60. MarCom Salaries “Revealed” with Brendan Schneider
Brendan Schneider rejoins the show as he continues to make a significant impact within the MarCom industry with his dedication and expertise. As the founder of SchneiderB Media, Brendan has taken on the responsibility of addressing critical issues affecting the school marketing professionals’ field to improve working conditions and create positive change. In this podcast episode, Brendan talks about his recent survey on Markom salaries in schools. This survey sheds light on the need for increased diversity and understanding in the field. Brendan’s expertise, coupled with his approachable demeanor, makes him an invaluable guest for those seeking insights on navigating the challenges of school marketing.
About Brendan Schneider:
Brendan is one of the leaders in the field for teaching and knowledge about inbound marketing for schools. With his workshops, exclusive MarCom Society, the SchneiderB Media blog, his Schneider.FM podcast, his SchneiderB VirCons, and his SEO Coach software, Brendan continues to advance the abilities of the independent school admission, communication, and marketing professional.
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Aubrey: Welcome to Mindful School Marketing, your Go-to podcast for personal and professional growth.
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Tara: Welcome to Mindful School Marketing. I’m Tara Clays. And I’m
Aubrey: Aubrey Bush. Today we’re joined by Brendan Schneider. Brendan is the founder of Schneider Beef Media, a digital marketing agency for schools in the Markcom Society of Membership Group for Markcom Professionals.
Welcome, Brendan. We’re so glad you’re here and back on the
Brendan: podcast. Yeah, thank you for having me back. This is super exciting. Thanks for
Tara: coming back. We’re glad you’re here. Um, and, and you’re here today to share the results and insights from a recent survey that you did. Um, aub and I saw this come across, uh, I think email and LinkedIn and thought it’d be really interesting to chat about it.
So, but before we dive into the survey, can you chat a little bit about. Give us an update, our audience, an update on what you’ve been up to since you were last on the podcast. You’re one of our first guests a couple of years ago, so we’re so honored that you’ve come back and I know some things have changed since then.
So can you give us an update? Yeah.
Brendan: Thanks for saying that. We were talking before the show and it’s, I can’t believe it’s been like two years, it seems like yesterday. And, uh, congratulations to you guys for keeping the podcast going this long after having a couple podcasts myself and having some fail.
Good for you. It’s hard. It’s hard. So I’m, uh, congratulations to you guys. No, uh, a lot has changed in two years. Um, so really, what was it? July 1st, 2022. So July 1st of being a school year. After 28 years of working in independent schools, I walked away. And, uh, big, big change for me. I decided to do Schneider b full-time and do the Markcom Society full-time.
And it has been, Absolutely wonderful. Um, you know, I joked initially and I might have talked to you guys about this, that. I was 50% more excited than I had been in a, in a long, long time. And probably, uh, an equal measure, 50% scared outta my mind. Um, I’m not sure that those percentages have changed, but it’s been super fun and super exciting.
So thanks for, uh, allowing me to bring that up. Yeah.
Aubrey: Oh my gosh, I think I love it. I love the honesty cuz a lot of people think, oh, you must be all excited and everything. Oh yeah, no, there’s your fear part too.
Brendan: Yeah. Oh, it’s, it’s been great. Like we were talking before, it’s been wonderful. Um, there are a lot of things I call ’em, they’re, that are figure outable being, you know, a small business owner now and doing that.
But the, the core of it is the, I love the work and I love working with schools and now I get to work with a lot of schools, which has been fun, which has been really fun.
Tara: Oh, you’re like that. Yeah. I was gonna say, you have such, you, you seem really organized and you just have a wealth of experience and knowledge and content.
So, um, I’m sure it’s a great, you’re a great resource, uh, for everyone who follows you. And then for people who you work with directly, uh, it’s great to see that you’re putting all that to good use. Thanks.
Aubrey: I know. Plus you’re a key networker in this space. Brendan, I always come to you for questions. I’m like, who doesn’t Brendan know?
He knows everyone. So, um, it’s been fun to watch you with this endeavor and see success, so thank you. But we do wanna ask you because we’re, yeah. We had so much fun diving into the survey results that you did. Uh, but I, I mean, it’s sad when you, well, not sad. It’s exciting when we were in this field, right?
Like when you put together something so cool that I’m like, how do we even think to do this? But this survey was focused on Markham salaries. Um, what a great topic. Um, and I was curious, like, we were wondering like, what were your goals in creating this survey and where did this idea come from?
Brendan: Yeah, like most good things with Marco on Professionals, it started with wine and, uh, it was, uh, it happened.
Where did it start? It was this past summer. I was, um, asked by Meg Ella, who’s the marketing director, director of Marketing Communications, I think is her title at Western Reserve Academy, which is my alma mater, and where I worked for 12 years to co uh, host a session, a summer institute session for tabs in Boston.
So we were in Boston and one night a bunch of us went out. Megan and I, and a group of, uh, the participants went out to eat. This is where the wine came in. And I think this is the gold of conver or gold of conferences is are those conversations like, what’s really going on? What are you working on? What, and that’s where people will let their hair down and talk about fears and worries and, and, um, and it’s really outta that conversation.
Like we were talking about salaries. Um, And then I thought to myself, oh wait, geez, I’m going out on my own. I’ll be like, school agnostic. Now I, I can do this. So that was the impetus. And then the group was super supportive and we thought of a couple questions and I did kind of a first round and shared it with them, and then did second, and then, and then here we are.
It led to this. So that was, that was the start. What
Tara: a cool history. That’s a really neat backstory. Um, what, what were the main takeaways from this survey? I looked it over and, um, found it really interesting and, and, uh, some things I had never really thought about before. And tell us a little bit too, about sort of the, how many people participated and the demographics too.
Brendan: Yeah. So this wasn’t scientific in any way, so I wanna say that first, like it was, um, People on my email list and then I push it out on social. So people out there, it was 230, uh, respondents, which I was super pumped about. Um, pre-K through 12 schools. And, um, for me there are a lot of cool things that came out of it, but the things that stuck out for me, Number one, not surprisingly, maybe, uh, women rule, you know, 80, and I’m talking to two women, so, you know, that’s true.
Uh, 80% of the respondents. Now, again, this isn’t scientific, but 80% of that, that two 30, uh, in the mark home space are women. Wasn’t surprising to me, wasn’t surprising at all. Um, Another factor that was a little surprising, maybe not, that’s just more unfortunate, is that, um, it’s not a very diverse group, so there aren’t a lot of markon professionals of color.
So that’s something that, um, we’ll have to address going forward. But that’s something that stuck out. I was like, oh, that’s, that’s not good. That didn’t feel good. So we’ll work on that. Um, the other one that was positive as I talk about being old is, It’s not necessarily a young person’s game, you know? I know a lot of schools think that, um, oh, we’ll give the social media or the email to the college kid, you know, or whatever.
And I’m like, well, that’s a whole nother podcast, that conversation. But, um, the. So if I, if I look up my notes, uh, 52% of the respondents were 45 to 65 plus, and then the other big group was 40 to 44 at 16%. So, It would make sense to me. And I was actually, uh, relieved to see this, that people with experience, um, are in these roles in doing this work.
Cuz it’s such important work. Um, you, you need to, you know, have some not only work experience and got your 10,000 hours, but also life experience and know how to navigate a school and, and the politics and stuff there. So that was another takeaway. Um, this takeaway, I dunno if this was surprising to me or not, or where I thought is that.
54% of the Markcom professionals report to the head of school. Um, and then 10% would report to the director of marketing communications. So like if, the way I view that is like, if you’re a junior person, you’re reporting to your appropriate MARKCOM person. So I, I would view that. Okay, so that’s 64%. Um, which I don’t know if I thought that was high or low.
Like I’m a proponent that the, the Chief Markcom person of school should report to the head of school. So, I just think that number needs to get higher. There was still too many people reporting to that director of advancement or development, that fundraising role, or that director of admission and marketing, or a director of admission and enrollment.
And I, and I just think that, um, if you’re reporting to that role, that’s where your focus is gonna be and it really needs to be broader. Um, so, so I think that’s something that, a great point. We’ll check over time. And then the, the other big takeaway. For me at least, and it’s kind of an umbrella statement, um, or belief, and I’m trying to back it up with data or not, but schools really just don’t understand the Markham space.
They don’t understand, um, the Markham roles in particular. So for me, the titles. We’re all over the place and, and like schools don’t understand Mark on titles, they’re, that’s a whole nother probably podcast, but like, here’s one that stuck out to me. 61% of the people had the director dir uh, the title of director, but 36% report, no direct reports.
And 24% have one direct report. So like, even if you think of that 61% of directors and 36% don’t have direct reports, like I, you know, again, you do the survey year one and you realize, oh, I wish I would’ve asked that. Like, if you’re a director, do you have a direct report? So, so for me it’s like schools just don’t understand.
Titles and, and, and we could talk about that forever. And then the other piece for that is the, the, the range in salaries was just wild, like, like 20,000 to 150,000 plus. So I don’t know, like most of the salaries were in the, um, like that 60 to 65, I think in 70 to 75, kind of where you would think. But then, then the range, the variability was huge.
So I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I need to process that some more. I really
Aubrey: do hope you do the survey again.
Brendan: Yeah. That, that’s the hope. Aubrey, like my hope is the one year snapshot is, is is cool. I think it’s cool, but like the, the power will be trends. Over years. So we’ll
Aubrey: see. Absolutely. I mean, you covered such amazing, amazing, you know, I was just, I like the, the roles was interesting to me.
The salary variation, the benefit variation. I mean, it was just a lot, a lot going on there. Um, and a lot to process, but really good information. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like that out there. So it was really intriguing to me. Now I’m curious like, Had you have any actions that we as schools can take in this industry as a result of the findings and how can people use this information in their
Yeah. It’s such an important question. Thank you for asking that. Like the, the whole point of this, for me, it it, like, for Schneider B and Markcom, And then for this survey is to elevate the mark on professional school. So my hope is that someone takes this survey and then and then can benchmark where they are personally and then potentially give this to their C F O or their HR director or their head of school or all three and have a conversation with that person to say.
Like I’m wildly underpaid. Or, or maybe they don’t share it cuz they’re wildly overpaid, you know? I don’t know. But like, I think it’s, you know, what’s the line? I’m gonna butcher this, uh, you know, in data we trust or whatever, you know, all else is cra whatever it is, but like to give people data and not just have these anecdotes of what they think is going on.
And it’s really to, um, you know, like one of the things from the survey. Like people were talking about just things getting dumped on their plate, like that was in the free response stuff. But that doesn’t, doesn’t necessarily show up in the results. Like that happens all the time. Like, we don’t know what to do.
So give it to the markcom person, what does that mean? You know? And I, I just think people need to be compensated for that. So again, benchmark where you are and, and hopefully in, in years going forward. I’ll try to do it a little earlier so that you can get it after the first year when people are in contract time.
That’s, that’s the hope, that’s the goal. We’ll see what happens.
Tara: Yeah. That’s really interesting. I know there are trends, and at least in a lot of tech companies for transparency and, um, within organizations of salaries, you know, a lot of companies are now publishing their salaries. Yeah. Which, which I think is, you know, I think that creates a lot of trust and, and just comfort among people, because otherwise, I think people are always suspicious that their coworkers are making something more than they are, or, you know, it just creates a lot of discomfort.
So I wonder if that’s, you know, what you are doing is, you know, is the step in that direction in a way, right? You’re opening that up. It’s not a mystery anymore. What, what, what people should be earning when they’re doing this type of work and that there should be some parody there. Um, is, you know, I think it’s a great idea to, to sort of start opening that door a little bit for people to, to, to see where they, where they fit into that picture.
So thank you for sharing, for doing this work. I know it was a lot of work to gather all this information and then to share it. Um, And I guess taking that into, to the next question, which we always like to kind of wrap up our questions with, with a focus on mindfulness because we like that concept. Yeah.
Which is why it’s in our title. Yeah. Uh, and I know you’ve shared this with us when you were with us before, but you know, in regards to kind of what I just talked about a little bit, um, Applying mindfulness to processing this information that you are sharing with everyone, you know, what would you say, how could, would this survey help, um, or how would people, um, use mindfulness, um, in response to this information that you’ve put
Brendan: out there?
Yeah, it’s, you know, again, I remember talking before my, I’m still trying to practice mindfulness and there’s a lot of attempt, like my success waxes and wanes, but maybe that’s part of the whole process. Um, and I’m, I’m, I’m waxing right now, so it’s good. But, but you know, I, you just don’t know. Uh, I think, again, it goes back to, for me, um, and maybe this is too cheesy, a comparison, but just being mindful of what’s going on out there.
Like, you’re not alone. This is where things are, these are what, this is what’s available. Um, and, and just being aware, like Te Terry, your point about tech companies sharing salaries, that transparency thing, I think that’s fantastic. Um, I, I’m not sure I will ever see that in my lifetime in schools, you know, because I know being in schools like it, it’s so taboo.
It’s, it’s, It’s almost like you, you know, it’s like Harry Potter, he, who will not be named, right? You can’t say the salary. And then, um, you know, like the dirty little secret is waiting every year to get the guide star to see who’s making a hundred thousand plus at schools. You know? So I, I hope that, that people will be, um, I don’t wanna use mindful again, but like, just aware and process that and, and think about how they can affect their professional journey.
Tara: Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s a, that’s a good point. I mean, it would, it’s definitely not just schools that make that a secret. Um, yeah. And you know, I mean, there’s a lot of talk about, especially about educators, not just marketing people, but educators at being underpaid as well. So yeah, I think it’s a conversation that’s going to continue and things, things like what you’re doing here or bringing that to the forefront for sure.
Yeah, and I think being mindful, sorry, being mindful before you approach your boss without getting amazed is probably also something to do, to just kind of have some, you know, don’t just rush in there after you read this with a piece of paper and say, but being mindful about how you approach that, uh, that information and
Brendan: share it.
Yeah. But I’ll jump in. The great piece of advice I got was don’t go in and say, I want to make, like, I want 15,000 more dollars, but it can go in and say, here’s the survey. Here’s where I benchmark or whatever. Let’s come up with a plan to get me there. Like, like put the, put the, um, activity back on the person and, and come up with a plan as opposed to saying, I want 15,000 more dollars, because the answer’s probably no.
You know, even though you should be paid, that the answer’s probably no. So anyways, my 2 cents.
Tara: Yeah, that’s where mindfulness comes in, I think. For sure. There you go.
Aubrey: There you go. Yeah. Yeah. I, I love that factor. And I also say mindfulness when reading the results. So having worked in schools min, both large and small.
Mm-hmm. Um, there is often a reason that your salary is not the same as a school down the street. And sometimes it has to do with your tuition prices, um, the amount of staff you have. Yeah. There’s so many different variables there. Um, It’s, it’s just an interesting, um, an interesting, it’s hard to compare, especially with independent schools.
Like yeah, apple to apple right there. What, what’s under your, do you have a direct report that’s taking things off your plate? Therefore it’s not this big overall job. There’s so many different variables. So, um, I just think mindfulness in terms of that, um, is, is key. Um, but I do, and I, I, I too, Brendan, don’t think I would be very surprised if there’s any transparency.
During my time in schools. Yeah. For, I mean, I remember working in schools and all the faculty thought that like the admin side was making so much more money and had so many more, like it was like this big faculty versus staff feeling, um, because there wasn’t that transparency. Right. Yeah. And, and vice versa.
Like it’s a lot, lot of different, a lot of different things and a lot of different cultural perceptions and everything like that. For sure. Um, I am curious. Well, not curious, so I was trying to pull up what you did. We have our questions that we do every episode. Yeah, yeah. I’ve been, and I was trying to pull up what you said last time, and Tara, maybe you have the notes for this, but, um, I am curious if they’ve changed since we last spoke to you.
Yeah. So I’m gonna kick off our. Rapid fire questions and see, I’m sure they’ve changed since two years ago, but let’s see. Our first one is if you could put one book as mandatory reading in the high school curriculum, what would it be?
Brendan: To answer your question, I, I’ll answer it, but Aubrey, I purposely didn’t look back.
I’ll look back later. I’m like, I, I wanna see where I am. That book for me is a book called Smart Brevity, and the subtitle is The Power of Saying More With Less. I dunno if you guys have seen it or know that book. It’s the, the f I can’t remember. Can you say that again? It’s called Smart Brevity, the Power of Saying More With Less.
And, um, it’s, it’s written by the, the authors. Or the founders of, and I can’t remember the, their names, I’m sorry, of, um, started Politico the website, and then they somehow had a falling out with their partner, went away, and now they’re the, uh, founders and, uh, owners, runners, whatever, managers of Axios. Um, and the idea is, I’m gonna butcher this, but like, you know, there’s academic writing, which we’re all aware of, but that’s really only good in the academic space.
But like in the real world, you, we need to change how we write. And it’s, it’s all around that. I found it. And again, they take their, like they eat their own dog food. It’s not a long book. It’s a quick reading. Yeah. So it’s, it’s, I definitely recommend that.
Tara: I think I have heard that. Do you want me to tell you what you recommended last time?
What did I, yeah. What was it? Getting things done by
Brendan: David Allen. Oh, huge favorite. Still love it. Yeah. Yeah. Huge favorite.
Tara: Awesome. Okay, next rapid fire question is, what is one app you could not live without?
Brendan: It’s funny how it changes. It ties back into, um, what I just said. So the, uh, Axios has an app and, and so this is my, um, soapbox per sec.
I, I think, um, cable news I is like a downfall in our society. So like about two or three years ago, I stopped watching cable news, any of it. Forget what aisle you’re on, you know, any of it. It’s all whatever. And my thought is you have to read the news. So the great thing about Axios, I can go every day and read the news and, and they follow this, this outline, which is the most important thing you need to know is the first sentence.
The second sentence is why you need to know it or should be aware. And then they have a little thing in the app that says, go deeper. So like, if I want to read more, I can, and if I don’t, I can just keep going and get a sense of, of current events and, and staying important. So right now it’s Axios. I’m loving that app.
Aubrey: Ooh, that’s a new one. I’m guessing you, that was not your app because you didn’t know about it. No, no. Before it couldn’t have been. Yeah. That is so interesting. I mean, it almost takes all the personality out of an article and just says, what do you actually need to know, like with this news and, and, and a quick short snippet.
So, yeah. That’s fantastic. Do you want me to tell you what you said
Tara: last time? Yeah, yeah. What
Brendan: did, what did I say last time? You
Tara: said Headspace and Overcast.
Brendan: Still use ’em. Still use ’em to this day. Yeah. Headspace is the, um, uh, mindfulness app and I, I use Overcast to listen to podcasts. Yeah. That’s funny.
Glad I’m still using ’em. Yay.
Aubrey: You’re still the same person. Um, okay, so what is one, what are you
Brendan: reading right now? Well, I’m sure I answered this before. I love to read and I’m one of these guys, uh, that has multiple books going at a time. So the, I thought I’d give you the, the fiction and the non-fiction version.
So the, the fiction version is, um, I love the. Spy novels and CIA and killing and all that stuff. So it, it’s a release from the work. So my favorite author is a guy named Mark Dawson. And, um, he has a number of great characters, but Atticus Priest is the character and it’s the series. And book three is called The Red Room.
So I, I just picked it up and just started. So I’m loving that. The non-fiction book I just finished was, um, by a guy named Dan Martel, who, um, it’s called Buy Back Your Time. And I really do recommend this for, for you guys as small business owners. It was, it was one of those books that I was reading it and I’m like, oh my gosh, did he write this for me?
Oh my gosh. Like this, oh my gosh, I’m going through this now. So it was one of those books, but it, he also talks about managing people and I wish I would’ve had that, um, earlier in my career. Just some great ideas to empower people and, and, you know, lead them or manage them. So those are the two I’m working on now.
Tara: you. Those are great. I’m putting them on our Good Reads list right after we’re done, so that’s perfect. Thank you so much, Brendan. It’s been great having you back with us. What is one great piece of advice that you can leave us with today?
Brendan: The, the piece of advice, and I guess it does tie into mindfulness, but it’s rather than practice, um, We didn’t talk about it, but I, I launched a new podcast and it’s called, uh, leadership Backstory, and I’m doing it with my good buddy Peter Barron, and, and we’re talking to these really cool CEOs and leaders, and it’s really kind of outside of the school space.
But one thing, as I listen to them, I realized I’m not very good at reflecting. So not just a practice of mindfulness, but giving yourself space and permission to, to take a breath and think about. Um, what you want to do or where you want to go or what that meant. I, I, I’m terrible at that. I’m very good at getting stuff done.
Like my old other book, like that’s a sup. Like I used to think that was a superpower. Like I can create lists and checkbox and get it done, but I, if I could give advice to my younger self, it would be. Give you, give myself more time to think and be intentional about things as opposed to just bam, bam, bam,
Brendan, thanks so much for sharing all of the information that you gathered. Thanks for doing the survey to begin with. I’m sure our listeners are really going to appreciate having a summary here and. Where can they find you online?
Brendan: The easiest place? If they go to schneider b.com, which is the main website, they can go, I think it’s the second thing down.
If they wanna download a copy of the survey, it’s right there. And then, uh, so schneider b.com and then obviously the markcom markcom society.org. So the Markcom Society is the other place. But thank you both. This was great.
Aubrey: Thank you, Brenda. We’re so glad you shared. Thank you. All of this with schools and with us.
Thank you very much. Have a great day.
Tara: Thanks for joining us on the Mindful School Marketing Podcast.
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