How Much Should You Pay a Growth Marketer? 2017 Benchmarking Report
The last few years have seen a sustained surge in the demand for growth marketers. Startups and large companies are finding themselves in competition with one another to recruit top growth talent, driving up compensation packages.
As a hiring decision maker, you want to know what it takes to bring the right growth marketing hire on board before you start your search in order to set the right budget expectations.
In this post, we have benchmarked growth marketer compensation levels across the globe to help you define this important piece of the hiring puzzle.
A growth marketer role is still an evolving concept. Depending on the company, it goes by a number of different titles, sits in different parts of the organization, and often entails a different set of responsibilities.
It is no wonder why many founders are confused about how much they should be paying their growth hires.
While there may certainly be other approaches to slicing the growth universe, for purposes of this survey, we have broadly categorized growth marketing professionals into two groups based on the role they play within the organization.
Junior to mid-level growth marketers are your typical first marketing hires at seed-stage startups or staff marketers on larger teams. Senior growth marketers lead growth and marketing teams at later-stage companies.
Junior to mid-level roles
Startups are only hiring growth marketers or growth hackers with a track record. As Patrick Vlaskovits puts it:
A Growth Hacker…is only anointed with the sacred oil of growth hacking ex post facto. Once you have delivered huge and exponential growth in users/leads/sales, you are a Growth Hacker. Before that, you are a Growth Rookie.
When we benchmarked compensation, we felt that separating junior and mid-level growth marketers based on a couple of additional years of experience simply wasn’t practical for three reasons.
First, that’s not how most companies look at the talent pool. Employers understand that having a few more years of experience isn’t a great predictor of how a particular growth marketer will do on the job. Less experienced marketers with the right mindset and hunger can often progress extremely fast and deliver better results than those with lengthier resumes.
Second, whether a startup hires someone a bit more senior or a bit more junior for a particular position largely depends on the hiring dynamics in a particular market.
Finally, from a salary perspective, early-stage startups typically hire slightly more experienced growth marketers but offer salaries that are comparable to those being paid by larger companies to more junior talent. The difference is usually in the equity piece and non-tangible benefits of being an early member of the team.
A junior to mid-level growth hacker usually finds his place as either a generalist at an early-growth startup or a specialist on a growth/marketing team at a larger company. Here is what a typical profile looks like:
Junior to Mid-Level Growth Marketer
|Position Titles||Growth Marketer, Growth Hacker, Growth Engineer, Growth Lead, User Acquisition Manager, Paid Acquisition Manager|
|Experience and Skills||
A senior growth marketer is charged with leading all of the company’s online and offline marketing efforts to drive growth of key business metrics. This role involves creating and executing growth strategy across the entire funnel with systematic testing of customer acquisition channels for opportunities to efficiently acquire new customers and retain existing ones.
Here is what a typical profile looks like:
Senior Growth Marketer
|Position Titles||Head of Growth, VP Growth, VP of Marketing, CMO, Director of Growth Marketing|
|Experience and Skills||
How much should you pay a growth marketer?
A growth marketer is typically compensated with salary and equity. The discussion on structuring the compensation package is worthy of its own post. Here, we only want to give you a snapshot of the hiring environment, so you can gauge how much other companies pay for growth marketing talent in your part of the world.
This salary summary is culled from a number of full-time searches we have worked on as well as hundreds of job postings on global and local job boards. We have cleansed the data to arrive at normalized market ranges.
Here are a few points to consider as you calibrate your offer to a potential growth marketing hire:
- Company growth stage and size. Larger and better funded companies sometimes offer a 20+% salary premium over seed-stage startups looking for someone of a similar caliber. On the flip side, their equity packages are less generous or non-existent.
- Required skill set. Positions that require someone with a more technical or “growth hacking” skillset, including the ability to write basic code, do web scraping, and run SQL queries, need to reflect a commensurate salary premium over a marketing-only focused role.
- Job arrangement. Companies in “hot” tech markets, such as San Francisco or Melbourne, that are able to offer a remote option can downsize their salary offers and still attract high-quality talent.
There is a great deal of variability in the equity component of the growth marketer compensation package driven by the unique circumstances of each business. These median ranges represent the most typical offers for growth marketer positions:
- Junior to mid-level roles:
- First growth marketer: 0.5 – 2.0%
- Staff growth marketer on a larger team: 0.0 – 0.5%
- Senior roles: 0.1 – 0.5%
While these figures for equity packages generally hold true for international markets as well, there are more outliers on either end of the spectrum.
On one hand, it is not uncommon to find startups outside the US making generous offers of up to 5.0% of equity for first growth marketers on the team and up to 2.0% for senior roles at scale-ups. On the other hand, there are many startups in the UK, rest of Europe, and Canada that do not offer any equity.
While there are many people calling themselves “growth marketers” or “growth hackers”, the real experts are few and far between. Barring a burst in the tech bubble, we expect compensation for growth talent to continue to rise as increasing demand outstrips quality supply.
A competitive compensation package gives you a chance in this war on talent, but it shouldn’t be the deciding factor for the type of hire you are looking for. If you want to win, your hiring strategy should focus around the intangibles and non-financial benefits that make the role you are offering a must-grab opportunity for the right growth marketer.
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