Robert Glazer is the founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners, a global partner marketing agency and the recipient of numerous industry and company culture awards, including Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards two years in a row.
He is the author of the inspirational newsletter Friday Forward, and the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and international bestselling author of four books: Elevate, Friday Forward, How To Make Virtual Teams Work and Performance Partnerships.
He is a sought-after speaker by companies and organizations around the world and is the host of The Elevate Podcast.
- Friday Forward, Bob’s inspirational weekly newsletter: https://www.robertglazer.com/fridayfwd/
- Elevate, Bob’s latest book which was named a WSJ and USA Today bestseller: https://geni.us/ELEVATE/
- Friday Forward book: https://www.robertglazer.com/forward/
- The Elevate Podcast: https://www.robertglazer.com/podcast
- Bob’s website: https://www.robertglazer.com/
- Acceleration Partners: https://www.accelerationpartners.com/
Josh: What is up everybody, Josh Tapp here again and welcome back to the lucky Titan podcast and today we are here with Robert Glazer I’m so excited to have him here. You know, as the CEO and founder of acceleration partners, I’m very excited to have him in here to talk about partner marketing. You know, most of you who follow our content, we talk pretty heavily about partner marketing as a scaling strategy. You might hear it called 50 different things right influencer marketing, partner marketing, we call it like JV marketing. There’s so many different ways to call it. It’s all the same thing. So I’m excited to have Robert in here to talk about that with us here today. So Robert, say What’s up, everybody we’ll hop in man.
Robert: Hey, Josh. Hey, everyone. Thank you for having me today.
Josh: That’ll be exciting. So, Robert, I want to ask you, first off, what is your take on partner marketing for a company who has just passed a million dollars and plateaued?
Robert: Yeah, I think, look, they’re probably already doing some sort of, there’s a difference between, let’s say, partner marketing and a partner marketing program, right, who said building a scalable program, they’re probably already doing some partner marketing, like, think of just even like a plumber, who says to the electrician, hey, you send me a lead and when they convert, like, I’ll pay you, you know, 10% of that lead, like, that’s, that’s partner marketing you know, people do that, but it’d be very different. If the guys that look, just sign up on the site, you know, send people through your link, and you’ll get paid automatically, right, that’s a partner marketing program so I think everyone can partner marketing, there’s definitely some tech, you know, affiliate marketing, otherwise, you can start to use it around a million in sales but it’s probably if that’s a million in online sales, it works best when there’s an online conversion, because that’s where the automation really helps, right? The problem example, with a plumber is you got to manually say, I got a customer with online tracking, you know, if there was a conversion by how you set up the pixel, and you could, you could pay out on that so I think a millions we could start thinking about it, you know, you’re just gonna need probably a shared resource, or just do it like, carefully and controlled, you’re not going to have obviously the budget to hire like an agency or someone to come in and manage the program at that point.
Josh: Yeah, and I love how you differentiated that because I mean, everybody does that the different partner marketing tactics to get started,
Robert: is business development right? I mean, right? Yeah. But but but what the software allows you to do when people never understood what affiliate marketing was, it was like, it was the same as like, the same analogy to sending out an email and BCC or having a, you know, email, Campaign Monitor or, you know, one of these, why can’t I think of the what’s the really big one that everyone knows the name of the email system? HubSpot Constant Contact, right. Yeah, you know, that that’s the difference between you could have always sent out emails, but but then constant contact becomes a scalable tool to segment and track and all that stuff I mean, that that’s what the technology has done to sort of affiliate and partner marketing.
Josh: Yeah, I love that, when one of the things that we found with a lot of the people have hit that million dollar mark is that they’ve, you really at that point, you’ve figured out your message, you know, who you’re serving and how you’re serving them and that hopefully really establishes you Well, for the next step, which is part of marketing would you agree?
Robert: Yeah, you also need to know your pricing. Like, the reason why we don’t work with a lot of people when they’re launching is because you’re asking people to put something on their shelf, take a risk, if you haven’t proven out the concept, then you don’t want to be asking other people to do that so yeah, when you have your messaging, when you understand your target customer, when you have your pricing, right, then you’re in a position to go to partners and say, this is what I need and this is what I know will convert and by the way, you also understand your LTV, so you can say hey, this, this any customer is worth, you know, $500 a year to me, like I’m willing to pay you $100 for that customer. If you don’t have any of that data, it’s very hard to coach other people to sell your product or service.
Josh: Yeah, 100% I think one of the big problems that people have is that they when they try to bring on partners, they just say okay, promote me and the reality is you have to treat them like they’re two years old if you want them to promote you say okay, step one,
Robert: just give them all this you got it like they are not a customer right their distribution channel so you need to give them hey, you know, it’s our biggest sale of the year that is not a partner message like hey, just so you know our biggest sale of the Year is coming up this is when we have our highest conversions. Here’s banners you can use here’s messaging you can use Here are the top five products that are going to be on sale this week like that that’s a that’s a partner communication that they can use to then go to their and customers.
Josh: Yeah, I love that. What so what is that what is a partner campaign a partnership campaign look like for you guys like how you build them out? Because you’re talking about the difference between you know, finding one or two partners here there but like actually using it as a core marketing strategy so how do you guys leverage that?
Robert: Yeah, if you have 100 people in your program, right you kind of would update them like you would a customer what what’s new, what’s different? Is there a sale, What can I promote like What can they talk about you, by the way, like, talk about our brand new, you know, thing that’s launching, and here’s some sample copy and here’s your link, you know, already in it, you just have to copy and paste. Like, it’s really about educating and making it as easy as they can to promote something, obviously, you know, incentives and sales and discounts, you know, can drive stuff, but it’s better if it’s tied to something like, you know, this product is discounted this time only this year, here’s why it’s a good product. You know, that’s very different than just the whole stores 10% off, you know, every week, there’s not a lot of urgency around, around that.
Josh: Yeah. And that’s really interesting that you bring it up that way because I mean, most of the people who are just trying to do these discounts it’s it kind of becomes people get used to it, right? I think about like the Hobby Lobby model, if you’re familiar with there’s like, half their stores half off every week and it does create urgency but, but it just it’s a reason to go into the store my wife loves Hobby Lobby, that’s why
Robert: it’s been Bath and Body you know, whenever whenever I they’re like, do you have the 20% off coupon? Like, you gotta be kidding me like this? Yeah, these things are like confetti, I can go around the store and I just assumed everything’s 20% of always you send them out every day, like, you know,
Josh: and the funniest part about that is people get so used to it that it like discounts or pricing to the point that right? Well won’t go unless you’ve got the deal. Like my wife, she will potentially not buy something for a week, so she can get it at 40% off whether she can afford it or not right.
Robert: And I think I think deals in support of content or, or messaging or great, you know, just constant deals, you know, is is just again, it can depending on your brand, I mean, are you discount brand? Or are you not? Like obviously, it goes in a few different directions?
Josh: Yeah. Well, and for you guys, this is a little bit of a kind of an offshoot question but when you’re building out these partner programs, like an affiliate program, for example, how do you typically financially reward those people? Because you have kinda like the Click Funnels model, right? Where it’s, like, give you 40% lifetime commissions and then you have other influencers, where it’s like, you know, I’m gonna have LeBron James come in, I’m gonna pay him a million dollars upfront to do a 10 minute or two minute commercial or something, right? What do you recommend, typically, for
Robert: definitely not the million dollars up front? I yeah, I most of the things we do are outcome based so that’s a lead or a sale, you know, and that is tracked so it’s really like, what are the what, what’s the economic driver for the business? And then how do you align the incentives to that, right? If it’s ongoing subscription revenue, you know, then you’re trying to go subscribe side by side, or if it’s, you know, $300 order of, you know, clothing, but but there’s not a high repeat, then you’re really going after sort of the order value. So it is, it is taking the principles of customer marketing and applying it to partners again, what do I What do I What does the business need? How do I incentivize them? You know, we’re not in the world of paying like, huge, we don’t play patient. I mean, there’s, there’s sponsorships sometime in fixed categories, or a hybrid like, oh, we’re in this category, then plus performance. We’re not in the world of like huge upfront payments, that’s really more the traditional PR world.
Josh: Yeah, and I honestly, I personally don’t love that world, either because it doesn’t matter how big their name is, if there’s no results, right there’s.
Robert: my next book outcomes I think we’re just moving from input marketing to where like, I’m paying for an impression, or a click or whatever to paying for an outcome so that there’s not a win lose, typically marketing’s win, lose, like the way, you know, go back to the first email newsletter called the daily candy, you know, 20 something years ago, like, like, something gets in on something early, it provides an awesome ROI. Everyone piles into that thing, the price goes up 10 x and now it’s not about like, if you were one of the early advertisers, and daily candy was great for your business during the latest ones, you were probably losing a ton of money, right? It wasn’t, it wasn’t the daily, Kenny’s good or bad. It’s very different, whether it was $10,000, a CPM or whether it was $100, or CPM but if you go to an outcome orientation, you don’t have to play around with this we lose if you use anything but the outcome, someone’s winning and someone’s losing, right, someone’s paying a little too much or not enough, and then the market will, will reach equilibrium eventually through some supply and demand.
Josh: Yeah, I’m really glad you mentioned that, that model because I for us, let me just putting it in the podcast or space everybody is so excited about getting onto podcast, right but what we’ve seen even being guests on other podcasts is that there’s I mean, it’s a brand exposure thing but what we the way we’ve structured our podcast is we take the the interview and we turn it into a summit that allows us to actually track how many people are coming through and it becomes like an ROI based activity to that point so there’s there’s financial reward for our guests as well, but it presents an opportunity for us to actually track the numbers instead of focusing so heavily on like, well it’s just a brand activity for both of us because like you said, it’s
Robert: someone could say, Look pocket, that was awesome. You should advertise on podcast for $200 an episode, it may have a great return, you know, for 2500 and may have a negative return, right? It’s not, it’s not really an absolute, you know, Tim Ferriss is the machine on this, like, you know, he gets a lot of fixed sponsorships. But you notice there is always a go to whatever the thing is slash temp slash sent there they are clearly, you know, measuring, like the volume that, you know, when they’re deciding to pay those big numbers they’re saying, look, we got 400 clients when he ran that podcast so I think he likes the measurement, and they like the measurement and I think you’re gonna see just this performance model coming to more and more channels.
Josh: Yeah, I agree. I think there’s so much to be said for tracking the numbers and people are building these campaigns. I think it’s cool, because PR and marketing are starting to kind of merge in that sense. as before, it was like, well, we either do PR, or we do marketing, and they’ve kind of we’ve crossed that line into a mix of both.
Robert: Well, the and the other big driver that I think about, like, you know how obviously John Wanamaker said 100 years ago, 50% of my marketing works, I just don’t know what 50% like, 100 years ago, that was like, Okay, now, it really shouldn’t be that way. You’ve got a huge push in DTC companies, right? So they’re going direct to customer, they’re not looking, they’re not selling through wholesale, you sell through wholesalers, you do some TV advertising, and you say, Oh, the wholesaler seems to be buying more since we ran the TV advertising and you make a sort of correlated argument that, you know, that must have to do with that, that but but but but you’re still kind of just making that input, investment, and then you’re associating it loosely with an outcome versus D to C you get very specific this person came from X or Y, or Z or multiple channels and once you know that, I think you really want to, you know, most people translate it into outcomes, but I just would prefer to pay for outcomes from, you know, from the beginning.
Josh: I completely agree with that honestly, we won’t do any campaign, if people hit us up all the time, hey, let’s do Facebook ads, or these sorts of things and it’s a fixed rate and I might, I’ll pay you a percentage, which will make you more money if you’re good and we’ve seen big spikes in what we sell because of that. So I, I love that you’re on that same bad bandwagon validates for me, but we really
Robert: let say you want to guess, right? And you said, Look, you know, I will pay, you said, Look, a good guest for me is worth like, $500, right, and you figure out your funnel so for every, for every, you know, 10 guests that apply, you know, one is, you know, one is good. So, so, you know, you can either say, Look, I’ll pay you $500 for a converted guess, or I’ll pay you $50 for a qualified, you know, lead and then watch the lead quality carefully. You know, I always think it’s better to go down to the bigger number, that’s actually the outcome. But let’s just say it’s too hard in this, I it’s hard for you to push back and say qualified get you just, you just look and you say look, that partner has been sending me good leads and $50. You know, so you just put the point that you want to instead incentivize
Josh: Yeah, I love that and I mean, in the podcast sense, I love that you mentioned that way, because a lot of the people here who are running podcasts, I think that’s the number one problem that people are having in our space, because they’re like, okay, I just need to get to where I can have sponsors because I didn’t have listenership, but what you’re talking about is saying, Okay, how can I if if a good guest comes on, they promote us? And then it runs people through our funnels? How much money am I making per cup per guest that comes on, based off of their audience size, it becomes very trackable,
Robert: you’re also creating and in my example, look, it’s not that easy to do, but you’re saying, look, instead of me having to build a guest process, I’m taking my economics to the world to all these free agents and saying, if you know how to get new guests, and have a way to do that, I’m gonna pay you for that. It’s almost like marketplace. It’s like an Uber or Airbnb, where, where, you know, they don’t you don’t own the asset, but instead of a marketing team, you could be paying a whole bunch of different people to be working on your business as free agents.
Josh: That is brilliant. I love that I might actually have to steal that so I want to ask you this, I want to kind of transition the conversation a little bit here because I want to talk about your specific business model and how you’ve been growing because it really intrigued me when we first talked in the pre interview. You know, the target customer for you is actually more of an enterprise level business, you know, a fortune 500, Inc, 500 type company and can you talk us through a little bit of the why and why you decided to transition and work with that type of customer?
Robert: Yeah, we just we like to look, I think most businesses trying to move up the funnel, right? You either can have a high volume of low number of counts or a lower volume of high value accounts but one of the things we realized is we really want to be working with marketing departments who have budgets to spend and who have a mandate I think a lot of times CEOs are very difficult to work with, they have changing objectives, you know, that’s what makes them good, they have new ideas, they, you know, they want to do something, they want to turn it off and we’ve just found, you know, or, you know, they look at this, like, spend as a necessary evil, not like a budget that needs to be spent so from a service provider standpoint, you know, you don’t want to be competing against the the the, that that man or woman’s, you know, vacation fund, in order to be doing stims marketing. So, look, people have very different models of success with different models ours is a high touch high resource enterprise service model. It’s not a, you know, high number of count, low cost resource model and it’s hard for many, many businesses to be to be both.
Josh: And I would agree, what’s really interesting is to watch, a lot of people are scared to reach out to these higher level people, because there’s more of a risk factor they feel like, but what’s really interesting, because you know, if you lose one of these big clients, here, you’re out a lot of money, and all of a sudden, you can’t pay people but the reality is, most of these larger companies, you can be locking them into multiple year contracts, even in some cases, much higher they’re willing to spend the money, they’re able to spend the money and they’re like, as long as you can bring
Robert: they have money, right? Is it they have money to spend, right? There is a there is a budget, it’s not you saying, hey, I need extra money from you to do this.
Josh: Correct, Yeah. And we all know how that is being the entrepreneur, right? It’s like, yeah, I mean, I’m willing to spend money but when somebody throws a six figure contract at me, I’m like, Oh, my goodness yeah you’re, you’re debating in your head, like, Do I want the new truck? Or do I want this right? And it’s, I think that’s the problem that selling to that type of entrepreneur, a higher ticket product so that type of entrepreneur is so for you guys, how have you found these high level clients? I mean, getting in the door with companies like this is not? I mean, it’s, it’s not simple, right? So how have you guys been getting in the door and selling these high ticket,
Robert: we run the barbell approach, I think like, which is, which is, you know, not a lot of sales, it’s good thought leadership and excellent delivery, right. So we write a lot of content, things that like lead the industry, I wrote a book on the industry and just kind of, you know, are seen as leaders, and we have really happy clients to tell other people and so, you know, those things drive people to us that our sales team converts, you know, they do not, they’re not out there, you know, knocking on doors, and, you know, telling people stuff I to me, I’d much rather have that than like 15, vdrs, you know, knocking down people’s doors all day long, because, you know, convincing them that they want to buy something.
Josh: Yeah, and I love that approach. What’s been really intriguing to me, because we’ve kind of taken the other approach, right, our goal is to reach out to these companies find ways to get in the door with them, and then the sales process happens and so it’s really kind of fun to watch the other side of it, where you guys have, it’s all about building the content becoming the thought leader, right? So what’s kind of your process around gaining a thought leadership? I mean, you mentioned a book, you mentioned your content, but what does that really look like for your company?
Robert: I think it’s just, you know, I always say, if someone asks you a question, once you answer it twice, like, it should be an article, and then you can point to the article and that also helps to where someone says, Well, what do you do you know, where someone says, you know, can we pay you on a performance basis? And not any fee up front? You say, Well, let me link you to this article about why, you know, it doesn’t work, why your finance team will say no, when we asked to do this agreement, and then, you know, today, like, Oh, this is this is a known issue, we thought of it like I always sort of am on my team, where if they’ve answered it twice, like it should be a piece of content, then by the way, that content goes out in the world that it gets shared and then someone says, Oh, you know, what, I really liked how that company thinks like, I was out there looking for performance only but it makes sense to me that like, maybe I was, you know, not, I was a little unrealistic and thinking that that was a good way to go. Like, we’d be honest with people say, Look, I know you want to do performance only but what’s happened is in order to do that, I need a two year agreement from you if I’m going to work for six months for risk, and I need a tail and everything for two years and you’re going to take this your legal in their finance department, and they’re going to say this is too complicated we don’t want to be wrapped into this so that’s why we’re gonna need some money from you to actually do, do work in the next three months.
Josh: I love that and and I love that you’re using the content as a way to educate so you’re not having to have that conversation and train yourself
Robert: it shows that that conversation is a frequent one is one that I had or like, how can we go our program, you know, if we don’t want any, you know, discount sites? Oh, well, here’s our article on growing your program without discount sites right? You know, just you got you know, as I said, I getting into great do people ever want to know what content to write, just take the questions that you’re asked the most, that’s the best place to start because not only be able to answer it, you’ll be able to show them that you’ve thought of this in advance and you’ll have a really good answer that you don’t have to write.
Josh: That is brilliant. I’ve never really thought of it that way. We will definitely go apply that because we recently wrote like a fact page for our service there’s probably 15 different questions on there but that’s literally 15 different pieces of content that we could write to become thought leaders in that space so that’s awesome I love that so for you guys now we’re coming up to the to the end of the interview here already but I want to ask you, how can people connect and learn more from your content about partnership marketing
Robert: ah yea and go to accelerationpartners.com we have a resources section, a webinar section, we have like tons of content so blog, we’re always publishing stuff there’s plenty of free stuff up there if you want to get yourself educated on the on the industry.
Josh: can you repeat that one more time so in case people missed that.
Robert: Yeah. So it’s accelerationpartners.com, you are better off just googling it then trying to punch it in and it will come up first for you because you’ll make you’ll make more typos trying to try to get the URL, right.
Josh: I love that. It’s kind of funny, you almost have to do that with a lot of brands but for us, you know, we have we have a product called the Pantheon and people just like just Google it, you’ll find it. So I want to ask you one final question, though to to wrap this up so you know, we’ve covered a lot of different topics, but if you could leave one final parting piece of guidance to our audience what would that be?
Robert: Yeah, Figure out what it is that you value most and what good outcomes for you are and then find people who can align to those I think that’s the simplest and best strategy.