An eyebrow raising post today on Larry Bodine's blog posits that the salaries of law firm marketers are dwarfing firm administrators' salaries.
Bodine cites two surveys that indicate median administrator salaries are in the $70-80K range and he references numerous legal marketing job ads offering $100K+ (and some in the over $400K range). The median salaries aren't quite that high, but if you visit his other site's job openings you will, indeed, find many jobs for senior marketers and even writers, editors, and knowledge managers in the over $80K range.
This is GREAT news for the marketers, because it means they've worked their way out of the "overhead" category in law firms. The marketers are able to say, "If you invest $5 with my plan, you'll get $20 back. I can prove return on investment."
About different roles earning different pay, I'm reminded of a wonderful bit of advice shared awhile back by Julie Lindy, editor of INSIDE Public Accounting, on the Assoc. of Accounting Marketing discussion list. She said:
Nobody is paid what they are worth. They are paid what their *jobs* are worth. As human beings, an NFL player is not worth more than a 5th grade teacher, but in our culture, the NFL player's job is valued more, so therefore, he is paid more....You can't take salary personally: It's all about what the job is worth to the person writing the checks.
I agree entirely with Ms. Lindy.
Beside the law firm administrators discussed in Bodine's post, there's another group paying close attention to the legal marketers' escalating salaries...CPA firm marketers.
I cannot help but wonder what most accounting marketers must be thinking when they see the salaries their legal counterparts are earning. The median salaries remain significantly lower (at least $20K behind) in the accounting industry. Actually, I have a pretty good idea of what accounting marketers are thinking.
Something to the effect of: "Can it be that much harder to work with lawyers?"
Uh, well, yes and no. Totally depends on the firm, the culture, and the support marketing, in general, has within the firm. Overall, lawyers aren't that much different from CPAs. In some ways they are more open about what they think and, ultimately, more open-minded about trying new things. In other ways, they are far more trying because they challenge everything (and for fun, I think!).
So...are the disparities in salary reasonable?