Welcome to your amazing marketing career!
As marketers, we face exciting new opportunities.
Despite challenges from:
- Eroding trust, and
- Increased privacy concerns.
With evolving AI driven technologies and improved data, we can create better customer experiences across channels and devices.
But marketing success depends on:
- Treating our audiences as real people, and
- Focusing on their needs, wants and entertainment.
To do this, our employers must us give us the necessary marketing resources and budgets. And, more importantly, we need to believe that they have our backs.
Regardless of whether you’re an employee, freelancer or solopreneur, you need to be treated fairly. This applies to your job, compensation and other job-related benefits and perks.
Unfortunately, most female marketer lag their male counterparts across job categories, salaries and organizational positions.
But we can succeed, if we help and support each other women in marketing.
So we collected key job and salary research to help you understand the current marketing hiring landscape.In addition, we got marketing career advice from 30+ women.
Table of Contents
- Best Marketing Career Advice for Women: What You Need To Do Based On Research
- Marketing Salaries By Position
- Career Case Study: Do You Want To Learn How To Negotiate Better?
- What Are The Top Mistakes Women Make When Negotiating For A Job?
- What Are The Top Salary Mistakes Women Make?
- The Career Advice Secret Every Women Needs To Know
- Marketing Career Advice: 30+ Women Share Their Secrets
- Best Marketing Career Advice Shared By Women Conclusion
► Best Marketing Career Advice For Women:
What You Need To Do Based On Research
Before hearing marketing career advice from other women, examine the current marketplace in terms of jobs, salaries and benefits.
Despite women’s lib and legislation, there’s no way to sugar-cost the truth:
A gender gap in salaries persists across professions including marketing.
The gender pay gap for full time employees hasn’t changed in the last 10 years! In OECD countries, it averages 13.4%. Globally, women earn $10,000 less than men in average annual income.
Based on median weekly earnings across professions:
Women earned 81.5% of what men earned in 2019 for full-time work. So they bring home $286 less per week! (Catalyst)
Also, the US gender pay gap increases by demographic across jobs. In 2020, for each $1 a white man earns (PayScale 2020):
- American Indian and Alaskan Native women earned $0.75,
- Asian-American women earned $0.95,
- African and Black American women earned $0.75,
- Hispanic women earned $0.75,
- Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander women earned $0.80, and
- White women earned $0.81.
According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics data (via Builtin.com), education doesn’t reduce the gender salary gap regardless of job focus.
In the US, the gender pay gap varies by state regardless of profession. (PayScale 2020)
Marketing Salaries By Position
Salaries for different agency and corporation marketing positions vary by level of experience. (Note: The Creative Group/Robert Half’s 2020 Salary Guide didn’t break out differences between men and women.)
Want to check your marketing salary?
Use Robert Half’s US and Canadian Salary Calculator (includes information on differences between cities.)
Beyond the base salary, consider your total compensation package. Because they define the true amount you earn. Since, if your company doesn’t provide these benefits, you must pay for them yourself. Freelancers and solopreneurs take note!
So assess the quality and value of:
- Paid medical and dental insurance.
- Ability to telecommute (but don’t overlook related costs you incur at home!)
- Paid medical leave (also paternity leave.)
- Retirement benefits including pensions, 401Ks and other options.
- Bonuses and stock options.
In addition, perks not only make a position more attractive, they can provide the equivalent of salary. For example, maternity leave is a prime reason women fall behind their male peers in lifetime earnings.
When gender pay differences in marketing jobs are tracked, the gap increases as women gain experience and seniority ( 2019 Marketing Week Career and Salary Survey).
And, the gender gap for marketing salaries exists across a range of business categories.
► Career Case Study: Do You Want To Learn How To Negotiate Better?
Regardless of how much career advice you get, realize that as a woman:
Most labor economists estimate that the gender pay gap is between 10% and 20%.
In 2018 research conducted in Australia by Benjamin Artz, Amanda Goodall and Andrew J. Oswald found (via Harvard Business Review):
When background factors were kept constant, women asked for a raise as often as men did, BUT men were more likely to get one!
Specifically, when they asked for a raise:
Women got a raise 15% of the time and men got a pay increase 20% of the time.
While a difference of 5 percentage points doesn’t sound like much, it adds up over a lifetime:
Women lose an estimated $900,000 in lifetime earnings compared to men over a 40 year career (PayScale).
► What Are The Top Mistakes Women Make When Negotiating For A Job?
To help you negotiate better for salary and other aspects of your job, Lynne Labrador provides useful career advice insights. She has years of experience as a senior executive at global corporations.
According to Lynne:
Negotiating for a new job should never just be about salary!
When changing jobs, honestly ask yourself “WHY”. Get clear about what you want to get from your next job. Include the specific company, position and timing.
After you understand your ‘whys’, prioritize them to know:
- What are your show-stoppers? and
- What are your ‘nice to haves?
In Lynne’s opinion, this holds true for your first job, a new position within your current company, or a job at another company.
After doing this preparation, be clear and honest with yourself as you negotiate. And be willing to walk away if your ‘must haves’ can’t be met.
Actionable Job Negotiation Tips For Women In Marketing:
- Know your job priorities. Money isn’t always your top priority!
- Assess the market and industry trends for the position AND location you’re considering.
- Have the confidence to ask for what you want and need from the new position.
- Remember job negotiation is about business, not you personally.
► What Are The Top Salary Mistakes Women Make?
To help you negotiate for the job and package, Lynne Labrador shares one of her job negotiation stories. But understand that many find job search and negotiation stressful. (Hired 2020).
After being recruited for a job and having several interviews, I received an offer.
But the job required me to relocate from a low-cost city to a higher cost city. So I did my homework to know the differences in salary and other costs between the two cities.
I countered their offer with a salary to keep me even based on the cost of living. And, the recruiter responded that the firm had offered me the top of the job’s salary range.
BUT—Lynne didn’t let this stop her!
She countered, “There’s probably a higher level position where my salary request fits.”
She received an offer meeting her salary request! To make the money work, the company brought her in at a higher executive level.
Actionable Job Negotiation Tips For Women In Marketing:
- Think about what you want in the full job package before getting an offer. Know your worth for the role. Where possible, get input from colleagues or past bosses.
- Do your homework related to functions, salary and other benefits. Know comparable salaries and other parts of the package, especially when changing cities.
- Never say yes to a job offer too quickly. Every offer is a starting point! In Lynne’s words, “Don’t put yourself on sale!”
- Ask for the salary you want. At worst they’ll say no.
- Be willing to walk away from an offer. Or you’ll probably regret it.
► The Career Advice Secret Every Women Needs To Know
What is Lynne Labrador’s biggest career advice secret for women in marketing?
- Go through at least one formal interview process per year. This allows you to practice your job search skills whether you want to change jobs or not! Otherwise, you risk being terrified and out of practice if you get laid off from your job.
“Looking back, I wish I had someone who I could have asked for advice in my earlier career.”
Women either don’t know to or like to talk about their salaries. This causes a lack of salary transparency. So, women don’t know what’s right to ask for when they get a job offer. As a result, they accept whatever they get. Women overlook their true value and talent.
Lynne Labrador’s Actionable Marketing Career Advice:
- Find someone you trust to talk about your career, job and salary concerns. Since job and salary negotiations are always stressful!
- Negotiate for the salary you’re worth. Since NO ONE will ever care more about your success than YOU. So be your own best advocate!
► Marketing Career Advice: 30+ Women Share Their Secrets
So what can you do as a woman in marketing to get ahead in your career while you get paid what you’re worth?
Listen to what these 30+ women suggest and try to learn from their experience.
Olga Bedrina (@olga_bedrina)
Never doubt yourself!
It’s self-destructive and it definitely won’t help you pursue your dreams.
As a woman in marketing, you are capable of coming up with brilliant creative ideas, leading a team forward, and doing a great job, no matter the industry.
Jenny Brennan – AgoraPulse (@jennybrennanme)
I would have to say that when you come from a place of really wanting to help and serve others, you will do well. It is a great way to show your skills to your employers, peers and the customers that you are serving.
Be sincere and authentic. There really is only one you, it’s not a cliche. So embrace who you are and let her into the world.
LISTEN: In all seriousness, when you listen to experts in your field, you’ll learn so much.
I LOVE podcasts and audiobooks as a way to learn. It opens my mind to so many possibilities (and I get some steps in too.)
Leslie Carruthers – TheSearchGuru.com (@LeslieCarruther)
Start building a support network early.
- Ask for help,
- Enroll mentors and
- Hire coaches.
Don’t just work harder – check and validate that you’re working smarter.Start a side hustle early - it will inform so much of what you do and you'll grow faster. --Leslie CarruthersClick To Tweet
Heidi Cohen – Actionable Marketing Guide (@HeidiCohen)
To succeed in marketing requires a mix of skills including:
- Ability to deal with people (inside and outside of your company)
- Strong writing, math and analytical skills. (As I used to tell my Finance For Marketing students, if you didn’t want to deal with a lot of numbers, go into Finance!)
- Empathy for your direct reports and peers.
- Willingness to advocate not only for yourself but also for those who report to you.
- Desire to keep learning and helping others.
Further, build your professional community. It’s never too late to start networking! Don’t underestimate the value that they provide in terms of outside input and shared knowledge. But most importantly, friendship!
Colette Des Georges (@ColetteorCoco)
Experiment: Dip your toes into roles that aren’t fully within your job description.
Give yourself the chance to access skills and responsibilities that you might not have initially been selected for. It doesn’t have to be a lot and you don’t have to take on extra work necessarily.
Aim to build a little extra “pitching in” to your schedule.
When it comes to negotiating, arm yourself with information about what people doing your role at other companies in your city are making. If you feel entitled to what you deserve, it makes it much easier to negotiate without quaking at the ask.
Pam Didner – Relentless Pursuit, LLC (@PamDidner)
Be your own advocate.
Let others know what you can do and take credit when you deserve it!
Gini Dietrich – Spin Sucks (@GiniDietrich)
- Ideas, and
- The way you should be treated.
As a whole, women don’t negotiate–men always do. That is the most important skill you can learn. Use it at home and at work. Learn it, practice it, conquer it.
Keri Engel – WPBeginner (@keri_engel)
Purposefully work on building your confidence.
Also know the worth of your skills.
Don’t devalue yourself or put yourself down – I see women in marketing doing this way too often.
Michelle Garrett – Garrett Public Relations (@PRisUs)
Marketing is a great field for women to get into because there are so many opportunities.
If you find you don’t like one particular aspect of the job, you can always pivot to another area of marketing.
In my areas of expertise, PR, content and social media, I think there are more opportunities now than ever because brands are embracing the benefits of these initiatives, which can have an impact throughout the organization.
Erika Heald – Erika Heald Consulting (@SFerika)
Take time to explore the various types of marketing so you can find your niche.
And both look for and become a mentor for other women.
Kristen Hicks – Austin Copywriter (@atxcopywriter)
Network. If possible, find relevant women’s groups to network with.
Some of the most valuable contacts I’ve made that have made all the difference to my business were with other professional women doing similar work.
They provide great advice, send you valuable referrals, introduce you to new contacts, and commiserate when you’re dealing with something frustrating.
Carmen Hill – Chill Content (@CarmenHill)
Be confident in your knowledge, experience and intuition, but stay curious and always be learning.
If you find yourself in a position where you are not able to do that, then get out!
Don’t waste time in a bad situation.
Have the courage to be a change agent. Choose an environment where you can drive change from good to great, not from miserable to a bit more tolerable.
Anne Holland – Anne Holland Ventures Inc.
As an employer, I see a consistent gendered difference between applicants for marketing (and other) jobs.
- Men toss their hats in the ring for stuff they are barely qualified for.
- Women wait until their qualifications check all the boxes before applying.
Men also self-rate their skills on applications more highly than women do. They’ve been taught to be boastful and believe in themselves. I’ve got enough experience to spot the discrepancies and account for them when evaluating candidates but I wonder if all employers do?
Only women in sales (versus marketing) sometimes swagger on their applications the way men do. It’s a learned skill. I don’t prefer male style, but suspect it may help you get the job interview in some circumstances.
Sharon Hurley Hall (@shurleyhall)
Don’t allow others to undervalue your services and your contribution because of your gender.
Recognize that what you do has a value!
Be willing to itemize the benefits you bring to show your worth.
Zontee Hou – Media Volery (@ZonteeHou)
Build your own network of supporters, fans, and advocates.
Don’t wait for other people to notice the quality of your work:
- Connect with people in the industry whom you can bounce ideas off of.
- Seek out peers who will laud your work on your behalf.
I’m lucky to have an extended network of people who refer business to me, who help highlight my work, and to whom I can turn for advice about all areas of my work and career. But my network didn’t just appear; I’ve spent years going to events, connecting with colleagues, and asking friends for introductions. It all adds up.
As a professor and speaker, I sometimes have young women come up and ask me to mentor them. It’s a nice idea, but I always tell them that you can’t ask that of a stranger. It’s like proposing to your crush; they may not even know you, so why would they say yes?
Mentorship is not only about investing in another person, it’s a two way street. Instead, build relationships with people with who you have a connections. Prove to them that you’re worth being in their circle.Your network should be made up of real relationships, trust, and connection. —Zontee HouClick To Tweet
Kathryn Kmiotek (@kcvkmiotek)
If you don’t ask you don’t receive. I’ve had a hard time with this and it took me many years to learn this lesson. Also, you do not have to be a 100% fit for a job, if you are then you are overqualified for that job.
Lisa Marcyes – Oracle (@Lisa_Marcyes)
Embrace change. No campaign will ever be the same.
Test, test, test. What works on one channel, may not work on another. Test messaging, test imagery, test posting times, test web placement, test ads.
Always be learning. Jump in and try new things, even if you’re scared it won’t be perfect. Innovate by embracing new technologies.
Wendy Marx – Marx Communications (@wendymarx)
Marketing has become and will continue to become more data-driven. Don’t shy away the implications of that.
You don’t have to be a brainiac math whiz but you do need to be able to use the tools that help you to work smarter.
Marketing evolves every day and you need to stay abreast of trends. So, keep educating yourself through reading, videos, podcasts, webinars, classes…so your mind stays fertile.
Remember you’re not in this alone. Find like-minded women to network with to help pave the way. A mentor can also give you a leg up.
Lastly, don’t burn any bridges. The person you shun today may be able to help you tomorrow. So pay it forward and backward.
Julia McCoy – Express Writers (@JuliaEMcCoy)
Go for it!! Don’t let anything stop you!
And if you seek an executive position, hold people that answer to you accountable without hesitation. Be firm.
Don’t let gender provide an excuse for you to not play on the same level field.
Mandy McEwen – Mod Girl Marketing (@mandymodgirl)
Find “your thing” and start building your personal brand as quickly as possible. Don’t be afraid to showcase your unique personality and values. The marketing landscape is incredibly competitive. Those with a solid and compelling personal brand will make a name for themselves. Period.
You can’t count on your experience alone. You must differentiate yourself from the pack by developing a captivating and distinct brand persona that resonates with your target audience on a deeper level.
Susan Moeller – Tailwind (@SusanCMoeller)
Find a like-minded group of people in your area of expertise. Their advice and input will help you to do your best work, and particularly in content marketing, you can help each other through co-marketing and collaboration.
If you’d like a place to start, check out Facebook, LinkedIn and Slack groups.
Camila Naranjo – Microsoft (@thecaminaranjo)
Challenges are learning opportunities. Embrace them, learn from them and come out stronger.
- Find your voice. Once that is respectful of others and demands respect for your self.
- Sustain integrity. Integrity earns you other’s trust.
- Be accountable. If you take something on deliver on it.
- Embrace opportunity! it might feel too much, out of place, not aligned with your career but you never know where it will take you.
- Strive for excellence! give your best every day. Even when your best is staying in bed because you don’t feel well.
- Bring others along. My career is the result of so many others that with their generosity have made me a better professional and a better person. Do the same for those around you. Champion them, celebrate their efforts and help them grow.
- Finally, ASK, ASK, ASK… but nicely and if you don’t get, then ask again.
Men do this very well and I think it is the single most visible differentiation on why they face less challenges of this sort. BUT, make no mistake, they face many of the same and many others. So be empathetic to men, they are in this as much as we, women, are.
Deb Olsen – Atlantic Diagnostic Laboratories LLC (@adllabs)
Anyone seeking a career in marketing should enter with an awareness that:
“All good marketing begins with “how to convey a message so that their target market will listen”.
Diane Osgood – Osgood Consulting (@dianeosgood)
Get a great coach. Seek external support if you’re not given training/support internally to learn to negotiate, get your point of view across, etc.
Dayna Rothman (@Dayroth)
Always be vocal about your opinions and don’t second guess yourself.
Seek the advice of other women who have moved up in their careers so that they can help guide you through tricky situations.
Having a strong woman mentor as an advocate can be incredibly impactful as you navigate your career.
- Actionable Marketing Guide Interview With Dayna Rothman
(P.S.: Dayna quoted me.)
BJ Sung – Pinnacle Social Impact Consultancy (@pinnacle)
Take charge when appropriate. Sometimes it’s better to act than ask permission.
Ivana Taylor – DIYMarketers.com (@DIYMarketers)
My advice for women seeking a career in marketing: BRAND yourself based on your strength and what you deliver.
For example, if your strength is creating high-converting email campaigns – the focus on that.
Create a process around it, collect data to share your success. I’ve found that companies and clients are purchasing an OUTCOME and not hiring someone. So choose the outcome you deliver and leverage it.
Beth Temple – bethtemple4u llc (@bethtemple4u)
I tell every woman who is in negotiations to add to her salary – 20-25%.
Jess Tyson – Don’t Panic Management (@jessostroff)
Listen more than you speak, but share your voice when you have something important to say.
Know your place, but ask for what you deserve.
There’s a way to be strong, confident, and respected without being a bully. At the same time, there’s a way to be respectful and kind without being a pushover.
Women, unfortunately, have to walk this line constantly and it’s an ongoing battle to find the balance between being a great leader and not being a jerk.
Magdalena Urbaniak (@Meg_Urbaniak)
Set your goals clearly.
Make a SWOT analysis of your own business profile.
Hold on tight, especially when you have a bad day. Because in business or anything else, life has challenges.
You need to know what your strengths are, then promote them! Then, work on them more! Because you are a super woman!
Cindy Valladares – Cisco (@cindyv)
Always be learning. Whether you’re leading a campaign, building a strategy or disrupting an industry, you need to surround yourself with people and knowledge to stay ahead of the competition.
Be curious and embrace creativity. Try simple ideas such as ‘the experiment of the month.’ Then measure the results so you can implement it more broadly. And, if it didn’t work modify or abandoned it.
Pamela Wilson (@PamelaIWilson)
There’s nothing standing in your way.
Actionable Marketing Guide Interviews With Pamela Wilson:
Sandie Young – Tech Elevator (@sandiemyoung)
My best advice is to seek out a like-minded woman that you admire and find a way to foster a mentor to mentee relationship.
Odds are, she has a great story to tell—one that will inspire your own narrative.
From the mentor’s perspective:
It’s so rewarding to watch your peers grow and learn due to your influence.
We need to find more ways to lift each other up and support one another. #girlpower
Ashley Zeckman – Onalytica (@AZeckman)
I advise anyone seeking a career in marketing to go-for-it! There’s no shame in trying and failing, the only failure is a missed opportunity to learn and push yourself.
Do the things that scare the $#*! out of you (and those things will change over the years) because ultimately, it will make you a better marketer.
Also, marketing doesn’t have to be cutthroat. The more you can find other people inside and outside of your industry to learn from and connect with, the better you’ll be.
Best Marketing Career Advice Shared By Women Conclusion
While you have to accept that the world of marketing and business, more broadly, isn’t fair.
Don’t let this hold you back from having the marketing career of your dreams!
In my experience, the biggest force holding women back from becoming world class marketers is the image they carry in the back of their brain.
As these 30+ women in marketing have revealed, you have opportunities to improve your job and your compensation.
More importantly, you can be happier and get more fulfillment in the process. Reach out to your colleagues and attend marketing functions and conferences to build your network and grow your career.
Since you only have one life to live:
Make the most of every opportunity every day for your career and your personal fulfillment!
Go on, you have the ability to become the best marketer you can be! But only you have the power to accomplish this.
So give yourself permission to succeed!
Yes. You. Can.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published March 21, 2019. It has been extensively updated with new research and marketing career advice from other women.
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Photos of Heidi Cohen – ©2019, Heidi Cohen – Permission to use them is granted on the condition that you link to this article.
Photos of contributors are sourced from Twitter or LinkedIn profiles
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