For those in the publishing industry, recovery from the so-called “Great Recession” has been slow going. Any ad page growth is considered significant, and publishing companies are cautiously filling the holes in staff rosters left open during the economic crisis.

Though recovery has not been quick as many in the industry would like, advertising salaries are back on the rise. According to the 2011 FOLIO: Advertising Sales Salary Survey, conducted by Readex Research, two of the three groups surveyed (advertising sales director/publisher and advertising salesperson/account executive/category manager) has seen an increase in total compensation. Only advertising sales/regional managers have seen their total compensation decrease from 2010 to 2011.

The female ad sales/publisher group has also seen compensation dip, dropping slightly in 2011 from 2010 (with less than a $1,000 decrease).

The first quarter of 2011 marked the fourth consecutive quarter of ad page growth, according to the MPA’s Publishers Information Bureau. With a 6.1 percent increase in first quarter year-over-year comparison, seven of the twelve major advertising categories experienced growth in ad pages.

As focus continues to expand in order to include the e-media marketplace, sellers’ roles are evolving. One respondent surveyed observes of the ad sales role, “There are more online products and less print budget with clients, yet there is still the same demand from readers. There are also longer decision periods as we see shorter budget periods.”

This evolving role seems to reflect a closer tie between sales and editorial, as sellers say that their responsibilities now include research, editing, writing copy, online/Web development and e-newsletter creation. One regional manager says, “I help with social media strategy, as well as blog about advertising and marketing.”

With larger territories, increased responsibility and less hands to help, some ad sellers are becoming frustrated. As one respondent says, “More work, more expectations, no increase in time or money. The new damn normal.”

But despite these higher demands, sellers are optimistic for what is coming up for themselves and their companies. Going green with digital editions, virtual communication and products for apps/mobile devices are all noted industry trends that sellers hope will up their commissions. As one respondent says, “Social media is now up and part of the mix, and there also needs to be acceptance that print is not dead.”

Hopefully this remains true, because as one respondent points out, “The cost of digital is not replacing print.”

The events market is also rebounding from the recession, giving sellers a better chance at turning bigger profits, as many of those surveyed mentioned events and exhibits sales as part of their expanded responsibilities. Cross platform sales over e-media, events, print and digital properties now seem to be the norm for advertising sales staff; one respondent notes how they are spending more time selling packages, not just pages.

As the economy continues to improve, the advertising market is sure to follow. However, it remains to be seen what will happen once publishers find themselves on more solid ground; whether sellers will be relieved of these new duties, or if these responsibilities are now a permanent fixture of the ad sales slot.


SALARY BY CATEGORY: Advertising Sales Director/Publisher

Advertising sales directors and publishers are seeing the economic recovery turn up in their paychecks, as total compensation for both male and female sectors has increased from 2010. Male publishers and sales directors are earning a mean of $134,000 this year (this group earned a mean of $115,00 in 2010). Base salaries for men in this group have increased to a mean of $87,502; this group earned a mean salary of $80,615 in 2010.

Female publishers have also seen their total compensation increase, earning a mean of $100,000 in 2011 (females in this group reported a total compensation of $92,000 in 2010). However, female publishers and sales directors have seen their base salaries drop, averaging at $65,300 for 2011. This group reported a base salary of $66,608 in 2010.

Ad sales directors and publishers are earning their higher checks, as respondents cited additional responsibilities such as expense management, subscription/circulation duties, event planning and editorial department training added to their job description in 2011.

Aside from large consumer publishers, b-to-b advertising sales directors and publishers are earning the highest total compensation again in 2011, at a mean of $126,000. Consumer, then association, ad directors/publishers follow in compensation amount.


SALARY BY CATEGORY: Advertising Sales or Regional Manager

Advertising sales and regional managers have seen their total compensations drop in 2011, with men earning $87,000 and women totaling $78,000 for the mean of total compensation. In 2010, men earned $102,000, and women earned $86,000.

As for commission percentages, men reported 26.9 percent of their total compensation is based on commission in 2011; women depend on commission for 36.3 percent of their total compensation.

Although total earnings are decreasing, responsibilities for ad sales and regional managers continue to grow. Promotions, circulation development, office manager duties and brand development initiatives were reported as new components of the position by survey respondents. One respondent says, “I have increased responsibility and breadth of product, but still have the same bandwidth.”

B-to-b ad sales managers make the most of the groups surveyed, earning $89,000 in 2011. Both consumer and association ad sales and regional managers report a mean of $75,000. B-to-b ad sales managers report 41 percent of their total compensation is based on commission; consumer managers’ commission makes up 28.6 percent.

Ad sales/regional managers’ total earnings in the NYC area, who earned the most in 2010 with a reported $129,000, were unavailable for 2011.


SALARY BY CATEGORY: Advertising Salesperson, Account Executive, or Category Manager

Like their more senior counterparts, male and female advertising salespeople/account executives/category managers are seeing a discrepancy in total compensation for 2011. Males earn a mean of $93,000 this year, with 31.8 percent of their total compensation based on commission earnings. Their female counterparts are earning a mean of $80,000 in 2011; women also rely on commission more heavily, as it represents 37.6 percent of their overall earnings.

However, both males and females are seeing higher total compensation than in 2010, when males earned a mean of $82,000 and women’s total compensation was $66,000.

One respondent to this year’s survey says, “There is more work, but less compensation. There are added online sales, but revenue from that is not making up for lost print revenue. This then equals less commission.”

Like other groups surveyed, this level of respondents identified additional responsibilities aside from ad selling. These include product development, social media monitoring and leadership training.

Sellers at consumer publications made the most in 2011, with total compensations at a mean of $97,000. B-to-b ad sellers trailed behind, earning a total compensation of $76,000 in 2011.

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