Networking is integral to effective marketing strategies, and both B2B and B2C marketers need this skill to increase revenue and brand awareness. Here are ways to test and refine your networking savvy.

It's time to get social, and I don't mean on Facebook.

Let's face it - in the world of B2B marketing, creating strong relationships with potential buyers is the name of the game. In a world where virtually every SAAS (software as a service) has at least 20 top tier competitors and margins can't get any more slim, any smart B2B marketer will tell you that the strength of the relationship very well could be because the USP (unique selling proposition) seals the deal. Creating this USP often results from good, strong, and frequent networking.

In the world of B2C, creating strong B2C relationships is also key. We label these efforts as "creating brand ambassadors." Within most large B2C companies there are just too many customers to cost efficiently create personal one on one relationships with each of them. I'm not talking about CRM - I'm talking about picking up the phone or having lunch with each person.

For this reason, many B2C marketers often overlook the power of networking (unless they are looking for a job).

Silly B2C Marketers! You Are Leaving So Much Money on the Table.

Networking is a critical marketing skill and tool that many people overlook. They get too busy at work or too busy at home and just can't find the time to invest in it. But for those who are skilled networkers, it pays dividends not just in creating personal brand equity, but in driving core business results as well.

Here's how it's done:

  1. The first step is determining if you are a good networker: Take this quiz from CNN (Read more...) and find out.
  2. Next  make a list of your top three marketing KPIs and goals. Then commit to networking with five new people a month who can help you reach your goals. These networking targets could be vendors, thought leaders, peers, or even customers. Whoever they are, do it and you will see the level of strategy in your campaign improve significantly.
  3. List your name and contact info on three forums that your customers frequent each month with a plea for feedback. Virtual networking is as good as in person in some cases. For marketers who network, the results will show it. When there is a need for a new innovative idea, help in a crunch, or just some solid stable support, your network will be there for you. In some cases, they might even pull you through a tough time.

Ready to Prove Your Networking Net Worth?

Share this article on your favorite social channels. Send it to three people you network with, and I predict your business results will show improvement within the next 30 days as a result. The ideas you create and learnings you pick up will astound you - it all starts with a nice, "Hello." 

Need some inspiration? Follow some of my favorite networking rock stars (and friends):

You will be glad you did.

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