Salary Project: V.P. of Marketing

Salary Project: V.P. of Marketing

We're all about salary transparency at Career Contessa. Today, as part of our ongoing Salary Project series, we ask one woman to share the details of her career trajectory. Below, she outlines each of her positions (from first job to current role) along with some notes about how and why she got there. Cool, right?

This week, a V.P. of Marketing talks changing industries, moving across the country, and other big life things. 

#1: EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT AT A MEDIA/TECHNOLOGY COMPANY

Starting Salary: $48,500

Ending Salary: $50,500 

Age: 25

Duration: 1.5 years

Hours/Week: 45-48

Benefits? Yes. Good ones? Yes.

How’d you land it?

Many, many applications and weeks of looking (I had recently left school and was starting from scratch).

What did you like about it?

The fun, start-up culture. 

What did you hate?

The lack of prioritization—every day brought new ideas and things to focus on.

On a scale of 1-10, how comfortable were you financially?

7

What was your quality of life? (Did you have roommates? Did you live on ramen? Were you able to splurge on green juices and lunches out?) 

I was able to splurge, largely because I was with someone with a much higher salary. 

Why did you quit?

My partner and I decided to move to another city.

#2: MARKETING COORDINATOR AT A TECHNOLOGY (WEB-BASED) COMPANY

Starting Salary: $37,500

(I took a large pay cut after leaving a bigger market—plus, it was the middle of the recession)

Ending Salary: $55,000 

Duration: 2 years

Hours/Week: 50

Benefits? Yes. Good ones? No.

How’d you land it? 

Blind job application.

What did you like about it? 

There were a few very smart coworkers, and it exposed me to a cross-functional approach.

What did you hate? 

The lack of long-term thinking—we would take any deal that had a pulse.

On a scale of 1-10, how comfortable were you financially?

7

What was your quality of life? 

I was able to splurge, largely because I was still with someone with a much higher salary.

Why did you quit? 

I was recruited by another company based on my LinkedIn profile.

#3: DIRECT MARKETING MANAGER IN THE MEDIA/MARKETING SERVICES INDUSTRY

Starting Salary: $68,000

Ending Salary: $80,000

Duration: 9 months

Hours/Week: 45

Benefits? Yes. Good ones? Yes.

How’d you land it?

I was recruited based on my LinkedIn profile.

What did you like about it?

Working with small businesses/building a marketing function from scratch.

What did you hate?

Manipulation of small businesses who were our customers, institutional preference towards sales.

On a scale of 1-10, how comfortable were you financially?

What was your quality of life? 

At this point, my ex and I had a good combined salary. This was also a big jump for me, so I could suddenly actually afford some luxuries for myself (before, I kind of felt guilty given my lack of contribution).

Why did you quit?

Advice from a friend that I should try an ad/marketing agency (vs. just start-ups) 

#4 SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER IN THE ADVERTISING INDUSTRY

Starting Salary: $92,000

Ending Salary: $110,000

Duration: 3 years.

Hours/Week: 55-65

Benefits? Yes. Good ones? No. 

How’d you land it?

Direct application (with a connect/referral I initiated on LinkedIn—a person I had worked with in previous position).

What did you like about it?

Learned a ton about different aspects of marketing, learned client services, really tightened my presentation/pitching skills.

What did you hate?

The leadership would often lack prioritization and cohesion to a shared brand/values.

On a scale of 1-10, how comfortable were you financially?

9

What was your quality of life? 

My life was good. My ex and I split, but because of my salary, I could treat myself a lot (nails, clothes, hair) and save a good amount, too. 

Why did you quit?

Internal politics  

#5: ACCOUNT DIRECTOR/MARKETING STRATEGIST AT AN ADVERTISING/MARKETING AGENCY

Starting Salary: $110,000

Ending Salary: $115,000

Duration: 1 year

Hours/Week: 40-50

Benefits? Yes. Good ones? Yes.  

How’d you land it?

Recruited by agency partner (who I had met through a previous job).

What did you like about it?

Smaller agency with more of a focus on horizontal expertise.

What did you hate?

Internal politics.

On a scale of 1-10, how comfortable were you financially?

9

What was your quality of life?

At this point, I was dating again, so began spending a bit more, but I was still comfortable and able to save a portion each month.

Why did you quit?

I decided to move to a bigger market (different coast than where I started).

#6: SENIOR PLANNER AT AN ADVERTISING/MARKETING AGENCY   

Starting Salary: $120,000

Ending Salary: $120,000

Duration: 1 year

Hours/Week: 40-50

Benefits? Yes. Good ones? No. 

How’d you land it?

Applied to post in LinkedIn posted by local market recruiter.

What did you like about it?

Focused agency (not trying to be “full service”) with national brands for clients.

What did you hate?

No internal opportunity for growth (I had taken a title cut and found no way to get back up).

On a scale of 1-10, how comfortable were you financially?

4

What was your quality of life?

Moving from a smaller market to a huge city caused significant strain. My savings disappeared. Part of that was the switch in cost of living, but also it was fun to be in a big city and go out.  

Why did you quit?

I wanted to be at an agency with better vertical growth.

#7: SENIOR STRATEGIST AT AN ADVERTISING/MARKETING AGENCY

Starting Salary: $145,000

Ending Salary: $145,000

Duration: 9 months

Hours/Week: 55-75

Benefits? Yes. Good ones? No. 

Ending Title: Director, Strategy

How’d you land it?

Applied to post on LinkedIn and then leveraged a referral who I had worked with previously.

What did you like about it?

High visibility internally and externally, working with world’s most well-known brands.

What did you hate?

The hours and pace were grueling. I suffered emotionally and physically from the workload.

How comfortable were you financially?

6

What was your quality of life?

The jump in salary helped me start to get back on track in new city.

Why did you quit?

I got what I came for (credentials), but I couldn’t survive the pace anymore. I decided to leave agency life.

#8: VP OF MARKETING IN THE TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY

Starting Salary: $156,500

Ending Salary: NA

Duration: Two months 

Hours/Week: 45-60

Benefits? Yes. Good ones? Yes.

How’d you land it?

A recruiter approached on LinkedIn.  

What did you like about it?

Small team that is actually collaborative and driven by an important mission; opportunity to build marketing function from scratch. 

What did you hate?

Nothing yet—but it’s been an adjustment from a 1,000 person ad agency!  

On a scale of 1-10, how comfortable were you financially?

4

What is your quality of life?

I moved to a suburb—commute is still short but quality of life and value for money is so much better.  

Why did you quit?

I haven’t, and I won’t for a while!

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