Refer this, refer that... make a referral
I attended an entrepreneur black tie dinner last night with a few hundred other people at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh; it was in aid of the Princes Trust. The event was the brainchild of Winning Entrepreneurs Belinda Roberts and had speakers from the BBC's online Dragons Den: Julie Mayer, Shaf Rasul and Radio 1's Dominic Byrne. There is no doubt that it was a top night, beautifully organised, with great sponsors (Courvoisier), auction prizes (signed Michael Jackson platinum album...) - everyone well turned out in their best bib and tucker - bottom line though I see these events as a business investment. That might sound a bit harsh and don't get me wrong, I'm on the dance floor shaking my thang, buying the odd bottle of vino and having good casual chat with whomever I'm sat next to. It is also an opportunity to learn what makes people tick, find out about they love and get really passionate about.
In my world, making a campaign or marketing exercise work there are two things that make it a success - an emotional tie from the consumer, i.e. getting seriously passionate and loving the product or social object and the other is word of mouth... people referring from one to another - hearing that someone or something is really good from the lips (or blog etc) is so much stronger than it being forced on you from the company or person itself.
If you are ever attending one of these posh do's - take a long a client or an associate, don't talk about yourself, talk about them (preferably when they are out of ear-shot...) it works a treat.
Don't take my word for it, just try it and see - genius results will be forth coming.
PS. Belinda, thanks for a top night.