Season 03 / Episode 004

Punch-Out!!, Jimmy Page, and Partnerships with Blake Cantrell

With Blake Cantrell - Affiliate Marketing Industry Veteran

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Our guest is industry veteran Blake Cantrell. Blake has several exciting stops in his career including Commission Junction, Impact, and Partnerize and he brings that unique perspective to the show.

We talk about career, how to make a decision to move on and most of all we dive into what makes up a good partnership and why they are so important to our channel and anyone’s affiliate marketing endeavors.

As of the date of publishing of this episode, Blake is also looking for his next exciting opportunity. So if you are looking for some one to develop your partnership department or grow your partnerships, Blake is your guy. Oh, and if you are in the music industry, then definitely reach out to this passionate digital marketing and musician. You can reach Blake on LinkedIn.

About Our Guest


Blake Cantrell


I live in Santa Barbara which is a hub of affiliate marketing with CJ, Impact, Honey & Gen3 having offices in town. I began my affiliate career way back in 2006 at CJ running reports & reviewing publisher applications.

During my 17+ years in affiliate I have seen some seismic shifts in the industry but the two things that remain constant are the great, longstanding relationships and that no two days are ever the same. I met my wife, Leilana, while at CJ and we have two young boys that keep us very busy.

Beyond that, I love all things related to guitars and thankfully I have a very supportive family who lets me dominate a good chunk of the house with my many, many instruments.

Lastly, I once knocked Kerri Pollard head over heels at a company event.



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[00:00:48] Welcome listeners my name is Jamie Birch, your host of the profitable performance marketing podcast and founder of JEBCommerce, your award winning affiliate management agency. We’re actually celebrating in just a few days 19 years in the space. Since we founded this coming up here on October 10th, you may actually be listening to this afterwards.

[00:01:12] But today we have a special guest. They’re all special. They’re all awesome. Today is no different. It’s Blake Cantrell. Blake and I’ve known each other for probably 10 years. Blake has worked at three of the big affiliate networks, has a really interesting perspective on, on the space.

[00:01:31] And we have a great conversation about partnerships, about trends in the space of how the PR agencies are coming into affiliate marketing and. And what is that leading to and what the issues and problems that that face. And we throw a little bit of what JEB does in those areas as well.

[00:01:48] So definitely give this podcast a listen, but if you are trying to figure out how you manage all this stuff, how you manage your affiliates, how you manage those across channels then we definitely want to talk. Email us at We’ll give you a free 30 minute consultation, tell you what we know and what we think will help. And we have a whole new suite of packages available for you. So you can go check those out at You can also email us at as well.

[00:02:18] Have a great conversation with Blake. It’s about an hour long. You definitely want to stay until the end. This is great stuff in there. We talk a lot about what the networks do, what the trends are coming up with and why is building partnerships so important? And how to do that. So without further ado, here’s my conversation with Blake.

[00:02:40] All right, Blake Cantrell. Thank you. And welcome to the Profitable Performance Marketing podcast. Great to have you here, man. It’s great to finally have you on the show.

[00:02:52] Thanks for having me. I think we’ve talked a million times on camera now, but we’ve never done it for posterity. So this should be a good exercise.

[00:03:00] And here we go. I love I love your background. Let’s see. We got Mike Tyson from gosh, what, what is that game? I can’t…

[00:03:08] Punch-Out!!. Yeah.

[00:03:09] Punch-Out!!. Yeah. Did you ever reach Mike Tyson?

[00:03:13] Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, so my kids, my kids have the new Nintendo, but you can still get all the old games on it, so I like, forced them to watch me play these, all the old games, but

[00:03:23] Do you still got it?

[00:03:25] Yeah, now I have, sadly I do, and I remembered like half of the tricks to all the guys, but I’m like, this is what I’ve retained, 40 years later or whatever, like this is not, but yeah. Yeah, yeah, no, these are, these are all remnants of when I used to have an office and then they had to come home…

[00:03:42] background as well.

[00:03:43] Yeah, so now they’re, they’re just here, and my wife sits here a lot, too, and takes these down, because she doesn’t care for them, so that’s,

[00:03:50] That Jimmy Page over your left shoulder?

[00:03:52] Yeah, so that’s Jimmy Page, and then there’s like a Bob Marley at the Santa Barbara Bowl from, like a million years ago. So yeah, this is all my corner of nonsense, where I, probably it’s also an age test to see if you recognize anything up here.

[00:04:07] Oh, it’s definitely Gen X Corner for sure.

[00:04:09] Yeah, yeah, if you’re under 35, you’re probably not getting any of these.

[00:04:13] No. Jimmy who? Mike what?

[00:04:16] Yeah.

[00:04:17] Those are great. It’s always, it’s been an interesting are, our “the remote worlds” version of MTV Cribs doing these podcast episodes since COVID, because most people are at home now. And you really get to see a little more of their flavor than what they had to maybe in their cubicle.

[00:04:33] Yeah, for sure. I think most people have cleaned it up to a degree, but I feel like those first six to eight months where no one knew, like, where to take these calls in their house, and they maybe had kids at home too, it was like, calls in the garage, or clearly they’re in the laundry room, or you just, it’s always a mess.

[00:04:53] Oh yeah. My first… when the pandemic started I had my desk located in our bedroom and then I figured, I’m going to start developing some content to help people how do we as an industry get through all this, what impact? And I, I’m a morning person, my wife is not, and so that didn’t take real long for her to get me the hell out of the bedroom and find somewhere else.

[00:05:18] So you see these videos start there with the backdrop of a bed, which honestly, I’ve had so many meetings where everyone took them in their bedroom. I had, I’d recorded one podcast where they had their kids on the bed, watching us record the podcast. Now, like you said, it’s a lot more clean. Ours, ours reflects that all this stuff behind me too is stuff when we had an office. I was talking to someone else who’s going to be on the podcast next week and was talking about the sign and the stool that we made, and I made all the furniture for our office. I wanted a very particular kind of furniture. So I actually made it all myself and with some help from a couple of employees.

[00:05:55] And once we got it all in there and maybe six months later, we closed the office cause the pandemic. So there’s a storage unit somewhere with the rest of the office stuff that I just don’t have the heart to get rid of, but we’ll never ever use again.

[00:06:09] Oh, yeah. Doing it yourself too. That’s killer. Did you make that sign too?

[00:06:14] I did. We, we, like I said, I was looking for a very particular type of furniture. And so we bought a CNC machine.

[00:06:24] That’s really committed, yeah.

[00:06:26] I, there were three of us doing it. One was going to operate it. That was me. One was going to design the furniture, that employee still with me. And one was going to program the things to make it work and he unfortunately, or he fortunately, he moved on to bigger and better things, and so I had to learn his area as well. And then we re… actually rebuilt the entire machine. This isn’t CNC hour, but I did learn how to do all that stuff. It, my wife was extremely grateful when I got all the furniture built, we were done and I sold it.

[00:07:02] It was a long process, but yeah, we did the sign and the stool back there and we did workstations for 20 people. And the conference table we built was really, that was beautiful that, that we did a really good job on that. And that’s in storage somewhere. Just is, it is. And it was months later, it was months later.

[00:07:25] And, and, we’re remote. We’ll never all our staff is all over the country. So we won’t we won’t go back. So at some point my wife will convince me that we shouldn’t be paying that storage unit anymore.

[00:07:40] Sure.

[00:07:41] Someone else will benefit from that table.

[00:07:43] Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know. People are going back. I’m hearing like, at least whispers of people being asked to come back to the office, at least part time if they can, or hybrid. It’s, I don’t know what to think about it.

[00:07:55] It is interesting. It is interesting. I struggled as a leader in that move. It’s very hard. Did you find the move to remote a difficult transition as well?

[00:08:07] Not initially, cause I was at Impact when they went remote. And so I’d been there for, I don’t know, four, four and a half years. So I already knew everybody that, that really, you know, leadership and had relationships and all that stuff. So going remote was like, this is, other than having to figure out the kids for the homeschooling part.

[00:08:25] It was great. Cause you get more family time, throwing a load of laundry in between calls, but I’m still super productive, but then …

[00:08:32] Yeah. Yeah

[00:08:33] Yeah, starting the last role remote starting, I think is very, very difficult because you just, it’s just so much harder to get a… a real personal connection when it’s like, what are you gonna do?

[00:08:44] “Hey, let me zoom you because I just want to learn about you like as a person.” It’s just really awkward.

[00:08:49] It’s awkward, right?

[00:08:51] Yeah, it’s a hard…

[00:08:51] “Let’s play two truths and a lie. Are you available for zoom today?”

[00:08:55] Yeah. Yeah. “Would you like to take time out of your day to do that with me?” Yeah.

[00:09:00] Yeah. One-on-one team building. I found that too, like it was not as difficult moving a, an intact team to remote as it was bringing new people in. And the, the importance of the regular face time, like actual get togethers always seemed to elevate the whole team as a cohesive unit, but it still was difficult.

[00:09:23] Yeah, it’s I don’t know I always think of it as you know a long distance relationship. Like I I’m a like the perfect guy for two days out of the month or whatever like I could put on a face on that call like no other but Who knows what’s really happening behind the scenes or whether i’m dying at the job or not. Yeah, you just need a little bit more time, but I don’t know.

[00:09:43] I also wouldn’t want to go back to full time in the office either, so I’m not sure what the right answer is for anybody at this point.

[00:09:50] Yeah. It’s tough. I honestly couldn’t imagine having to commute every day again. And my commute was about 18 minutes at the time which is nothing especially with folks listening on the East coast, Northeast especially, but I couldn’t imagine doing that, which is funny. When I first got married, I worked at home.

[00:10:11] And it was quickly evident I needed to get the hell out of the house. That wasn’t the wisest thing that, that was a strain. And now it’s 18 years later, almost 19, it’s much, much different, but it’s interesting how things go.

[00:10:25] But you’ve been in this space for a long time, tell me how you found affiliate marketing. Let’s start there. Like, how’d you get here?

[00:10:35] Uh yeah, yeah, All right. So I started at CJ in 2006 I had to research this before we came on because I couldn’t remember. And yeah, you know i’ve been out of college for four or five years at that point and bouncing around doing all kinds of jobs. Like the people that, go to a specific school for engineering and then take… get their four year degrees and then become lifelong engineers.

[00:10:59] That was not my path by any stretch. College was very much like me figuring out what the heck is out there and what I might want to do. And then a good chunk of that my work experience after college was: number one necessary because I really want to make sure I never had to move back in with my parents, but then also this big process of elimination.

[00:11:20] This sounds okay. Let’s try that and then you slowly, learn what you like and so yeah… I had been doing some pretty funny marketing work. I had a friend who he ran political campaigns for people in town. So like the local Congress person, a bunch of people on the city council, different projects, initiatives, he’d get funding and then he’d call in all his buddies to do all the dirty work.

[00:11:45] So I would like, get a list from the Chamber of Commerce and call a thousand people a day, asking them which way they were going to vote. It’s just brutal sweatshop labor, but it was…

[00:11:56] Wow, guerrilla marketing polling.

[00:11:57] Yeah, a hundred percent. We’d fold flyers and hand them out. It’s just all that kind of really on the ground stuff.

[00:12:04] And it was fun, and it was funny, but then there’s parts where, you get to be in there and actually put yourselves in the shoes of “okay, what’s this person thinking when I come up, knock on their door or give them a call. Like, how am I going to get my way through my message through somehow?”

[00:12:18] And I don’t know. That gave me a little taste of what marketing could be like, I think, which is good. And then I knew Vern, Veronica Rodriguez, who’s been around for a million years and she was, I knew her socially. She was a CJ. She referred me in and I got in and interviewed with Vern and another guy, Billy, who’s been around forever.

[00:12:38] And I became a program manager at the time, which hasn’t existed for 20 years. So I was just, yeah, brought in to manage affiliate programs and do portfolio management. I had no idea what I was doing and was probably a terrible manager for a good chunk of that first 6 months to a year, like…

[00:12:58] Yeah, it’s just so different and weird and especially that time very, very new to me and relatively new… newer at that point. But I had a lot of good people around and that was a really fun place to be, especially at that time. And a lot of young people and so all the, all the things that like are tropes now about like Free Beer Friday and…

[00:13:17] Yeah…

[00:13:17] lots of social activities. Those things that actually matter to you a lot when you’re in your twenties. Those are great. So yeah, I did start at the bottom, did all the pub app review and ran reports and, did my best to sound strategic and then just got better over the course of many, many years.

[00:13:36] And I was there for… nine, almost 10 years. And then by the end I was in a pretty different spot. I was managing a big team. I had a lot of really big accounts. Yeah, there’s a lot going on, but it was just kind of like, “Hey, nine years is a long place.” Any, anywhere you go, a long time, any place you go.

[00:13:51] Yeah…

[00:13:51] Especially during that time. Everyone’s tenure was about 18 months on average. And you were there 10 years.

[00:13:56] It was weird. Yeah. Yeah, there were I think I’m definitely not the guy who’s out there eager to go shop myself around, so if I think there’s any runway left, I’m probably hanging in there.

[00:14:07] Yeah.

[00:14:08] But yeah, it was great until it got to a point where it was just time to move on. Like I just couldn’t do any more account management, I think was the real answer at that point. Then I called up Vern again. Vern had moved over to Impact and she had another job for me and it was they had a lot of agencies and it was more or less, “Hey, we just don’t know what to do with them. Can you come just figure it out and there’s not a lot of structure to the role.”

[00:14:35] It was really funny because then when I interviewed, I interviewed with Verne and I interviewed with Billy again it was the same team.

[00:14:41] Both were at Impact.

[00:14:42] Yeah, CJ and Impact. So yeah, I got that job and I started with just me and then Henry was a young guy who’d you know, just was starting out back then, too. So yeah, we we Just did a divide and conquer of ” Henry, you take the biz dev and there’s a lot of CS functions here.”

[00:14:58] Agencies have years worth of, feedback slash complaints about what to do and what we should be doing. And so we just did a lot of like listening tours more than anything.

[00:15:09] That’s about the time you and I met.

[00:15:11] Yeah, for sure. Right around then. Cause I started meeting everybody on the agency side, which is great.

[00:15:16] I really like all the agency people. They’re fun. And then, I don’t know, you saw a lot of it, but I guess for anyone out there, like it just organically happened. The more you take care of the agencies, the more you give them good training and show them some attention and treat them like an actual customer, the more they want to bring business over to you.

[00:15:33] And then eventually we tried to, formalize that into a bit of a referral system and then built out CS and biz dev functions around agencies. And then expanded into, tech partnerships and referral partnerships. And yeah, by the end there was, it was a big deal. It was like 20 people on the team.

[00:15:52] We had BDRs going after new agencies and all the different agency types. And it was bringing in a lot of revenue. It was like the majority of the net new leads are coming from the channel partnerships team at that point. Yeah, yeah, there’s a lot going on. Super fun. And I got to handpick a ton of really good people from the industry that I’d worked with forever.

[00:16:11] That part was great too. And then, yeah, that’s pretty much most of it, I don’t know. And then I jumped over to partnerize for a bit to try and do a similar, but different version of the same thing. And just finished up there and yeah, just wasn’t a great fit on either side. There’s no hard feelings at all, but I think they were looking for something a little different than what I was bringing to the table. So I’m back out there and trying to figure it out.

[00:16:35] Awesome. And we’ll definitely talk about that at the end, if you’re looking for an individual to add to your team, Blake is currently available. But let’s go back to CJ. There’s a bunch of things in your career that are pretty interesting. When you went from managing programs to managing people, there’s people on my staff that are doing that now, making that transition. What was your biggest… what was the biggest surprise in that transition?

[00:16:59] What was the toughest part going from managing these affiliate programs, and now you’re managing people who are managing those programs.

[00:17:07] Yeah. At first it was just tough to hand stuff off a little bit to feel like, Oh, you got this or how do I know that, you’re up, you’re ready for this. I think that’s every early manager’s kind of fear is, like I still want to look good. So like, how much do I let you do versus how much do I take on or hold on to?

[00:17:26] But eventually it was actually pretty natural, I think for me, because some of it was again, maybe back to actually to what we were talking about, like the proximity, like it’s CJ back then. You either, in some way, shape or form, either in your siloed office or out in the pit, you sat right next to the person that you worked with on all these accounts.

[00:17:48] So you would just know exactly what was happening with them, if they needed help, if they looked stuck, they could turn around and ask you for something. You were just very available and it was easy to help coach people up. A lot of the reports that you have over there, especially at the beginning when you’re first managing people are very junior and brand new to the industry and, still figuring out Excel or whatever it might be.

[00:18:10] So yeah, I think that was the biggest, that was pretty natural one for me, but I just thought back to who do I like as a boss, what did I like about them? And it was very easy for me to try and mimic those behaviors as best I could. And just to be super appreciative, like these are junior people for the most part, or, they’re looking for, my approval.

[00:18:33] I love it when my boss, gives me a shout out, so I still do that all the time for people that work for me. If I think it’s deserved and want to tell someone else above them that I might have access to that they wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable talking to. Honestly, that’s selfish though. It’s fun for me. I love talking about other people a lot more than I like talking about myself.

[00:18:55] That’s awesome. Did you find any tools or any resources that helped you in that transition particularly?

[00:19:04] At that time, I don’t remember necessarily if there’s a management course or here’s the, how we do it. Cause I think everyone had their own flavor of what they did, depending on who they reported into at the time, like there was the key accounts team had their own way of doing things and then, different parts of Ad Dev, depending on who the director was, might have their own versions of everything.

[00:19:25] It wasn’t standardized way back then. But I think there were just some key things: every director needed to have, a pretty good read on activity on the account, growth, red flags, what’s happening, renewal, contract renewal. And then just when it comes to the people management stuff, just who’s on track for, how are they doing against their, their JD and how are they doing just in general, when it comes to next, review time next, review period.

[00:19:50] Are they going to be up for a promotion? What are they saying? Are they antsy? We just spent you know a year training them and now they want to leave what do we need to do? just all that basic kind of stuff that I think just presents itself over time is more of like trial and error as opposed to like “Here’s the blah blah blah philosophy of management” or anything along those lines.

[00:20:08] Yeah, it sounds like they have a lot of resources as far as when you do reviews and individuals goals and things like that, that you were able to plug into.

[00:20:15] Yeah, yeah, they’re definitely like CJ, when I first started was, part of Value Click was the only like parent company. So yeah, they were much more grown up than we were at the time, and so we had a lot of internal HR tools that you’d plug into for the most part.

[00:20:30] And then over time it probably went the other way as more acquisitions happened and it just became more and more like hyper corporate and not necessarily as helpful as it was like box checking to a degree.

[00:20:41] Yeah. Yeah. Now, when you made your decision to move from CJ to Impact, how, what was that process for you? Was it just, burnt out and I need to go somewhere else or did you have a process you followed? What, what kind of came into play of making a big decision like that?

[00:21:01] Yeah, that was, so I’m not like a big risk taker guy by any means, like that’s just not me. So that was a pretty big choice after, having been there a long time. So yeah, I think there are a couple of things. One was that, I really enjoy account management or even like jumping back into it, on occasion to help somebody is like fun.

[00:21:19] I get to flex those muscles and I can still do this. Like I, I remember this I got this, but at some point, I’d been on accounts for years and years, like, which I’m dating myself… that used to be a thing. They were in my, in my portfolio for nine years.

[00:21:36] I, there’s only so many times you can talk about the same brand to the same chunk of publishers, and at some point it feels like a very similar conversation. And then the other part was, I got to like through the, kind of hierarchy and corporate ladder stuff. And I got to a point where I was managing a big team, which I really liked, but I was also not doing any of the affiliate management stuff, all those skills that I acquired, mostly I was nailing my forecast and reporting up because I was like ultimate middle management. I’m like, this is just not fun anymore. Like I’m not creative. Like it’s nothing, I’m not helping anybody like this is just not, and there was, I didn’t see much of a future.

[00:22:20] At least for me doing that. Yeah, when the thing with impact came up, it was. It was just super ambiguous. There was no JD, it really, they made it up so they could hire me.

[00:22:30] For our listeners, JD is…

[00:22:33] job description, sorry.

[00:22:35] There you go.

[00:22:37] So yeah, I, it was just, I was pretty scared about it. I talked to my wife about it a lot. She was great. ” You’re not happy. Just go try it. I’m sure you could go back. You’ll get hired to do account management somewhere else. It’s not going to hurt, but you need to try something else.” So she was great and gave me a kick in the pants. And then to be fair, I had a lot of time at Impact to figure it out.

[00:22:59] They were pretty gracious. They gave me that first year I was doing a ton of in the weeds, dirty work, CS stuff for agencies, just to try to make them happy. I wasn’t bringing in revenue. It was pretty up in the air as to what I was being measured on. They’re just like, “just go figure out something, just make them happy.”

[00:23:16] And so they gave me a lot of space to do it to their credit, which I don’t think everyone would. And yeah, it was a lot of writing process or coming up with something that we think is the best idea or getting feedback from agencies, tell me what you want, or, what you would like to see with, our product or, how we can have a better process for you, working with our team, whatever.

[00:23:37] What was that like? Cause what was your process? You get in and they’re like, “Hey, here’s this thing. We don’t know how to do it. We want you to figure it out.” At my first my very first job out of college was that my title was search engine guru. And no one knew what the search engines were.

[00:23:54] They just knew they needed someone to do things on the search engines. And they literally gave me an E-Machine, a card table, and put me in the same facility that they would do their kickboxing and massages. Like they that’s the benefits they had.

[00:24:11] I think that’s where affiliate people get put nowadays, too…

[00:24:14] Yeah, that’s never changed. Just in the auditorium with a card table at a computer. Just, “we’re going to let that guy cook for a while.” So did you have a process? ” This thing hasn’t existed before you have to develop it.” Walk me through how you did that.

[00:24:29] Yeah, so I know enough to know that I’m never the smartest guy in the room for most things. So I cheated. My wife, was also in the industry. She was at CJ. She was on the agency team at CJ for a long time. So I picked her brain about everything she did and how it worked over there. And I would go online and talk to agencies, probably bugged you and your team about what do other agency teams do?

[00:24:56] And what’s it look like? ” What do you want from us?” And not only ” what do you get from someone else, but what could we do that would be even better than that? What would really make you love us?”

[00:25:04] And it’s actually funny because I asked that question a lot over my career. And people don’t know. A lot of the time they don’t know the answer to that. ” Oh, let me think about it. I just know what I get or, what’s normal somewhere else.” So that was a lot of it was, just more or less cheating, stealing other ideas or repurposing it for myself.

[00:25:22] And then the other big one, especially early on was just anything you do and if you have an agency team or, say like a broader partnerships practice that you’re trying to build out is agencies interact with every single department in your organization. Like I’ve talked to many people on your team over the years, right?

[00:25:40] Mhmm, yeah.

[00:25:41] At the time, probably by the time I left at impact is more about biz dev and how can we, build our business together and our portfolios. But it sure didn’t stop those people that knew me from saying, “Hey, Blake I’m stuck on legal, or CS is a bottleneck,” or whatever.

[00:25:56] I remember calling you a whole bunch of times over random stuff for sure.

[00:26:00] Yeah, cause …

[00:26:01] I have someone’s phone number and Blake is always helpful. I’m calling him.

[00:26:04] Cause, yeah, exactly. Cause you knew me, you didn’t know the people on the other team necessarily, and you wanted one point of contact, and it totally made sense. Just, again, organically, that was a lot of the other stuff that I started to do was reach out and build relationships with all the other relative groups, marketing, sales, onboarding, CS, support, legal, whoever you could think of to figure out how I could get plugged into all these other groups and make sure that agency perspective was represented there.

[00:26:32] Like when we’re doing a big QBR with a client that’s managed by an agency, we better be talking to the agency and make sure we’re both saying same things, propping up one another, maybe going in and doing it together as opposed to over here in this silo, we’re talking about our own set of tools and influencer, and actually, agencies talking about something else entirely. And then the brand wants, nothing to do with either of us, and we sound really disjointed.

[00:26:57] Yeah, that’s usually what happens. Yeah.

[00:26:58] Yeah. And then, yeah. Any of those, It’s a big game of trusting one another and figuring out, not just only across teams, but also externally with all the agency partners.

[00:27:08] ” How do we, how do I help you navigate my world? How do you help me navigate yours? And then do we need an official documented process? Do we need like a verbal?” It just depends on what’s happening and how we’re staffing against it at any given time, cause that evolved a lot over my time at Impact, too.

[00:27:25] I think it sounds really smart, and we mimic a lot of your process. If you’re getting into something you don’t know, talk to people, a listening tour. We try to do that with our clients and networks quite often… ” what are you hearing? What’s going on? What changes are happening in this space?”

[00:27:45] These episodes are very much that too, but gathering other smart people and saying, “how would you do this? Do you see the opportunity? How could we serve you better?” That’s great stuff to do. And then formulating a plan from there is fantastic. I’m assuming you went to Partnerize and did that same sort of thing starting there as well.

[00:28:03] Yeah, yeah, for sure. I think my…

[00:28:05] You had a whole lot more experience building that particular department at that time, for sure.

[00:28:10] Sure. Yeah, no, the challenge at Partnerize was that I was covering things like even till the end about oh, this is a different process, just, it’s just so different. And yeah, there’s, there was no inherited infrastructure necessarily. So there’s a lot of just…

[00:28:26] That can be super frustrating and also super exciting because you get to develop those things. I’m a natural starter, so I love doing that.

[00:28:33] Yeah, no, I think they just are sitting on a ton of potential, I just wasn’t the guy to help them realize it, and I think they’ll come back to it, they will have to, but yeah, I don’t know what that would look like.

[00:28:46] So you’ve probably some of the most unique experience that a guest has had. You’ve been at three of the large networks. You’ve seen how they operate and you’ve seen the landscape from a program manager to working with agencies. You’ve got a really unique perspective.

[00:29:02] What do you see about the affiliate landscape right now? Where is it going? What are the big problems and holes that are filled? Where do the networks in general fail, maybe the advertiser affiliate and agency. Where do you see them going in the future?

[00:29:16] Yeah, this is great…

[00:29:18] so there’s 19 questions right there that I just lobbed over to you.

[00:29:22] Yeah, thanks, Jamie. Look, this is great to maybe not be affiliated with anyone right now to answer this question.

[00:29:30] Yeah. Yeah.

[00:29:31] Yeah that’s a big one. It’s been a weird, obviously, last three years. There’s been So much weird artificial growth in every digital channel, travel obviously got destroyed and then all the subscription services blew up, and streaming, and everything else that might not have taken that big jump and bodybuilding, home exercise equipment, whatever that kind of stuff. And now it’s all swinging the other way, travels blowing up, all those, Pelotons are like collecting dust and it’s a whole different universe.

[00:30:02] And all those businesses, networks included, and probably agencies to a degree, took hits in pockets and it’s hard to pick out, what’s growing and what’s not. And then I think on top of that there’s not a ton of giant enterprise brands left out there in the space that don’t have a program or are new to market.

[00:30:21] So it’s a lot of competitive steals for networks and agencies at this point and because, at least from the network side and maybe the agency side too, like there’s very few differentiators. There’s not a lot of people that can say like “truly, I do recruitment insanely differently than there are anybody else on earth.”

[00:30:43] Yeah.

[00:30:44] And there are differentiators and same thing with the platforms too. Like our tracking, oh my God. You should see our tracking night and day from someone else. Like it’s just not… it’s not necessarily there. There are absolutely for pockets.

[00:30:56] Insert network name here.

[00:30:58] You’re right. Yeah, and there are for pockets like there’s, certain platform can absolutely be better for retail for whatever reason or fashion. Everyone says Rakuten is the fashion brand and like Impact is all about finance and so those types of pockets of verticals and same with agencies.

[00:31:14] Some are known for doing certain things, but what’s frightening or maybe not frightening, but just where it looks like it might be going to a degree and maybe in a negative way to start is: agencies have started to assimilate and be VC-backed and buying up one another quite a bit.

[00:31:31] That’s great. There’s investment in the channel. People are taking notice. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it makes also at the same time, I feel like there’s more agencies than there’s ever been like more OPMs specifically than ever. And I can’t even keep up and there’s just a new one all the time.

[00:31:47] It’s a very long list.

[00:31:48] Yeah, and so I don’t. Are they good? How good are they? What are they good at? Are they very, very affordable? I don’t know. That’s a lot of just new things that are happening in the industry. And then it ends up getting a little bit, I think, commoditized, or it’s harder to tell who’s different.

[00:32:04] And I think the same thing more or less is happening on the platform side to a degree, or the network side of other than some pockets, like what’s truly different. So if it’s all kind of looks the same to the consumer, it’s very confusing. And then we all just lean in on price and price reductions and a race to the bottom, and then you throw in the like funky macro economic climate, whatever else, and yeah, price is such a huge piece of it now.

[00:32:31] So I think that’s where we’re at, but it’s also a big opportunity for somebody to step in and do something different, and take advantage of the other trends, which from my side, I’ve been seeing for a long time now, which is all of these PR and content type agencies that are being forced into affiliate because they have nowhere else to spend on Facebook or Meta.

[00:32:55] And at some point I just think there’s going to be this huge reckoning in the larger like content space. Where a CMO is going to be like, I can’t afford to pay this gamer a million dollars for one day of Twitch live streaming. This is ridiculous. I at least need good reporting. And so they’re going to turn to something like us and they’re going to want to figure out how to do it.

[00:33:16] And… When that happens, I don’t know how it happens or will it be an affiliate platform or agency or not. I don’t know, but I think that’s where someone will bridge that, jump over that hurdle that’s been sitting there for a long time because everyone has said for five, six years, influencer is the future, but it’s only happened in bits and pieces. And then to see PR coming over on their own, I think it means it’s real. I just don’t know how you like get there in a very clear path other than someone is going to set the bar at a big company and do a big change. And then the whole landscape, I think will fall in behind it.

[00:33:57] Do you think it’s one of the current players or do you think someone else will come in that’s doing this kind of thing somewhere in another channel?

[00:34:04] So anywhere that I, any network that I’ve worked platform, network, whatever we want to call it, you can build amazing tools. And I’ve seen some really cool things. If they don’t get used, they are pointless and are just something that gets sold. So I think it has to be the brand that will say either we’re using this tool that tells us exactly what we want to know about all of our influencer content, PR type, initiatives. And that will set the stage and then everyone that will become the best practice or they will tell either a platform or an agency, who knows what kind of agency, “we need to have better insight. How do you solve for this? I need a tool that does X, Y, Z.” And hopefully that’s our tool that’s been sitting here somewhere in our industry and one of our agencies that’s helped solve for that and is ready for it.

[00:34:54] I don’t think you can force that upon anyone. It’s going to have to be the brand that’s gonna make that change happen. You can pitch it. I’d love to see it pitched, but I just don’t know I think that’s a tough pitch coming from the affiliate person at this point.

[00:35:10] Why do you think it’s a struggle from the affiliate channel? From the internal affiliate manager or the network affiliate manager, even the agency, it’s always been that way. Why do you think that is?

[00:35:21] Like we were talking about earlier, the guy sitting at the card table, the kickboxing gym is not getting a lot of respect. I say that, although there are tons of huge exceptions, right?

[00:35:30] There’s so many programs where affiliates, maybe the number one revenue driver for the entire company, and they’re big companies. It’s not just something small. I still think the pitch is just too… too challenging for your regular CMO to wrap their head around it’s ” Oh, it’s a little bit of everything. Oh, it’s coupon. Okay I don’t know.”

[00:35:53] That’s easy for them to understand… maybe.

[00:35:57] If you think of what do you have in your stack of digital marketing, you have, search, email, social, Facebook, whatever it is, all flavors of native, all kinds of other stuff. You know what that is mentally. You can see those things. You know what an email looks like. You know what search looks like. You can go find it whenever you want.

[00:36:16] Affiliate, like it’s 8, 000 websites and 800 different forms. And what is it? Like it’s harder to put your finger on it. So I think it’s more difficult to explain when you’re saying, “yeah, here’s what I want to do. I want to invest in this.”

[00:36:29] So that means you’re investing in even one big brand publisher. All right. They’re doing, a promotion. You’re doing a placement. You’re in their mailer. You’re doing like they’re doing SEO. They’re doing 20 things. It’s hard to pin down what the heck is happening, even though the reality is that should be a huge advantage because they’re doing those 20 things based on the CPA payout, probably. And it’s actually really great for you, as long as you have your margin set properly, your payout set properly, and you have attribution in place that makes everything fair for all the channels, which is not terribly difficult.

[00:37:02] It’s just, I think it’s that explaining it and that, I don’t know, you’ve seen this too, probably on the agency side… affiliate guys, the affiliate contacts, brand-side aren’t there for very long cause they want to move on to something else and move up. And yeah, re-explaining the channel and the value and what you do as an agency over and over again… yeah, it makes it tough to get a lot of traction, I think.

[00:37:27] And I think our industry hasn’t done a really good job of sharing information like other channels do. So we are very protective. Agencies are very protective. The networks are very protective. I know the PMA has done a lot of work. Here’s my plug for the PMA. Join that.

[00:37:44] I know they’re doing a bunch to get aggregated data out that is easy to digest from a CMO’s perspective, so you can see that but it gets so difficult because… that’s why a lot of people hire us because you can monitor it and optimize it and report on it as a channel. But that, that rollup shares so little because there are so many activities in there.

[00:38:11] And there’s probably one or two that you’ve never heard of that you need to be comfortable with and you need to get involved in and your brand can’t, but they can. And so trying to aggregate that up tells us really small part of the story. You have to get down into that data to find out, “Hey, this is what this person has done.”

[00:38:28] And not only this is what this affiliate does, but during this time period, like you said, they did these 20 different things, and so how do you report on the success of each one? It can be quite a bit.

[00:38:41] Now you mentioned, one thing we’ve talked a lot about in our content and this season is the emergence, the introduction of our channel to the PR world and having these types of agencies come in from your perspective. Is that creating opportunity for the industry? Is it creating problems for the space?

[00:39:04] Yeah. I don’t know yet. It’s a great question. I’ve talked to so many of them and they’re by and large, eager to learn… have some good brand names for sure. But then don’t know the space. Would need an immense amount of like handholding to really get it going, which is not bad, but few places have the resources, which is network side, which is my experience.

[00:39:27] And then I guess it comes down to that kind of question of, all right, if you come to us as a PR agency at the platform side and you’re saying that “I’d need to work… I’ve been told by the brand, I want to work with Skimlinks and LTK and some other content providers. They only do it through affiliate.”

[00:39:43] “Okay, great. We can help you with that, but we’re going to have to teach you how to use the system, how to do all… there’s a lot there. The flip side is: what if you just went to an affiliate agency and that same brand said, Hey, I want to work with Skimlinks and LTK and one, two, three, and you’d be done in a minute.”

[00:40:02] I know it’s happening in pockets, but on the whole, no one is embracing that or has figured out a way to like actively capture that market that I have seen. And is that the future? It could be because there’s not necessarily… where else are new accounts or new types of agencies going to come from right now?

[00:40:24] We have a ton of OPMs. The holding companies have made some interesting moves over the last few years, and they used to be totally siloed within their own practice. Now they’ve almost all consolidated their practices. So there’s definitely interest in activity, and there’s great that PR is starting to bounce into our world, but what’s the playbook? What does it look like? How do you help them? And who does what?

[00:40:45] I think there might be a real chance for an affiliate agency to just either, buy a PR agency or team up with a PR agency to do subcontracting work until you end up pushing the PR agency out. I think there’s a lot of things that could happen there.

[00:40:59] In general, like a PR agency, what if you suddenly ran all that traffic through affiliate and exposed that half of their impressions were doing nothing or, like their buys were bogus for the last few years. That’s a big risk for them too.

[00:41:13] That is interesting, right? Because one of the things that we can provide them they’ve never had, and that is reporting. We can tell you what happened with every click. We can tell you what happened with every impression. We have that capability, it’s incredibly powerful. So I know in the past, there’s always been a reluctance to do that, partly because they didn’t know it existed.

[00:41:33] We are not on their radar. We have not been on their radar. And like you said, a lot of them are coming into this because the client said, “this is who I want to work with.” And the only way they work with is that we work with several PR agencies to be able to provide these things very quickly.

[00:41:48] We have, have the relationships, understand how it works and can get that done. Is their biggest obstacle, just understanding like the CMO conversation we just had, just understanding this space?

[00:41:59] Yeah, I think so. Even just talking to you about some of this… Yeah, so here’s a real old like CJ story. So I used to work on H&R Block for a long time. And as you can imagine, their entire year is made during tax season January to April 15th, and so everything is amazingly fast-paced and there’s actually really fun. Even though it’s super stressful because it was unlike any other evergreen retail program. There was a clear winner between H&R Block and Turbo Tax basically every year and there’s a start and an end date more or less and so like it was and it was all really compacted. So, what they did, and it was really smart, and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone else do it: they would bring in all of their different agencies or services, partners, or vendors.

[00:42:51] They would get them all together before the tax season, and you would go up and talk about what you were working on, and then… It’s great, especially being a younger guy, like learning, ” oh, this is how search talks and this is how, these other channels how they actually talk about these things and what their KPIs are and their reporting looks like.”

[00:43:11] And then you’d see an opportunity in there and pick it apart and be like, get a chance to ask questions of these other teams and figure out how we could actually work together. And I think that’s like all the way back to, the kickboxing gym guy. That’s when you present your own homework and you’re like, “see, I did a good job in affiliate” and they’re like, “yeah, actually like we tanked it on the year; you hit your goals, but no other channel did.”

[00:43:31] It just gets to be really messy. But if you have that connection with all the other relevant groups, and hopefully again, like up to that CMO or decision maker on the brand side, suddenly you can talk about your own value in a more sensible way, you can work with that PR team and know what the heck they’re doing, when their ad is dropping so you can tell your affiliates to, really boost that or supplement their efforts all that stuff has to work together.

[00:43:54] And that’s where it’s just challenging at any place because everyone wants as much budget for their channel as possible and everyone wants to have their own set of most favorable reporting and it’s a very big task, I think, for anyone to get all their go-to-market teams to line up. And, that happened even for me doing partnerships at Impact, too.

[00:44:15] A ton of great people that we worked with, but also we wanted to make sure we were hitting our individual numbers. So there’s lots of conversations about attribution and who gets credit for what and whatever else happened.

[00:44:26] It’s tough, right? Attribution is a difficult one when you’re dealing with everyone who’s trying to protect their space. And we’ve had several of those those conversations and it has been immensely helpful to the organizations that hold those sort of events and bring them all in.

[00:44:40] We’ve been able to participate in quite a few over the years, and that’s allowed us to meet the people on the other end. Instead of, before the pandemic, we would meet on a conference call, and then after you may get a few people, I think our industry is very comfortable with video on Zoom, but there are still others who specifically “they’re like, no, I’m not turning my camera on. Why would I do that? We build partnerships and this is what we’re trying to do here.” So it is super important to do that.

[00:45:09] Now, you’ve told me on the call really what your skill set is creating partnerships and that’s what you’re really good at.

[00:45:16] So what is a good partnership and then, and how do you create that?

[00:45:21] So I like this question because I think about this a lot. I think I could do sales. I could do it. I wouldn’t like it, but I could do it. And I’ve done CS and like account management and I’m pretty good at it, but in both those scenarios you are working under a mandate let’s say.

[00:45:40] So, if you’re a salesperson I guarantee your boss gives you a list and says, “here’s 100 targets and you got to sell to them no matter what, this is who we’re going after.” And on the kind of, you know account management or CS side more or less the same thing but reversed. ” Here’s your portfolio, you have to help them whether they’re a good person or an awful person, or they, scream at you or love you, they’re paying for you, you have to help them.”

[00:46:06] One of the most healthy things about partnerships, at least the way that I’ve done it, is that it’s an authentic in between of both of those elements, where you say, “Jamie I want to work with you, you have some great accounts. I think it’d be helpful for me. I think it’d be helpful for you. What do you want? What do you want out of this partnership? What do you need from it?”

[00:46:27] You can be very honest and authentic. I would do the same and have many times over the years of, ” Hey, here’s what I would love out of this partnership. And if you see alignment, great. And you can move forward. If you see partial alignment, great. You can maybe just work on marketing or something, not related to the larger biz dev or just, I need better training for my team, whatever it is, that’s great.”

[00:46:50] Or you can say “this might not work right now and we’ll come back to it later.” So I think that’s the mentality you take going into it is just being really authentic and open and transparent about what you can and can’t do for one another and there’s no hard feelings necessarily.

[00:47:05] But then once you get into it and you’ve established that partnership, it’s really about just give and take and being an advocate for your partner on the other side. ” Hey, you have a ton of questions about product. Great. Let me introduce you to our product guy and you can give them some direct feedback.”

[00:47:21] That’s helpful for all of us. ” You need legal, your contract is stuck for your brand. You don’t know what’s happening. Great. I’m going to go. I’m going to go talk to legal for you and figure out what’s going on and help get you unstuck.” Like same thing on your side. ” Hey, our, our sales guy is really hot to talk to you, account X, Y, Z that you manage. Yeah, we think that they are ready for a move too let me introduce you. Awesome. Thanks agency.”

[00:47:44] There’s just a lot of like normal give and take where you’re really helping one another. At least for me, feels like the right place for me to be where it’s, I’m authentically helping someone that I have built a longstanding relationship with, or even when it’s new and fresh, that’s fun too, to like, figure it out together, and there’s no set playbook of how you do it.

[00:48:05] I’ve done all kinds of weird things and partnerships, dinners, events, marketing. Created certification classes, agency advisory board, invite people to events. We go co prospecting, co selling, like there’s, building out CS teams.

[00:48:19] There’s all kinds of fun stuff that you can do that… there’s no ” just go sell” or “just go service.” There’s no limitations on what you can do. It’s all still a pretty young vertical.

[00:48:28] And I wonder if that’s I think that’s why people in the other channels struggle to understand the affiliate because it isn’t formulaic and you can spend a decade building a strong partnership and one decision can ruin it. And now we actually don’t have access to that channel where if I’m in AdWords and an ad campaign doesn’t work, I can take it down later on I’ll just put it back. Yeah. I’ll try that out later or a site, that I’m advertising on, doesn’t work. I’ll just, there’s not that relationship there. it’s different, and people struggle, not just understanding it, but it takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of work to build those.

[00:49:09] What do you think people miss about building good partnerships?

[00:49:14] Oh like you are a brand new potential partner and I’m sure I said this to you at some point too ” Hey, I want to be of service to you, help figure out how we can build our shared business together.

[00:49:22] And that’s the ultimate goal is what can I do to help you and how can you help me? I know we have some… we’re complimentary, we overlap a little bit maybe, but at the end of the day, there’s a lot of ways we could figure it out together. I think that’s the biggest part that, and I’ve heard it from, different people that I’ve probably worked for over the years of they need to get a hundred percent of their business on our platform or why aren’t they giving us these accounts?

[00:49:47] Because we gave them something and it’s ” okay, think about it. It doesn’t make sense for their business,” or if they were to migrate that account, it also might be a chance for that team to, ” Oh let’s RFP the technology, but let’s also RFP this agency because we know we’re doing an RFP anyways, might put their own business at risk.”

[00:50:07] I think that’s the biggest thing is just putting yourselves like in the shoes of a partner and what are they trying to do? Why are they trying to do it? What is their timing? And what stage of their business are they in? There’s so many different agencies where, you know, like, why aren’t we co-selling? It’s cause they don’t have a sales team. It’s the founder who takes inbound referral calls. There’s no there’s no counterparts for us…

[00:50:31] There’s no one to do anything with.

[00:50:33] Yeah, so I think that’s really the biggest miss in partnerships is when you don’t have a true understanding of your partner and what they’re trying to do and, and also just being clear and transparent. I’m sure there have been times in the past where it’s like, “Hey, I just need a favor. I’m short on my quota this year, and if you could give me any referrals, that’d be great.”

[00:50:55] You can tell me no all day long, but I love that have a relationship where I could be transparent with you about something like that. And you would tell me the same “Hey Blake, like I’m worried. We need some help,” or whatever it is.

[00:51:07] “Like, all right, man, like I’ll do what I can, or maybe I can’t, but at least, that I’m here to try for you and do my best as best I can.” Yeah.

[00:51:15] It sounds like what you’re talking about is empathy and we don’t talk a lot about that in business, but it sounds like, you said it, put yourself in other shoes years ago my boss, Christine put me through when I was at Coldwater Creek, put me through, and most of our company through, Karrass negotiation training.

[00:51:34] Yeah. And it was a phenomenal three… I think it was three days, and they flew someone out, and the one thing that I remember most of all is: in a negotiation, you had a pink sheet and that was your pressures, and they had a blue sheet and that was their pressures that they’re bringing and you’re bringing to this negotiation.

[00:51:53] And the question was: which page, blue or pink, should you be more focused on? And everyone’s ” mine, I need to focus on the pink sheet. That’s my pressures.” And what they said is, “No. You’ll lose when you focus on yours. You have to focus on theirs. You have to find out what theirs are.” They were really focused on a win-win negotiation, but that really is a partnership too. You’re both winning.

[00:52:19] Yeah.

[00:52:19] And it was all about empathy. If you don’t understand what they need, you can’t answer those questions of “why aren’t they bringing all their business here or why can’t we co-sell or why can’t we do this?” And it’s super important with the affiliate. I love what you said is you have to be an internal advocate. I know there are many times early in my career that I wasn’t an internal advocate for my partners, whether that was the network or the affiliates. And so I wasn’t as staunchly defensive of them, of why they work, to build that empathy within the group, at least understanding within the company of that.

[00:52:56] But it sounds like that’s what you’re talking about,

[00:52:59] No, I think you got it for sure. It’s honestly, I probably, in fact I know I’ve been told that, “Hey, remember who you work for. It’s not these agencies necessarily,” but, you know…

[00:53:09] But that’s probably a good, that’s a good boundary to brush up against in all our roles. If you’re doing that, you’re probably doing partnership. You can always dial it back.

[00:53:18] Yeah, and then that’s my assumption too, right? Hey if i’m if i’m pushing this hard for these guys like I have to assume they’re actually doing the same for me out there too. Any of the partnerships’ motions that you do is the biggest question mark.

[00:53:33] So, an agency, right? JEB, you manage however many accounts you could go out there and if I did my job and won you over with all of our great product and people and, training and everyone felt really confident about working with my platform, wherever I was, you would just want to go talk about me and our platform to your brands when it made sense.

[00:53:57] And I’ve seen it happen a million times. And it’s amazing because I don’t have access to those brands and no one else does especially the way you do as an objective third party who’s probably managed them for many years and is doing great work. And so coming from you, it’s incredibly powerful.

[00:54:13] Also, nine times out of ten, I don’t know that that conversation happened and I have no way to mark it in my Salesforce and show the outcome and how amazing that was. All people see is like the downstream outcome of eventually something signed from that agency that they sourced over great we’re building goodwill in so many ways.

[00:54:33] And then, same thing with the agencies, especially is that, the value that you add to any organization is so much higher than just that net new revenue. You’re growing existing accounts. If we’re doing it right, we’re retaining accounts together, pushing them in new products and being creative.

[00:54:50] Time to, onboard as much it’s usually, usually shortened. Time to growth is much shorter. There’s a lot of good things happening when you really figure out a cadence with a partner, but… that takes time. I think that’s the biggest struggle for anyone, if they don’t believe in partnerships.

[00:55:06] What’s the timeline? How do I see measurable activity? To a degree, it’s just, you gotta trust me that it’s happening. That’s a big leap of faith.

[00:55:16] And that’s where we have one similarity with another channel search engine optimization, because how long is this going to take? I don’t know. The rankings will come when they come. We don’t know.

[00:55:26] Blake, this has been a pleasure. We’re right up against time. Thank you so much for joining us.

[00:55:30] If someone wants to get ahold of you, get in touch, what’s the best way to do that?

[00:55:34] My amazing LinkedIn page is probably the best for now.

[00:55:39] We’ll share that in the show notes as well.

[00:55:41] Yeah, yeah, please enjoy my head shot from four years ago where I had a little bit darker hair. But yeah, if we’re doing that part at the end here is I’m figuring out what I want to do next. I think I want to make sure I land someplace that’s going to be a good fit for a long time. That’s what I’m all about really. And I love just talking to anybody who does partnerships or is in this space and might need some help or if I can be of help to you and you can be of help to me, hit me up. I’m happy to do it. I always get something out of that, whether, it leads directly to my next amazing career or not, like nine times out of ten, it’s just interesting to learn something new and might take me in a new direction.

[00:56:18] Hopefully I can do the same for you.

[00:56:20] Awesome. So go to LinkedIn, type in Blake Cantrell, C A N T R E L L. And these are in the show notes as well. And connect with him to talk about that opportunity you have. Or if you just want to discuss any of these things, Blake has really… you have really unique experience here. So I can see a lot of conversations happening from this, or you want to talk about how to punch Mike Tyson and Punch-Out!! He may, he may have that code for you.

[00:56:48] Yeah. Yeah. Also available for talk about anything related to guitars or let’s see woodworking. We got that. We need to talk about that one. Jamie.

[00:56:57] Musician and woodworking. That’ll, that’ll be the next one. Yeah,

[00:57:00] Yeah.

[00:57:02] Awesome. Blake, thank you so much. Always a pleasure to talk and look forward to seeing you somewhere in the next go around the sun here.

[00:57:09] Oh yeah. Yeah. Thank you for the help. Great talking to you too.

[00:57:12] Thank you, Blake, for joining us. Really enjoyed that conversation as I do with every conversation that we get to have. Really good stuff here. And reminder, if you’re listening to this and you are looking for someone to create or lead your partnership department and create partnerships for you, Blake is currently available looking for his next big step.

[00:57:34] I highly recommend him. The full force of my recommendation, and reference is behind him. He has been a joy to work with and a joy to talk about, some of the things that we talked about today that I think were real poignant is just the conversation about about partnerships and how important those are.

[00:57:54] Really, if you’re new to the space, maybe you’re CMO and you’re trying to understand, this is a great place to understand it here in this podcast. You can also go to the blog at There’s a whole lot of information. We pretty much share everything that we do on that blog and here in this podcast, but this is a really good differentiator between this and other channels.

[00:58:12] It is about partnerships and you need to be focused on what the other person needs, that empathy for your other partner, knowing what they need and what they’re going through is going to lead to a really good partnership for you. It’s not like other areas. You can turn things off and on. That doesn’t affect that partnership.

[00:58:30] Big partnerships take a long time. They can be complex and everyone is different. There’s no real model for how you build those. Generally speaking, if you help enough people out, you’re going to get what you need. And so think about how you can help those others out. But this is a great conversation, definitely unique view from someone who’s looking over all the networks and sharing their take on where they’re going.

[00:58:53] But if you are looking for help. Please just email us at We would love to work with you. And we can just take a half hour, no requirement on your end and just talk about what your biggest problems are. You can also email those to us at

[00:59:10] And we are still looking for some guests for season three and lining out season four. So if you’d like to be a guest. Or, someone we should talk to and definitely email us at

[00:59:21] So one of the ways you can really help this podcast is to leave us a five star review at Apple Podcasts, and Spotify and others. Any way you listen to this podcast, leave us a five star review and share it with your friends. If you found something really poignant that someone needs to hear, share it with them directly and go share this on Facebook, and X, and LinkedIn.

[00:59:42] Thank you for making it all the way to the end today, listening to us. If you need anything again, please just get ahold of us and

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