Professional Networking - Unique Games Industry Service
Definition = A business and marketing savvy professional skilled in making connections and introductions who is paid to create meaningful matches for business purposes.
While this may seem an unusual service to offer, the economy and the social media explosion has actually created this niche. An especially useful service for the games industry, Mary Kurek found her way to it via the IT industry. After a successful Professional Networking campaign for the CEO of an IT firm, she was contracted by a former Microsoft VP-turned-games entrepreneur who was launching a marketing platform. He needed connections to US publishing companies, and he needed them "yesterday." With a second successful Professional Networking campaign under her belt, Kurek realized that she could turn the casual intros she had been making for marketing clients into a stand-alone service. Understanding the uniqueness of the service, she stepped easily into the role and settled into games, focusing primarily on seasoned developers and talent -- "veteran entrepreneurs."
Client Comments column on the left. More client comments below this article.
Professional Networking FAQ:
Who likes it: Experienced development teams and well-credentialed talent. They like the time-saving aspect of hiring someone to make connections and introductions to sources and leads on their behalf. Often, these professionals don't have the time or maybe even the social media savvy to build the kind of network that will produce the best connections to achieve specific results.
What's the difference between a Professional Networker and a sales person: The Professional Networker does not sell a product or service. He/She is promoting the client to contacts for a meaningful business conversation.
Why it works well: It is a non-threatening and non-aggressive means of recruiting business leads, advisors, promotional opportunities, endorsers, etc.
How does it work: The Professional Networker generally has a wide and diverse pool of online and offline resources from which to mine contacts for a client. A well-organized and targeted social media engine that attracts and is plentiful with "right relationships" is a ready tool. With a clear understanding of the types of connections a client wishes, the Professional Networker commences to seek out and "begin the business relationship" on behalf of the client.
The "warming up" process with each connection can take minutes, hours, or days. Good networking happens when it can be perceived that each party will benefit from the connection, therefore, the Professional Networker must be able to convey that concept every time. The quicker that happens, the quicker the introduction happens.
A Professional Networking contract can be secured by the project or to meet ongoing needs. Adaptable to a variety of business scenarios, this is often a good solution for decision-makers who need to quickly boost the level of business activity.
More Client Comments...
"I was just thinking about this whole CTA thing...you were the one who had the creativity and skills to make it happen. I'm a little slow sometimes and do not always see the connections you do, but you should feel great about this one. Their press release is spreading like wildfire. Anyway...this is HUGE for Ricky and his Mom as well, not to mention APFED." Gabe O'Neill, CEO, Kids Are Heroes
(Intro Mary made between Kids Are Heroes http://www.kidsareheroes.org and CTA Digital http://www.ctadigital.com for one of their Heroes to demo a new product at E3 2010--only child on the expo floor--drew tons of media attention.)
"I have collaborated with Mary at different points throughout the past 2 years. Every time I've done so, I feel amazed at her level of professionalism. She is an embodiment of what networking should be like - always making new connections, never afraid to pick up the phone to introduce herself to someone, and constantly making people-partnerships (i.e. linking people who have somewhat symbiotic needs to each other). I'm glad I got a chance to know and work with her so closely."
Amna Nadim, Director, Mocha7 Media
"Wow, Mary. I don't know what to say besides a great big Thank-You! My wife will attest to the fact that my ADD-addled brain can be quite talkative once started, but that the introductions themselves in order to have a chance to begin talking are very, very difficult for me. So, Thank-You! I watched a whole lot of email from you and a few other folks scroll by while I hurriedly tried to finish my last few tasks today before leaving for E3. This long bus-ride to the airport I'm on now seems like a good time to do some replying."
Andrew Martin, Lead Sound Designer, Sucker Punch Productions and http://www.soundeziner.com
Credits include inFamous and inFamous 2, Hellgate: London, Medal of Honor: Airborne and Vanguard (Mary made several business introductions for meetings at E3)
"The thing that's kept me really busy this month is working with Mary Kurek, who is a professional networker in the games industry to get some advice on transitioning my voice work from commercial to games. That's resulted in some spit and polish on the website, meaning you can now see a fantastic recommendation from Scott Burns. There's also been some work done over on LinkedIn, but most importantly, there have been some great doors opening as a result of working with Mary. While I don't want to pre-empt anything, I should have some really exciting news next month about a project."
Kevin Powe, Voice Artist, Games, Australia http://kevinpowe.voiceoverartist.com.au/ (Quote was taken from Kevin's newsletter.)
“I was impressed with Mary's writing from her IGDA features so I sought out her services as a professional networker. Friendly and willing to help, she quickly got me in touch with several people throughout the games industry, many of whom have proven to be valuable business contacts. If you need to make connections in any particular sector of the industry, Mary knows people there and can make introductions in short order. For the service she provided I consider her rates to be exceptionally reasonable.”
Keith Fuller, Project Manager, Fuller Game Production & IGDA Chapter Pres., Wisconsin.
Keith's credits include Call of Duty: Black Ops, Soldier of Fortune 2, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, & Star Trek: Voyager-Elite Force (Mary made several business development introductions via consulting session)