Have you noticed an increase in the number of marketing gurus? Geniuses, too. Perhaps you’ve also noticed that these labels are often self-proclaimed, or bestowed by a book publisher or publicity firm. Funny. The smartest people I’ve ever met in marketing never considered themselves gurus, or geniuses. Then again, they were too busy successfully practicing the craft of marketing with real businesses to consider such fodder.
Practicing? Yes, the business of marketing is a practice. Tempered by the fires of time and experience. Integral to a commercial enterprise. The business of being a guru, is about…well, I’m not really sure what it’s about.
As this post is written, Google returns 751,000,000 results for “marketing” books. Some are seminal. Some are important. The majority are not. But increasingly, our culture embraces any kind of celebrity–warranted by deed, or not. And the realm of marketing is no stranger to this trend. Unfortunately, as more people seek ‘guru’ status and vie for attention, the points of view they espouse have become increasingly obscure, and in many cases, simply wrong.
A business writer once referred to me as a strategy guru. Back then I laughed. Today, I denounce my title.
As the adage goes, “those who can’t, teach.” Apparently, they also write books. And give seminars. And speak at conferences. Problem is, building real brands and real businesses is a bit more challenging than delivering a PowerPoint to 30 people at the Dayton Ramada Inn.
Nope, for my money (and I hope yours), give me the practitioner. The one who folds trends and new points of view into a long history of marketing perspective. The one who can think and do. The really good one, not the guru.
(By the way, if you need strong marketing practitioners for your business and brands, I know a firm that can help.)