Salary Series Part One: A Deep Dive Into What Marketers Are Earning

Salary is that rarely disclosed, oft ruminated on, critical part of all of our lives. We often wonder if we are truly getting paid what we are worth. We wonder what other people earn. And we wonder what salary is fair.

We sought to do some digging on the subject in hopes of shedding light on the current state of salary. Partnering with a market research company we sought to learn what marketers are really earning. In the first of this three-part investigative series, we are looking at three categories: functional areas, metro areas, and years of experience.  


What We Are Earning  

Across generations, locations, and specializations, the average income for the marketers we surveyed was $109,255.52. The highest earners were those with the most experience and, unsurprisingly, those with least experience were the lowest earners.  

The highest average salary for marketers is in product marketing with an average salary of $124,509. The lowest average salary is in creative services at $98,753.


Figure 1 Salary by Functional Area

Area of Specialization Average Income  
Traditional Marketing $120,374
Digital Marketing $111,289
Product Marketing $124,509
Relationship Management $119,000
Communications $111,850
Marketing Operations $116,655
Research and Analysis $120,876
Creative Services $98,753

Generational Earning Power  

Experience level is perhaps the most critical differentiator in earning power within the field of marketing. Here is what early to mid-career marketers are earning:  

  • 56 percent of those with less than three years of experience are making under $55,000 annually.
  • 72 percent of marketers with less than three years marketing experience (we qualify this as entry level) are earning less than $75,000 per year.  
  • 71 percent of Millennials make under $85,000.
  • More than half (56 percent) of Millennials earn under $75,000.  
  • Only 26 percent of non-Millennials earn $85,000 or less.
  • Just 20 percent of those non-Millennials make under $75,000.

There is a striking difference between earnings for early career to mid-career and those that are more senior. Those with more experience are by and large making a good deal more than entry level and early to mid-career marketers.  


Figure 2 Average Marketer Income by Experience

 Years of Experience

  Average Income
Less than 1 year $60,545  
1-3 years $63,778  
4-10 years $79,920  
11-20 years   $118,036  
21+ years $141,149  

Top Earning Functional Areas and Years of Experience

The best paid marketers have over twenty years of experience and hold positions in the following specialties:  

  1. 21+ years in traditional marketing $158,100
  2. 21+ years in product marketing $156,757
  3. 21+ years in marketing operations $152,177
  4. 21+ years in relationships management $145,438
  5. 21+ years in communications $142,667

Trends in earning power for marketers can change significantly year over year. One criteria that tends to stay more consistent is the higher earning power of seasoned marketers. Whether the top earners are traditional marketers, product marketers, or another functional area, you can almost always count on experienced marketers to out-earn their greener counterparts.

In the next article in this series, we will examine the impact of education on marketing salaries. You might be surprised by what the data reveals.


McKinley Marketing Partners collaborated with a national market research agency to conduct a survey on marketing salaries.

The survey was open to marketing professionals across all industries throughout the U.S. from October 6 – October 30, 2017. Qualifying criteria for respondents included either working in a marketing role or experience working in a marketing function. A total of 329 marketing professionals completed the survey.  

by McKinley Marketing Partners