Costs in Context

Three years ago, a client was recruiting a community manager. We sourced three candidates with great track records. Preliminary discussions with each suggested a figure of $135k would be enough to attract interest in the role.

Unfortunately, this turned out to be $25k higher than the client was willing to spend. It took several months to get the increase approved. This is several months the client continued to pay for a platform they couldn’t use and incur an opportunity cost of not developing the community quicker (the former alone exceeded $25k).

Community managers with a great track record of consistently developing communities at top brands don’t come cheap. You will be lucky to find anyone below $135k a year.

Yet in context, this figure is a bargain. The goal for our client’s community was to generate $7m in annual cost savings within 2 years. Spending an extra $25k to get someone proven (as opposed to someone with potential) is a no-brainer. It’s barely a fraction of what was being spent on the platform.

I suspect we need to massively adjust our salary expectations for community talent in the coming years.

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