The Rise of the Marketing Guru

marketing guru chickenI am a marketing guru.

There, I’ve said it.

I am a marketing guru.

Except, that I’m not. I’ve never been a guru in much, let alone marketing. And, anyway, just a thought, wasn’t a guru just a guru in days of yore. (Time to run to Wikipedia if you’re not sure).

Since when did we start adding other words to it? Marketing guru? Really? You’re calling yourself a marketing guru? Well, I suppose it’s marginally better than media tsar or culinary impresario. But couldn’t you think of something more…I don’t know…exciting? Enigmatic? To go with guru, I mean.

I thought that was why ‘guru’ sat on its own. To appear mysterious. When you start adding it to other words it starts to lose all its flair.

It’s not only marketing’s fault, we’re all at it. There’s a whole bunch of us running around telling the world we’re experts in this and that. Hell, there’s even a tonne of people pretending to be writers when most of them blatantly aren’t. And don’t get me started on photographers who think a few snaps on Flickr suddenly makes them a professional.

Truth is, we’re all at it to some degree.

Maybe it’s the internet’s fault. It emboldened us, see. We discovered other people doing it, those less worthy than ourselves, and we thought: Jeeze, why not? Maybe you won’t tell the guy sitting next to you that you’re secretly a 4th level Jedi but you’ll sure as hell tell a couple of thousand Facebook followers dotted around the world.
Some people call it setting the record straight – you’ve been this guru/psychic/impresario all along.

Others call it pretending. We dress up in the digital clothes of our preferred lives. That’s why we like anonymity. If you say it long enough and loud enough, it’s got to be true. Right?

How to become a marketing guru

First of all, you can’t do it on your own. There’s only so far calling yourself a marketing guru will take things. You need guru buddies, disciples, if you like. These are the minions who will truly spread word of your worthiness and cement your guru-ness.

Your guru-ness? Your Highness? Like it, like it. Good morning your Guru-ness. Good morning lesser mortal.

There’s a problem with making marketing gurus out of people whose only claim to fame was that they once ran a successful pay-per-click campaign. It’s a bit like associating the word ‘genius’ with the word ‘footballing’. For chrissake’s, he’s just kicking a damn ball round!

I think you’ll find that Einstein was a ‘genius’. Wayne Rooney isn’t. He may be a nice bloke but he’s no genius.


I’ve digressed. The guru-ness thing got me. You see, that’s what us gurus do, we meander.


Guru status is conferred on each individual by other people. It just takes one to start it off. This is where marketing people are quite useful. They’re good at spreading the guru word, like literary lemmings (and if that analogy holds up, I’ll eat my toe nails). Before you know it, you have an avalanche of guru reinforcement, and there we have it, a new guru is born.

The problem is that gurus are supposed to be few and far between, sitting up in Himalayan retreats eating nuts and meditating as far, as I remember anyway. They are masters of knowledge and transcendentalism and stuff. Now, I’m sure there are people out there who know all there is to know about marketing and how to get the best out of it. According to Marketing Minds there are 20 to follow and learn from. If you do a quick search, you’ll find lists of 200 or more. Really? 200 gurus?

What happened to simply calling them experts? Can’t we go back to that?

Well no. Because of us. The minions. Us minions have started calling ourselves experts. Guru was hi-jacked so that the real experts had somewhere to go and set them apart. They don’t want to be competing on the same level as lesser mortals who profess to be experts but actually aren’t. You see, if we all jump up a step, the people on that step have to go up. They sure as hell aren’t going to jump down.

The internet has made it easy for us to big ourselves up. And we love to do it, don’t we? No more Mr Mundane for us. We are guru. We are expert. We are prophet. We are talented.

We are pretend.

We are wannabees.

We are the same today as we were yesterday. We just make believe that we’re not. That, my friends, is the magic of the internet. It has given us new power.

I am a guru.

Of what, I’m not yet sure. But I’ll think of something. One day…

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