management scenarios
Apr 16, 2019

9 Common Reasons People Move Marketing Jobs

By Matt Dodgson

Co-Founder - Recruiter & Marketer

New Year, New Job?

For most people the turn of the year is a time to reflect; ‘what went well, what didn’t and what do I want to get out of 2016?’

Sometimes it’s as deep as, ‘what am I doing? Or, ‘where am I going?’

But for most it’s a time to refocus and set some objectives for the year ahead.

And of course, a common area to think about is work.

After all, we spend so much time at work it has to be worthwhile. Otherwise, we’ll only come to regret it.

And deep down you know when you’re happy. You have a buzz, you’re enthusiastic, and there’s none of that Sunday night ‘I don’t want to go to work’ feeling. Being engaged with work is great! And that positivity trickles into your personal life too.

So many of us decide to move jobs in January. And 2016 won’t be any different. In fact, with how buoyant the job market is, there’s arguably been no better time to be finding a new marketing job.

But as a marketing professional, what are the common reasons why people move jobs?

Perhaps you feel like you need a change of role but are struggling to understand why? Or, you’re keen to see if other people are going through the same problems as you are?

As you can imagine, having interviewed thousands of b2b marketing candidates over the years, I’ve heard a fair few reasons why people want to move jobs.

So seeing as it’s January, and a time when most people think about moving jobs, here’s my list (in no order) of the

9 common reasons why people move marketing jobs.

And hopefully, some useful tips to help you with what to do about it.


Sometimes businesses are started by marketers but often they’re not. For those that aren’t, they’ll be founded by salespeople, engineers, architects, technology experts or solicitors. We could go on. Invariably three things can happen;

1) Either the owners or senior leaders buy into marketing and hire an expert, giving them the required budget and autonomy to do what needs to be done to help the business meet its goals.

2) The owners/leaders think they know about marketing (but don’t) and employ a marketer who ends up getting frustrated at the lack of autonomy.

3) The owners/leaders recognize they don’t understand marketing but aren’t willing to invest in the marketing department to help it achieve the results it can. Clearly in scenario 1, you’ll be in heaven! But scenario 2 and 3 are common. Businesses sometimes think they need a marketing person so that they can improve the brochures and website, and then when that’s done, the tasks can fizzle out.


management scenarios In this situation you need to be patient and demonstrate to your Manager, in a way that’s co-operative, that more can be achieved through marketing.

‘I can understand why you think that’s important because a lot of your competitors are advertising in trade media. But how do we know whether or not they’re getting an ROI on it? How about we continue with it but at the same time spend a small amount of budget on digital and compare the ROI on both of them?’

Marketers need to have many skills, and managing people, and their expectations is a crucial one, especially as you grow your marketing career.

Rather than looking for another marketing job, though, make sure you try to work through the situation. Worst case scenario it’ll be a great learning experience.


Marketing candidates feel more confident than ever about their jobs prospects, so they’re more bullish about getting to the next level.

If you’re in this situation, you’re probably quite ambitious and have been at your company for anywhere between 2-3 years. Ultimately you’re now finding you’ve hit a glass ceiling. Perhaps the owners don’t want a Head of Marketing or Marketing Director. Or, there’s already one in place and as a Senior Marketing Exec or Marketing Manager, there’s nowhere to go.

Plus, you’ll probably have implemented some fantastic new marketing initiatives and learnt some great new skills in the process.

But now there’s nothing more to learn.

This situation can be very frustrating for candidates because it’s not an easy move to make due to a lot of companies wanting candidates with all the skills.

Job promotion


Clearly you have to ask the question, ‘what’s next?

And it will become apparent very quickly whether or not there’s anything new to learn or more senior to do.

Some managers will say, ‘have patience’ but don’t interpret that as, ‘be patient and you’ll get to the next level’.

That’s a common tactic to eek a few more months out of an experienced marketer.

Having said that, the easiest way to get into a more senior role is with your current employer. They know you, your strengths and what you can deliver. So push as hard as you can. Over deliver on everything you’re dealing with and consistently ask for more to do or new projects to handle.

If that fails, then it might be worth looking for a new marketing job.

But, you need to think about how to position yourself in a way that gets you interviews for more senior roles.



Especially in London, people moving marketing jobs have experienced great salary increases. In some case as much as 25% more.

As I discussed in a previous blog here, you often find that employees who remain loyal to businesses have a lower salary compared to people who consistently move jobs every two years. However, most people would concede on salary if they worked for an excellent manager, in a fantastic company that gave them development and opportunities to progress.

So salary isn’t always everything.


There’s an argument that we’re all paid what we’re worth, or at least what we’re prepared to settle for!

If you think you’re underpaid, you need to;

1) Objectively look at how you’re performing – Are you meeting or exceeding expectations? If not, then knuckle down and overachieve and then ask for more salary

2) If you are overachieving then clearly demonstrate this to your manager well in advance of your annual salary review. Tangibly demonstrate what you’ve delivered for the business, ideally leads and revenue. Ask your manager,

‘How am I performing? Do you have any areas of concern? What can I be doing to bring more value?’

Make sure you overachieve on any new projects after that conversation and THEN ask for more salary in your review.

Have a figure in mind, and be able to justify it.

Similar roles in the local area are paying £35,000, and I think I’m worth it’.

If your performance is good but you’ve reached the top of the pay band, then you’ve already outgrown the role, and it’s time to find a new marketing job.

Payscale provide a tool to determine the average salary and likely career path for marketing professionals.  As of Septemeber 2015, the median salary in the UK is £32,564.

Average Marketing Manager Salary


There are employees in every business that are looked up to. They’re the kind of employees you expect to be at your company forever. They’re high calibre, enthusiastic and appear committed.

Until, that is, they leave.

The very fact they’ve left makes you question why you’re there or where the business is heading.

‘How great is this company if the person who I look up to has left?’

From a marketing perspective, the issue can be compounded when the person that leaves is the one who drives the perception of marketing at a leadership level. They’re the ones persuading the non-believers and driving the marketing ideas and projects successfully through.


Before you rush for the door, you need to think about this from a selfish perspective.

This may create a career opportunity for you.

As I referred to in point 3, the easiest way to move up is through an internal promotion, so think about how that might work and whether or not it’s the kind of marketing role you’d enjoy.

It might be the case of taking the promotion and then looking for a similar level role in 6-12 months, if the business or role doesn’t feel right.


This is a frequent one, and especially in stand-alone marketing jobs or newly created ones.

Now don’t get me wrong, business priorities do change, and roles need to adapt to that change, that’s understandable.

But what if you’ve been ‘sold’ a role, and it feels like it’s been ‘mis-sold’?

It could be budget, the type of marketing you’ll be doing, the opportunities to progress, the belief in marketing within the business, the culture.

The reasons can be endless, but sometimes you know quite early on when a marketing role isn’t what you expected.


Sometimes you can worry about how it looks, moving jobs so quickly.

But don’t be. Sometimes it just happens. And everybody is entitled to a bad move here and there.

But what do you say to future employers?

The truth of course!

Companies will tend to play devils advocate when interviewing, so you have to explain in detail exactly what happened.

What were you mis-sold on? What did you do about it? What sort of reference will you get?

You have to demonstrate you tried to work through the problem rather than resigning or looking for a job at the first bump in the road. Resilience is a good quality after all.



So you’ve joined a new business and three years in you’ve transformed how they go to market resulting in a constant flow of good quality leads.

In fact, more than enough leads for the sales team to deal with. The business has grown and become more profitable. And the owners/directors are delighted.

But now they don’t want to push for more.

The upshot?

You’ll be doing the same marketing activities with the same budget next year and probably the year after.

Sound familiar?

If you’re ambitious, this is a clear sign you’ve outgrown the role.

Once the job feels like you’re just ‘turning the wheel’, then it’s probably time to look for something where you’re out of your depth again.repeat


As marketers you constantly have to justify your existence. It’s the same as sales professionals, where there are always targets to be hit.

In 2016, leading marketing leaders see sales and marketing working even closer.

So metrics, objectives and goals are here to stay.

But that’s exactly the way you want it.

Marketers love being able to quantify what they deliver; it gives you pride and respect, but it also helps you push for more. Show me a Director that doesn’t want more profit for less work.

If it’s not more growth they’re looking for, how can you help them achieve more profit?

Could you justify using new channels to drive more sales and in doing so reduce the CPA?

If so, it’s an excellent way to engineer making next year a year of new marketing challenges.


This is frequently documented, and ties in with some of my previous points.

Ultimately some businesses are sales led and as a result, as a marketer, you end up banging your head against the wall.

Perhaps marketing is perceived as the coloring-in department?

Maybe the Sales Director even jokes about it publicly?

I’m sure you’ve come across it before.


In most businesses you’ll come across a resistance.

But for your career, it’s best to work through it if you can.

We all know leads motivate sales people.

So how can you show them what marketing can do to help deliver their goals and at the same time raise your perceived value?

Could you imagine if you turned them from non-believers into marketing converts?

You’d have your very own fan club on hand! So try and work through it, but also appreciate there are many businesses out there that value marketing.

So if it’s proven difficult after all your efforts, consider moving jobs.

sales vs marketing


Over the last five years, there’s been significant innovation within the marketing space.

Marketing automation has probably been the most prominent one in the B2B space.

But there have also been enormous advances in web, digital and social.

Is it just me, but sometimes it feels everyday you’re sold a silver bullet to buy something new that’s going to transform your marketing?

However, certain tools are needed to be able to measure ROI effectively. A good CRM, an email platform, some analytics tools to name a few common ones.

And without them, how can you accurately measure your performance?

We all know how poor sales people are at recording where leads come from! And with proper measurement comes better performance. You know what works and what doesn’t and where to invest your marketing budget.


You’d be surprised how many marketing tools are quite cheap.

So rather than going in and buying that £30k marketing automation platform, start small and prove the investment will be worth it.

With the rise of digital and inbound marketing activities, you can use guerilla tactics to start with. If you can prove you can turn £2 into £10, who wouldn’t want to invest more budget in those channels?



Here’s a typical scenario.

You start your marketing career and get to a level where you’re managing people and then like most people, you start a family.

Most parents understand the challenge of balancing a career with a family.

Some people are lucky and work close to where they live but for the majority it means a long day, a lot of juggling and a lot less sleep!

My feeling has always been that being happy in work translates into your personal life and vice versa.

So being able to manage the responsibilities you have will, in turn, mean your employer gets more of your energy.

Sadly, that’s not always the case. In some companies, working hours can be rigid or people leaving early can be frowned upon.

lack of flexibility


A lot of the time this issue can be black and white.

‘Either people work full time or they don’t’.

And unfortunately, it can be difficult to find great part time roles within reach of where you live.

Partly it comes down to trust and also performance.

If you’ve consistently demonstrated your value over an extended period of time, why would any sane business want to lose you?

So communicate what you’ve delivered and then ask the question. You just never know.


Perhaps you see some of these issues where you currently work.

Being able to manage your career is a vital part of being happy and getting where you want to be professionally. Some people consistently make the wrong career move and end up stagnating and going nowhere.

So, spend time understanding why you’re unhappy in work.

Be honest with yourself about your performance. And discuss how you feel with your manager, family or a recruiter you trust.

By spending time on it, you’ll come to the right decision.

If you do decide to move marketing jobs, then click HERE for our infographic of must-do tasks before starting your job search.