November 26, 2020

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Marketing salaries at top DTC companies like Peloton and Instacart

8 min read
  • Direct-to-consumer brands have continued to reshape the business world during the coronavirus pandemic as more consumers buy all sorts of products and services online.
  • Some DTC companies have laid off staff and restructured their business models due to declining revenue over the past several months, but others, like Peloton and Instacart, have seen revenues and share prices explode.
  • Many of these DTC companies emphasize aggressive marketing.
  • Business Insider analyzed the US Office of Foreign Labor Certification’s 2019 disclosure data for some of the biggest DTC brands to determine what they pay top marketing employees in a variety of roles.
  • Pay ranges from just under $50,000 for a GrubHub marketing specialist to $285,000 for a head of marketing analytics at Chewy.com.
  • Subscribe to Business Insider to read the full story.

The direct-to-consumer space has been one of the hottest business categories in recent years, with US ecommerce sales expected to reach nearly $18 billion this year, according to eMarketer.

Investors have pumped trillions into the sector, with brands often emphasizing rapid growth over profitability through aggressive marketing strategies. Two of the biggest DTC brands, SmileDirectClub and Casper Sleep, went public over the past year with mixed results.

The space has been deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and some hot brands, like Everlane and Away, have had to cut staff as their sectors have been crushed broadly. But other DTC companies have gained as consumers spend more of their money with brands directly, bypassing brick-and-mortar retailers.

DTC companies remain top destinations for marketing professionals, especially as ad agencies cut thousands of jobs and traditional brands continue to lose market share to up-and-comers.

These businesses hire top talent from around the world, and they are required to file paperwork, including salaries and salary ranges for all employees on visas, with the federal government — data the US Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification releases every quarter.

The salaries in this story are determined, in part, by “prevailing wages,” or the minimum companies are required to pay for the jobs in question. The Department of Labor uses these totals to protect US employees’ wages and prevent educated immigrant labor from being exploited.

Some of the top DTC businesses are not listed in the database because they did not employ any visa-holders during the latest fiscal quarter, which ended in March. But Business Insider analyzed the latest available data on permanent green cards and temporary H-1B, H1B1, and E-3 visas to compile a portrait of what some of the space’s top brands pay employees in marketing roles.

These numbers don’t include every type of visa or any form of compensation beyond base salary.

Spokespeople for all the companies included in this story either declined to comment or did not respond to related requests.

Peloton paid a digital media director up to $200,000

Peloton CEO John Foley

Peloton CEO John Foley.

Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch


Peloton has seen its business explode during the pandemic as a growing number of consumers ordered its signature exercise bikes and other products while gyms around the world remained shuttered.

The company’s most recent earnings report in May saw revenue shoot up 66% as the company scrambled to meet demand despite reports of live classes being cancelled and warehouse workers asking to avoid home deliveries.

Analysts say Peloton has long transcended an infamously viral Christmas ad and stands to emerge from the pandemic as a stronger business; its share price has increased in turn by more than 350% since US lockdowns began in March.

Peloton applied for at least 47 visas last quarter, most of which were for software jobs. But the available data for marketing positions like director of digital media, which handles all original content on the company’s website, makes clear that it offers very competitive salaries:

  • Product design program manager: $130,000
  • Senior director of brand marketing: $151,840 to $180,000
  • Director of digital media: $77,750 to $200,000

Restaurant delivery startup DoorDash paid a growth marketing manager $175,00 and Postmates paid a VP of communications $250,000

GrubHub CEO Matt Maloney

GrubHub CEO Matt Maloney.

GrubHub


Food delivery companies have been thriving since lockdown orders started and consumers shifted dramatically from dining out to delivery.

DoorDash and Uber Eats have benefited the most, with the former raising an additional $400 million in equity financing pushing its valuation to $16 billion and the latter surpassing Uber’s core ride-hailing division for the first time, with an adjusted net revenue of $885 million in the second quarter of 2020.

Postmates, another delivery app, agreed in July to be acquired by Uber for $2.65 billion in stock, intensifying competition in a space where Grubhub is another established player. As restaurants continue to struggle, these companies are also fighting local laws that regulate the fees they collect from participating businesses.

Here’s a snapshot of how food delivery companies including Grubhub, DoorDash, and Postmates are paying employees to market their services during the busy time:

  • Marketing specialist, Grubhub: $49,587
  • Brand designer, Postmates: $96,000
  • B2B marketing manager, Grubhub: $102,500
  • Sales optimization analyst, Postmates: $118,000
  • Product designer, Postmates: $120,000
  • Manager, strategic partnerships, DoorDash: $143,000
  • Manager, growth marketing, organic and conversion rate optimization, DoorDash: $175,000
  • Director, business operations and strategy, Postmates: $180,000
  • VP of communications, Postmates: $250,000

Grocery delivery services startup Boxed paid a junior designer up to $54,000 and Instacart paid a director of analytics up to $220,000

Apoorva Mehta instacart

Instacart founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta.

Mike Kane/Bloomberg via Getty Images


Another type of DTC delivery startup has also seen its business boom under the pandemic as more consumers turn to apps in place of visiting physical grocery stores.

Surveys show that more than 50% of consumers have already bought groceries online in 2020, and around two-thirds plan to do so over the coming months. Instacart is the largest player by market share, and it has gained on rivals AmazonFresh and Walmart as others like DoorDash more recently entered the space.

Instacart went on a massive hiring spree this year, and competitor Boxed also reported a 200% increase in traffic to its website as pandemic fears first hit in March.

Data across Boxed and Instacart, the latter of which applied for more than 70 visas, show a range of high-paying marketing jobs:

  • Private label designer, Boxed: $39,686 to $54,000
  • Paid shopper marketing analyst, Instacart: $95,000 to $125,000
  • Senior analyst, marketing, Instacart: $110,000 to $140,000
  • User researcher, Instacart: $120,000 to $140,000
  • Integrated marketing manager, Instacart: $120,000 to $160,000
  • Senior marketing manager, paid search, Instacart: $140,000 to $160,000
  • Product designer, Instacart: $130,000 to $175,000
  • Director, advertising analytics, Instacart: $165,000 to $220,000

Home goods platform Wayfair paid a senior web analytics manager $150,000

Niraj Shah Wayfair

Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah.

Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images


Consumers stuck at home during the pandemic have turned toward home improvement products, leading to an unprecedented growth streak for furniture and home goods-focused e-commerce company Wayfair. 

Sales nearly doubled in the second quarter from $2.3 billion to $4.3 billion, marking the first time in years Wayfair had turned a profit, and its share price leapt from a low of $23.52 to more than $340. 

Wayfair remains the largest online furniture retailer by market share, though rivals like Birch Lane and AllModern also saw significant gains in recent months. The fact that Wayfair received at least 475 visas, with a focus on software development, logistics, and engineering, demonstrates its scale.

These are salaries and ranges for some marketing jobs at the company: 

  • Senior analyst, marketing: $78,100
  • Product and marketing analyst: $61,048 to $100,000
  • Associate, product and marketing: $73,778 to $100,000
  • Senior manager, partnerships and growth: $113,859 to $125,000
  • Manager, product and marketing: $113,859 to $135,000
  • Senior manager, web analytics: $150,000

Ecommerce fashion brand Poshmark paid an analytics manager $180,000 and Stitch Fix paid a data science manager $260,000

Manish Chandra Founder & CEO Poshmark

Manish Chandra is the founder and CEO of resale shopping app Poshmark.

Jen Kay/Poshmark


Fashion retail has suffered more than some other industries during the pandemic as consumers are less likely to buy or rent new clothes while stuck at home. Some previously hot DTC fashion brands, like Rent the Runway and Glossier, have cut staff and redesigned their entire business models in turn.

But online platform Poshmark, where people can buy and sell used clothing, thrived in recent months by fast-tracking new features like a video component similar to Instagram. This success came after the company pulled its planned IPO in late 2019 due to a pre-pandemic slowdown in the fashion market. 

Stitch Fix, a subscription service that provides customized fashion packages to members, has also fared far better than department stores despite some third quarter fulfillment challenges related to the pandemic. The company’s share price is up more than 100% since March.

These are salaries and ranges for top marketing jobs at the two companies: 

  • Marketing associate, Stitch Fix, $126,000
  • UI/UX designer, Stitch Fix: $138,000
  • Associate manager, analytics, Poshmark: $155,000
  • Product manager, Poshmark: $160,000
  • Customer relationship management manager, Stitch Fix: $164,000
  • Data and analytics manager, Poshmark: $180,000
  • Data science manager, Stitch Fix: $260,000

Meditation app Headspace paid a marketing manager up to $150,000 and Calm paid a director of user acquisition $216,653

headspace ceo rich pierson 1

Rich Pierson is the CEO of Headspace.

Jens Kalaene/Picture Alliance via Getty Images


Like food delivery services, meditation and wellness apps have also surged in popularity amid the pandemic, with many people’s stress and anxiety levels going through the roof. 

According to app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, the 10 largest English mental wellness apps generated more than 10 million downloads in April 2020, up 24.2% from January 2020, with Calm and Headspace leading the ranks with 3.9 million and 1.5 million installs, respectively.

Headspace specifically has been attempting to capitalize on the momentum by adjusting its communications and creating new programs to cater to its growing audience.

Calm and Headspace applied for at least seven visas combined in 2019. Here’s a peek at the salaries they offered for marketing and adjacent positions:

  • Manager, lifecycle marketing, Headspace: $116,418 to $150,000
  • Lead product designer, Headspace: $165,000
  • Director of user acquisition, Calm: $216,653

Pet product retailer BarkBox paid a creative lead up to $110,000 and Chewy.com paid a senior director of marketing analytics $285,000

Chewy CEO Sumit Singh

Chewy CEO Sumit Singh.

Chewy


The pandemic has fueled pet adoptions and sales across the country —  so much so that brands ranging from Petco to luggage startup Away are also trying to cash in.

Pet product subscription box BarkBox and retailer Chewy.com have also benefited from the trend, with sales at Chewy up 42.5% between March 12 and March 18, according to data from Earnest Research, and BarkBox also seeing a jump in its subscription business.

In fact, BarkBox, which has until now mostly curated other brands as part of its subscription service, is using the time to expand into the category of pet food, and is beta testing a private label dog food service called Bark Eats, per Retail Dive.

These are what the companies are paying marketing employees: 

  • Associate marketing project manager, Chewy.com: $67,000
  • Creative lead, BarkBox Essentials, BarkBox: $95,000 to $110,000
  • Director of creative operations, BarkBox: $130,000 to $155,000
  • Associate director, product management, Chewy.com: $170,000
  • Senior director, marketing analytics, Chewy.com: $285,000
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