Towards the end of last week, SearchEngineLand published a fantastic article in which search marketers shared their views on the ever-so-common existential crisis: “AM I MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE?”

The data was compiled by PayScale, a company that crowd-sources compensation information. They received feedback from around 2.7million respondents in order to compile a report on ‘The Most & Least Meaningful Jobs’. At the top of the ‘Most Meaningful’ scale, there were the atypical Healthcare careers, as well as those working in Computer/Mathematical roles such as Software Engineers and Systems Analysts. But, to our surprise and dismay, the title Search Engine Marketing Strategist was the fourth highest ranking job in the ‘Least Meaningful’ list.

Say what?!

Sure, across the industry, marketers tend to get tarred with the same brush, despite technologies and approaches becoming more advanced, personalised and far less aggressive. Thanks to unethical and forceful tactics used over the years by the unscrupulous types within the digital industry, some customers are very much anti-advertising, opting to hide adverts and block tracking.

It’s no surprise that 90% of consumers surveyed by The Nielsen Company in a recent report declared that they’d make a purchase after a recommendation from a colleague or friend, as opposed to 41% who’d commit to purchase through paid search ads.

We decided to take a closer look by asking our team members how they truly feel about making their mark on the world as digital marketers, across all services within Silverbean. In an attempt to almost prove the report wrong, staff responded in their droves, from Directors to Executives, to share their view on how meaningful their career is.

Here’s a selection of our responses:

Gemma Neesham – Head of Search

While there’s no denying that in the past SEO has had somewhat of a bad reputation, it’s very much the activities of a small minority which have unfortunately given the wider industry a bad name.

Today the search landscape has definitely evolved with many of those individuals and companies who were once involved in spammy and unethical techniques being left behind by Google’s continued efforts to penalise this type of activity.

In terms of whether my work makes the world a better place in a very small way I’d say yes. As a company Silverbean work with brands that provide great products and services and our aim as digital marketers is to make these great products and services more visible and easier to find online so that more people can make use of them. Working with brands such as Traidcraft make it even more worthwhile when we know that any increase in sales as a result of our efforts are going towards making a difference and helping those most in need.

Neil Hancock – Head of Optimisation & Planning

I certainly believe as a performance based marketer we are working towards making the world an infinitely better place. One of the common frustrations and ‘gripes’ I hear people talking about in general conversation, and not specifically to me as a marketer, is about the sheer volume of irrelevant and annoying advertising they are bombard with. The reason people get frustrated and annoyed about the volume of advertising they see is how untargeted the majority of it is. No one complains about the advert they saw or clicked on which resonated with them and lead to them digesting some interesting content or making a purchase.

As marketers we are all working to improve the relevancy of our marketing and advertising so it is seen by the right person, at the right time, on the right device and with the right message, we are working towards an advertising nirvana, where people no longer complain (or even notice) about being marketed to. This will only work with the trust of the consumer, but by taking steps in the right direction, marketers can work towards gaining back that trust, in order to make online marketing a benefit to both parties.

Charlotte McMurray – Digital Performance Director

It’s very important to me that the work I do at Silverbean makes a difference to more than just our clients’ (or even our own!) bottom lines. As a lifelong Bill Hicks fan, I’ve been haunted by this video ever since I started working in marketing, and I’ve always been aware of the potential for my line of work to leave a negative mark on the world.

There’s a very visible minority of marketers using practices that are misleading or manipulative, and a much larger percentage who rely on less sophisticated tactics that are ineffective and risk being seen as annoying, however I don’t believe it’s the medium that’s at fault. Digital marketing offers unique opportunities to understand customer needs and behaviour, and use that insight to make our communications with them useful, improving our clients’ financial performance, brand perception and awareness as a result. By centering everything we do around our clients’ customers, we’ve seen that it’s not just possible but preferable to work in a way that contributes positively to customers’ lives rather than simply broadcasting offers to them.

What I love about working at Silverbean is that the business as a whole is built on a desire to do more than simply make money. This really shines through in our company and team culture as well as in the work we do with clients. It also means we’re constantly challenging ourselves to do better, so I’m confident that we’ll go on to make even more of a positive impact on the industry (and the world!) in future.

Nic Yates – Affiliate Marketing Manager

Yes – to an extent I think our work does help to make the world a better place.

We communicate with a variety of stakeholders and build strong relationships. Overall we help make an impact on their online strategy (whether it be an e-commerce manager, content site etc.) to help them achieve their objectives and reach the right customers. We also help the everyday online customer by making it more efficient to research/purchase online, so they can continue with their lives uninterrupted, confident that the information made available to them has resulted in an informed purchase and a positive engagement with our client’s brand.

Lucy Houlden – Search Marketing Executive

All of our clients make a difference to the world, and we help them to make that difference more effectively by giving them the digital platform they need to get their message out. We pride ourselves on working with clients who make a real difference to people, each in their own individual way.

What we do helps each of our clients to perform to the best of their capabilities, so they can direct their energies on what their business is really passionate about. With our rich and varied client base, we’re making a difference in a whole variety of industries across the country!

Tom Etherington – Search Marketing Consultant

I think it depends on how you determine making the world “better”.

Our work may not contribute to a greener environment, for example, but we do help people to find the products, services and information they need. Depending on the client’s industry, this could help to improve their health, family life, or career, which does contribute to making the world better. I’d say that’s something to be proud of.

Sam Barnes – Search Marketing Consultant

I certainly think so. Our entire focus is on getting our client’s websites, products/services and brand in front of the people who want to engage with them. That’s why we offer advanced digital marketing strategies like audience mapping, content creation, micro-moments and user journeys.

I like to think of us as little digital Cupids, matching the people longing for the perfect product/service with the companies that we know can deliver them!

Sarah Atkinson – Digital Marketing Executive

I think it’s true that search marketing often has a bad reputation and that’s because a minority have let that happen by using ‘black hat’ techniques. But here at Silverbean, sometimes clients come to us with penalties which we have managed to lift by using ethical techniques.

The most difficult part is gaining the trust of the people who have previously been let down, but with persistence, education and a completely honest and open approach, we have managed to get them on board and that’s important for the industry.

James Mechan – Senior Search Marketing Consultant

I think as an industry, we really do help to improve the landscape. I truly believe in the work we do now and that it makes a difference to both our clients and the overall search landscape. If SEOs hadn’t tried to manipulate the results and driven Google to improve and rank content on the value rather than the outdated metrics we used to use, would it have? I certainly don’t think it would have been as quick!

I think what has been has led us to a point where we can really help users find what they want as quickly as possible and give our clients the best chance of being the ones found for it.

Are we correct?

We’d love to hear your views on digital marketing, whether you work in the industry or not, and how it impacts your day-to-day life as an online consumer. We realise that some of our responses may seem a little biased, but that’s because we’re truly behind what we offer here at Silverbean. We’d love to hear your opinion, your positive experiences and even your horror stories! You can share your thoughts in the comments box below, or tweet us @silverbean.

For a spot of background reading, check out the original article from SearchEngineLand.