You and I have been told over and over, “Who you know is as important as what you know.” But did you know your casual acquaintances are more of an asset to marketing your business than your closest associates and friends?

Let’s think about it. The people close to us generally know the same people we do. Neighbors, friends, colleagues, vendors, and the list goes on. Of the people you know well, how many of them seem to know everyone? Likely just a few always say, “I know a person you should get in touch with for such and such” no matter what subject. Your friend may not know the person well, but they know of them. This friend or business colleague of yours has been coined a “connector” by Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Tipping Point.”

Connectors are the people involved with multiple groups with dissimilar or loosely tied interests; different groups with significantly different networks. Connectors have a knack for casually meeting dozens of people every week due to their diverse interests. Somehow they keep a mental note of all these people and stay in loose contact with them. When a need arises, they always know whom to call.

You don’t necessarily need to be a “connector” yourself – it’s more of a natural talent than learned trait – but you should seek out connectors. They should be the first ones you contact when marketing a new product or service. If you have a marketing associate on your staff, ask them to create a short-list of connectors they know. It is likely one or two of your clients are connectors. Take them to lunch once a month or quarter and make sure they have a clear understanding of your target market and goals for 2006.

Networking isn’t limited to the people you know well. Studies show that the majority of people find new jobs through casual contacts. Can the same be said for new business? Yes, but there is more to the story. Malcolm Gladwell does a good job of explaining the concept in his book “Tipping Point.” It’s a good read and a timely read if you’re preparing your 2006 marketing plan at this time.

Tipping Point