8 Simple Steps to Personal Networking

Erich's Email Network

Here are some simple steps you can take to start easy, and create a habit of expanding the value of your network by bridging gaps.

  1. Make a list of everyone you have exchanged email with in the past month [gmail search]
  2. Add to your list some personal notes: what they do for a living, their likes, hobbies, etc.
  3. Re-read through your list so it is fresh in your mind
  4. Start at the top of your list, and think of one other person that person could benefit from knowing
  5. If there is no immediate need for the two to know each other, find some bit of information particular to the two of them based on their job, interests, hobbies etc.
  6. Send the info to both of them at the same time, and ask a question you want to know the answer to.  Don’t forget to tell them why you’re asking both of them. Dear Scuba experts, my brother-in-law is looking for a new XYZ, what is your experience with this model… If you can’t think of a question you genuinely want to know, just send the info and the reason why you think they’d both find it useful.
  7. Under each person in your notes, record you have connected the two of them, when it was, and what the topic was.
  8. Done with your list?  Great!  Add another month’s email to your list, and repeat.

Continue reading “8 Simple Steps to Personal Networking”

Demographics Fail

We forget, now that our reach is wide, that all purchasing is done by individuals.  Since we don’t know the individuals, and locating and selling to each and every one of them (us) is too expensive, we developed marketing to help us select the people, the individuals, most likely to purchase whatever we are selling.  We do that by carving up the population into demographic segments.  We do that by creating images and messages our testing tells us will appeal to those demographics.  As you noted, I am using the word “demographics” loosely – as it can just as easily mean single white 18-24 year-old men when selling video games, as it can mean general practitioners in the rural parts of beef exporting states when selling Lipitor.

759460300_63ca1caac9_mBut, why is this important?  Demographics provide us with statistically probable individuals.  Using these expected values are a great way for describing groups, but the value breaks down when talking about individuals.  We all know the story about the man who drowns crossing the river that is, on average, six inches deep.

The second failing in demographics is the pure focus on the individuals.  If the goal of sales and marketing is to convince individuals to take action (purchase, vote, visit, etc.), demographics alone does not provide the context under which we, as social animals, make decisions.

The number one factor that we as consumers use in making purchase decisions in consumer packaged goods, automotive, everything is our peers.  The younger we are, the better demographics reflect our peers, but that starts to break down rapidly once we leave school and enter the work force.

One place where we, as marketers, do a great job taking peer context into account is children’s toys.  Think about how they are advertised.  Is the latest and greatest StarBot 7000 action figure advertised with a static image of the figure with a voiceover talking about the high durability injection molded plastic construction and the die cast elbows capable of withstanding 30,000 hours of continuous play in -40°C conditions?  No, they show bunch of kids running around having a great time with the StarBot.  Children do not have long-standing deep networks of peers, so advertisers create a potential peer group in the advertisements.  Even as children get older, more media savvy, and create deeper relationships with their peers, all parents will recognize the plaintive cry of, “But, Billy has one!” Continue reading “Demographics Fail”