Four Reasons for Marketers to Attend Networking Events

The first networking events I attended as an outside sales representative? Not a recipe for success: a handful of business cards in my back pocket and a quota I could not reach. It forced to me to sell rather than build relationships.

Fast forward fifteen years and I look fondly back at those days. Mainly because I learned, while networking events can be an outlet for generating leads, it can also have a positive impact on promotional outreach.

Here are a few reasons why marketers should add networking events to their monthly to do list.

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Cross A New Path

I write this knowing we all have different marketing plans, customers, and objectives. At times, it makes much more sense to dig deep and get work completed in the office. Let’s say you have an upcoming email newsletter which includes a survey. It’s hard getting folks to respond and if you’re like me, you may offer an incentive to your recipient to complete: a gift card or complimentary service. Use networking events to uncover local promotional partners who may want to provide a complimentary gift certificate, in exchange for marketing exposure in your next email newsletter or the survey landing page. It’s a great way to support local businesses too!

Social Contract

Staff photos, articles related to your industry, your own company blog – all the things on my mind at the moment? Sure, and it’s also great content for social media platforms. What about photos from the events you attend? I always try to snap a few, post to social media platforms, and ‘tag’ the venue and association who hosted the event. Chances are they will “like” or “share” your content or even better, post a ‘thank you’ comment. The share generates exposure for your firm and provides your event host content that can be distributed to their network. It’s a “win-win.”

Tune into Your Team

One of my favorite aspects of attending events – I pick up on how sales representatives pitch services, including terms they use, and make a mental note for future website content. According to Content Marketing Institute, 66% of marketers use in person events as part of their ongoing content strategy. At times, prospects at events hint at what drove them crazy about their last vendor, providing blog post ideas or thoughts on improving our product pages. No, I am not encouraging eavesdropping!  Network the event together and chances are you will be part of at least one conversation that evening (or during the lunch or breakfast event.)

Buffer Zone

Part of my role is providing inbound leads to our business development team. Sometimes there are folks more apt to talk with a marketing contact than sales representative, and vice-versa. Yep, you might be a buffer, or as Morty Seinfeld would say: you need a buffer, Jerry! It’s not a bad strategy though. If the prospect is remotely interested in our services, I offer to make an email introduction, copy the sales representative and send our latest client project. It also provides an opportunity to send a direct email with the next lunch & learn we are hosting and impact attendance. (Shameless plug: Cushing hosts a lunch and learn in July on website conversion optimization.)

By no means is this list exhaustive, but hopefully it provides a couple of ideas and thoughts on incorporating networking into your ongoing outreach. Ok, your turn:

We’d love to hear more about how you are using networking events as a part of your marketing or promotional efforts?

Jon Davis guest blogs for SMPS Chicago and is in the marketing department at Cushing. A display graphic company that offers items such as custom window decals, they moved in June to their new shop location at 213 West Institute Place, in River North.

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