But as someone who has been in professional services marketing for a pretty long time (I won’t say how long!) it seems to me that you can really only maintain meaningful relationships with a “reasonable” number of centers of influence.
While it is helpful to have a large network of casual contacts, I hope the trend is not to look at quantity and to forget about the quality of your connections. I would much rather have 10-15 great contacts who I can help - and who can help my firm as well than have a long stream of people who I will most likely never develop a mutually beneficial relationship.
This does not mean you should ignore the business community at large and focus on just a handful of people. But it does mean than you should give strong consideration to who you know and who you want to know. Work harder at building the powerful relationships that can, over time, become the foundation for real value-added interaction.
There is a place in your firm’s marketing and branding tactics for all types of networking, from the most informal (“gosh – you look familiar”) to the most treasured (“thanks again for another great referral”).
This is just a warning to be sure not to replace one with the other!