066 - What Complex B2B Marketing Can Learn from Simple B2C Partnerships - Dave Yovanno

What is up PartnerUp?!

We’re back with a second time guest, the King of listening to the customer, author of The Partnerships Economy, and CEO of impact.com Dave Yovanno

And this time, we’re making it easy for you.

Isaac mentioned something on the show that really brought this home for all of us: the very nature of a B2B buy requires solutions working together. And yet consumer? You can mostly buy without consideration of other solutions.

Ok, duh, so what?

Well, why the heck then is consumer partner marketing lightyears past B2B marketing?!

How is it that consumer companies are driving the innovation in going to market together, when they don’t have to?

Turns out, we’ve been overcomplicating it all and Dave shares his favorite stories we can all use to have more simple, meaningful conversations with our marketers.

Give ‘em that easy button and tune in.

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Mentioned on today’s episode:

David’s book, The Partnership Economy
The impact.com Sunday Story: Trust at Scale - Bringing Influence to the B2B Journey Allan Adler’s Ecosystem Maturity Survey mentioned in the show


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Jared Fuller  00:11

All right, what is up, partner up? We're back in Isaac, this is fun. I like being able to do this where I get to introduce you to a guest that we've had previously on the pod. And now you're the co host. So we have a returning guest today. I'm very excited about this. And you got to learn a bunch about this as well. Right? And kind of going a little bit deeper into the story and writing about it in the Sunday story edition, right?

Isaac Morehouse  00:33

Yeah, yeah, we just had a Sunday story on impact. And I mean, I say this, I sound like a broken record. But I just love doing these. It's so interesting for me and talked at length with Jaime and several people from the team over there and kind of learning a lot of the backstory and just a lot of the sort of like the landscape from consumer facing affiliate world, watching it morph into something much different, much, much more robust, much more complex with a lot of different types of partnerships, like things that were unexpected kind of unfolding, and then the move to b2b. So there's a lot there that I'm excited to be able to ask Dave about, you know, firsthand.

Jared Fuller  01:13

Right, and him. So Dave, welcome back to partner up.

David Yovanno  01:15

Hey, thanks for having me, guys. Yeah, very much. Looking forward to it. Thanks for having me back, Jared. Good to see ya.

Jared Fuller  01:20

You're the the book release. So the partnerships economy, the last time we were kind of doing that as a preview, because I was so excited just to be like, Look, I can't really point someone to the book that's like, you know, that can help align the C suite, the executive team. And I felt like you did a good job of using not just examples in the halls of some unknown company. But some of the biggest brands in the world. Using partnerships, it's like extremely relatable. And since the books come out, you've had your customer conference, the world's changed yet again, that seems to be the theme of the 2020s. So I'm excited to learn more and kind of unpack the impact story, the evolution of the market. And you know, what's changed since you had the thesis for the book, The partnerships, economy, and yeah, let's, let's maybe start,

Isaac Morehouse  02:10

let's maybe start there. I'm curious to ask you. Since the book has been released, give me like, what has been interesting to you, in terms of what you've heard from people about the book? Have you been surprised by the reception in any way?

David Yovanno  02:26

I personally don't think the timing could have been better, honestly, for the book to come out. Because I think people have been searching for, you know, where to where to invest going forward, because there's so much has changed. When you look out there, you got all this disruption happening with big tech, you can't target track and measure anything, unless you're inside these walled gardens, trusting them to do it with controlled supply this driven ad rates up. But the biggest response is, it just makes sense. It's kind of like, hey, you know, it's like, you know, people have been thinking and operating this way for it, but they didn't realize it was like a real thing to invest in and build up. And it can be meaningful to business. I think, you know, business development, partnerships have always been around for hundreds and hundreds of years. I don't think that businesses in the past had really looked at it as a meaningful, meaningful source of revenue acquisition, having said that, some of the biggest companies have 100%, you know, like Salesforce, Microsoft, and these guys have hundreds of 1000s of partners. And what a lot of people don't know is that Microsoft, for example. It's their primary source of revenue acquisition, their whole mantra is, you know, for every dollar they earn, they want their partners to earn 10. And so, you know, it is the main driver of how they're how they're acquiring, but I think your average size business doesn't have that same sort of mentality. And I think the book kind of opened this channel up and a lot of people's minds that hey, you know, this is, you know, something that, you know, I know has been around, I just haven't made it a priority to invest time and just to understand what it can what it can mean for my business. And so I think it just inspired a lot of people. That's that's the one thing I've heard

Isaac Morehouse  04:04

that stat you said about Microsoft, it reminds me, Jared during ecosystem week, Jay McBain was talking about something similar with Salesforce and whatever they're they've got some number, I can't remember exactly what it is. But for every

Jared Fuller  04:16

576 for their service partners, right. So dollars.

Isaac Morehouse  04:19

And Jay said something really interesting really stuck with me. He said, That's not margin that's multiplier. And I think that's where when people who are like trying to put on the partner first mindset or trying to come into this, it's easy to see this like fixed pie and be like, well, if I'm getting partners involved, now everybody's getting a smaller slice of the pie. Now I'm giving up part of my margin. And like Jays point is no once you start seeing it properly, that's multiplier, right? That's new revenue, because new value is being created that wasn't being created before. And if you have new value created, that means new revenue, new value that can be captured and I think that getting that part of the mindset shift is like this is not a about value redistribution among a larger number of people because you're adding partners to the mix. Now this is about value creation stuff that you couldn't do if you didn't have partners. And it sounds like so small and obvious. But I just think like, that's almost like the first fundamental step to get to start actually operate in this way

Jared Fuller  05:16

that actually ties both things together. Dave, I think if you're if the primary driver of this change from the impact audience of what you've seen, from what I see is on the marketing side, right, so from the CMO, down to more, you know, execution, and it seems like using the you know, margin versus multiplier, you have like funnels versus flywheel, right. So when when it makes sense is the comment. There is some like, Okay, how do I, how does my rubber meet the road, so to speak, what have you seen is like, been that missing causal gap, like the high level messages is landing. But why are people all of a sudden seeming to be more friendly to funnel like versus flywheel there's, there's, there's something new here,

David Yovanno  06:02

I think the biggest change is them recognizing the change in the attitude of the modern buyer, the modern consumer, like they've changed their habits and how they're affected and making buying decisions. Everyone that you speak with would agree with the fact that the way buying decisions are made. Now, people are doing a lot of research, before they purchase, whereas you flip it back 1020 or more years ago, you know, they were largely influenced by advertising or by a direct sales effort. And then they would do some due diligence and make purchases, make it make a decision to purchase something. Today, the modern buyer understands that there is a wealth of information out there, right? Through partnerships through publishers of all types, it could be an influencer, it could be some other creator, it could be another business could be a major publisher. This information exists in all forms out there, and today's buyer is actively seeking out that information. And I think a lot of businesses recognize this. And so the challenge now for business to be relevant is to be part of that information, right? Like inform those partners on your business, your products, how they're made, like what makes you unique, and get those folks to like write about it, and recommend it, integrate your view with them. So that, you know, you're kind of connected to the consumer at the source of, you know, the due diligence, essentially, that they're doing at what I'm seeing advertising doing is, it's still important. It's not like we've written white papers ourselves, we're guilty of it saying advertising is dead. If you actually read the content, what we're saying is, it's not that it plays an important role in this surround sound concert event of awareness, you know, the typical marketing funnel, but it's becoming less, less effective and important in terms of that decision. Step in the data model, if you go back to a marketing model, right? You know, to where it may inform you that you want to buy something. But when you get into the research, you know, that research can easily sway you to another company or another product if you're not part of that information. So that's us

Jared Fuller  08:01

pay the trees. What I feel like what a lot of advertisers realize is you just paid effectively to bring someone into market and someone else had bigger market presence and relationships that matter is you just paid to give your customer you know, your competition, the customer. Yeah. It's not nearly enough.

David Yovanno  08:16

Yeah, I mean, think about I'm not sure if we talked about this last time or not. But it's worth repeating, even if we did, but if you were to roll it back 100 years, you had radio first and then TV start in the same year. And so we were all sitting around the same few channels. And what was the large, the large content, part of those new media sources was advertising, you had advertisers that heavily controlled the message. And so we were all sitting around the same stations all singing the same jingles we all ran out and bought the products that we were told to go buy 30 years ago, the internet started and then 10 years ago, you have these creators on YouTube and these other social platforms. And, you know, the major publishers started democratizing information about products, this, this didn't exist up until roughly 10 years ago. And I think the modern buyer knows that that's their first like checkpoint, when they're interested in buying something, they're gonna go do their research on, you know, these, you know, through through all these different sources. And that's how they're making their buying decision. And it's less now based on what this ad told me or what the salesperson told me that they may start the journey, but I think the decisions can be made during the 20 plus points of research, I think, Forrester, Jamie pant, you mentioned Jim McMahon. He's moved to another company. Canalis I think he's talking about 20 points of research that your average consumer does. impulse purchases don't count, right, you know, buying a t shirt or buying, you know, flowers if you're late for Mother's Day. Right? You have a very short he's

Jared Fuller  09:47

got me through an influence. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. That's not what

David Yovanno  09:51

I'm talking about. But any other purchase. People are putting in 20 plus points of research before they make that decision. And, you know, I think that's the burden Where the challenge that's on businesses now as be part of that information that other people are publishing about, as

Isaac Morehouse  10:05

well. And in the, you know, in the, in the b2b SaaS space, part of those 20 points of, you know, research, a big part of it is, I need this now to interact with all of these other products that I already use, how and why is it going to do that? And so it's not just going and looking at, let's say, influence or research. It's also what do the poor things that I'm already a customer of? Like, what do they say about this other thing, right? So like, if I'm gonna go buy a new SAS tool, I'm gonna go look at my current SAS tools and say, do they have an integration with this? Do they have any blog posts about how to optimize using these two things together? And so like, that's where you can see these partnerships of like, Hey, I've got this customer, they may be a future customer of yours, what I think about you matters to you, right company to company. It's just an interesting the way these things are kind of like mutually reinforcing.

Jared Fuller  10:57

I have to jump in right there, Isaac, because I was pulled, I put on my silly melon hat that got me through an influencer ad. And I was thinking, Dave, how is this possible? Well, Isaac just said it was really profound. That's why I love that's why Well, thank you, Jerry didn't realize how profound this was. This was giant Lee profound, because this hat requires nothing. In terms of partnership, I can make this transaction in a silo, most of consumer, I can make the transaction in a silo, it doesn't have to interoperate or work with other things. But yet b2b By its very nature, it has to write you have to work with everything else inside that organization. So how is it that in this regard, that b2b is so lagging some of the innovation that you've seen on the consumer side? Right? Like, how is it that it's not so painfully obvious look, as a consumer, I can make purchases that are independent of any other company? But in business, I almost never can do that?

David Yovanno  11:58

Yeah, I think, you know, some, some companies, I would say some companies are lagging, some companies are lagging, I mean, on impact.com platform, we've got over 2500 customers, number of them are b2b companies, like Canva I know you like examples, Jared. So Canva, if you just dive into their strategy, amazing, and creative company, like they've, I'm sure you're aware of it, they've got they recruited over 800, creators influencers. And, you know, basically encourage them to go out and just talk about what it's like using Canva. So pulled them into a partnership. And and, you know, people are out there doing demos, or talking about how they run their design practice on it, why people are freelancers what not, hey, Hot Tip of the Week, love Canva let me show how this works, right, and kind of pointing out what they like, what they don't like, this is the one thing that again, that the modern consumer is really relating to is that these publishers, these creators are speaking with a very authentic voice. And guess what, like people are still buying, knowing that there are some things that can still improve with the product. And you know, just taking it back, don't get too far off track, cuz I won't get back to the camera example. But compare that to that other world that I described around advertising, right, where the the advertiser heavily controlled, you know, the message of the narrative, you know, I remember as a kid standing in line to get get a Big Mac at McDonald's. And that picture, the Big Mac looked amazing, right? It's just this perfectly controlled environment of what a burger should look like. And then you get the sandwich and looks like it's been run over by a car, right? And it's just like, we've just as a society, we've we've trained ourselves to be numb to an ad we know it's not real. Right? And, and then, you know, it's you feel like you've been had if you get it, and it's just not the quality that that would that you were originally sold to that role that publishers creators partners are playing now is the the modern consumer wants to know the real deal, and they want somebody to shoot them straight on, you know, is this product good or not? So you've got these creators talking about how they're running their business, using Canva. They're in there, again, saying what they like what they don't like about the product. They have partnerships that and they're getting a commission check on this. This is the other thing that influencers have taught these large publishers that you can, you can write content that's commercial in nature, and get paid for it. And that's okay. Right, just stay true to being truthful about how you really feel about the product, right? Don't be a cheesy salesperson, you're you're going to lose your audience. They're going to unsubscribe, or you'll hear it in the comments, right? So there's some check checks and balances in the platforms on on on how this authentic Commercial Content is getting out there. But Canva sticking with them as another example. They're finding really creative ways to integrate with other like businesses like they have a wonderful integration with HubSpot. So I'm in HubSpot. I'm designing a an inbound campaign. I need some design elements. Rather than leaving HubSpot, going into my Canva application. designing something and then uploading it into HubSpot. If you're not already a Canva customer, you can sign up right there within within how HubSpot, you can do your designing inside of HubSpot with ever having to leave the platform and you know you're on designing social graphics, banners, landing pages, etc.

Jared Fuller  15:09

They don't even use it, even use it for this, like in Buzzsprout. In our podcast publishing and like all the images, we have little templates set up. Like they have a partnership with Buzzsprout, which is like the largest syndication thing which I was like, man, they're eating that upload button, right, the Upload Image button where, hey, can you give me that asset and said, You just select your template, upload your headshot, boom, it's done.

David Yovanno  15:29

Right. But think about the impact of that. If I'm a HubSpot consumer, you know, I have to imagine that what's driving HubSpot strategy there is not getting a commission on referring cannabusiness Being it's it's, it's creating the best possible experience for the customers. And this is what I really love about the evolution that's happening here in this ecosystem is that who wins at the end of the day, it's the consumer, the same person has been screwed over for hundreds of years by advertising is now coming to be the you know, the star of the show, right? Everything is about the consumer. Because if you're not delivering a great experience, if you're not delivering a product that does what it says, you don't look relevant as a brand, you know, and people are gonna talk about it. Like I said, the democratization of information about products is out there. And it's just it's forcing brands to kind of step up their level of quality stuff up the experiences that they're providing for the customer. I just think that everything gets better to be honest.

Isaac Morehouse  16:27

And to think differently about, you know, sort of like, who owns what, right. So there's this kind of idea that like, Okay, I'm going to influence you on real estate that I own. That's kind of this old business idea, okay, so like my website, my landing pages, my distribution channels, but you have to be more open to say, you may be most influenced in pieces of digital real estate that I have no ownership in whatsoever. And if I can, if I can influence you there, if I can even convert you and sell to you there, I need to not be threatened by that. I'd be like, No, I gotta get you onto my property. Right. So like, an example would be Jared was showing me this is hilarious. I don't know if you ever talked about this on this podcast or but back in Gerrits, painted, it is very, very early in Pandoc days, instead of, okay, we need to get people onto panda doc. So we're going to entice them with things like templates, you can get a bunch of templates for doing common, you know, common types of documents. Trying to get them to come to your real estate is so hard. How about you go where they already live every single day? Where do they live? Google Suite, they're on Drive. They're on Google Docs. So you go to Google Docs, and you look up templates, guess what? There's all these free templates that Panda doc put on there. And they're like, I'm gonna deliver you in that partnership with Google. Right? Yeah, no, true. Just just been able to rethink that, like it may not live on my marketing may not live on an entity that I own. You know.

Jared Fuller  17:50

That was, that was a great one. That did a lot for us. I mean, if you think about it, like Google had a problem, and that you're starting from a blank sheet of paper, like, you know, one of their biggest things, whenever you're activating was like, Hey, we kind of have these search terms. And we have all of these assets in like the long tail of keywords of like document templates, but technically, Google doesn't own them. How do you connect that to? So we went out of our way a day we built 500 Plus templates. And Google have selected the ones that perform the best and they put them on the front page of Google Docs, it was like 5 million people saw that every month. Were like a 40 person startup. That's like such a way outsize reach effect. Now, granted, it was a very poor converting channel. But if you look at that, if you still go to Google Docs today, this was like 2016. So what are we six years later, you still go to Google Docs homepage and the templates, Panda docs, right there. I mean, dozens of hundreds of millions of impressions and views that we would have never got by paying for paperclip that I think is pretty important. So yeah, the real estate go where they are.

David Yovanno  18:57

Yeah, if you look at customers as as the as your true north, like you're, you're gonna win in this world. And I would just say that the the other trend that we're seeing is the buying that's happening today. The modern consumer is buying, like with purpose, and you're I'm not sure if we talked about this example, the last time that we chat. But you know, I look back at 1010 20 years ago, when we bought our first mattresses, you know, how did you buy a mattress, you would go to the local mattress, store it sit on a couple you look for the cheapest price, you buy it and then would show up later that day or the next day delivered to your apartment or what have you. Now, like, like there's a hot trend around. You know, how, you know, like, what things are made up, for example, right? So I think of people that are designing 100%, toxic free homes, things that are made with pure organic products. There's this brand on the impact icon platform called avocado brands. They're innovators in organic mattresses. There's some story about the CEO of an outcome Auto brands, something with his son, he was sick when he was younger, and they trace it back to some material and the mattress that he was sleeping on, you know, he got very sick when He's younger. And that inspired him, you know, to kind of create this business and you know, they start with mattresses, now they're into apparel and whatnot. You can just imagine, like the research that they're ICP, their ideal customer profile, you know, goes through, you know, to discover organic products, toxic free products, right. They're following all kinds of creators and influencers on YouTube that just talk about those products they're reading, you know, articles

Jared Fuller  20:32

from that was really great connection. Dave, by the

David Yovanno  20:34

way, Better Homes and Gardens authors. Yeah. And

Jared Fuller  20:38

that that's the trick that you need to train yourself in order to be able to, you know, for the partner, people listening, what Dave just did was like, Look, here's the story and how people buy, like, that's the thread that's been underlying this conversation so far as that consumer sentiment, and then you just connected that to Okay, well, great. It's a mission driven company. Well, aren't there people talking about that mission already? Don't you want to go talk to the people already talking about the mission versus you just talking about it in a silo? Yeah, that's such a great connection.

David Yovanno  21:05

Yeah. And they have like, just think about it. There are interior designers that do nothing but specialize in designing 100%, toxic free home, guess who avocado brands has deep partnerships with, they invite these interior designers to their facility, they show them how they source their materials, how they manufacture their probably cut open mattresses, and they show them like this is why it's important to build products in this way. It's what makes us unique, those guys go back, they write about it, they inform their clients about all that they're obviously referring them business. So they've got partnerships with, you know, all sizes of publishers, interior designers, other companies that share their mission, you can just imagine, like the brand new brands sort of partnerships. So but like what they're tapping into, is this trend where people aren't just buying based on, you know, she'll tell you like related to affiliate marketing, I think, Isaac, you want to make a connection, affiliate marketing, maybe we go there next in the conversation, but you know, she'll tell you that, like, our customer is not looking to get a discount or a coupon code, like they want a toxic free mattress, they're willing to pay premium for it. And so their partnerships are driven in that way. Maybe their partnerships

Jared Fuller  22:11

is driven by trust, right? Like the

Isaac Morehouse  22:14

Yes. Yes, that okay, so that is a that is a great segue to something that I found really fascinating, I wanted to ask you about as I was putting together the story impacts.com Seems like and you seem like even from this conversation, really good, like your company culture really good at listening, like really good at listening to your customer and observing. And then instead of just sort of present present, like here, we know how to do things, here's our product by it, watching what people are doing. And I'm adjusting to that. And there's this really interesting part where kind of in the in the narrative of impact.com, where it's like, you had more and more customers starting to use your platform in ways that you didn't really understand they were using using it to manage entities that were not affiliates, at least to your previous, you know, understanding companies, we're doing a lot of different stuff that like didn't really make sense at first. And so Jaime was saying that you call them non traditional, like non traditional partnerships, or non traditional relationships. And eventually I'm it was like, there were too common to be called non traditional anymore. So instead of sort of defining them as what our platform serves, we just redefine what our platform is, because we're just we're listening, and we're watching, we're watching something happen. And

David Yovanno  23:26

we actually redefined it based on happened. Yeah, we defined it based on what our customers were calling it, and we just call it what they called it. But in terms of using the term partnerships, they created that term, not us. And I will just tell you, where that came from Isaac, it was, it was very, it's a very specific thing, what this company did one thing, right impact icon, we started with a product first a technology led business model and approach to the market. We put great technology into the hands of brands and their agencies. And then we just kind of, you know, let them innovate with it, essentially, around the time that I joined, which was early 2017. So about five and a half years ago, I started looking at the data in terms of like what was actually happening on the platform. And you know, I see, you know, Ticketmaster, paying Facebook, a commission. And I'm looking at all these interesting partnerships. I'm like, is that right? Like, what is going on? It's not affiliate marketing, like, what is this? And so I call those customers. And you know, I talked to Michael Chu at Ticketmaster. I have a great fireside chat with him. And I can put a link in your show notes. Maybe it was from a couple years ago, probably 2019. And he talks about like tapping a very small team of engineers, right, roughly six people build out a set of API's to come up with concert like, then you date, you know, ticketing information, and went and did handshake. bizdev deals with major platforms, Facebook, Pandora, YouTube, Spotify, and basically said, Hey, I got a set of API for you to access once you build it. experience into your platforms. I mean, why are people on Facebook? You know, they're connect with friends, what are the one things you're gonna do with your friends, you're gonna go to a concert, right? So having that information available in your Facebook experience just makes sense. If you're listening to Spotify, to an artist on Spotify, and your whatever on the train, or whatever you might tap through content about the artists lyrics, when they're in concert just make sense, right, it's a better customer experience tying it back to our earlier conversation, what they realized was they needed, you know, some kind of technology to handle the contracts between them. And these partners, you know, the tracking of ticket sales that came from them, you know, payment processing? Oh, well, you know, we have this license for affiliate here with an impact icon, why don't we just use it for this. And that was like, kind of the innovation that happened. Lenovo, same story, as soon as they started working with creators and all these, you know, non traditional partners, because they had technology in their hands to do something, but they just naturally used it for these other just natural bizdev partnerships that we're forming, as we got in front of these guys. And you know, you're right, I think that really defines us as a culture as a company. We'd like to get in front of customers, listen to their requirements, workshops, solve problems, let's innovate and create things. They started to consolidate their teams, right, they started consolidating their affiliate teams with their biz dev teams with their influencer teams. And, you know, I think our technology helped bring those teams together. But they're the ones that started using the term partnerships, they changed their titles from affiliate marketer to, you know, head of partnerships, that sort of thing. But that's, that's how we've evolved. We definitely started in affiliate. But because we were leading with technology, and not like a managed service, I think if we, if we followed that same affiliate network managed services model, that innovation would have never happened, right. But because we gave them technology, they just innovated on top of it, which was great to see,

Isaac Morehouse  26:51

when you gave that I mean, from from my understanding the big, you know, the the initial innovation that's probably predates your time there of impact icon was like, hey, there's all these affiliate networks, where brands will go and say, Okay, I want to, I want you to get me connected with these affiliates. And then that the network's will just like do their thing in a black box. And you just pay them and they don't, they don't tell you, they don't give you lists, they don't tell you which affiliates are performing better. They just handle all that. And you get almost no transparency. And it was like basically like a like a small cluster of them that ran it all. And so the first step of kind of democratizing that data, opening it up and saying you can manage it on a granular level, you have access to everything, the list of performance or whatever,

David Yovanno  27:32

that's where it started. But our technology is still a huge competitive differentiator for us. Not only do we provide the insights to the data, and specifically what's what's incremental to your sales in what's not, but it's the ability to action on that you can pay partners uniquely, you can pay uniquely at the transaction level, you're paying for the, you know, the incremental value of sales that are happening. And so yes, we created a lot of efficiency within kind of a broken, obsolete affiliate network sort of model.

Isaac Morehouse  27:58

I think it's interesting how like giving your customers more transparency into the data, and giving them more flexibility ended up allowing them to do more things that gave you insights into new directions to go. Right. So there's like this nice feedback,

David Yovanno  28:13

good. 100%. Yeah, 100%. Yeah. And they took the result was they got like 50 plus percent channel savings, by using our technology to drive efficiency in this affiliate model that they were running, just kind of cleaning that up. And then they took those savings, and they redeployed it into growth through new partnership types, the influencers, the bizdev deals that they were doing major publishers, and our growth exploded as soon as that took off.

Jared Fuller  28:40

That's, I mean, that's, that's proof of like the output, you know, the input, and then to the output of like the partnerships economy. We've been talking, you know, since since we last spoke, David, a lot of talk around, you know, systems, exchange, sustainability, interoperability, all these crazy ecological ecosystem type words. And that's not theory whenever you're talking about this space, right? Like you just gave us a story about how this wasn't necessarily the vision from the beginning of impact. You're like, hey, we have this resolve this problem with this technology. And then you lived with the customers. As a CEO. That's one of the things I admire most about you. And actually like your book, it's not full of, you know, there's a time in place for revision. Isaac's definitely seen me, you know, so booked more than enough times. But you spent a lot of time in market with customers. And I really appreciate that about you and saying, like, look, they're the ones that were doing the cool stuff. And we're, we're driving with them. And that's the flywheel in real life. So it's like a partnerships business, the affiliate model of old versus where we're kind of colliding b2c and b2b. It's very interesting. Yeah.

David Yovanno  29:49

It's a very understated strategy, actually. And it's very purposeful in our part, like, you know, what, it's everything that we talk about is about, it's about the ecosystem. It's about the channel. And more specifically is about our customers. Like if our customers are growing, we're growing. And I'd much rather like celebrate and inspire others to grow at the rate that impact DICOM customers are doing. So everything that we talked about is like, Hey, you shouldn't you should be aware of this, like, Look at, look at what these guys are doing. It's fascinating, right? It's an opportunity for for new growth. And it's a very understated thing like you assume that impact icon was associated with it somehow, but like, we're just trying to inspire people to learn from the success that other brands are having.

Isaac Morehouse  30:31

Can you tell me honesty time here, as you and I don't know, when exactly your sort of expansion deliberately into the b2b side began, and where you see yourself on that roadmap, but what are the big challenges? I mean, because that's there's a lot of differences there. Right. And like, I think it's a pretty well established pattern that like, b2b ends up mirroring, b2c with some kind of lag. But just because it ends up going that way doesn't mean that they map one to one or that it's an easy transition. So I'm really curious, like, what is hard about the b2b market for us marketing attribution?

David Yovanno  31:05

Well, let's talk about it. Well, let's talk about so there's, there's b2b to see. And there's like b2b or b2b SaaS. So b2b, b2c is pretty easy. Where brands are working together to sell to an end consumer, and you got where businesses are partnering to sell to another business. That's what I mean by b2b, b2c versus b2b b2b. So the b2b to see scenario, we handle extremely well. And it's at scale on our platform, like the simplest example on the planet is wincon. Some ask, I don't know if I've ever given you them as an example in the past, but, you know, we direct consumer wine subscription, some basket direct to consumer meals, where you put a couple of things together, heat it up, and you got your meal. They have a partnership where they do inserts, right, so it doesn't make sense that if you get a meal from Sun basket that somebody might want mine. And so you know, they're, they'll get this insert with their meal, I'll say, Hey, we're partnered with wink, we spent time with these guys, we see how they source their ingredients, how they manufacture their wine, how they treat their employees. These guys are partners with us use this code, you don't even need a discount. This is what's great about it like but you know, a lot of times you might be promotion, use this code, you know, get a certain percent off your first subscription. And that's on us enjoy your meal. Super, super simple example of how two businesses can work together to sell to an end consumer. And

Jared Fuller  32:29

this is almost pervasive. I want to I want to like interject for a second because it's it's everywhere. And it's even funny, like, oh, gosh, I have to share this one because it's so hilarious. And we haven't done anything with it yet. Isaac,

Isaac Morehouse  32:39

I think, I think it was, I think we put it in a partner accurate daily recently. I think so or it's going to be as of yet. Maybe it hasn't maybe hasn't gone out yet.

Jared Fuller  32:50

Maybe the sales team had impact or a partner team can see that maybe you had an imprint on this. It was Arby's, the sandwich company, and Old Spice. Did you see this now? Oh my gosh, what's the deodorant company in sandwiches? And literally, the ad is stopped the meat sweats. Love it? Like they was like, Wow. I mean, so these ads are everywhere. And like people understand that there's inflection points where you can you know, that's a b2c marketer, that's targeting a very specific audience, right. And like with a message that may not resonate to everyone, but to that audience, like Old Spice has pretty much men that he meets mean, it's not really that's their brand.

Isaac Morehouse  33:30

Or like, yeah, you know, Doritos shell on a Taco Bell taco, right? You know?

Jared Fuller  33:36

Right? So that that ephemeral, like jokey, we can joke about that, that I'm sure you are transitioning to Okay, here's this very good example of, you know, the Justin time, right time kind of partner marketing. What's the difference? What's the real talk on like, how that doesn't play out the same in b2b

David Yovanno  33:55

and maybe the b2b it's, you know, it's, you've got a lot of folks that are dealing with like, some legacy like channel concepts, you got to factor in value added resellers, you know, are you working with people who are, you know, kind of reselling essentially your product, you know, typically like in a stack, I would say the like from a technical perspective, just to answer that question we have built in integrations with Salesforce, for example, recently where you've got like, it might be a referral, but there's like a sales cycle to close the deal. It's not like that. More of a real time. Kamba you know if HubSpot refer somebody over to Canada, chances are somebody's going to become a new customer like pretty quickly, right? It's it's almost like a real time conversion. It's like an affiliate or referral sort of business partnership, even though it's to to SaaS companies, but to where there is a long sales cycle, you may have to have tie ins with CRM systems. You may need to, you know, make your collateral available on a more real time basis to your partner to inform them of like product updates and things like that. And then you know, as DL reg right is He's kind of like the big thing I'm like, you know, especially if you're dealing with value added resellers. So there's, there's a little bit of a different workflow. But it's not, it's not radically different. Just just a few capabilities like that need to be supported on a platform like ours, I

Jared Fuller  35:13

feel like so to call it the VARs comment, Dave, I feel like this is the the shift that's happening in consumer sentiment in business world, etc. There's an intersect, where, if we're talking about the software side of b2b where you're not dealing with, let's say, infrastructure, like, you know, from the Cisco and the, you know, hardware side, we're in this post pandemic world, we're remote first is becoming more normal VARs, to me, are increasingly becoming a ghost acronym. Right, especially in software, like if you're strictly SAS, there's increasingly less VARS. And the partner type is kind of becoming blurred, you know, this, I think Jay did a good job in 2019, in his trifurcation, of the channel article, that was really hit home for me is that there isn't really someone that is, I mean, I can't name a b2b partner that I've encountered. And I've been, this is the my water and all this where I live, that is really doing the distribution that is doing the selling that is handling the transaction. And you know, servicing the customer in b2b software.

David Yovanno  36:15

Like yeah, yeah, even even we're talking about JJ McBain or earlier like he he's been predicting that this is a pivot, it's not just the ship is a pivot from what he calls transactional partnerships to non transactional partnerships, right? Maybe we can we can provide some links to that as well for your audience. But what I mean by that is, like, the simplest example is Microsoft used to sell shrink wrap software in retail stores, those were transactional partners for them, right, they handled the transaction with the end consumer. Microsoft doesn't sell that way anymore, right? They're selling, you know, in a lot of ways directly to the consumer, they are working with ours as well, but more of their sales are coming from people who are referring them because it's so non transactional partners are referring customers to Microsoft. So they sign up and have a subscription directly with Microsoft. Right. And so, you know, the service side of partnerships is is like probably even more important now, but less than to your point here less in the form of a VAR, more in the form of hey, how can I make $10 in service revenue on top of every dollar that the technology provider is earning? So I agree with with, with Jamie Bain, that we're seeing that exact same thing, this shift from these transactional partnerships to non transactional, which means non transactional meaning a partner's referring somebody to transact directly with that, that end business. You know, and and let the service be managed completely separately.

Jared Fuller  37:44

So what does the next permutation look like? Like we've kind of said, Hey, vars is an acronym I preferring this increasingly as a ghost acronym. It's like, spooky action at a distance like we all use the acronym. Well, when's the last time you saw one? Was that just a faint childhood memory? What's next? So you've seen this innovation happened in terms of b2c? The influencers? I mean, I have countless examples of influencers who've changed my consumer behavior and transactions. And then I've certainly seen b2b, where there's people that I trust and know in market, but I'm like, Wait, do I actually know that person? No, I just follow them and like, I listened to their stuff. But they've certainly influenced my, my, my purchasing. What's next for b2b in terms of like that collision point for impact? Certainly, the Canva example, I think, is a great one of how they're utilizing evangelism and influence from you know, their customers and market. But from like a partner platform, a technology perspective, I feel like there's been some categorical leaps in the past couple years, with like a data escrow service, like a cross beam, which is very particular, very particular.

David Yovanno  38:52

I just met Bob for the first time their CEO founder yesterday, in fact,

Jared Fuller  38:56

and that will not what's going to happen on the back of that. That's, there's some Yeah,

David Yovanno  39:00

I Well, it's in there. I think it's right, right, and in answer to your questions, some stuff that we've already talked about on this episode here, and it's your title, it's ecosystems, right? It's, it's the interoperability that I think that end consumer wants. I think that's what tonight's bar is. I think we're, I think, I think bars, if you look at it, they were kind of doing those things, but in a managed service sort of way, like you kind of stayed within their network. ecosystems to me are more platform driven, right? To where, you know, yeah, if you put the customer is the true north star of the show, and we're all kind of working in service of what's best for them. You know, this stuff will just naturally play out, like why would you block a customer from wanting to work? I look at it as as my conversation with Bob, and I don't want to like assume any of these first time I met the guy but to me, it is a no brainer. It just makes sense. Right? You know, customers on the impact.com platform might want to, you know, share, use their data service to discover new partners. essentially right? It can be a great way in to just understanding who I should be partnering with, if I understand that we've got an overlap in and you know, the same customer profile, right? That could be an indicator.

Jared Fuller  40:13

Well, this is July. So real quick, this is this is this is prediction. I've been saying, I'm like, Who is going to build the connective tissue between the customer overlap data and in sales that crossbeam is using to help marketers do actual ABM? That's always been my biggest problem with ABM is that third party data is driving Oh, look, there's some intent in the market. And it's like, that's less of a signal. What about all the partner accounts? Why aren't you feeding that into your programs, and utilizing that? So impact and cross beam partnership and calling it connective tissue in terms of like building this ecosystem and integration there?

David Yovanno  40:55

Yeah, we have, you know, the vision for an app's ecosystem, you know, you know, other technology providers, you know, integrating or working with us in a way to bring more value to a shared customer. That's the goal here is like, How can I can? How can we all kind of grow together? Right, so this is us drinking our own champagne. Honestly, it's like, it's how we're partnering with other companies. So we've got tremendous partnerships with service providers, right, we draw the line with TAC, we've got a number of service service providers, you know, 1000s, and 1000s, of agencies that are certified on our platform. They refer us business, we refer them business. And we have a handful of technology. Partnerships, like we just talked about product feeds and things like that tracking, you know, especially mobile eye tracking, we got partnerships with lots of different companies, appsflyer, branch and others. And I always look at it as hey, I'm not trying to control, you know, the experience like like, we want to embrace like an ecosystem interoperability, like what are other technologies and things that add value to what we're doing. Let's find a way to partner with them and help each other. Right and kind of point them out.

Isaac Morehouse  42:01

Dave, I love I love the language, you're using it, you said something about just a few minutes back, that it's not about like trying to force something to happen trying to bring about some shift. It's about watching what customers are doing and removing the roadblocks to what they already want to do. And that's it ties into you know, Jared, Jared has railed on. And you did this at a target ecosystem. We've kind of railed against the sort of go to go to market framework, because the mental model, like we have to get customers to go somewhere they don't want to go is all wrong? And say, well, let's just observe customers, what are they already trying to do or doing inefficiently? Can we remove roadblocks for them, to help them and just that you just keep coming back to that making them the star of the show, I just, I think the language we use and the mental models we use, even in subtle ways are just really important in shaping the way we do business. So I love that metaphor of removing roadblocks from customers, so they can go where they already want to go. Rather than trying to direct them somewhere they're maybe not interested in.

Jared Fuller  43:05

I think the message is more important now than ever. Dave, you've done a, I think you've done a phenomenal job in the past six months of like, kind of clarifying and codifying it, and just making it simple. Like, it's really about the customer. It's what Isaac just said. And I think I'm really excited about the future the past seven months. I don't think that I mean, this wasn't a full time gig, we didn't have a thing, partner hacker we didn't even exist. And now we're like, you know, you've through your customer conference, the world's kind of paying attention VCs. I mean, this is seven months. This is not like, seven years. And now it's we're seeing seeds being planted about, okay, what happens in this next phase, when marketing and what's happening in market with customers might start out, you know, affecting what's happening in sales. That's where I, that's the next one. So as we start to connect those dots on how partner tech companies might work together, Isaac, I think that might be the point where I kick you for the plug, because I think what's missing from a lot of this is the benchmarking of how broken SAS is from connecting those dots. Like I think from a vision perspective, it makes sense. Where are the relationships that your partner network already has, and your marketing team should be pointed towards them develop develop demand versus in a silo? And I think there's a lot of benchmarking that we that needs to be done to help tell that narrative and storage of those data driven marketers.

David Yovanno  44:21

One comment before you do apply real quick, if you don't mind, you're like, it's like, I don't want this to sound more complicated than than it is like and I talked about this in the book, actually, is to draw back to that as we end here. It's as simple compared to the customer. Just talk to your customers and find out where they're sourcing information, find out what other businesses that they're using alongside yours, and then go talk to those sources of information. Go talk to those other businesses, because they're your potential partners. It's that simple. It's not It's not rocket science. And as you as you find, you know, some momentum you can start to develop a team around that and have it be a meaningful channel for revenue acquisition, but it's pretty easy to get started. Just pick up simple and talk to your customers and ask this question. It's simple,

Jared Fuller  45:03

not easy. It's simple, not easy. It's don't overcomplicate it. I think that is, that's what I've loved so much about you. And your story is like, it makes more sense than ever. Because in a world that's so complex, it's like, why are you trying to measure these 87 things this way, and attributions braking, spend the time where they aren't go talk to the customers go where they are. I love it. Well, Isaac, we got we got one plug before we wrap with Dave and then.

Isaac Morehouse  45:29

Yeah, yeah, quick plug for listeners out there. I know that we have many, many, many awesome people working in partnerships that listen to this, because we hear from a lot of you all the time, and we love hearing from you. We want your help in putting together a phenomenal study. This is Alan Adler, Digital Bridge partners is putting together an ecosystem maturity study, he put together the model, and he's kind of shared that recently. And in order to release a study, he's got to collect some data, he needs to know more about you and your role and your organization. So there is a survey ecosystem maturity survey. Ellen Adler Digital Bridge partners, if you go to Alan Ehlers, LinkedIn, you'll find it. He's got it there. He's sharing it all over the place. It's like 15 minutes. So it's a little bit of a commitment. And I know that sounds like a lot. But the result is gonna be some really interesting data and view taking the time to complete that put that together and get this thing out there. I think it's going to be something that that can be valuable to everybody listening gives

Jared Fuller  46:31

us lots of ammo to influence the debate to come back and say, Hey, Dave, hey, Jaime, hey, impact marketing team. Look what we just saw in this benchmarking thing. What the heck should we be doing about this? So we've just lacked a lot of comprehensive benchmarking. And I'm excited to get you know, uncovered some of that, so, shout out to Alan, he somehow managed to work his way into everything that we do every once in a while.

Isaac Morehouse  46:52

Yeah, the drinking partner of drinking game we had Jay McBain Ellen, we got to at least two of our

Jared Fuller  46:58

Jill is definitely on there. You'll Yep. Yeah. Dave Dave's working his way on there, too. So Dave, thank you so much. I know you. Appreciate you accommodating the time you got a hard stop. It was lovely having you. I love the book. I always recommend it. And I was honored to share an early read and an endorsement inside the cover. I still, my mom still thinks that's like one of my proudest accomplishments is recommending your book. She's like, Oh, my God chapter by the book. And I'm like, Mom, it's okay, cool. Well, one day I'll get there to DiMaggio. So

David Yovanno  47:28

if you give me her address, I'll be sure to send her a signed copy. I feel like I could talk to you guys all day. So I look forward to continue the conversation at some point. You guys are great. I know people appreciate it.

Jared Fuller  47:42

Absolutely. Absolutely. No, we love it. And I look forward to doing more together. I partner up we will see you all next time.

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