Salary Expectations in the Catalog/Multichannel Business: An Insider’s Perspective
In last week’s blog, I discussed salary levels in the catalog/multichannel business as they relate to other industries. I got a pretty strong reaction from Wendy Weber, president of the direct marketing recruiting firm, Crandall Associates.
For those of you who have missed the blog the past few weeks I’ve been discussing hiring practices in direct marketing. (You can find them and all past posts on the CatalogSuccess.com Web site.) This thread started with a poll stating that the direct marketing industry was having a tough time finding strong talent. So for this week, I asked Wendy to weigh in with her thoughts on why the good candidates were hard to find. —Jim
Wendy Weber Chimes In
With catalog and online marketing talent in short supply, many companies are having a difficult time in finding the talent they need. This is especially true for traditional catalog companies.
Most are seeking catalog marketing professionals who can also handle circulation and the traditional marketing functions, as well as internet marketing responsibilities. The online marketing skills — search engine optimization, Web merchandising, affiliate marketing, to name a few — are in high demand.
The practitioners of those skills have career options in a variety of fields, and their salary expectations are beyond what many catalogers are willing or able to pay.
The expenses for catalogs are higher. Taking into account the rising costs of postage and paper, the profit margins are leaner than those of Web-driven businesses. Catalogers are under pressure to keep all costs, including salaries, under tight control.
Even Internet companies are encountering challenges in securing and keeping talent. Here’s a little secret I haven’t seen much talk about: Although I don’t endorse it as a way to build a career, job-hopping is rampant in the online marketing community. And job-hoppers enjoy salary increases with every new position. It’s not unusual to see an online marketing professional with six jobs on a resume in the span of five years!
Unlike catalog marketers, who may enjoy an average tenure of three to seven years with an employer and the 3 percent cost of living raises they may receive in a typical year, it’s a rare online marketer who remains with an employer for more than two years. They seem to be able to get away with short stints at each employer without having to do as much explaining about it. Perhaps prospective employers have come to realize that it seems to come with the territory.
With a robust economy and expanding demand for online marketing professionals, it’s a candidate’s market. Job seekers can hold out for the highest bidder and the most attractive opportunity.
So what’s a catalog/multichannel employer to do? Many are training from within. There are a good number of courses and seminars on Internet marketing. After all, even the “experts” in online marketing have only been in it for seven to 10 years, right?
Some employers are outsourcing some or all of the online marketing function. And many are finding good talent to join their organizations. Yes, the “good ones” may come with a high price tag. But a successful online marketing program will cover that salary many times over.
Wendy Weber is president, Crandall Associates, a direct marketing recruiting firm. You can reach her at email@example.com .
Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing, a full service catalog and direct marketing agency. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (561) 302-1719.
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