***I wrote this post and then the headline of this article. I realized that there is a connection in my brain the word "stranger" and the show Perfect Strangers. I think nostalgia always wins + Balki cracked me up as a kid.
“How’s the new job going?”
This has been the top question that I’ve fielded from family, friends, and professional connections over the last month.
I appreciate the curiosity from others. I feel lucky to have people interested enough in the work that I’m doing every day to want to know more about it.
On the other hand I’m always very overwhelmed with having to respond to this question through text, DM, Zoom, and even in real life.
Saying it’s “good” just sucks.
Going into too much detail can lead to blank stares or exchanges ending with a simple smash of the 👍 button.
I needed to reflect and prepare a response. It needed to do two things:
- Let them know that I was really enjoying the never ending enigma that was my new role
- Share a reason why I was enjoying waking up every day for work
I had been on a 6 year “talk with marketers every day” hiatus and I was back.
That’s what excited me about the space I was in.
Meeting with other marketers.
Creating content with other marketers.
It wasn’t just meeting new marketers that got me fired up. It was how I was meeting them.
The special connection between marketers has remained and quite frankly it was stronger than ever.
My new fascination with this space was identifying all of the new places where these creative, driven, strategic marketers were hanging out.
The intention for the remainder of this post is to show the enthusiasm that I have for my new role and share thoughts with B2B marketers on how meeting strangers who do marketing can make you a better marketer.
I can't stand networking.
I would consider myself extraverted in nature and still can’t bring myself to find value in dressing up, eating bad hors d'oeuvres, and creating a bunch of small talk with strangers.
I’m beginning to evaluate some of the strange benefits from being stuck in my house over the last 11 months glued to my screens.
One of them is the fact that I am not on the hook or obligated to network in real life.
It’s all social networking. I’m not only fine with it. I’m finding a lot more value in my work.
I traded in my over starched Oxford’s and small talk for hoodies and the occasional Slack message.
Who am I talking to?
Content marketers from all over the world.
In the last month I’ve met some of the most fascinating people in my entire life.
From Warsaw, Poland to Raleigh, North Carolina….content marketers are everywhere! (most will be episode of The 3C Podcast coming soon)
I’m not sure what happened in the last 6 years since I left my marketing community, but this willingness to meet and share knowledge was not a thing.
The marketing currency that can be acquired in 24 hours by being a little proactive online is insane.
Here are some things you should be doing to get in the game:
- Follow and engage other smart marketers on Twitter
There hasn’t been an account that I’ve enjoyed more since coming back into #MarketingTwitter than Ross Simmonds.
His ability to convey his thoughts on marketing in a way that is helpful is second to none.
Whenever he drops something profound I always try to engage and share my thoughts back.
Great social networkers respond back and create fans for life.
- Join Communities and Groups
I’ve talked about this one a lot, but it’s been the biggest game changer for me. Source your networks on communities that they belong to that are making a difference for them.
If you try to do this on your own you will probably end up in the wrong place and you’ll be hit with a screen asking for your credit card number.
You shouldn’t have to pay up front without seeing what is on the other side first.
There are plenty of communities that exist because there are companies like Superpath that find brand value in facilitating these conversations.
Ask your connections.
Don’t look back.
- Ask for referrals
Every great marketer that you meet is connected to other great marketers who you can learn from.
If you make a strong connection it’s ok to ask for introductions to “more people like you”.
What you will find is that the more consistent you are with meeting new people and creating mutually beneficial value the more organic referrals that you will receive.
I’ve been in B2B Marketing Social Networking training camp for the last month and I’m already seeing this take shape.
The more you give back the more you will get in return.
This will result in more knowledge that can better inform your content strategy, product decisions, and company culture.
Content Based Networking
The best part about being in the game of having a regular social networking cadence with other B2B marketers is the ability to turn those connections into content creation opportunities.
Last week I dropped a conversation with my former teammate, Katherine Martin on Content Based Networking.
The punchline of the strategy is this:
- Proactively create connections with people in your industry that have a point of view on topics that your company talks about in your content
- Offer up your platform (e.g. podcast, articles, digital events, etc.) to these individuals to allow their voice to be heard in front of your audience
- The result will be better content and potential interest in your product from these connections
I am a fan of this approach because it allows the marketer to create meaningful connections that are focused on content creation and not sales.
There is an element of trust that is developed when creating great content with people outside of your company. This trust can lead to future co-marketing opportunities, product feedback, or even new customers if done right.
All of these actions should never feel transactional.
Whether it’s social networking or content based networking it is on the marketer to create a coordinated experience that does two things:
- Builds brand equity with the people taking time out of their day to offer feedback or participate in your work
- Stand back and transform your connections into industry thought leaders...that’s of course if they aren’t already
The coordination around these activities can lead to amazing concepts that your entire company can rally around.
In 2013 I was a part of the ExactTarget acquisition by Salesforce. It was an incredible experience to go through that early in my career.
My greatest learning as a member of the Salesforce team was the importance of developing a campaign structure into everything you do as a marketer.
Your campaign should be a concept with a message that resonates with your customers and that your entire company can rally around.
I still think about being a part of the Salesforce campaigns team to this day.
I bring this up here because I think it’s important to consider how all of the industry connections and interaction you are making might be bubbled up into one message that can be the campaign that your company gets behind this quarter or year.
I am working on a campaign piece that will support the launch of our company.
It’s called, “B2B Marketing Sucks”.
It’s not meant just to be a provocative title to get your attention.
This sentiment is in the fabric and tone of every B2B content marketer that I have spoken with since joining the team.
This will be a campaign that I know the market can rally around and helps support the narrative that we will be taking to market.
I was closing out this post and decided to FaceTime my sister.
It’s her birthday. She’s 27 and does marketing, too.
After I got done asking her about her big day she asked me a question.
“How’s the new job going?”
I can’t wait to share this post with her. 💯
If you enjoy what we are doing we’d love for you to do a couple things: