How Marketing Professionals Prepare for Salary Negotiations

Many marketing professionals and executives stumble when it comes to negotiating their salaries, pay raises, or promotions. No matter how well they understand the law of supply and demand, some don’t understand the best way to reach an agreement. Others simply feel awkward advocating for themselves or broaching the uncomfortable topic of money. Use the following tips to overcome this all-too-typical dilemma.

Leverage Your Strengths

Research and learn your market comparables. Familiarize yourself with what comparable employers are paying for equally qualified people doing the same or a similar job. Your worth is a matter of what the market will pay. However, this is only part of the value you bring to the table. The other part is your unique combination of skills and experience.

  • Before you negotiate a specific compensation package, look for the employer who will put the highest value on you and your work. Identify specific traits that you could add to the role, above and beyond the standard requirements. These “extras” could position you to command a pay premium or better benefits.
  • Remember your unique qualifications when developing your negotiation strategy. Strengths you can leverage may include extensive industry contacts or proven fundraising or partnership-building skills.

Pick Your Perks

In your research, define the typical perks and benefits associated with the job. A basic compensation package includes base pay, short- and long-term incentives, benefits, vacation/PTO and perquisites. There also may be supplemental offerings such as a special retirement plan, club membership, a company car, financial or legal counseling, or housing.

  • Focus on what you need vs. what you want.
  • Most components are negotiable. But not everyone gets everything. A well-developed business case will make a big difference.


Put yourself in your prospective employer’s shoes. Do a role reversal, so you can better grasp their needs, as well as your own.

  • Practice with a friend. You play the role of the employer, while they play you. This can provide a great deal of insight into how to best initiate your negotiation Frame everything you say as being in the interest of both parties.
  • Don’t be aggressive. Be careful not to cross the line from assertiveness to aggression, especially early in the discussion process. While it is important to understand the parameters of the compensation package upfront, don’t emphasize how much you currently earn or initiate pay negotiations too soon. Instead, start off by talking about cultural fit and qualifications.

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

Be totally honest, of course. But in doing so, avoid focusing too much on your weaknesses. Counter this tendency by providing solid examples to back up the financial value you offer. Sell yourself strong!

The O’Connell Group team is a leader in executive search and placement in the consumer marketing and market research arenas. Our firsthand industry knowledge and decades of experience give us the expertise to achieve success on your behalf, as you find your next great job or negotiate your dream compensation package. Send your resume to or contact us today to learn more.