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Retention Rockstars Poised to Fast Track Their Path to the CMO Seat; WebEngage’s Latest Report Reveals

WebEngage’s State of Careers in Retention Marketing report finds that there are lucrative career opportunities in the retention marketing domain, with the potential for accelerated career growth. 

WebEngage, a full stack Retention Operating System empowering brands to become enduring businesses, today launched State of Careers in Retention Marketing Report, a comprehensive study on the evolving landscape of careers in retention marketing.  It offers invaluable insights into the burgeoning field of customer retention and its impact on career trajectories in the field. 

In a continuously evolving market, where uncertainty is the only certainty, businesses are preoccupied with maintaining a sustainable growth trajectory. Where customer acquisition has been touted to effectuate growth and provide to the topline, it is becoming increasingly evident that customer retention is critical to pad the bottom line and drive the growth of a business. The volume around retention conversations is increasingly being dialed up across a range of industries today in acknowledgement of its disruptive business potential. This is amply reflected in the findings in Neilsen’s 2024 Annual Marketing Report, which found that 72% of global marketers are expecting bigger budgets this year, an 8% increase from 2023. The career landscape also mirrors this trend. WebEngage’s study seeks to highlight the nuances of this evolution and draw a roadmap for how professionals in this realm can ‘find their path’ and accelerate their career growth. 

“The last few years have brought the subject of retention marketing to the spotlight. While retention is not a marketing problem, the typical flag bearers of retention metrics now have a stronger voice and a seat on the table – to point out issues affecting retention – whether it’s the quality of acquisition, product journey, post-purchase experience, customer support NPS or any other consumer touch point that can make or break the customer’s experience. Thus, it’s only fair that pros at driving retention be recognized for their impact on business and compensated accordingly. We see a serious uptick in the need for savvy retention professionals and see the early movers to this specialization gaining from their choices”, said Ankur Gattani, Chief Growth Officer, WebEngage

Key insights from the study: 
  1. Shift towards Retention: D2C and E-Commerce sectors saw a whopping 35.8% representation among the respondents of the study. This is reflective of the fact that businesses are recognizing the importance of customer retention for long-term profitability, leading to a surge in demand for talent in retention marketing. Respondents also shared that hiring retention marketers are some of the most early investments they make in the team. 

However, the thing to note here is that the pie is spread nearly proportionately across other sectors. As reflected in the data, ​the consumer-tech space of Ed-tech, BFSI, and Media & Entertainment sectors are also showing an increased inclination toward retention-led marketing with 17.9%, 10.5%, and 8.4%, respectively. 

  1. Core Competencies: 39.6% of respondents declared Data Analytics as the top skill crucial for success in retention marketing careers. The study identifies 7 core strengths ranging from data acumen to stakeholder management, providing actionable guidance for career development. Of these 7, data analytics capabilities is a clear winner, closely followed by strategic thinking abilities (17.6%) and project management skills (17.2%). 

More importantly,  the in-depth interviews conducted as part of the study revealed that while some skill sets might appear to be more crucial than others in the pecking order, the important thing to note is that a retention marketing professional needs to possess the perfect blend of skills of a CMO, CTO, and CDO, in order to succeed. 

  1. Salary Trends: The head of retention at a 500 Cr. + brand stands to make as high as 50-70 LPA. Head of retention & user engagement at a large-scale gaming or entertainment brand can go as high as 1 Cr.  The study reveals a remuneration framework that is tied up with the respondent’s educational background and work experience and easily weighted on delivering data-backed & experiments-led success. Below is a chart that reflects the various salary brackets that our respondents belong to. 

Furthermore, to break into the ‘10-15L’ band in D2C, one has to be a seasoned retention marketer with 3-5 years of core retention exposure. In the 40L Per annum salary band, almost all respondents had a mix of a master’s degree and work experience. These roles are spread across marketing, growth, and product teams, and they are mostly vertical owners. 

  1. Role-team mapping: 52.6% of the respondents belonged to the marketing teams within their organization. When asked which teams the respondents belonged to, it was revealed that the retention marketer is likely to be found in one of three teams – Marketing, Growth, and Product. Besides the marketing team, growth teams are also increasingly finding retention practitioners among them (31.6%), signalling that retention is essential to growth and a must-have boardroom conversation. 

For a detailed understanding, the State of Careers in Retention Marketing study can be accessed here

The Methodology: 

The study has collected data from over 300+ working professionals in a nationwide survey across 20+ industries ranging from 0 to 20 years of work experience. Additionally, the study reflects qualitative interviews with CXOs digital heads, growth specialists, and product marketing heads across renowned organizations. The respondents represent some of the most renowned brands in the country, ranging from early-stage startups to large enterprises.

Consolidating the insights and narratives from interviews with thought leaders and analyzing all the data collected, the report elaborates on essential questions related to Competencies, Career Growth, Hiring & Job Search, Compensation, and Mentorship.

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