One unknown wit once said, ‘the opposite of networking is not working’ and it’s certainly true that interacting with other people to exchange information and develop contacts is the oil that keeps the wheels of business turning.

Not only is networking a valuable way to forge new contacts, expand your knowledge and learn from the success of others, it’s also an opportunity to tell new contacts about your own experiences and business.

Networking is a great way to tap into advice and knowledge and learn about the latest trends in your industry. Talking to like-minded people can give you the opportunity to get advice from them on all sorts of things related to your own situation.

Being visible and getting noticed will help you to build your reputation and many friendships can be formed through meeting others in a similar position to yourself. These close contacts can be very valuable.

Networking events help you stay current and if you work in isolation, they can also give you the confidence that what you are doing is right.

This is particularly important if you’re in an industry that is not mainstream, and an excellent example is customer advocacy. Although an increasing number of businesses recognise the value of customer references/advocacy, it’s still a fairly specialised branch of the wider marketing tree and bespoke advocacy events are few and far between.

Staying ahead of the game

To fill the void, leading customer storyteller, inEvidence, launched the annual Advocate Marketing Academy Europe which, in its 12th year, is now the largest and longest-running conference of its kind in EMEA. With an education theme, the recent 2020 event was attended by more than 80 like-minded people from around the world. It featured nine industry-leading speakers who shared their advocacy experiences, a panel of experts, workshops, video events and breakout sessions.

But most importantly, it gave people in the advocacy sector the chance for peer networking.

Just one attendee at the 2020 event sums up its importance. Mark Oliver, senior marketing programs manager for cloud services at Hitachi Vantara says: “A good opportunity for networking. I have met new people but also engaged with familiar faces and the content has been both reinforcing and insightfully new. I come to really see what changes are happening in the industry that I may not be aware of, to reinforce that what we are doing is best practice and really to keep up with colleagues, friends, peers and competitors. In that way I can stay ahead of the game.”

The next AMA event from inEvidence takes place in Raleigh, North Carolina in June and AMA Europe will be back in February 2021. To register interest in these events, contact