The language people use to describe themselves is important.
How someone describes what they do is also revealing.
It tells us not so much how they see themselves, but how they want others to see them.
I was once referred to as an ‘SEO guru’ by a well-meaning contact at a networking event.
I felt a bit embarrassed and made a polite correction, because, at the end of the day, there’s no such thing.
I’m an expert in some areas, just like my contemporaries, but we’re all still learning and none of us exists on some higher plane.
With that in mind, I’m naturally suspicious of the elevated job title.
It whiffs of someone who feels the need to elevate the importance of their job, and/or exaggerate the level of their expertise. In other words, a bulls**tter.
Sometimes the guilty party is someone on the sales side of an agency – we’re talking about the world of marketing here – who introduces you to their Google Google Ads Guru or Search Savanté.
No one likes being sold to like that.
This actually happened to me once… and I’m in the business! An account manager at a digital marketing agency I was looking at partnering with introduced one of the junior members to me as their Guru for all things Google. At that point, I lost faith in them. No one likes being sold to like that. I felt it was such a clumsy attempt to SELL me on this person’s skills rather than demonstrate what they can do.
At the end of the day. I think they probably sold that junior team member short.
Why do people use this language? To sell you something!
So, staying on the subject of digital marketing, there is nothing mystical or magical about it. Digital marketing and SEO are built around tried and tested processes. So where would a Guru fit into that? We may think creatively or tangentially. We certainly problem-solve, but we’re not creating a unique way of doing things.
It’s our job to understand the processes involved and implement the right plan for the client. It might seem complicated from the outside, but so would the processes of a builder to me. It’s our job to choose the right mix of tactics for our client’s circumstances and budgets and to work through our tasks in order. Applying these fanciful job titles denies these facts.
Instead of trying to impress with labels, agencies and individuals should just explain what it is they do.
A quick search finds the pompous handles listed below
Rant almost over. See the following that make me want to laugh and/or scream, though it’s amazing how many more of these there are than a few years ago.
It seems like Bulls**t is a growth industry:
- Marketing Guru
- SEO Ninja
- Social Media Jedi
- Digital Overlord
- Chief Creative Insurgent
- Brand Warrior
- Brand Strategy Guru
- Google Fighter
- Conversation Architect
- Director of Emerging Media
- Brand Champion
- Digital Dynamo
- Dream Leader
- Ranking Warrior
- Chief Purpose-ologist
- Growth Hacker
- Magic Maker
- Director of Storytelling
- Data Shaman
- Interactive Evangelist
- Digital Marketing Genie
- Web Alchemist
- Any sort of rock stars other than actual ‘rock stars’.