The numbers don’t lie. In 2006, ad-director level media sales professionals got huge raises in their base salaries. Association directors led the way, with a 38 percent hike over 2005, but consumer and b-to-b directors didn’t do so bad either. On the other hand, sales reps;the account-level specialists who actually do the selling, saw their base salaries decline. Similarly, while about the same number of directors this year are bullish about total compensation (base plus commission), ad managers and account execs are much more pessimistic. Significantly fewer this year expect an increase in total comp than did last year. Why? What’s happening? A look at the comments that accompanied responses to this report tell part of the story: "Consolidation." "Downturn in economy." "Saturation in market." "Goal increased unrealistically." "Move to e-media could affect sales commissions." And so on. But why is managers’ comp increasing? Probably because they’re tasked with driving an extremely challenging transition;protecting print (protecting revenue) while growing e-media.

The survey sample of 699 was selected by Red 7 Media and Readex Research and represented all Folio: subscribers classified as sales management at the time of sample selection. Data was collected via mail survey from February 22 to April 9, 2007. The survey was closed for tabulation with 262 responses (a 37 percent response rate). To ensure representation of the audience of interest, results have been filtered to include only the 207 respondents who completed the compensation information, work full time, and indicated their job functions are best described as advertising sales director; advertising sales or regional manager; advertising salesperson, account executive, or category manager. The margin of error for percentages based on all 207 respondents is ᄆ5.7 at the 95 percent confidence level.Conducted by Folio: and Readex Research


Since the inception of this survey in 2005, b-to-b sales directors have been the highest-paid ad directors in the business, based on salary. For the first time, consumer-magazine ad directors bring home the largest base salaries, averaging $82,000 per year ($13,800, or 20.5 percent, more than what was reported in 2006). B-to-b ad directors were not far behind though, earning an average of $81,000, an almost 12 percent increase over last year.

When it comes to total compensation, however, including commission and cash benefits, b-to-b ad directors came out on top, averaging $130,000 last year, while consumer-magazine ad directors earned $122,000 in total. Association publication ad directors earned an average of $105,000 last year, with base salary earnings of nearly $79,000.

Sales directors in the Northeast earned an average $153,000 in total compensation, followed by directors in the West, who reported an average of $130,000, and those in the South who brought home $113,000 last year. Directors in the Midwest earned the least, at an average of $104,000. Male advertising directors bring home $28,000 more than female directors, earning a total compensation of $135,000, on average.

Although 93 percent of respondents still sell print magazines, e-media continues to be on the rise as a major selling point, as 78 percent claim to sell e-media products and 49 percent claim to be selling events, a three and four percent increase over 2006, respectively. For those selling e-media, 26 percent receive an enhanced commission for their e-selling efforts. Of all industry trends affecting compensation, the shift to e-media was the most common verbatim response. One director noted that the "Downward spiral in ad sales due to competition with online and trackable Web ads," is a trend that will affect compensation, and that "it’s terrible out there right now."


At the regional manager level, consumer-magazine salespeople take the lead for the third year in a row in base salary, with an average of $69,000 in earnings, even though their base salaries declined by nearly 20 percent from 2005.

When it comes to total compensation, including commission and additional cash, however, b-to-b regional managers earn an average of $126,000, while consumer-magazine managers earn an average of $118,000, mainly due to b-to-b’s higher commission percentages. B-to-b managers reported commission accounted for 47.2 percent of total compensation;and they reported an increase in their base salaries of about 13 percent.

Managers working for companies with $10 million or more in revenue earn a total of $135,000 on average, 43 percent more than those working for a company with revenues of less than $10 million. Regional managers in the Northeast, Midwest and West make similar amounts, while those in the South lag, earning an average of $100,000 in total compensation.

While regional managers saw a 6 percent increase in e-media selling activity over 2006, a majority;52 percent;said they received enhanced commission for doing so, compared to the 26 percent of ad sales directors who receive enhanced commission. Only 43 percent of regional managers expect a pay increase this year, however, compared to 63 percent who expected one last year.

Working with clients, strong teams and the freedom and flexible nature of sales were the most common responses to questions regarding rewarding aspects of the job. "I work from home, which allows time with my family," said one respondent, while another said, "Being involved in emerging product deliveries like Webinars and e-media," is the most rewarding aspect of the job.


When it comes to base salary, b-to-b and consumer-magazine account executives and managers earn comparable salaries for the third year in a row, averaging $47,000. Not far behind are association-magazine sales managers who earn a base of $43,000 on average.

Total compensation shows a bit of difference, as b-to-b managers come out on top, with an average of $83,000, including commission and cash benefits. Association sales managers follow, earning $74,000, on average and consumer managers earn $71,000, on average. This may be a direct reflection that base salary accounts for 66 percent of salary for managers at consumer publications, while base salary accounts for about 57 percent of total compensation at b-to-b and association companies.

About 85 percent of respondents sell magazines compared to 93 percent who reported selling magazines last year, while 59 percent claim to sell e-media. Notably, 24 percent of mangers say they are responsible for selling only magazines (compared to 16 percent and 9 percent of ad directors and regional managers, respectively).

Nine percent of account executives say they sell e-media products only, compared to 2006, when none of the respondents claimed e-media to be their sole responsibility.

Thirty-five percent of respondents expect no change in compensation while 9 percent expect to see a decrease. When asked what, besides compensation, are the most rewarding aspects of selling magazine media, many managers cited the "Challenge," while another respondent asked "What do you mean ‘Other than compensation?’ What else is there?"

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