The way we communicate is evolving and, as a consequence, so is the way we network. Traditional networking events and business card exchanges have lost popularity to a newer concept: relaxed and informal meet-ups and online communities.
Exchanging ideas; having meaningful conversations
The networking of today is aimed at providing senior marketers with a community where they can exchange ideas and have meaningful conversations. Such resources are particularly useful to marketers from small businesses, as it is oftentimes difficult for them to seek advice in their own workplace. Nonetheless, informal breakfasts or lunch meetings are becoming increasingly welcoming to marketers from businesses of all sizes.
A successful example of this form of marketing can be seen at companies like The Ortus Club, a marketing agency that leads knowledge-sharing discussions and roundtables for the C-level all over the world. The company has organised hundreds of networking events over the past few years. While traditionally these events would take place over a three-course meal, they have now transitioned to the virtual medium. The Ortus Club plans to adopt a hybrid model in the future, aimed at combining the best aspects of the physical and digital world.
Turning to online communities
Whilst physical events might be on pause for the rest of the year, marketers worldwide still rely on the uninterrupted support found on online communities such as Online Geniuses on Slack.
Originally conceived as a Skype group, this expanding community already counts with over 15,000 participants worldwide. These invite-only, intimate forums offer the possibility to maintain anonymity, allowing marketers to keep their identities private and therefore protecting their brands’ reputation.
Online communities are also accelerating the democratisation of the networking process. In recent years, the idea that only people from a certain background could take part in insightful discussions has, thankfully, become obsolete. Online platforms have helped women build community and support networks intended not only to grow their businesses but also to connect with fellow female marketers in a way that goes beyond potential profit.
A shared vision and mutual support
Traditionally, participating in a networking event would aim to sell one’s brand or strictly foster professional relationships, sometimes to the extent of being merely transactional. However, new meet-ups and marketing events attract participants with a genuine interest in the topic that are also open to personal development. Furthermore, these types of events enable individuals to connect not merely to do business, but on a more personal level. The focus has shifted from being purely profit-based to a strong desire for professionals to support their peers and help everyone succeed.
The future of networking events is a shared vision and mutual support. By extension, the way marketers relate to their audiences will also be more personal, more connected, and focused on the mutual benefits of their relationship. Through means such as ultra-targeted advertising, interactive videos, social media, and instant messaging, the marketers of the future are committed to establishing veritable authentic relationships.