Stacy Cornay: Who do you know?
I asked for help. The response has been overwhelming. I was hoping to find someone to help me with a specific family problem. I’m not the type to ask for help, and at first I wasn’t sure where to turn. I didn’t want to post it on social media, but I knew there were potential answers to my question waiting to be found. What did I do? I sent a request, via email, to people who I thought could help me locate what I was looking for.
The result was almost instantaneous. I was provided with names and contact details, links and organizations to consult, as well as a lot of support and encouragement. I had exchanges with people whom I had not heard from for a long time, thus renewing our relations. I’ve also heard from people I don’t know at all. My message was passed on to them and they wanted to help. Soon after, I had people all over the area shaking the bushes to help me find what I was looking for.
You may ask, what does this have to do with marketing? The answer is, everything. My example encompasses all of the components needed for networking at its best. And networking should be a key part of any good marketing strategy.
Knowledge sharing is networking. It is important to understand the two basic types of networking that traditionally take place. Networking to gather information about people, businesses, organizations, or what is more commonly known as referrals or referrals, is one type. This type of networking is initiated by those who wish to locate specific products, services or information. The knowledge shared in this type of exchange tends to be formed through direct experience or reputation.
The second type of networking occurs when individuals, businesses, or organizations intentionally take the necessary steps to achieve and maintain priority awareness among their clients, clients and the public so that they are identified when opportunities arise. All networking involves sharing and developing reputation, personal experience and notoriety in the market.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Character is like a tree, and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. People want to be associated with others of good character, of good reputation. So it’s no wonder that many companies, organizations and individuals spend so much time considering their character, their reputation.
Nothing speaks louder than experience. This is true for both positive and negative experiences. Much of our credibility relates to how others perceive our products and services. This is why testimonials and reviews receive so much attention. They can make or break a business.
Creating and maintaining a general awareness about your organization and what it has to offer never stops. Advertising and marketing is certainly part of this process. Priority Awareness is defined as the first brand that comes to mind when a customer is asked a spontaneous question about a category, and is often at the center of these efforts.
I received a lot of different answers to my question. However, several websites were mentioned more than once. Most of the people referring me to websites had personal experience. Others referred them to me because of their good reputation.
Several people were also mentioned. Interestingly enough, an organization and an individual have reached the top. I have spoken with the person mentioned and I am now moving forward with a plan in mind.
Networking is an investment. It takes time and, when done correctly, can yield great results for years to come. Don’t let it slip.
Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising. She can be reached at 303-651-6612; [email protected]; www.comm-concepts.com; Facebook.com/Concepts of communication; Twitter @CommConceptsPR; or LinkedIn.