“Industry networking”. You either loved it or you hated it, but the chances are if you’re working in a marketing agency you’re probably not doing it right now. Which is a shame, because it was always seen as a good way to get on in your career, to find new business for your agency and to have a good time; ideally at somebody else’s expense. But, just because you can no longer do it the old fashioned way, ie, at an event or in a bar with a drink in your hand, agency staff should not give up on it and should now find ways to do it online instead.
Of course, if you loved industry networking, it was a ball. Meeting new people and exchanging ideas, if not business cards or even telephone numbers, it was a way to impress your bosses and get on. And if you were really good at it you could make a career of it, as some old school ‘business development executives’ did.
If you hated it, then industry networking was a real chore. Standing around with people that you had no interest in, waiting for an opportunity to get away and trying to understand why so many people have so few social skills.
We can all remember times when we’ve been stuck with someone who just talked about himself (And yes, it usually was a ‘he’.)
With the entire country working from home these last few months, industry networking has fallen to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list. But now may be the time to get it out, dust it off and do it again.
Here’s three reasons why.
- Like most things, personal networks degrade over time and go stale. Now is the time to spring clean them, update them and be ready to use them again with a vengeance.
- People buy from people and buyers of anything – especially agency services – need to feel that they know something about who they’re buying from. But if you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile or used any of your social media channels recently the chances are you’re not providing a sufficiently accurate description of yourself.
- In the absence of commuting, the last six months should have given everyone an opportunity not just to get fitter, to lose weight and to repaint the shed, but also to have read more widely about developments in the industry, to have acquired new skills, and potentially, to hold new points of view. It’s important that everybody that you come into contact with now (either face to face or online) sees the ‘new you’.
Industry networking is just too important to go away and although few will miss drinking warm white wine or flat beer its time for us all to bring it back to life.
Simon Quarendon is a veteran marketer and communicator with a career spanning nearly 40 years. He has bought, built, sold, rescued, led and mentored just about every kind of creative communications agency in existence and run global accounts for the best in the world. Today, Simon runs the business end of Selbey Anderson, working across the group to make sure clients get the best and the agencies all prosper.