Nothing Can Compete With A Strong Network…

Did your mum or dad ever tell you when you were growing up, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? To me this idea is proving more and more true as times change. Many successful business minds argue that your networth is equal to the quality of your network. It is no longer about having all the information in the world, or how many letters you have after your name but the people around you that can help you get where you want to go. Do you really think Richard Branson knows everything about running a company, or he just has access to a great team that does?

Nothing can beat the power of a ‘favour’ or a ‘personal recommendation’. Those that have built a quality network of people around them and take the time to maintain those relationships will always be more successful then those that simply expect things to come to them or use traditional approaches to get ahead.

An article by The Global Evolutionary Network (2012) compares a network to a fax machine. One fax machine has no real value but when multiple people are utilizing this piece of technology the value increases exponentially. This network effect is transformational. Unlike traditional economic theory, which is based upon scarcity (the traditional definition is the allocation of scarce resources); the network economy is just the opposite. The more you share the more you value what everyone in the network has!

“Networks are the gasoline of the future. No matter how beautiful your new automobile may be, without gasoline it goes nowhere. No matter how good your offering is, it will not succeed without a network. The deeper and wider your network, the faster your offering will be accepted and the less likely others will be able to copy it” (GEN, 2012). Look at companies like Facebook and Twitter they had to do no traditional marketing to promote their brand, they just relied on hubs (highly connected people) to pick up on what they were doing and share it. This has also been the case for companies like Asos.com, Amazon and other online businesses that completely relied on viral growth for their service. Start up companies are now approaching local known bloggers (influencers) to write about their business to tap into their networks. This is proving to be a more cost effective strategy then engaging in traditional forms of advertising.

Companies (and individuals) therefore need to start working on and maintaining their networks, and the introduction of the internet and social media has made it easier then ever before. The concept of leverage (ever more with ever less) is key when looking at the power of a network. How much easier would it be for a company to leverage off another company’s network through a personal recommendation from them(alliance/host ben) then it would be for them to spend money and time on running campaigns to promote themselves.

I don’t know if it’s just me but this concept appears to be the future. I have experienced it with life already with simple things such as finding someone to design up a logo or to help a friend get a job, it’s always easier to put something out to your network then it is researching and finding something yourself. Do you find that with increased advertising noise and marketing messages you are inclined to trust peer recommendations more? Or do you still base your decisions on ads? Or a combination of both? Would love to hear your views on this…

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12 comments

    • sammydoyle

      Thanks Lily, great article. Gotta love Branson :) It just makes so much sense though. To me, it’s so worth just putting yourself out there and meeting new people. You never know who a new contact might lead you to.

  1. emarketingsocial

    So true! These days you have to be out there and networking just to get your foot in the door with so many places and jobs. As you said, social media does help, but everyone knows everyone these days, it’s hard not to know what a top businessman like Branson is doing throughout the day when they tweet every five minutes!

    • sammydoyle

      Haha I know. It would be interesting to know how many of those guys actually use social media or it’s simply just their pr teams running it all for them.

  2. emarketingisinfashion

    I definitely think the flip side of the coin with social media is remembering who is in your network! I’m currently doing a boot camp in Whistler, and the coach is very active on social media and has ‘friended’ all members of the boot camp. If any of us slip up, and go out for a bender the night before, we need to be very careful not to get checked in at the local night club at 3am, before turning up to training at 6.30am! This is just one example, but especially when you blend your professional and personal networks, it becomes integral to your professional success to decide just HOW much of your personal life you want to share :)

  3. sammydoyle

    Hahaha that is so true Meg! That is the case with having your boss on Facebook too! Not always the best idea to check in at a nightclub at 3am and then call in sick the next morning. I’ve noticed a lot of people that have a large professional network are setting up a separate Facebook account for work and one for personal. Probably the best idea to keep things separate.

  4. kjolds

    Could not agree more! Networking is SO important and it applies to all different industries as well. I am definitely one to make use of my networks when I need to know something or somebody that can help me. Knowing that one of my peers is recommending a product or service is much more encouraging than an ad popping up on the side of my screen.

    • sammydoyle

      Thanks for the feedback :) Great to hear you are leveraging your networks too. I totally agree. Word of mouth is SO much more powerful especially when there is so much advertising noise out there now.

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