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Marketing Academy.

Maybe you're following a Marketing Fuffaguru: here's how to find out

Marketing is a fascinating field but also a fertile ground for so-called " fuffaguru " - false experts who promise easy wealth and success through secret and miraculous methods. In his book " How not to be fooled by fake gurus ", the CEO of Deep Marketing and Branding Strategy teacher Francesco Galvani reveals the tactics used by these increasingly widespread and successful impostors in Italy and helps us to develop a "radar" for identify them.

In this article, we'll explore how to apply these learnings to the world of digital marketing. If you are an owner or manager in an SME, unfortunately fuffaguru are your natural predators, because they target exactly those who do not have a marketing office or do not have structured training in this discipline. While referring you to Galvani's essay (complete with sources), we advise you to pay particular attention.

Every week the Deep Marketing agency receives requests from companies that have followed one of the well-known marketing fuffagurus for years and have ruined themselves, believing in the miracle of his simple methods. Unfortunately, these realities often cannot be saved because the damage done is too profound.

The Genesis of the Fuffaguru

According to Galvani, false gurus are a product of contemporary Anglo-Saxon capitalist culture, which sees wealth as a sign of talent and divine blessing . Combined with our innate tendency to organize ourselves into social hierarchies, this mentality creates fertile ground for impostors who flaunt (often non-existent) wealth to attract followers.

Fuffaguru exploit our hope of improving our economic and social status, promising to reveal the "secrets" of their success to us in exchange for a fee. Unfortunately, these secrets are often hot air, yet they manage to persuade us thanks to psychological manipulation techniques.

And if it is true that they are very active in "swindling" people and private individuals, their super powers are activated above all in defrauding entrepreneurs of small and medium-sized companies, the most exposed and weak on the market.

The Favorite Fields of the Fuffaguru

Galvani notes that false gurus proliferate in fields perceived as "easy" and more theoretical than practical, such as marketing, sales, online trading, and business training . This is because many people mistakenly believe that specialized skills are not needed in these areas.

Digital marketing, with its apparent accessibility and myriad of “gurus” promising to teach you how to “make money online,” is an ideal environment for fuffaguru.

Obviously the effect is that for months or years you will follow a perfect ignoramus who knows absolutely nothing about the real discipline, he will teach you "Methods" promised as easy and capable of solving all your problems and earning automatically, semi-automatically or following a protocol . You will learn his nonsense, and gradually ruin your life and/or your company.

Because in no possible universe is it enough to plant a few coins to create a tree that produces gold.
Cult leader
Fuffaguru are seen as bearers of Magical Methods, successful leaders

Are you following a Fuffaguru?

Here are some warning signs to keep an eye out for to understand if you are already following a fuffaguru while you believe you are dealing with a respectable person or a serious professional.

1. Promises of Easy Wealth

True marketers know that there are no shortcuts to success. Yet, fuffaguru often promise to reveal "the secret" to getting rich quickly, without effort. Phrases like “Earn $10,000 a month working from home” or “The ultimate method for your business to succeed online” or “Automated marketing method” or “The Wealth Bible” should set off red flags for you.

2. Lack of Demonstrable Skills

While true marketers can boast solid academic training, years of hands-on experience, and real customer results, fuffaguru often lack any verifiable credentials. Be wary of anyone who calls themselves a "guru" or "expert" without being able to demonstrate a solid CV .

  • What was this person doing a few years ago? Did you study marketing in a serious/academic field or did you have other professions?

  • Then where did he find out? From another guru with his "Method"?

  • Where are your big customers? Why does he only have companies that follow him?

  • Have his own companies done well or has he failed at almost everything other than training?

  • Where is your career in marketing? Who hired him before he became a teacher himself? Nobody? So have you at least had experience in a large agency or have you always just been freelance?

Trivial and obvious questions but which we often forget when we are attracted by the light, charisma and fame of a fuffaguru.

3. Display of Wealth

As Galvani points out, fake gurus love to flaunt wealth and success, often through photos of luxury cars, lavish villas or exotic vacations. This plays on our tendency to respect and admire those who seem to have "made it" . Remember, however, that appearances can be deceptive because it is very easy to pretend to be rich by renting status items.

Even easier is to shout about "invoicing a lot" without having a balance sheet deposited in Italy, but perhaps hidden in Dubai, Switzerland, in invisible companies.

Evidence, you must demand evidence .

4. Sale of Courses and Coaching

The real business of fuffaguru is not marketing, but the sale of courses , coaching and "secrets" at exorbitant prices. If someone who claims to be a marketing expert is constantly offering you to buy their training instead of offering you actual marketing services, that's a clear red flag.

In general, you should only hire as a teacher someone who has proven and certified skill and expertise in the business they teach .

If you are a marketer recognized by other marketers or thanks to stellar clients or have a great CV, then I can consider you as a teacher. Otherwise I will avoid you. Life is short, money is little and anyone can invent anything. We need evidence from your past to believe you.

5. Lack of Concrete Case Studies

A true marketer should be able to show you detailed case studies of successful campaigns, complete with goals, strategies, tactics, and measurable results. If the supposed "guru" can't do it, he's probably just blowing hot air.

Worse still: the fuffaguru often bases all of his manipulative work on case studies selected ad hoc. But think about it: if you have 2000 or 5000 students and you always cite the same 10 case studies, it means that all the others were a failure or mediocre. It means that your degree of success as a teacher is infinitely lower than the flip of a coin!

Keep away.

Protecting Yourself from the Fuffaguru: Developing Your Radar

Now that we've identified some warning signs, here are some tips for developing a "radar" to help you spot marketing fluffguru:

1. Do Your Research

Before trusting any "guru", do thorough research on his background, his training and his concrete results. Check online reviews, but remember that many fuffaguru use tactics like "fake reviews" or discounted reviews to trick people.

So: be careful with TrustPilot, it is not by definition a source of false information, but it should be taken with a grain of salt. We completely advise against its use to evaluate a trainer, but the choice is yours.

Also remember that a student cannot objectively evaluate a teacher. Because if he knew how to do it, he would have the necessary skills to not be a student.

NOTHING beats a reliable CV, qualifying experiences, great clients, long experience in the field.

2. Be Skeptical about Miraculous Promises

If something seems too good to be true, it probably isn't. Be wary of anyone who promises extraordinary results with little effort or investment. Success in marketing requires commitment, strategy and perseverance.

Above all, be wary of any automatic or semi-automatic method that promises guaranteed results as long as you work hard. Bullshit.

Marketing is a very complicated discipline and the only certainty you have is by choosing someone who has been doing the job for many years and doesn't give you certainties .

3. Evaluate Results, Not Words

Don't be fooled by catchy language or unverifiable success stories. Focus on the concrete results the supposed “guru” can demonstrate he has achieved for himself and his clients.

We repeat: if you always hear the same old "case studies" out of thousands of students, they are probably ripping you off.

If less than half (certified) of your students are unsuccessful, you are a dime less effective.

So where is everyone else?

4. Learn to Recognize Manipulative Tactics

Fuffaguru are masters at using psychological persuasion and manipulation techniques. Study these tactics, such as the " bandwagon effect " (the tendency to follow the crowd) and "authority bias" (the tendency to respect figures of perceived power), so as not to fall into their trap.

If you smell a cult, a charismatic personality, too much flattery for the guru and too much adoration of obsessed and excited followers, stay away.

They are often groups made up mainly of men looking for an alpha male to follow.

Go. Distant.

5. Invest in YOUR Training

Instead of wasting money on dubious quality courses and coaching, invest in solid, accredited training. Take college courses, professional certifications like on Coursera, EdX or Domestika, or training programs offered by reputable companies and institutions in the marketing field.

6. Build a Network of Reliable Professionals

Surround yourself with marketing professionals with proven experience and integrity. Build a network of trusted contacts with whom you can discuss, exchange ideas and advice. This network will be your best defense against the fuffaguru.

7. The golden rule

Marketing is a job for "gray eminences": we dream of making our customers shine, not ourselves. If you know more about a marketer's face and more about his fame than his clients, you have a good certainty that you are being manipulated by charisma, by your social weaknesses, and you are buying not a marketing course, but the psychological security of following a famous person in a sect of maniacs.

I rephrase: choose as your master someone who is more famous for his clients or his employers than for his face. You do not need to follow a charismatic individual with followers. You need to learn a discipline and do great marketing.


Fake marketing gurus are a plague that can cost you time, money and valuable opportunities. By developing a radar to spot them and following the advice in this article, you can protect yourself from these pitfalls and focus on building a successful marketing career based on real skills and real results.

Be skeptical, do your research and only rely on authoritative and verified sources .

Success in marketing requires real commitment, strategy and skills, not miraculous shortcuts sold by fluffaguru. Arm yourself with this knowledge and continue to grow as a marketer.


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