By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: . You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

4 Tips for Finding Your Inner Circle: Show Notes & Transcript

Post | Oct 31, 2023

Welcome back to Marketing Smarts! From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini (that’s us) comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. We deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from our combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. We tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

In this episode, we’re talking how to find your inner circle. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and your other favorite podcast spots – follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re exercising your Marketing Smarts!

  • Episode Summary & Player
  • Show Notes
  • Marketing Smarts Summary
  • Transcript

Marketing Smarts: 4 Tips for Finding Your Inner Circle

You can’t achieve your goals – in work or life – without the support from others. Your inner circle makes a world of difference. Finding your inner circle comes down to coming up with criteria, creating a plan that breaks down how you’ll build your circle, deciding how you’ll continue to cultivate the inner circle you’ve built, and looking for ways to proactively support your inner circle. Follow these steps and you’ll have an amazing support system to help you achieve your dreams. This episode covers everything from creating a plan to leveraging your support system. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • How do you find your inner circle?
  • Why should you create a plan?
  • How do you come up with criteria for your inner circle?
  • Why should you look for ways to proactively support your inner circle?
  • How do you cultivate the inner circle you have built?
  • What does PR have in common with finding your inner circle?
  • Are pitches useful on LinkedIn?
  • What does North by Hotel Covington get right?

And as always, if you need help in building your Marketing Smarts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at:

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below:

Show Notes

  • 4 Tips for Finding Your Inner Circle
    • [0:00] Welcome to Marketing Smarts
    • [0:31] Anne Candido, April Martini
    • [0:41] How do you find your inner circle?
    • [2:08] Decide you’re going to focus on building your inner circle and come up with criteria
    • [10:56] Create a plan that breaks down how you’ll build your circle
    • [18:10] PR (Public Relations)
    • [18:39] Word-of-Mouth Marketing (WOM)
    • [21:26] Networking
    • [22:06] Do you want to stand out in your industry and get more sales? Show you’re different to attract and retain top talent? Build a brand that drives real business results? Grab your Brand Strategy Workbook at:
    • [22:45] Decide how you’ll continue to cultivate the inner circle you have built
    • [26:58] Podcast
    • [30:02] Look for ways to proactively support your inner circle
    • [36:24] LinkedIn
    • Marketing Smarts Moments

What is Marketing Smarts?

From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. They deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from their combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. They tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

How do I exercise my Marketing Smarts?

Thanks for listening to Marketing Smarts. Get in touch here to become a savvier marketer. 


Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.

Anne Candido 0:02
This is Marketing Smarts – a podcast committed to helping you become a savvier marketing leader, no matter your level. In each episode, we will dive into a relevant topic or challenge that marketing leaders are currently facing. We will also give you practical tools and applications that will help you put what you learn into practice today. And if you missed anything, don’t worry, we put worksheets on our website that summarize the key points. Now, let’s get to it.

April Martini 0:29
Welcome to Marketing Smarts.

Anne Candido 0:31
I am Anne Candido.

April Martini 0:32
And I am April Martini. And today we’re going to cover a topic that we’ve addressed as a subpoint and many of our other episodes. But one we’ve been coaching quite a lot lately. And that is four tips for finding your inner circle. If you listen to us regularly, you know, we constantly addressed the point that you simply cannot achieve your ultimate goals and work or really in life for that matter, without the support of others. When I was younger, this is an episode I wish I had access to because I had to learn the hard way that as a quote unquote hard charger, I was doing myself no favors by racing ahead only to turn around and see that nobody was behind me. So this episode is all about how to intentionally and really with care, build your inner circle so that you don’t have to learn the hard way like I did.

Anne Candido 1:17
Yeah. And I chuckled, because I think me and April had the same lives when we were growing up, I just did it on the corporate side, because I also was a hard charger. And you had to learn the hard way that you have to build this inner circle and really nurture it in order to make strides in your career and move up. And this is true even when you’re starting out. But it’s also true when you’re even in your career and as you mature through your career. So this is a good reminder, no matter where you are in your career, about how to cultivate those relationships. And make sure that we are intentional in doing that, because, as I like to say are like Jordan, Harbinger always says is like if you’re already thirsty, it is too late to build the well.

April Martini 2:01
Always with the good analogies. All right. So with that, let’s get into four tips for finding your inner circle. And the first one we have here is decide that you’re going to focus on building your inner circle and come up with some criteria for doing so. So you might be thinking about this point, like we’ll delve. But to the point of the intro, if we don’t make it an intention, it’s likely to never happen or result in situations where it’s too little too late. And just like anything else, we have to make things priorities in our minds first and then commit to them. Because as we all know, we have so much going on. And this is one of those softer or longer term things that we put on our list. But if we don’t have a way to attack it and get started, it might never leave that list. First, write it down that you are going to focus on building your inner circle, and then start to answer some questions like, why is this important to you? Or what role are you hoping it will serve? And then who should be part of this inner circle? And why these people? Why are they the ones that come into your head, while you’re doing that part of the exercise, start to think about how you’re going to prioritize those people. The other side of things and we’ll walk through how to not have this happen for you is you can sometimes try to take on too much. So when you’re thinking about this whole goal of building your inner circle and making that list, put it in order and then allow yourself to think through it as taking one off by one versus building it all one time, because we’ve seen that be a tremendous sticking point for people. And then when you’re thinking about criteria, as far as these people just to help you along that journey, you have to get clear on what role you want them to play. And this is not in a manipulative way. We’ve talked about this on the show before as well. I think when we say like set the criteria, or what role they’re gonna play, it almost feels like you’re using them as puppet tears or you’re trying to quote unquote, get your way. But really all of this exercise goes back to intentionality. And we would argue that this group of people should be a mix of the following people you admire that you want to learn from and learn how to emulate people that are peers and people that you can kind of support each other on the way up. So you’re part of an immediate inner circle and kind of the same quote unquote level or phase of where you are in your career. And then also people that might be below you in the quote unquote, pecking order, but you can use them to your benefit, but they can also use your support from the relationship as well and learning from you. So it kind of feels like three tiers. It’s like okay, here’s the people that live where I want to get to, here’s the ones that are in the group with me in the thick of it right now. And here’s the ones that I can influence and help while also bringing them along as part of my inner circle. Also, just one side note and then I’ll let Ian Come in here and the discussion, but sometimes you might need people in your circle that you haven’t historically jived with. So please keep that in mind, too, we’re not recommending you bring people in that you fundamentally just can never get aligned with or you don’t like each other every time you get together in a room, it’s like oil and water. But if you think about it objectively, to assess all sides, you really want to get back to picking the right people. And sometimes those contrarian opinions can actually be good, if they are constructive. And again, in an effort to build an inner circle, that’s going to help you build yourself up.

Anne Candido 5:34
Yeah, I think those are all really good points. And I go back to something that we say all the time, April is that you need other people in order to achieve your goals and dreams, it’s just that simple. We are all humans, our world is run by human relations. No matter if we want to accept it or not, we would like to believe that all we need to do was put our heads down, be the hard charger and do good work and demonstrate that we’re capable. And that should be enough. But it’s just not because it’s the relationships that help to cultivate and help to build your reputation and your credibility beyond just the work to say, hey, this person can actually be at this level that we envision them to be at, or they can do these things that this person wants to go do. And so you have to use those that influence in order to be able to shape what your future and what your vision looks like. And so your inner circle is not just like your rah rah cheerleaders, right? So a lot of people think that that’s like, you know, my inner circle is like my personal best friends that I’m going to share all my deepest, darkest secrets with, that’s not like what we’re talking about here, your inner circle is the people you’re bringing in, and you’re cultivating those relationships in a way that’s going to forward and progress what your goals and dreams are. And what’s really important, I think two things actually, that you need to really consider one is your ego, because a lot of people when they get to this point are like, I don’t need anybody, I can do this on myself. And plus, they’re just gonna get in my way, and how can they really help me? But they can, and we’re gonna get to how, why and how here in a little bit. But then also, it’s this whole personal feeling of, again, where it’s like, well, what if they don’t like me? Or what if they say, like, they don’t say the right things about me, or you know, and then we start to kind of get into this personal mindset of that people have to like me, and people have to be Mike again, my best friend and and we have to interact like that in order for this to work. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. And remember, in the intro, I said, this is all about it being a game, and not a game and the way that you’re going to game the system. And you’re going to take advantage of people like April said, but a game in the way that you have to know what the rules are, and how relationships work in how to harmoniously work with a team in order for you yourself to also rise within that. So yeah,

April Martini 8:01
I mean, I think that that is all so important. And I think as I’m hearing you talk, I mean, the one thing that you always say, so I’ll just steal it is you can still be a high performer, high achiever, all those things and still be made better by others. And, you know, you always say about us that there were times, especially in the beginning, and it was the same way for me where we would be grudgingly send each other things. Like we weren’t, we weren’t leaning into the true definition of partnership quite yet. I don’t. And so it was like this, toss this one over the fence, who knows what she’s gonna have to say about this. But then over time, we got used to the fact that as we built into each other’s inner circle, that we were always making things better. And I think that when people looked at the two of us on paper, and when I looked at us on paper, I was like, we’re gonna become a partnership. Okay, we’ll see about this. But I think what we’ve learned is a lot of the point that we both just made, which is that the people that you know, you’ve known for years, and are your best friends, and all these kinds of things, can play a certain role for sure. But if you’re on a quest to become better, to enhance your career, to grow, to learn new things, all of that, sometimes you need more of people that are both different, but new to you, and that think a different way that can help you grow and see different perspectives. Because I think the one other piece I will offer before we move on is if you settle into people too much, then it’s so comfortable that I think a lot of times you default to not helping each other build and grow. And there’s a role for that. And the reason for that, but I think what we’re talking about here is very different.

Anne Candido 9:44
And I think just to build on Monday, you said and the kind of pull the theme through to that I said before is that you have to a little bit disassociate a little bit from the personal side of this because this is not necessarily about expanding your friend group. It’s about being intentional about the relationships you have with people in order to forward something. So, in some cases, it’s almost better not to have an emotional like that emotional connection with people, because that’s not what the point is. But that doesn’t mean it’s transactional is still human. And that might be a little hard of a nuance to kind of capture. But if you’re emotionally invested in every single thing and feel like everybody has to become your, your personal best friend, it’s gonna be hard for you to to be able to develop and cultivate those relationships that are going to be serving you with some respect without you feeling that you have to have reciprocity in the same way all the time with everybody. Yeah, we’re gonna get to the reciprocity. I won’t like, say any more about that. But there is an element of that, that I feel like everybody feels like they need when they build these relationships, which is not exactly true.

April Martini 10:51
Yes. Good point. All right. So number two, for four tips for finding your inner circle is create a plan that breaks down how you’re going to build this circle. So you have your list of people, great. Now, what are you going to do? Well, you need a plan. So back to the point of all of us being busy, and I sort of preempted this point, when we were talking in the previous one, you can’t tackle everybody on that list at one time, you can’t go and schedule a dozen meetings in a week to get this kicked off. Plus, there’s likely to be people at different quote unquote, phases of being part of your inner circle. We mentioned prioritizing in that previous point. So now it’s time to map out what is realistic with everything else you have going on. And what’s going to make the most sense by person, as well as what you have the capacity for, whether that’s actual time capacity, or that’s capacity, like you know, mentally to be able to be successful in building your inner circle. So I will give a couple of examples here to contextualize what I mean about people being in different phases. So at the same company early on in my career, and after I sort of got the feedback that I continue to charge forward without bringing anyone along with me, quite frankly, I had a designer that I was friends with personally. So this goes a little bit against what we were talking about with the emotion and whatever. But this in some ways made it a little bit more interesting. So we were friends, personally, we would go out to lunch a lot, we hung around with the same people outside the office at happy hours. But man, the minute we would get into any sort of creative review, he would argue against me tooth and nail. And his whole perspective was that I had gone to the dark side by becoming you know, an account person or strategist, whatever you wanted to call me. And he didn’t think that that gave me a right anymore to weigh in. And what was happening in those rooms is he was actually eroding my credibility. And so while he was in my personal inner circle at that job, he needed to be brought into the inner circle, professionally. And so he was actually first on my list when I started this exercise. One because of that I could feel it eroding my credibility and what had started, I think, as a joke of like, you went to the dark side, you know, and all the creatives would always say that it was becoming detrimental to me. And I felt like my voice was being minimized in those rooms. So I needed to tackle it from that perspective. But I also found myself really not wanting to be his friend anymore, either, because I just felt like it didn’t work both ways. And so I started by asking him to sit down outside of the situation, because I’d already tried to confront him in a meeting with other people don’t do that. Because then that calls his credibility into question in front of a roomful of people. And he was more senior than me. So I asked him to sit down and have coffee with me. And I expressed my concerns. And I made the ask to include me, but also asked for feedback on why I was rubbing him the wrong way. And what it came down to is really by opening the dialogue and addressing the concern outside of the situations we were finding ourselves in that were becoming contentious. We were able to maybe not agree, I think he still held the position that since I wasn’t on the boards anymore, I wasn’t as credible as a designer, but what I committed to was always giving my creative feedback with the strategic lens, which was now my role, which I think was also part of that Rob, it was like get out of my kitchen type situation. And so I worked really hard to backup my point of view with things we had learned on the strategic side to set up the work. And he worked really hard to no longer road, my credibility in that room and it took that one meeting and a couple of I would call them practices where we would go back in those situations And then chat for a few minutes afterward on how both of us thought it went. Since we were personal friends, I think we learned that we value that relationship more than to continue this path. And so that one resolved itself pretty quickly. On the other hand, same company person lower on my list, admittedly, because I knew this one was going to be harder. And it was my potentially bad behavior that got me in the situation. I had been asking for some support at this company, because I was straddling a marketing and a strategy role and kind of doing both things. And a lot of times, things that were more task oriented that the organization felt like I had done my time and sort of grown out of was conflicting with some heavy duty strategic thinking, which is what I wanted to go and do. And so they assigned me someone who was on the account side, their accounts were slow, and so they could step in and help. And I admittedly did a poor job of teaching her and helping her understand the expectations, how it was different than account how it worked, what actually was the reason for what we were doing. And also understanding that my way didn’t always have to be the only way. And so we had several situations where I would assign something. And then when it wasn’t done the way that I wanted it done, I would step back in and my direct approach was very contrary to the way that she took feedback, she would break down and get upset, and it just was not going well. And so with that one, I knew it was going to require a whole lot more of my time and energy than just a one or two or, you know, couple sit downs to get back on track. And I really had to set forth a plan and really on a daily basis, that then could lead to weekly that then could lead to monthly to get her back into my inner circle. Because what I are into it for the first time, what I ended up realizing is that if I didn’t have her as part of that, I was never going to be able to get to the next level. Because while it didn’t look exactly the way that I wanted, I still was, should be able to work within it. So those are just two examples. And my last thoughts here, just the plan should be tactical in nature, and not super overwhelming. Because if we do too much, we won’t actually or put too much on the paper, we won’t actually do it. So you heard me break down what I did for both of those situations, you need to assign yourself a set number of tasks or meetups or whatever those things are and hold yourself accountable. Because if you go out of that gate, again, really overzealous, you’re going to need to reevaluate and may lose some of your momentum. So check in at the end of every week and see how you’re doing and keep yourself honest, if you do you have weeks where you’re like, Man, I took on too much, and I didn’t get it all done. Just be honest and reset the expectations for yourself. Those adjustments will help keep you motivated versus feeling like oh man throwing up your hands. And I put too much on my plate, and there’s no way I’m ever gonna get this done.

Anne Candido 17:58
Yeah, those are really good examples. And I think they hit on a really key point of building your inner circle. And that’s this is really a personal PR campaign. Yes, right. And so if you want to put some something around it, some sort of framework around it, that’s what framework I would put around it like you’re almost your personal your own publicist, in a way that you’re building your buzz in order to show up or have that presence or have that reputation or credibility that you need in order to be able to achieve your goals and dreams. Now we talk about the power of word of mouth marketing all the time, it’s the same thing for you, and we talk about it, that it’s your credibility, your reputation, is what people are saying behind your back. Right. And so making sure that those critical relationships are shored up is going to be so key in order for you to have that word of mouth marketing that you need in order to fuel your goals and dreams or wherever you want to go with your career or even your personal life. So when you’re thinking about all the people that are in there, you’re thinking about your advocates, you’re thinking about your height people you’re thinking about, as April said, the people that may not like you as much that you also need to bring into your inner circle so you could develop a different relationship with them. So they don’t become the naysayers that block things out. I mean, that happens. I’ve shared that story all the time, where I cannot get promoted because my boss’s boss didn’t think I smiled enough and I wasn’t a happy person. I had to pull her into my inner circle and show her that I can be that didn’t mean we’re gonna be best friends and Best Buddies and doing each other’s hair. But we were able to develop a and reset the relationship in a way that gave her a different perception of me that allow me to move forward. So think about it in that way too. If that helps that. This is not just about like pulling all these people together who are going to hype you up all the time. should be part of your inner circle. It also needs to be people that may have more difficult or more negative things to say about you, that you also need to shore up in between those two of those, you start to cultivate that PR about yourself that helps to develop that credibility and reputation. And I think you have to address all of that or else that one naysayer can pretty much ruin everything.

April Martini 20:27
Yeah. And depending on the level of power they have for sure. I think the leaning into it as a PR piece pairs well with the recommendation of don’t get emotionally involved, or it doesn’t make sense to like it makes it more objective. And I think, you know, and you’ve talked about a couple times in this episode about making it more of a game, I think that is the way that you have to think about it, at least for me, that’s helpful as someone who likes to be stubborn, and doesn’t like to sign up for things that feel like I shouldn’t have to do, right? It’s a good way to think about like, Well, what do you actually want, and then what is actually going to get you there. And that includes all these people in the inner circle that have to help you get there. And so if you can think about it in that way, you don’t have to like it, you just have to understand why it’s important as part of your plan. And as part of bringing those people into the inner circle.

Anne Candido 21:22
And I think it’s important to say to this is not just networking, we talked about networking a lot. Networking is like the precursor to all this, the networking helps you to figure out that first point, which is who are the people that you need to connect with? This is about cultivating relationships, and I know we’re gonna sound like a broken record. But it’s really important that we break through because I know people kind of just checking the box, yeah, I do that, yeah, I do that. I go to my events once a month, and I talk to you know, five people, and yes, I can, you know, text them or I can send an email to them. That’s not what we’re talking about. Here. We’re talking about people that serve a specific role. And you’ve defined what that role looks like. And that you’re intentionally creating a relationship that’s going to help shape what that looks like for your overall promotion of yourself.

April Martini 22:06
Which leads us very nicely into the next point, which is decide how you’ll continue to cultivate the inner circle that you have now built. So building on what and just said, on the other side of this, you cannot enlists people just to love them and leave them that is more the definition of the networking side of things. So like and gave those examples, you know, I met this person, if I send them an email, they’ll likely respond to me, you know, those types of things. That’s not what we’re talking about here. So here, you really have to continue to maintain the relationships you’ve built, and also be ready to still bring people into the circle. And this speaks to that point really specifically about people being at different phases in the inner circle cycle, right? So you have now at this point, you have people that are in your inner circle, you know, they’re playing that role, whenever you have some that maybe you’re taking a little longer for you to feel like the relationship is really working the way it should. And then inevitably, there are new people that pop up, right, a new VP is brought in or you know, somebody that’s that started on your team that’s worked at the company, and maybe you didn’t really have a reason to interact with them before. And now you do, there’s always going to be reasons and people that need to come into that inner circle. But you can’t sacrifice the time and energy you put into cultivating it. And you will if you do not continue to invest in that. So once your plan has been in place for a while you reach a level of maturation where you’re in more of a what I would call a maintenance mode versus pure curation. With the exception of having new people coming in all the time, you have to think about that. But this goes back to then you reassess what makes the most sense now. So in the example I gave before, where I had to meet with that person on my team every day for a while, then once a week, and then it can be bi weekly, I still had to maintain the bi weekly, pretty much permanently while I was working with her, right. So what is the cadence that now makes sense? When you think about it through that relationship lens, yes, again, broken record, you’re tending to those relationships, and it really shouldn’t look like work anymore. Even if you’re not a person like me, you know, I’ve referenced the Golden Retriever puppy before I get all my energy from being around other people. Even if you’re not that way, if you think about this objectively, as something that you need to do to further your career. The more you do it, the more it becomes just a normal practice. And I think most people get used to it, stop thinking about it as like a necessary evil and you’re able to lean into it because if you do it right, you’re able to find ways that work for you and for the other people that are part of your inner circle. So over time, I think hopefully that provides some relief for people is that when you get to the cultivation One side of things and you’ve done the heavy lifting, it should feel a lot easier and more manageable and overall feel more natural to you.

Anne Candido 25:09
And I could say that this has been my journey, because I’m not the Golden Retriever puppy at all, I tend to be more introverted, and I get exhausted and having to go into social situations where there’s a lot of people or I have to meet a lot of people for the first time. And I have to create small talk, like, I think everybody probably knows I’m not a small talk kind of person. So what I had to do was I had to intentionally plan for these engagement, I can’t say no to these engagement. And a lot of times I would initially on because I just didn’t want to do it, it just didn’t make me feel comfortable. So I’m like, Well, I’m not going to do something doesn’t make me feel comfortable. And you can see, probably, hopefully, hear the absurdity of that when you think about the fact that especially if you’re in in the business of promoting yourself and promoting your business like me and April where I can’t like hide underneath a rock and just hope that everything just takes off the way that it’s supposed to or rely on April to do it all which in early on I did I like I made April do all of our podcasts. I was like, I don’t like to do it. It’s not my favorite part of my day, I actually now do like to do it because I got a lot of energy and meeting somebody new. And I get a lot of energy into kind of hearing their story and just seeing how that could not only be a good podcast guest but then be maybe a potential partner for me in April going forward. And a lot of our podcasts guests have become people that we share business with. So that starts to take on a little bit of a different nature and everything that you said, I echo and I can say from firsthand experience, that once you start doing it more, you start to have a different respect for it and a different level of comfort for it. But it does take an intentional amount of effort to actually not avoid it to actually do it. And then to plan for it in order to make sure you don’t show up and feel uncomfortable in IT planning always helps to alleviate some of the stress and anxiety because you’ve thought of some questions you’re going to ask you understand a little bit about where that person is coming from. It just helps in any kind of situation. But back to what you were saying April about like how often and what does it look like to nurture and cultivate some of these relationships? I think it all goes back to one of our favorite answers, which is it depends 100% Right? Because some of these, we like to put some sort of rigor and process behind everything, but you kind of have to feel what the relationship is like. So if these are some of the people who are the higher up that you want to emulate, you may get them once a year. Yeah, you might get them twice a year maybe. So cultivating that relationship might look like that is by make sure you’re on their calendar and making sure you are very well prepared for the conversation you’re going in with these people because you’re only going to get so much of their time. People who are you’re trying to build a relationship for them may not be the strongest relationship may be a more frequent check in like April had to do so that you can change the narrative, you can shift the narrative. And there’s all the phases in between. So I think my advice there is to feel out what the relationship necessitates. Sometimes it’s just like a quick text of saying, hey, thinking about you wondering what you’re up to, I would love to, you know, see what you know what’s going on with you, if you have a few minutes to catch up, it might be as simple as that just to let somebody know that you’re thinking about them, right. So you have to kind of play it based on what the person who the person is and what the needs are for that relationship. And again, as April said, there’s a hierarchy. So you’re going to invest more time in the relationships that are going to yield you more points, and you’re going to use the game metaphor, versus the ones that are more of the supporting players that you’re going to need or you’re gonna need later in. So you’re kind of planning for that, as you’re thinking about the short term in the long term.

April Martini 28:51
Yeah, I mean, I think those are all really good points. And hopefully you’re internalizing the, well, in a lot of ways, opposite perspectives or approaches to this in the way that Anna and I just fundamentally are, and can start to see yourself and how this might work for you to make it less overwhelming. And also to just make it a regular necessary practice if you’re going to participate in the business world just in general. Yeah, great. All right. So our fourth and final point here is to look for ways to proactively support your inner circle. And this is a big one. And that’s the reason that we gave it its own point because it’s one that people often miss. And it’s really easy to see why. When you’re on a journey to build your inner circle, through the lens of what you need and where you are trying to go. It can be hard to think about what those other people need from you. And this is why honestly, we have the lower level people on the totem pole in the breakdown in the previous points. Because it can be an easy way to put this into practice because those people inherently probably Probably need stuff from you that’s either easier for you to give them or easy for you to identify because you’ve already been where they are. But let’s go back to the relationship point one more time. We’ve all had people in our lives that just take, take, take and never give back. This is not what you want. This is not possible. If you’re actually going to build an authentic inner circle and make that really meaningful. It’s totally okay when you first start out to be primarily focused on yourself and what you need. But you also need to pretty in short order, start thinking about how you’re going to repay those that help you. At this point in my career, really, honestly, I do a whole lot more of this. Because of all of the people that helped me throughout the years. I also said I could have made my path a whole lot easier if I had done this with intention and had a plan from the start versus having to be knocked down a few pegs first, I do often need to hear things several times before they either resign or before they take hold in my head, or I become less stubborn to actually hear them. A little bit of a caveat. But I mean, I really could have done it a lot easier from the beginning. I also think that this can be hard for those of us. On the other side, where we have people that we look up to we kind of think like, what am I going to do for them? Right? Like, what could I possibly do? I you know, at this point, they’re where I want to be? So what could I do? I think you have to flip that on its head and think about there’s always something you can do. I mean, give them kudos in front of the big boss, take something off their plate that you can easily do for them proactively ask for it, pay it forward. By offering to meet with someone more junior that’s asking for their time, they can actually get benefit from you and potentially more first, before going to the big boss. There’s tons of ways to do this, if you think it through the right lens. And this can be a big priority when you get to more of that cultivating or maintenance side of things. You don’t want to leave anyone thinking when you come knocking at their door? Can I help this person half a dozen times? What more do they possibly want for me? Without ever having done anything for them? You can feel pretty sure that that’s the position you would find yourself in. So just make sure you know, it doesn’t always have to be totally equal, like I said before, but you have to take that more servant leadership approach, if you will, that it has to be reciprocal enough that people feel compelled to continue to help you.

Anne Candido 32:33
Yeah, I think that’s right. And that’s why this is not a manipulative move on your part. No, right? It’s because the intention is to rise and so doing it raises everybody in the process. Now if you’re the Lone Ranger again, and you’re just thinking about yourself, and you don’t care about anybody else you’re stepping on in order to get up there. This is not your episode, that’s not what we’re preaching, this is not what we’re talking about, we are talking about being intentional in the way that you are cultivating your own presence as well as it’s okay to focus on yourself. But in so doing, you have to create that same level of karma within your inner circle, right. And people are going to have some expectations of reciprocity, but like I said, the reciprocity does not need to be equal. And because the reciprocity can be paid back in multiple different ways, it a short term and a long term. So for example, and if you are trying to coach somebody who’s below you, and that person is going to do some work for you, in order to be able to deliver something, when you rise, that person better rise underneath you, it’s not something you can do immediately. But it’s definitely something you can do in the long term. Yes. So you have to think about it in general. Now, I’m not saying you should over promise, and that’s not ever a good thing is when you give these things as a little caret, and then you take them away, because they’re not within your control. But it is an element of kind of like we’re all in this together sort of thing. Now, I will say, one 1.2 about the higher ups or people that are a little bit like outside of your personal comfort zone to reach out to and a lot of times people are hesitant, like you said April because they’re like, Well, how can I provide a level of reciprocity there, and I love all the examples you gave. One caution I will give here is that buying somebody’s lunch or buying somebody coffee is not reciprocity, or all of their time and effort. You know, we get that a lot. Realize on the other person’s part, that is this is a job for them. And you’re they’re investing their time and their effort. And that is taken away from something else. And so you like offering food or a drink in return is not reciprocity. You say Hey, can I just shadow you for a whole day that is not like, I’ll help you along the way. It’s usually one of my favorite things. I’ll I’ll be like a second pair of hands and a second pair of eyes. And I hope you want to if I guess, like, those aren’t necessarily ways of being able to add value, adding value is done in some sort of tangible way that the other person actually wants. That’s what the definition of value is. So think about that. And think about how you’re going to be able to show up in a way that is going to provide that value to them in a way that’s not still self serving to you. So that’s a little bit more of the cautionary side of what you said. But I we’ve seen it so many times. And people wonder why they’re not getting these responses. I mean, we’ve even seen it like how many times it’d be good though. LinkedIn, let me buy you lunch. Let me buy you cotton. Like, that’s not adding any value to me. That’s bribing me for my time. And I can go buy my own coffee. Yes. And my own lunch and not have my time being taken. From that standpoint.

April Martini 35:56
Yes, I think some of those things you mentioned should just be an expectation if that person is willing to give you their time period, that you are doing that to say thank you, not paying back or paying forward. The time that they have invested in you. Yeah, exactly. It always makes me think of, I always get the quote wrong. But the one thing we can never get more of his time.

Anne Candido 36:16
Is that how it goes? Yeah, someday about that our most precious commodity or

April Martini 36:20
Yeah, but I think if to the all the points you made, if you think about it like that, and these people only have so many hours in the day, I think the caution is exactly right. If they’re taking time for you, number one, you better be prepared. And number two, you better be thinking of a way to give back for having had that time. Exactly. All right. And our next segment is a brand that is doing well or not so well in the marketing space based on our observations. And the one I’m going to talk about today is a little bit of a cross pollination with our fourth great women side of our business. And that is our recent event at North by Hotel Covington. And Anna and I have always been huge fans of Hotel Covington, the new North is beautiful and a great experience in its own way. It’s a very nice contrast to the experience at Hotel Covington. And I can’t do it justice with words, I would just encourage people to go there. But that’s not the reason that I am using this as my marketing smarts moment. I could go on and on about the experience. But what I want to give the team kudos for is taking feedback and acting on it. And the reason that I think this is so important kind of has loud several layers. Number one, it’s a brand new facility, we were one of the handful of events that they have run so far. And also the fact that I talked to many people about the feedback we had and was met with the same level of graciousness and proactivity with also a true feeling of welcome that we would be invited back. And so while I will say our feedback was minimal, let’s just be honest, it was a great experience. It was not anything super crazy. Not really worth getting into the feedback itself. But I think a lot of times in in and I do a lot of these events, people ask us for feedback. And we’re forced rate, we always try to give people some level of this could have been a little bit better. Or we think you could learn from this or you ask so therefore we’d like to provide something. I mean, we don’t like it when we ask people for feedback. And it’s all sunshine and roses where like everyone can approve. We’re human give us something to work with. Right?

Anne Candido 38:33
Or the things that we really like, and you should never don’t mess with that. Right. Yeah, well, yeah, I really liked it. Yeah, yes,

April Martini 38:39
yes, yes. I just thought it was a true breath of fresh air because it was clearly internalized. I got a call from the boss and then the boss’s boss, and they wanted to just hear about the experience in total. And then like I said, at the end, it was like can’t wait to host your next thing really appreciate this is a good indication of a partnership of the future. So anyway, I recommend it. Regardless, we love hotel Covington, we love north, we had a great experience. But I just think that was a little bit of icing on the cake and something that we don’t always experience. So worth mentioning here.

Anne Candido 39:13
Yeah, I love that example. And I think it’s a really good one has we’re talking about inner circles that you know there is going to be feedback Yes, in the inner circle that you are going to be operating in and then feedback in a game is data. Yep. Right. It’s not meant to squash you and make you feel bad unless that’s actually what it’s intended to do. But most of the time, a lot of that feedback is about the other person not about you. But really at the end of the day feedback is data in what I like to think about it as is like who would they rather get it from? Yeah, like somebody that is actually respects their business good to come back to their business is going to provide it in a way that is progressing their overall goal of creating that experience or do they want to get it from some cranky person and who is totally irritated and pissed off is going to tell everybody that they hate it. And you know, and it’s going to ruin everybody’s point of view about the actual place, right? Yes. I mean, I’ve had this when I was getting my nails done. I’ve done it in restaurants. And it’s always meant to be data. And I’ve found a lot of people really respect that, because it shows a care for their business. And it shows them where they might have these opportunities so that they can shore up some of these things that could be a big issue for other clients or customers. Yeah,

April Martini 40:37
absolutely. Yeah. So all around really, really good experience. So just to recap, four tips for finding your inner circle. Number one, decide you’re going to focus on building your inner circle and come up with criteria for doing so. If we do not do something with intention, actually make the statement, write it down and come up with that criteria, it may never happen, we all have very busy lives. Number two, create a plan that breaks down how you will build your inner circle. You certainly can’t boil the ocean and do it all at once and set up a million meetings you will wear yourself out and probably never get where you’re trying to go. So make sure you create a plan that allows you to break it down with intentionality. Number three, decide how you’ll continue to cultivate your inner circle when you have it built. Not to say you won’t be bringing new people in you will but you do have to maintain the relationships and make sure that you are continuing to have touch points as it makes sense to the people you’ve brought in. And finally, look for ways to proactively support your inner circle. It is not a one way street. It does not have to be even or exact. But once you have asked things of others you need to pay it back or pay it forward in an effort to show that you are in those relationships. And with that we will say go and exercise your Marketing Smarts!

Still need help in growing your Marketing Smarts? Contact us through our website: We can help you become a savvier marketer through coaching or training you and your team or doing the work on your behalf. Please also help us grow the podcast by rating and reviewing on your player of choice and sharing with at least one person. Now, go show off your Marketing Smarts!