Why Building a Marketing Network is Vital to Your Success
There are so many things that the marketing industry claim as “king” or priority in marketing execution these days. I’ve heard, “Content is King,” “Social media is King,” “Email Marketing is not Dead!” and “SEO is King,” Etc. But when it comes to your marketing career there is a clear “King” in execution you should always be nurturing in the background (even if you aren’t looking for a job.)
You’d think it would be honing your resume or taking continuing education, but it’s not. While these are important areas to be working on, the one thing that is most vital to your career’s success (no surprise here, since I already gave it away in the title) is building your network.
Why and How to Network Like a Boss
Ok – so nerd moment alert. I love science fiction and one of my favorite authors is Dan Simmons. He wrote an incredible space opera trilogy called Hyperion. In this galaxy-crossing adventure, one of the characters wryly states:
“It occurs to me that our survival may depend upon our talking to one another.”
The reason why you want to network for your marketing career (or any career for that matter) is because your survival depends on it. Lou Adler, CEO of The Adler Group (a recruiting firm) conducted a survey in 2016 that shows that 85% of those looking for a job (either actively or passively) have secured one by networking.
If you network, and you are looking to change your stars for whatever the reason, you will have a much higher chance of securing a position through a network.
Of course, there is an entire world inside of the phrase “building a network.” I can tell you definitively that there is more to building a network for a job then friending, liking, or following people. There’s an art and a science to it – and there is a wrong way to do it.
The Right Way to Build Networking Relationships
A fascinating article in Harvard Business Review by Brian Uzzi and Shannon Dunlap, points out, what I believe is a critical component in building a useful network; the proximity principle.
This principle can be defined as:
“Workers prefer to populate their networks with the people they spend the most time with, such as colleagues in their department.”
Or to put it another way: if you a marketer in say, the medical industry, and you seek out other marketers in the medical industry, you are doing yourself a massive disservice. What ends up happening is you build a network that is flat, and non-diverse, leaving you with few opportunities to expand or grow in other areas.
Instead, what you should do, is to put an emphasis on those activities in which you have a personal investment in. Those activities will lead you to others who have a shared interest. For example (and shameless plug here), instead of seeking those in marketing who have the same industry or line of work, hop into the MarketingHive community and connect with someone who say, does event marketing for the retail industry. Or find out what their outside work interests are…do they share an interest in sports? Have a hobby or play an instrument? Maybe have a passion for a specific type of charity?
Seek these people out and cultivate conversations with them. Besides MarketingHive, you’ll find this across the board for any community or social media group. You will grow, but better yet, your network will enhance naturally in quality as you continue to pursue these relationships. Be passionate about the things you care about. You will find others who share your passion…and when the time comes for your survival (job) to become the forefront of discussion, you’ll find a strong community of people who are more likely to reach out and connect you to who they know.
Bonus: Professional Networking Tips
Below is a table listing out some actionable tips you can immediately go out and implement both online and off to create a dynamic network.