MOPsTalks Recap – Know Your Worth: Salaries in MOPs

September 30, 2020
Thomas Viano

It’s Friday afternoon. You have had a long week and you’re attempting yet again to import data from one platform to another. Just as another error warning flashes on your screen, you’re interrupted with a friendly chat request for an emergency email. Then the phone rings and it’s a product manager doubting the leads from your systems are scored correctly as the CMO simultaneously reminds you about data and charts for a meeting Monday morning. It takes every ounce of energy to refrain from yelling, “They don’t pay me enough to do this!”

But how much is enough? Sadly, it’s hard to justify exactly what a fair and reasonable salary is for marketing operations jobs for a variety of reasons. But don’t despair. There is hope! The MOPsTalks on September 17, 2020 brought together some of the brightest thought leaders in MOPs salaries and the MOPs vocation to help answer the question, “How much is enough?” Edward Unthank from Etumos, Scott Brinker from and HubSpot, and Sara McNamara from Slack shared salary information and data that they have researched and collected. Kelly Jo Horton from ROOM, moderated and participated in the discussion as well. Each participant offered great salary data and advice ranging from the value of certifications to actual salary data and offered advice on how to grow your career and to know your worth.

Do Certifications Affect Salaries?

Unthank offered a great perspective from the agency world saying that agencies are highly incentivized to have certified employees. For an individual, certifications also prove you are capable of putting in effort and show that you can power through challenges to get the job done. For those in the agency world, you need to be certified. 

McNamara states that certifications are incredibly helpful and important and points out that some in-house teams do not allow you administrator access for tools and platforms unless you have a certain level of certification. Within an organization, certifications can also help validate a new hire with the rest of the organization. It’s most important to have the experience to back up certification as well.

Brinker states that certifications are incredibly helpful and important. Certifications are crucial to validate a skill set, especially for entry level positions.  For higher level positions, certifications may not hold that much weight and most likely will not affect your salary. If you can prove your experience in the field that can go a long way as well.

Horton emphasizes that there are many different levels of certifications for every tool, so it’s important to look at the type of certifications as well. Some platforms have basic certifications, but other platforms—like Salesforce—have very specific certifications for different roles. If you are new and starting out, certifications are important since they show that you have a basic skill set that you can build on.



There are many MOPs roles, but job titles are inconsistent across all industries. Since role definition varies between a team of one or a team of many, it can be difficult to find an accurate salary range. However, there are many data points you can use as reference.

Unthank shared the common titles and average salaries in the US in the MOPsTALKs chat window: 

  • Email Developer - $87,364
  • Marketing Engineer - $85,258
  • Solutions Engineer - $87,469
  • Marketing Automation Architect - $79,609
  • Marketing Automation Specialist - $65,834
  • Marketing Operations Architect - $91,000
  • Campaign Specialist - $53,434
  • Email Marketing Specialist - $65,834
  • Marketing Automation Manager - $59,066
  • Marketing Operations Specialist - $80,638
  • Marketing Operations Manager - $84,000

(Based on information collected from LinkedIn)

Unthank noted that salary ranges seem dramatically different. An overriding sense and order to the salaries and titles doesn’t seem to exist. Salaries also vary depending on the geographic location. Marketing Operations salaries can range from $90,000 as $120,000 and salaries tend to be higher in bigger metropolitan areas.

Brinker released a comprehensive salary survey on in 2019. In the US, the survey showed the salary range for a manager level position is between $83,000 and $108,000 in the US and globally from $77,000 – $103,000. Brinker’s survey covers gender pay gap, frequency of promotions, educational backgrounds and more. You can access this survey here:

McNamara provides salary data broken out by region, experience, total compensation and more. This survey data shows a wide range of total compensation for multiple job levels from an entry level job at $50,000 to experienced senior leader level positions at $200,000. You can view this anonymous self-reported data and also participate in the survey at: McNamara points out that you should be sure to utilize the data that is available when negotiating a salary. Other surveys show salaries higher and that data appears to be trending upwards, but inconsistency between job titles does make it hard to show actual averages by job titles.


Job Description Warnings

Job descriptions that include a list of tools that is a mile long may indicate that the hiring manager or recruiter does not understand what marketing operations entails 

The speakers discussed the variations in title a lot and the confusion around the titles and title inflation. In many cases, HR and recruiters do not yet understand marketing operations roles. Furthermore, common tools HR uses to help determine salary do not have marketing operations titles in their databases. Other resources, such as Glassdoor, can be out of date.

For contractors, hourly rates can vary between $120-$275 and depends on technical complexity of projects. For example, if you specialize in building APIs or template building for emails and landing pages, you may be able to be hired at the higher end of this rate.


Career Development

Unthank points out that agencies tend to pay to full capability because it’s an actual revenue generating position; whereas in house, it’s more challenging to justify a raise since salaries tend to come out of overhead and they are not based on individual projects. In house positions tend to have higher compensation since some benefits from some companies with stock options and other perks can vary greatly.


Remote Work Salaries

During the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work is becoming more and more common. McNamara advises that you watch out for employers trying to base salaries on your geographical location. Some employers try to low ball you if you don’t live in a high-tech hub. Salary surveys show what Marketing Operations professionals are worth. Make sure you are getting paid for your experience.


Career Paths and Salary Negotiation Advice

If you want to go higher in salary, moving from one big brand company to another can you demand higher salaries.

If you are new to the field, consider starting as a consultant. Vendor partner agencies pay well too. Look at who your competitor is. For example, if you’re a consultant, look at what agencies charge. Agencies may charge a little more due to more overhead, but as a contractor or consultant, it’s a good reference point to work with.

Brinker’s advice is to work on how to communicate what the value of what your ops job is and will help you significantly as you spend more time in the career. Horton says to emphasize the value to the organization by focusing on revenue and also by discussing what happens when the role might be gone for a week. McNamara suggests using Marketing Ops salary data and also recommends a great reference book for salary negotiations Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It (Chris Voss. Harper Collins 2016) (Available on Amazon). Unthank suggests talking to recruiters and ask about salary ranges and budget ranges to learn the salary ranges for jobs in your field. This is a great way to benchmark your own salary and for those in your field.

The next time you find yourself dealing with the dreaded Friday surprises and wondering if your organization knows your worth, you can answer the question with, “No, they are definitely not paying me enough.” Or, you can say with some confidence, “Well, this is what they’re paying me more for.”

Now, how about sending that emergency email? Right now?


For more salary and career information from this MOPsTALKs, view the full recording.


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