During my 25+ years in the marketing industry I've seen firsthand how fast-paced the field is and how industry trends come and go with a blink of an eye. I've also had the pleasure of connecting with some of the brightest minds in the industry which has enabled me to sharpen my marketing skills. For this reason, I recommend to anyone working in the marketing side of commercial real estate to be constantly networking with a variety of industry professionals.
Here are some ways networking can be valuable in improving marketing strategies:
1. Stay on top of the most recent trends in CRE
Attending events like the ICSC MOCIAL conference or, most recently, Shoptalk (http://Shoptalk.com) has given me the opportunity to interact with some incredible people. Sometimes there's a lag associated with the content posted on blogs or featured in publications, so getting your information from the source is a great way to stay ahead. The best way that I've been able to keep up with the trends in the industry is to talk with experts in the field.
2. Get inspired by a variety of views and opinions
Creativity and innovation are important components that make up a successful marketer, regardless of the industry. There have been times when I felt like I needed creative inspiration and I needed to look at things from a new perspective. Going to meet-and-greets and other CRE-related events enabled me to talk with people from all walks of life, look at things differently, and formulate a balanced marketing plan moving forward.
3. Boost your company image
Going to networking events and talking to people has also done wonders for our brand image. A lot of people want to put a face and personality to your brand. Networking allows them to do this. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a number of wonderful people in the industry that I met through professional gatherings, only to develop lifelong friendships later.
My biggest piece of advice for people looking to grow as a marketer is to spend time networking. You may not get immediate results, but you’ll be rewarded down the road. You get to build your contact base and a group of resources to share ideas.
How to Network?
People ask me all the time, “Where do you do your networking?”
Participating on industry committee and panels have been invaluable to build my network. Currently I serve on the International’s Council of Shopping Centers’ CRX Committee (ICSC) where members are from all disciplines. In addition, teaching at the University of Shopping Centers has enabled me to collaborate with people from all over the world.
Industry functions are also great places to network. You're interacting with like-minded professionals with the similar goals. If you are working in CRE, one good place to do this is the ICSC RECon conference, which will take place in Las Vegas in May. This conference draws more than 37,000 attendees from across the world who are looking to network, do deals and improve their understanding of real estate. It’s a perfect place to meet innovative people in CRE and improve your marketing skills.
Will I see you there?