How Much Are You and Your E-mail Program Worth?

  |  March 11, 2010   |  Comments

A compensation and resources study provides benchmarks for e-mail marketing professionals.

One of the most persistent conundrums of e-mail marketing is its incredibly high ROI, yet it is often underfunded and understaffed. What's more, those managing e-mail marketing programs are undercompensated., an e-mail metrics portal my company founded with the Email Experience Council, set out to take a deeper dive into how e-mail programs really looked under the hood. What we found is concerning, though not totally surprising.

In the newly released Compensation & Resources Report, we surveyed over 200 e-mail marketing professionals on the client- and services- (agency, ESP, consultants) side. Our partner on this report, Morgan Stewart, director, research and strategy at ExactTarget, helped make sense of the numbers.

The Client-Side Challenge: Resources and Budget

  • Over 40 percent of client respondents stated they had $100,000 or less of their annual budget dedicated to e-mail marketing
  • Fifteen percent had $100,001 to $249,999
  • Fourteen percent had a budget of over $1,000,000
  • Additionally, 14 percent did not know their budget
  • Thirty-seven percent of client-side respondents said they have only one to two people within their organization who are directly working on e-mail marketing
  • Thirty-four percent said they had three to five on their team

While budget is always a clash in the e-mail world, larger companies (22 percent surveyed are companies of 1,000 or more employees) will have an uphill battle on maximizing their e-mail programs on a budget south of $100,000 and only a few people on the team. A major cause for concern: 14 percent did not know their budgets and almost 40 percent have one to two people working on these efforts. While this may speak to the often inexperienced teams managing e-mail programs, it also highlights the need for managers involved in this essential channel to better understand the broader business goals and restrictions they may be facing.

Service-Side Dilemmas: Spread Thin in Offerings and Accounts

Despite e-mail being a highly specialized area of digital marketing, it seems those working in the service-side of e-mail may be spreading themselves thin.

Other lines of business that e-mail service firms offer:

  • Strategy and consulting (66 percent)
  • General interactive marketing (53 percent)
  • Social media (43 percent)
  • Web design (42 percent)
  • Search (34 percent)
  • Mobile (30 percent)

Traditional advertising firms appear to be flat-footed in offering e-mail, despite its near universal adoption as a marketing channel. Only 36 percent say they offer e-mail marketing. It is also worth noting that 37 percent of survey respondents on the service-side said they work on 11 or more accounts, further supporting that service-side e-mail firms need to increase staffing.

Compensation in the E-mail Marketing Industry

Here you may find the ammunition to get a raise or conversely, you may find that you want to keep this data to yourself:

  • Twenty-five percent surveyed said they make between $50,000 to $69,999 annually
  • The next highest bucket was $35,001 to $49,999, closely followed by $70,000 to $84,999
  • Less than 5 percent of participants make $200,000 or greater per year

Interestingly, marketers on the agency-side earn higher salaries than their client-side counterparts. However, those at the director level and above tend to earn higher salaries working on the client-side.

Our findings showed that the size of the dedicated team correlates with the overall e-mail marketing budget. Teams that run the majority of their e-mail marketing efforts in-house must staff their teams with more experienced, thus higher salaried, employees. The median income for employees managing programs with only one or two dedicated e-mail marketing resources ranges from $50,000 to $69,999 for companies with an e-mail marketing budget of less than $100,000. For companies with an e-mail marketing budget of more than $100,000, the median salary ranges from $70,000 to $84,999 range.

You can take these findings with a grain of salt or you can use them to help fund and staff your e-mail program to get the most from this highly targeted and measurable channel. The choice is yours.


Simms Jenkins

Simms Jenkins is CEO of BrightWave Marketing, North America's leading email marketing-focused digital agency. The award-winning firm specializes in elevating email marketing and digital messaging programs that drive revenue, cut costs, and build relationships. Jenkins has led BrightWave Marketing in establishing a world-class client list including Affiliated Computer Service (A Xerox Company), Chick-fil-A, Cox Business, Phillips66, Porsche, and Southern Company. The agency was recently ranked among the fastest growing private companies by Inc. Magazine.

Jenkins was awarded the prestigious AMY 2010 Marketer of the Year from the American Marketing Association for being the top agency marketer and the Email Marketer of the Year at the Tech Marketing Awards held by the Technology Association of Georgia. Jenkins is regarded as one of the leading experts in the email marketing industry and is regularly cited by the media as such and called upon by the financial community to provide market insight and consulting.

Jenkins is the author of two definitive and highly regarded books on email marketing; The New Inbox (published in April 2013 by ClickZ/Incisive Media) and The Truth About Email Marketing (published by Pearson's Financial Times Press in 2008). Jenkins is currently the Email Marketing Best Practices Columnist for ClickZ, the largest resource of interactive marketing news and commentary in the world, online or off. His industry articles have been called one of the top 21 information sources for email marketers.

He has been featured in Fortune Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Adweek, Bloomberg TV, Wired Magazine, and scores of other leading publications and media outlets. Jenkins is a regular speaker at major digital industry and general business conferences.

Additionally, Jenkins is the creator of and, the leading authorities on email and social media metrics. Prior to founding BrightWave Marketing, Jenkins headed the CRM group at Cox Interactive Media.

Jenkins serves on the eMarketing Association's Board of Advisors among other civic and professional boards. He is also a mentor at Flashpoint, a Georgia Tech-based startup accelerator program. Jenkins is a graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio and resides in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood with his wife and three children.

Follow and connect with Simms on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, The BrightWave Blog, and his book websites at and

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