How to find experts (part 1 of 2)

Ok, so the word “expert” may be relative and it may make you immediately think of a Dilbert cartoon. However, there may come a point in time when you need to find someone who does “x”. Be it a writer, a designer, a programmer… most likely though, unless you’ve been actively looking for these folks when you don’t need them – finding them when you do is a little harder.

I’ll share some tips with you on how to find your experts – these have worked well for me. First, finding the experts has fallen into two categories for me: experts I know I’ll need, and experts I didn’t know I needed.

Finding the experts I know I’ll need
I work in marketing execution. Some call it marketing operations. Others call it getting it done. What it means is that I need to work with several different skill-sets in order to execute a marketing strategy. Because of this, I know I’ll be working with: writers, designers, web developers, coders, folks who are savvy with email marketing, social media marketing, trade show marketing, channel marketing, PR, analyst relations, sales, printing, events, research, agencies, to name a few. So I am always on the look-out for these people even when my current client doesn’t require those skills.

Knowing where to look
So I have the list above, where do I find these people? Some ideas that have worked for me are in the list below. I put events at the top of the list because for me, I enjoy meeting people this way. Sure online/virtual works too – but I really enjoy the face-to-face conversations at live events.

  • Your local events. What I mean by this is the events that are familiar to your area of study/work. For me these have included: talks at a local university, ProductCamp, CMA events, AMA Toronto events, MaRS events to name a few in Toronto. The same will most likely work for you in your local area.
  • Their local events. What I mean by this is the industry events of the experts you need. For example if you are not in the trade show industry, but need someone’s help who is, then attending a trade show industry event may be the way to meet people with that skill set.
  • Online – Twitter, LinkedIn, your favourite search engine.
  • Ask around. Referrals continue to be one of the best ways to find great help and the more specific you are about your request, the easier it is for your network to help you. Try “I need to find someone who is really good at Google analytics – can dive into the data and can also explain it to a team that has very limited understanding of the online world. They’ll need to present their data via PowerPoint in a management meeting and be able to handle a q&a session.” Instead of “I need someone who knows Google Analytics.”

In part 2 we’ll look at what to do when you need experts you had no idea you’d need. You’re not even familiar with the skills they have to do their job, but need what they output. How do you find those people? Stay tuned and I’ll share what’s worked for me.

Hopefully this has been helpful. What are some ways you find the experts you know you’ll need?

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