I’ve been out talking to a lot of people in my network.  These discussions have led to new introductions, which means I get to add more people to my network.  I started with about 120 people, and through conversations and links from friends I’m now approaching 300 people.  But does what you can measure really matter?

Measuring what matters was brought home today during a coffee with a friend.  Shawn listened to what I wanted in a new opportunity and told me to think about the perspective of the people I was talking to.  You see, for me, marketing is really fascinating.  It includes strategic aspects, content and thought leadership, go to market campaign planning and execution, social media, direct mail and so much more.  But what a lot of people think of when they think of marketing is:  lead generation.   Many people define it very narrowly.  Shawn suggested that I talk about wanting to take on a role of Growth Officer – which might include sales and marketing, but which is a more expansive idea.

Shawn turned the entire conversation around.  Rather than talk about what you want, think about what the listener hears and how they position what you say.  While I have a broad and interesting definition of marketing, others may have a more narrow definition and may not value the work as much as I do.  Find out what they value that you can do.  Of course this is good sales procedure, and sometimes I forget that I’m “selling” my experience, my knowledge and my passion.

What’s all that got to do with numbers in the network?  Shawn wasn’t the first person to tell me to rethink how I positioned myself in marketing.  Others had said the same thing. One member of my network suggested that I pitch myself as a COO.  Another encouraged me to highlight my sales leadership experience.  What several of them were saying, perhaps without saying it directly, is that while I think marketing is a valuable capability and important in many settings, the people I’m meeting with may have a more narrow view of what marketing is and the value it delivers.

I think the old (marketing) adage is that you have to repeat a message 5-7 times before it is heard and understood.  I think that’s why talking to your network and actually listening is so vital to finding the next passion.