The Cost of Running a Marketing Department

Our clients often ask how much they should budget for new marketing hires. Headcount is a huge component to the cost of running marketing within organizations. In the cliche people, process and technology saying, it’s literally the very first thing! And so, we’ve updated this infographic from 2014 with 2018 compiled salary range data for roles on a typical small marketing team. The sources we used are cited at the bottom of the infographic. In addition to these resources, we also used user-reported data via Glassdoor. For a deep dive into the differences between the 2014 version of this infographic and today, see this article, “How Marketing Salaries and Team Structure Have Changed in the Past Five Years“.

If you hired all these people at the lowest possible rates, your marketing head count would cost $738,500. If you got all of them at the highest rates, you’d dole out just under $1.5MM annually in marketing salaries. Of course, the majority of hires will fall somewhere in the middle.

Many marketing teams will choose to work with agencies to fill job roles until the volume of work constitutes a full-time hire. Common areas we see clients outsource before committing full-time marketing headcount include: design, SEO, public relations and copywriting. And of course, as a shameless plug, LeadMD acts as a resource for many of these roles from strategic guidance for VPs and CMOs through operational help and coaching to content writing and ad creation.

Marketing Department Skill Sets

Beyond salary information, you’ll also find specific skills called out in the middle section. One commonly overlooked cost of running marketing teams involves an investment in training and education. At LeadMD we’re huge proponents of ensuring the member of marketing teams have the tools they need. Too often, marketing leaders stop the tools at software, when training and education are where the true value lies.

Again, shameless-plug-central here, LeadMD’s sister company, Six Bricks, provides free marketing training and resources on everything form marketing ops to general marketing best practices. Check it out.


The Cost of Running a Marketing Team Infographic

The Cost of Running a Marketing Team Infographic

View the full infographic in a new window here.


  1. Avatar JoeV on April 25, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Kind fluffy material with a misleading title. As a marketo fanboy, I would have expected more hoped for real insight. Justin, what is the cost of running a marketing automation team? It is better to hire in house or externally? what are you trying to say here?

  2. Avatar MaryFirme on April 25, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Justin, as you and I have talked about this at length, I have to agree with Joe V – just answer the question. So many of us in the marketo world have been knee-capped for resources with the whole “It’s so easy!” message, but relative to what? It’s certainly easy to measure lead score if you’ve configued everything properly, done your personas, mapped your funnel stages and have 150 pieces of content for each. Then you can easily create programs to deliver and control the journey. It’s just that each of those items takes not just the expertise, but the time.

    So, how many marketers (in people or hours) are needed to run Marketo and deliver on all this “easy” promise?

  3. Justin Gray Justin Gray on April 29, 2014 at 2:22 am

    So certainly in defense of this content the number one question we get is ‘What skill-sets does it take to run a “best practices” marketing dept?’, so that’s what we’ve chosen to answer here. Now, I think we all know that when we hire employees we all look to get the most “bang for our buck” meaning a well rounded individual saves us money, eliminates noise and increases efficiency. The most efficient marketing department is that of the ‘many hats’ marketer who doesn’t have to cut through red tape because there isn’t any, avoids communications problems because they’re self contained and also… no scalability. It’s the same reason most small businesses remain small. To create 10MM in revenue is completely different than creating 100MM and that difference resides in people and systems. So, we can answer the question in different ways – what does it take to run a marketing dept – or what does it take to ensure it scales? The skill-sets everyone needs are clearly outlined here and there’s not one I would forfeit. Now, starting out can you get by with one unicorn marketer? Yes, I’ve seen it done time and time again. Look at most early stage tech companies and you’ll likely find a catalyst of immense skill and passion – but there is always a point where the company outgrows that model and that is the point of failure for many teams. What we are saying here is this – these are the skill-sets you need to make modern marketing work and become a predictive revenue machine. As the org grows you will need to fill those positions with more and more people. Is it better to outsource or hire internally? I can tell you that skilled marketers are not easy to find so if you can hunt down a unicorn, hold onto them. However, if you want the largest return on investment I would outsource portions of this regardless of size simply because the sum is worth more than the parts. As with many marketing questions, the answer is a mix of hire and outsource, software and brute force. Even more complex however is the fact that the question misses the mark. We don’t want to “run Marketo’ or even a marketing automation team – we want to generate revenue and have repeatable conversations with our buyers so the question is completely dependent on the specific goals of the business asking them. If one thing is certain, it’s that most businesses are asking the wrong questions.

    • Avatar JoeV on May 8, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      So Justin, you have a lot to say here that almost accounts for another blog post. if this is how you recommend to your clients how to write content, Ill bet your probably seeing a great deal of opens, maybe clicks but few conversions. TRUST is the currency of marketers. I recommend changing the title of this post, adding your large block comment and bam! You’ve got yourself a pretty good post. Seriously, marketo has a great content gen group… worth checking out. Happy to help review your future posts if you’d like.

      • Justin Gray Justin Gray on May 8, 2014 at 5:12 pm

        Well this is a treat. A comment about “trust” via a profile using an avatar comprised of the face of the ‘Average Modern Actor’. Seems appropriate. It’s obvious that we don’t agree on this point so there’s no use belaboring it. I appreciate the offer to review our content and moreover, the “first one’s free” approach you’ve taken here. I would also be happy to respond in kind Joe – please shoot me the link to ICG’s site – it seems hard to locate via the searches I’ve attempted.

        • Avatar JoeV on May 9, 2014 at 11:27 am

          Well, I’m not the one pushing a service to marketers. I’d suggest calming down a bit. I read a number of your other posts and enjoy/share them… this one was a total whiff. You never actually provided value here.

          BTW, Here’s my email address; ventinejoe64 at yahoo . com. Shoot me a note… happy to exchange with another marketing snob.

          “…the “first one’s free” approach you’ve taken here…” I’m not interested in your providing you services…only improve the marketing’s ability to generate more revenue.

          Glad you like our work Justin. We also launched on in honor of women: Based on feedback we’re revising.

          When you use your browser and type in ICG, you have to scroll down a bit 😉 International Cinematographers Guild – — while I”m not a cinematographer, there are some AWESOME people we get to meet behind the scenes (pun intended). See you on the boards.

        • Avatar JoeV on May 16, 2014 at 11:08 pm

          So you going to post my last reply, or just want people to believe ‘you got me’?

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