Sunday, September 10, 2006

Forget Football. Networking Season Begins!

It’s going to be a big week, lot’s going on and networking season has officially entered into full swing. It’s amazing to me how intense networking is in this town. People may think that football and the Redskins are the top sport in DC, but I disagree. Really, it’s networking.

I’ve already been to two networking events in three days, including IAC’s black tie last night (which was outstanding). As I look at my calendar, I already have three to four events scheduled for every week for the rest of the month. Now that’s happening.

Part of my strategy is to create frequency at organizations that I’ve identified as my main areas for reaching out to the business community. It’s better to become known within a community by giving, being of service than to appear as a one off and then disappear for 6 months By giving, bringing value and becoming a part of the community, people come to know you and eventually want to work with you.

This is the way of attraction rather than promotion. It’s a Zen thing. Yes, you get leads sometimes, but that is not my daily goal at networking events. You might call it the paradox of networking. Like Gitomer says, I don’t even necessarily want to connect with you at an event. On the contrary, I want you to feel compelled to contact me because of what my personal and company’s relationship powers offer you and your organization.

It’s still early in my career as a CEO, but I’d like to be there in the next few years. At this point, all of my business comes from my network, no cold calls.

OK, enough of that. Let’s build some marketing value for those that peruse the page. Here’s a great blog entry that my client forwarded to me on Web. 2.0 marketing. It’s a great piece authored by Eric Sink called “How to get people talking about your product.” It really kind of puts a kaibash on marketing web 2.0 props for the sake of web 2.0 props. He’s right on.

Here’s my take on it. The truth about products is that buzz truly begins with a great product. If there’s nothing to market, than PR, e-Marketing (versions 1.0 and 2.0) and whatever other traditional direct and adverting tactics deployed will fail. To paraphrase Ogilvy, advertising does two things. It makes great products sell faster, and bad products fail quicker.

My blogging advertising client got some interesting leads. I also picked up a copy of DC Modern Luxury, and ideal source of advertising leads for these guys. We’ll see what develops over the week.

Here are this week’s quotes:

"Companies should identify and work closely with key members of the industry infrastructure. I believe that 10 percent of the people in an industry strongly influence the other 90 percent. If a company can win the hearts and minds of the most important 10 percent its market positioning is assured."
-Regis McKenna

"More business decisions occur over lunch and dinner than at any other time, yet no MBA courses are given on the subject."
- Peter Drucker


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