In our line of work, I believe that a strong network is required for you to be great at your job. It will help you get the best deals and stretch that already limited marketing budget of yours.
Let me explain. A few months ago, I wanted to shoot a video for a tactical digital campaign. I briefed the digital agency and they came back to me with a bill of multiple millions of naira.
For a small 30sec video that will lose relevance after 2-3 days? Ain’t no way! It wasn’t like I didn’t have the money, but why exactly am I going to spend so much on this when I there are so many other brilliant ideas to execute before the year runs out? The “no” flew out of my mouth so fast Lol. Then I remembered an industry connection of mine who even though has never approached us to offer videography services has a studio with pretty good content output.
I placed a call to him, and I negotiated a cost to shoot the video that’s 80% less than the agencies cost! I linked him with my agency to do the work and the output was very good and they delivered right on time. This was an ‘aha’ moment for me.
See, as a brand manager you need to build your own personal network in the industry. Thinking about it now, all the superstar marketeers I’ve worked with have this in common; A power network that helps them get the best deals and a community they can tap great ideas from & execute on their brands. Everyone loves that staff/colleague with fire network! They are such a value addition.
You need to have fellow brand manager friends who you can call to tell you how much they pay for XYZ and who they go to get the best deals. You need to use your Instagram to search out up and coming brilliant creatives who are affordable. You need to open your eyes to opportunities for partnerships around you in order to maximize your minimum resources to come up with fabulous creative output if not your brand will keep getting the short end of the stick. Trust me, this is how the big guys do it.
Also, things aren’t as expensive as they look on the outside so please don’t be afraid to “price” things. In the first couple of years in my career in marketing, there were a lot of things I wanted to do but didn’t because I felt like my marketing budget was too small. Today, I’ve discovered that these things aren’t that expensive. There are a lot of things within your reach, but you won’t know if you don’t ask.
Besides just like your experience & knowledge, your network is something no employer can ever take from you; it’s yours to keep for life! Doesn’t that make it even more worthy of your investment?
This has influenced my current commitment to network far and wide within the industry and build relationships! So far, it’s working for me and I’m sure it will work for you too.
P.s for you to build this kind of network you’ve got to be willing and open enough to share with people as well (of course within reasonable limits, don’t go breaking your company’s confidentiality clause). Give so that you can receive and get into the habit of helping people. People are always eager to help those who help them.
Pro tip: Until you become a plug yourself, identify “plugs” and let them become your go-to. Connected individuals like to be asked for help trust me. Try this and watch how little by little you’ll become a hyper connected individual yourself. Just be sure to keep the relationships warm and be friendly in your approach. Never be transactional in your approach