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

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.

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