• Larry Bailin

    At first I started answering hte “what do you do?” question with, “I’ll let you know as soon as I figure it out” but that still left the question out there. Now I just say, “marketing””.

  • Rachael

    Larry, I seriously did that same thing for my first two weeks working for SEER. Not only is the company so innovative, but the industry changes so rapidly that it’s hard to have a steadfast answer. Now I have a solid understanding of the industry, but don’t always have the time to go into a detailed explanation, so I’ve resorted to “marketing” or “internet marketing” at times, too.

  • wil

    I always say Internet Marketing, otherwise people just scratch their heads and say…huh, what?

  • Eric

    I found your post quite fun because even though I don’t do anything similar to you, however I do work in “IT”, my response to “what do you do?” varies as well depending on who I am talking to. I have a pretty slimed down version that is accurate for most people when I don’t care to elaborate. But the dark cloud void of the word “IT” brings confusion to most people above the 40 year-old threshold (who are not in the industry)

  • Rachael

    Yes, I’m really going to comment on my own blog — I was talking to my sister about the blog that I just wrote, kind of laughing about how no one at the party really knew what I did. She informed me that not only did she understand what I do, but she was telling other people at the party so they’d know, too. I was a little impressed that she’d grasped it so easily, so I asked her to explain it back to me, thinking maybe I’d have a better way to explain it to other people. “Rachael sells ad space on Google.” *sigh* I have a little more work to do.

  • Burgo

    “Has anyone in the industry had an experience like mine?”

    Check out to see just how MANY people empathise.

  • Chris

    By my own experience, there’s lots of people who have the wrong frame of reference. They think of Google as the Internet’s biggest phone book. Understandably, its probably its closest analog equivalent but it’s not really that accurate. It’s more fluid and democratic than that.

    So if someone doesn’t understand how search engines because they have the wrong frame of reference how can you explain to someone the benefits of hiring your company? How do you explain what you do when the person in front of you has no frame of reference to work from?

  • Patrick

    Spot on Rachael! I normally say internet marketing as well. Then when they dig for what kind I pump myself up for a long drawn out frustrating conversation.

  • leslie

    Whenever I tell friends or family that I work in Marketing, the first thing they say is “Don’t call me!” Then I have to explain that I don’t work in telemarketing.

  • Steve

    I deal with clients every day who are mortgage professionals, not IT or web experts, and it falls to me to explain to them exactly what SEO is, and how it works…I’ve had some reasonably funny results, especially, as you mentioned in the 40+ crowd. On the other hand, I’ve had some very eager and very involved clients that were well in to their 50′s…I think once anyone involved in any kind of business understands the vital connection between all this “computer stuff” and their pocketbook, they start to pay attention.

  • Rachael

    I absolutely have to agree: Once people see that connection between SEO and ROI, there’s a lot more interest, or at least more willingness to try to develop a greater understanding. Wil sent us a great article yesterday that stated that search engine marketers who measured ROI has risen to 88% since 2005. In addition, I know we get a good amount of traffic from people using our tool that calculates SEO ROI, so I know there’s definitely interest.