This blog comes from highly respected FMCG marketing specialist Phil Toms. Formerly Marketing Director of Charles Wells and Marketing Controller at Nestle, Phil now runs 47 Marketing dedicated to helping brands, business and agencies deliver impactful marketing.

Alex and I go back a good few years to when we first discussed an opportunity he was representing. After much discussion, I chose not to pursue it further but since then we have kept in contact and followed each other’s progress particularly recently since we both established our respective start-ups. My assumption is that if you are reading this little article you are in some way connected to Mr Carter and are considering an opportunity to explore new openings. What follows is not a sales pitch for Alex though it’s fair to say if you are ‘looking’ he’s a pretty decent fella to have on your team and you could be doing a lot worse than exploring some of the roles he’s currently representing!

 

My own background was until about six months what you would call ‘classically blue chip’ and a year or so ago I was busy getting tucked into a brand new year in my role as Marketing Director at Charles Wells brewery in Bedford leading the marketing programme on brilliant beer brands such as Bombardier, McEwan’s and Estrella Damm. Prior to that, I’d had a fantastic twelve years within Cereal Partners (Nestle/General Mills JV) and had led work which I’m very proud to be associated with including the Knitted by Nana’s Shreddies campaign, Nestle Wholegrain and a raft of other initiatives. So, why a year later have I kicked that all into touch and pursued my own path? The truth is I had a wake-up call and realised I needed a change of direction (if you are particularly interested I wrote a blog to this effect which can be found on my linked in profile) and I stepped off the corporate hamster wheel and kicked off my own marketing consultancy.

 

Does this give me any right to be an expert on networks? No, probably not more than the next man/woman but I will be honest, when you are facing into your own start-up and every pound is a prisoner you quickly appreciate the value of a strong network. Discreetly (or maybe not!) I’ve been busy building up my LinkedIn network over the last few years. Having been privileged to work and lead a number of great brands over the years I’ve been fortunate to make contact with some great people either via direct contact (which typically should translate in my book into a LinkedIn contact) or via indirect contacts who have had a relevance to myself. This nurtured wider network has given me a great platform to help establish my own consultancy 47 Marketing (why 47? Visit my website and read the blurb or just roll with the idea that 47 has some meaning to me!). In truth, LinkedIn has been a key platform for me to drive awareness of my proposition and build further networks and opportunities. In fact, two recent pieces of project work can be directly attributed to my LinkedIn network which makes the ROI massively effective!

 

Modern technology clearly creates ‘networks’ at an ever increasing rate – WhatsApp groups anyone? LinkedIn groups? Facebook groups? The list is growing and appear endless. In truth, whilst electronic networks and particularly in the case of business opportunities – LinkedIn are really important, I’m a passionate believer in the need to ensure underpinning everything is the strength of quality human networks, those that don’t rely on being clicked and ‘liked’. Unpick the modern business interaction and at its core remains good old fashioned human contact in some form or other (though e-mail is doing its best to ruin that too….) For me, longstanding and effective relationships are born out of trust and commitment to deliver and some of the business-critical parts of my own network can be traced back many years.

 

So, why these musings? Alex very kindly offered me the chance to scribble down some thoughts on relevant topics to share on his own website. I’m certainly not technically qualified to offer any particular advice but fundamentally I believe at the heart of this topic is common sense. If you are looking to move on then a network to create openings is critical, to support you on the journey (sounds a bit X-Factor) and to validate your capabilities are all important and without them, it’ll make it tougher. I’d advocate a good look at what your own LinkedIn profile, recommendations, CV etc. etc. say about you. As someone who for many years was in the fortuitous position of making decisions on people recruitment I feel I am well qualified to say that the bar is getting higher all the time and working your network hard for your own benefit is surely common sense…….

 

Good luck!

 

Phil Toms established 47 Marketing in the autumn of 2015 to help brands, businesses and agencies deliver effective and impactful marketing. You can find out more about Phil on his LinkedIn profile or on his website www.47marketing.co.uk