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12 Boosts for Marketing Relationships

Marketing is all about connections — here’s how to strengthen yours in 2024

December’s chill is in the air and your to-do list is a mile high. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays! But not only do family and friends enrich experiences … your business colleagues also make your work more meaningful and prosperous.

AMA Philadelphia asked CMOs and other marketing leaders for fun, simple, and creative ways to deepen and nurture their business friendships throughout the coming year.

#1 Embrace Competition

“Networking with peers is your most powerful tool as a business owner. Embrace ‘competition.’ Turn potential rivals into allies through a shared abundance mindset. Understand there is enough success to go around, and you can achieve more by working together. Such connections open doors for growth and future opportunities. Let your network foster a supportive community to catapult your business to even greater heights!” ~ Gresham Harkless, Founder of Blue 16 Media

#2 Send New Year Wishes That Stick

“Showcase the human side of your business. Go beyond the typical end-of-year video summary. Video is not only to broadcast promotional messages or tidbits of wisdom, but also to send out personalized New Year wishes to your clients and contacts. Video has proven to be stickier and more memorable than a quick text-based email. In my experience, customized videos get a better response rate than just another email.” ~ Seth Goldstein, Principal Creative Director, Goldstein Media LLC

#3 Be Curious and Go Deeper

“Care about what your prospect is doing, wants, or is trying to do. Ask genuine questions to get a clearer picture of what they need. From that genuine place of caring and curiosity, you can offer your skills and talents that best fit their needs. They will feel heard and seen — the cornerstones of trust and building new relationships.” ~ Cari Lemon, Take Flight Consulting Services, LLC

#4 Create A Client-Centric Signature Marketing Strategy 

“Let your client be your guiding star. Craft your strategy with them at its core. Be like a chef who selects the finest ingredients for a signature dish to flourish with a personalized journey. Select platforms that genuinely serve their needs. Infuse with ‘speaking-their-language flavor’ and anticipating their needs. From the first step, let them lead, and together create a success story worth sharing!” ~ Gresham Harkless, Founder of Blue 16 Media

#5 Surprise and Delight

“‘Hide the ‘Easter eggs.’ Surprise and delight clients by going beyond what they asked for. Add a little extra something to a project. This can be as simple as animating a design you’re creating; including customer testimonials that you find without them asking; researching something about their company or prospects to show that you’re paying attention; coming up with ideas that can take extra work off their hands; or any other way to do something small that will surprise them and make them excited to continue working with you.” ~Bonnie Fanning, Freelance Copy and Content Writer

#6 Give Back Together

“Invite your customers to join you in giving back. If your customers are local, host a volunteer day where your company arranges everything with the charitable organization and all your customers get to do is show up.” ~Ann Gynn, G-Force Communication, Founder and Consultant 

#7 Solidify New Relationships

“Follow up and follow through. After your initial conversations, follow up when you say you are going to. If hired, follow through. Go beyond what you’ve agreed to. Deliver before the deadline and delight your clients by going a little bit above and beyond. When done authentically, it helps your company stand out from the crowd because it shows that you care!” ~Cari Lemon, Take Flight Consulting Services, LLC

#8 Connect with Clients and Coworkers

“Make time and effort to connect outside of a project. It’s easy to let work priorities take over when interacting with colleagues. Deepening relationships requires time and effort to get to know others. Having a virtual happy hour where work topics are not permitted can pay dividends when the going gets tough during work matters. Planned activities keep things light, fun, and not awkward. Keep it simple and casual, allowing for side chats. Give it a theme, where everyone has to wear a hat or use their favorite meme for their background [if it’s a virtual event]. This helps keep it light and intentionally not focused on work. Some of my favorites are Jackbox Games (an interactive, no-pressure trivia game that everyone can enjoy whether they participate or just watch) and Two Truths, One Lie (give a heads up so they can prepare in advance). ~Diana Cameron, Product Experience & Project Management Consultant

#9 Replace Office Gifts

“Replace gifts with a charitable donation. A lot of companies don’t gather in an office. But don’t just tell them the nonprofit to which you’re donating, let them pick from a list of five to 10 that represent varied initiatives and audiences. You could do a virtual survey and donate based on the individual’s pick, not a companywide choice.” ~Ann Gynn, G-Force Communication, Founder and Consultant 

#10 Be Memorable and Stay Top of Mind

“Find an object that relates to your client’s project. We sent a blue glass heart paperweight after a very successful campaign on the signs a woman might experience before a heart attack (different from men). Coincidentally, my mother-in-law read the article and after a visit with her doctor had a stent put in.”~Nicole Bergstrom, Nicole B Writing, UX Content Writer, Johns Hopkins, Holistic Medicine Copywriter

#11 Deepen Relationships 

“Be a good listener and remember what people say. Pay attention with curiosity and show genuine interest. Keep the needs of your network in mind and go out of your way to share resources and anything helpful (blog posts, links, even referrals).” ~Ilise Benun, Business Coach and Marketing Mentor, Author, Keynoter

#12 Add Audience Influence Sources

“Your audience’s biggest sources of influence might be ones you’re missing. Are you including marketing channels such as these: Email newsletters, private Slack communities, Subreddits, niche websites, podcasts, YouTube channels, industry press and media? Step one is to figure out what their biggest influences are. Conduct customer interviews. Use digital audience research tools. Step two is to engage in those tactics to reach them. Use manual targeted outreach, networking, comarketing pitches, and newsletter or media sponsorship.”~Rand Fishkin, Founder of Moz and Co-founder of SparkToro

Lynda Dell is the AMA Philadelphia blog editor and content strategist. She transforms complex, jargon-ridden, unfocused subject matter into clear compelling copy for B2B, K-12 EdTech, and nonprofits that consumers trust and love and Google rewards. When not writing and developing content, you can find her exploring the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton Township, NJ, going on nature hikes, and binging on personal development podcasts.

Marketers agree, networking is vital — especially in person. Looking for a great place to connect in the New Year? Check out AMA Philly’s event calendar and save the date for some amazing upcoming events!