This post originally appeared on Telesian Technology’s “What’s Working in Marketing” blog, which shares business-to-business (B2B) marketing insights for high tech and industrial automation manufacturers.
It’s getting a little crazy out there. Layoffs have been happening all over the place, and it promises to continue. Marketer’s across industries are worried about their jobs and their companies, and this usually creates a little cultural paranoia in our every day business lives.
Everything becomes about revenue, where the dollars are coming from, and how the company can make up pieces of their widening forecast gaps.
Marketing usually gets battered, and if you’ve been in marketing for any period of time, you know the drill. Re-evaluation of budget spending, program reviews and cuts, getting down to bare bones plans that somehow, in some sort of miracle, will help the company meet their goals. In their dreams, right? I mean, really, we’ve all been there. It’s not pretty and the insanity of corporate thinking can drive us marketer’s off the cliff. Or start drinking on the way home. One or the other.
So, given that we’ve seen messes like this, it’s time to take steps to prepare for an uncertain future. This is not just for marketers but for anyone reading this. I always found it interesting that people “worked” on their networks when they were in crisis, a desperate move that can sometimes come across that way. You reach out to people you haven’t spoken, connected, or seen in a months, possibly years, and then ask them for something, some sort of help. Or you attend networking meetings in mass, collect hundreds of business cards, and then by week 2 you are completely confused about who all these people are and what you said to them.
While there is no substitute for meeting people in person, there is something to be said for making quality contacts, and getting to know that person over time. This allows a conversation to unfold that reveals common interests, as opposed to a “I need your help”/”Here’s how I can help you” conversation that begins and ends in an one email exchange.
It’s time to work smarter, not harder. As we enter into cold months, we don’t feel as adventurous to experiment with many professional meetings. It’s time to Power Network, and it’s happening, right now at social networking website near you.
You’ve been hearing us talk about Social Media in the past few months, because it’s arrived hard and fast into our business and personal lives. Social media is not only something to “learn” how it affects your marketing strategies, it’s also a golden key to meeting MANY (hundreds, thousands) people you would never EVER have met, under any circumstance before. It’s power networking. Networking on steroids.
Expand your network across continents with hundreds (even thousands) of other like-minded folks (or not) who interest you. And not only that, but you get to know these people a little at a time, discover what they are involved in, understand how your world intersects with theirs, and the end result is it creates a net for you to land when you need help, whenever that is.
Some networks grow organically by your contributions of thoughts and experiences such as Twitter or others like LinkedIn help you connect with colleagues from previous lives who you “been meaning to get in touch with” but lost track of their whereabouts. These tools are there, ready for you to use.
When you are helpful, show that you care about other people, you tend to attract “followers” of people who want to know more about you. These people show up, without alot of your direct effort – just by participating in a conversation. Both Shari and I have been introduced to several local folks through our participation in Twitter. We’ve then met these folks at in-person professional networking meetings, and it helps overcome those meeting “jitters” because you already know a couple folks of attending. And you can pick up your conversation from something that happened online, you’re not starting from scratch “So, what do you do?” … you already know. You can have more meaningful conversations – the kind that may lead you to your next opportunity. Fast.
So the message here is, don’t wait until something happens to you to build your network. It’s time to Power Network, from your chair.
Building your network is important both professionally and personally, and has a positive affect on your ability to make a contribution in your organization. You have more ideas, more resources to reach out to, and access to brilliant minds who put themselves out there daily.
So, what are you waiting for?
Photo Source: Trapeze School Boston