Season 01 / Episode 008
Sarah Beeskow Blay – Affiliate Marketing Superstar
With Sarah Beeskow Blay - Partnership Marketing Consultant
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Sarah is one of my favorite people on the planet, there I said it. I was excited to chat with her and record our conversation for you. Sarah is currently applying her expertise and experience to clients of all shapes and sizes as a Partnership Marketing Consultant. She is the former VP of ShareASale and spent over 14 years there.
Today we talk about all things affiliate marketing. From her amazing career – starting entry level and leaving that company as the VP. Sarah shares some amazing leadership lessons, don’t miss this section. We dove into corporate morality and how that is shifting and changing consumer behavior. We then dive into pivots that affiliates and advertisers are making through the COVID-19 pandemic. You will love the things that Sarah shares!
About Our Guest
Sarah Beeskow Blay
Sarah is currently a partnerships consultant within the performance marketing industry. She provides industry insights into the competitive affiliate marketing landscape, while consulting on marketing trends, outlook, customer considerations, and overview of key providers. She is also a board member of the Brian Littleton Foundation.
A skilled industry vet, Sarah’s previous roles include Vice President of ShareASale and Director of Membership & Services with the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.
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Stay humble when you find success. Sarah describes her experience working her way up through ShareASale company and eventually transitioning out. While success does involve dedication and hard work, there is a lot of “right place, right time.” ShareASale was in its infancy when Sarah arrived, and she mentions how lucky she felt to be inside of a growing company from the beginning, reiterating that staying grounded and humble in positions of success is important.
From a leadership perspective, it’s important to stay engaged and excited. Maintain the standards you expect from everyone else. Sarah mentions that engagement needs to be on a personal level and a work level. She found that if you have interpersonal conflict or conflict within a team, it may be personality clashes. She tried to find ways to engage her staff and team members so they could get to know each other in a well-rounded way to create understanding. She confirms that it doesn’t have to be happy hours – some of Sarah’s favorites involved a staff Olympics, Pictionary, trivia or escape rooms. She also explains that on the professional side of things, you can stay engaged by always maintaining the standards for yourself that you expect from others – never ask your team to do something you wouldn’t do.
Utilize non-traditional partnerships to create new revenue streams. She explains that advertisers’ revenue comes from the sale of their goods, but they can leverage their affiliates by looking at other partnerships that can create additional revenue streams. She says to look at non-traditional partnerships to establish – for example, if your company can do customized masks, you may partner with a company who also has heavy emphasis on customization but in a separate industry.
Being kind goes a long way.
“There have been so many lessons learned, through acquisition and just time spent growing a company. Kindness was always something we emphasized, not only to each other, but to clients as well. This can be hard to do when you have someone upset or angry. Try to remain calm and kind, and remember you never know what others are going through. If you can express kindness, you tend to be able to get through to people and resolve the issue in a good way.”
Are consumers looking to corporations to be their moral compass?
“There were two unrelated industry webinars that discussed corporations and their relationships with consumers. On two separate occasions, they referenced that consumers are now looking to corporations to be their moral compass, meaning individuals are looking to brands to define what their morals compass should be. I found this to be fascinating, and a real shift… I was a bit alarmed to hear of this as well, because at the end of the day companies are looking to make money… no for-profit company will have 100% altruistic motives behind what they are doing.”
[6:20] – “You never know what to expect this year. At the end of the day, there is so much you can learn about yourself through this and what you can overcome. You may be more adaptable than you had previously given yourself credit for and you learn to rely on others to build you up. Through all the troubles, I think there is a lot of beauty in the year, too.”
[21:59] – “We [at ShareASale] saw people advance their careers when they were able to have an entrepreneurial mindset, in that they were always looking for ways to participate or contribute when it may not be asked directly. When at a start-up, big processes don’t exist yet. You have to insert yourself and get yourself to the forefront to find opportunities to grow.”
[36:55] – “The best managers I’ve had in life have always been willing to roll up their sleeves. I have tried to emulate this, because I expected the same from others. I think that this helps earn the respect of others, and the knowledge that you truly understand their perspective and it’s not just lip service. I can remember helping with customer service tickets while in a VP role because I wanted to help. You are never above any task.”
[51:22] – “I think that brands are much more conscious about who they are partnering with and more aware of who they are letting in to let promote their brands, which is fantastic. I think that’s always been a weak point in affiliate marketing – a brand may just set up a program and let it run without a second thought which isn’t helpful.”