, whether that be technical in nature or more related to account management.
“For CX individuals, our clients ask for either the sales or account management chops to keep new customers happy,” McLoughlin continued. “There is also a premium in technical knowledge, hoping for an understanding of how their company’s product or solution would fit into the landscape of the customer’s broader technology portfolio.”
“We tend to not see a measurable impact of skills certifications on the candidate pool. Certifications lag true experience with specific tools. But certifications plus industry experience can push a candidate over the top during a competitive job search,” McLoughlin said.
Finally, what makes a candidate entitled to top compensation and benefits all boils down to their level of experience, skills, certifications, personal traits and how effectively they communicate, McLoughlin noted. That includes understanding the mission of the organization, its business marketing strategies, and how the employee’s skills help advance the company.