Experts At Everything

Expert At Everything

By A Brett Kaufman

Here is a 100% true statement – no matter how hard you try, you can’t be an expert at everything.

Webster’s Dictionary defines expert as having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience. To me, the key in that definition is from training or experience.

Today, when I browse LinkedIn or even companies’ websites, I see them list dozens and dozens of things that they are so called “experts” in. Just because you read a blog post, maybe took 1-2 online workshops or even attended a conference doesn’t make you an expert. Becoming an expert takes time and investment in learning the field you claim to be so knowledgeable in.

I personally claim to be an expert in only a few things.

We at WorkBook6 are experts at four things, they are the foundations of what we built out business on. The most of important part of not being an expert in something is not pretending you are.

Here’s an example: SEO is an extremely hard skill to master, something that few very are actually experts in. Claiming you are an SEO wizard and can fix the crux of a website’s problems with your magic wand is probably a complete lie BUT helping a client with SEO by finding the proper expert, developing the plan, translating into non marketing jargon and seeing the plan through execution…that makes you a facilitator.

There is nothing wrong with being a facilitator, frankly it’s the best skill you can staff against in my opinion.

So the next time you have a problem, think long and hard if you need an expert or a facilitator.  Maybe even hire an “expert” to tell you if you need a “facilitator” who can then help you find that “expert”

What are you an expert in?

Annual Letter

The Annual Letter

One of our clients has an end-of-year New Year’s tradition I really like – the Annual Letter.

Once a year, the firm’s Chairman and the CEO sit down and write an annual letter addressed to the company’s shareholders and employees, and they post it on the company’s website.

In the letter, the two executives give a transparent and detailed review of the year behind them, as well as a look to what’s ahead. This company is exponentially larger than we are, but I love the idea – so, we decided to do it, too.

Our clients and partners will have a hard copy of this, but for broader distribution, I’m posting it on our blog. Hope you enjoy!

The Annual Letter: Looking Back – and Ahead

Dear Reader,

Greetings and Happy New Year! I’ve decided that this year, as we end WorkBook6’s first full year as a business, we’ll begin a new tradition – our annual letter. I’ve written this as a ‘thank you’ of sorts; it’s intended for clients, partners and the many great folks who have supported us along the way. Doing this over the holidays and the turn of the year had an unexpected effect for me: it was a central part of my own process as I reconcile the year behind us, and plan for what’s ahead.

While we started in earnest in 2016, 2017 was our first full commercial year. To put it mildly, we’ve been busy. Looking back, it’s hard to imagine having grown or expanded more than we have over these past 12 months. We’ve accomplished a lot, but I found the below highlights most notable:

  1. We grew from a founder and one part-time contributor to a team of eight talented professionals. We’ve grown both in our primary location (Tempe, AZ) and outside; WorkBook6 now has boots on the ground in Boston, metro Los Angeles and Denver.
  2. We’ve grown our client roster by more than 500%, and broadly expanded our reach within the customer acquisition and engagement ecosystem. Today, WorkBook6’s engagements touch many of the US’s largest direct response categories, as well as leading media, technology and services solutions that help to plumb and power these industries. We’ve also become very active in several not-for profit and affinity categories.
  3. We’ve moved offices – twice! We’ve been fortunate to grow more quickly than I expected, and our space needs have ballooned as a result. The new digs are beautiful and they’ll give us room to grow plenty without having to move again.
  4. We’ve found our operational stride; we’ve learned a great deal about our clients in this past year, and we’ve leveraged their feedback to create accountable, trackable programs. This learning will serve us well for many years to come.
  5. We’ve begun to build products where and when it makes sense. We learned early on that because our business model is new to the market, we would occasionally need to build our own solutions. Our own, custom CRM program, perenn.io, is a great example of this. We evaluated every commercially available product, but nothing let us fly as fast and freely as we wanted. So, Max Richardson built the industry’s first many-to-many partnership development relationship management platform, and it has been an amazing addition to the WorkBook6 team.
  6. Most importantly, we’ve written our own rules, and we’ve had a lot of fun along the way. A little over a year into this, WorkBook6 has grown in most measurable ways – we’ve powered many proprietary partnerships on behalf of some of the largest and most innovative enterprises in the world. We’ve done it on our own terms – and without outside capital.

Just reading through the above, it’s a lot. This team worked incredibly hard to help us become a real company, and I’m immensely grateful to that gritty effort – and for the many long hours. To put it another way: whoa.

So Much to Be Proud of

There’s much to be proud of, but there’s so little time for pride. Everything we accomplished in 2017 has the effect of elevating our expectations for our production in 2018. So, game on, so to speak.

I’m a big fan of good advice from great thinkers, and one piece I’ve clung to this year is very simple: our output is the sum of all our vectors.

This point, explained through linear algebra, is that to succeed, you need to point every effort toward the right outcome.  As we transition into 2018, nothing could be more relevant to our work.

To me, it’s critical, brilliant stuff: it’s not good enough for everyone in a company to just work on stuff. It’s not even good enough for everyone in a company to do great work on stuff.

To do the best you can, the trick is to get everyone to do great work on the right stuff

This is what we will do in 2018. Here’s how I hope that plays out:

  1. We power partnerships. We will own this. This is what we do and it is who we are. WorkBook6 will continue building a better, faster and more cost-efficient way for companies to grow profitably. This forms our strategic direction.
  2. We will operationalize rapid growth. We will continue to make improvements to the way that we onboard new clients, engage their new partners and track the progress. This operational vector will include the work of a newly-formed client success team, which will grow significantly in the coming year. It will also involve the deployment of new products and platforms from our technology team.
  3. We’ll do it the one best way we can. When this means leveraging great existing technology, we’ll do that. When it means building from scratch, we’ll jump right in.
  4. We will go to market more efficiently than the marketplace has ever seen. Our proprietary process will provide tremendous leverage to our clients and create efficiencies for them.
  5. We will spread the word on our clients’ behalf. Our brand will be their growth – and every dollar we spend on marketing WorkBook6 will carry the intention of helping our clients grow.
  6. We will continue to have fun doing this our way, and without external capital support. We love the accountability that comes with being bootstrapped, and we know that we can control the direction – and sum – of our vectors better by doing it this way.

That’s it, folks. We had an amazing year. And we want to make our company bigger, faster and more efficient in 2018. It’s been an amazing opening chapter for us at WorkBook6. For all those who helped us get to this point, we’re grateful beyond measure. And we’re thrilled to take on the hard hustling that remains ahead of us.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

JT Benton
Founder, CEO

WorkBook6

The Annual Letter 2018

Hello!

In continuation of a tradition we began at the end of 2017, we recently sent out our annual letter to a number of our clients, partners and old friends. And, as we did last year, we’ve decided to post the letter on our blog, as well. There’s a lot, here – some might argue it’s too much. And while it’s true that I’m particularly open and candid in my remarks, here, there’s nothing in this letter that I’d censor our team from discussing with a client or partner.

I hope you enjoy reading it!

Happy New Year, JT

For the second year, I sat down in early December to compose this Annual Letter. This is a new tradition for a young business, but it has become one of my favorite projects. Taking time to reflect on the year we’re now wrapping up – and being thoughtful about communicating our plans for the coming year – has helped me, tremendously. If you don’t do this or something like it in your own business, I urge you to try it, yourself. In fact, my own inspiration for this comes from a client of ours, whose Chairman and President have been jointly-authoring one for over 30 years. While our mentors lead a much larger company, I immediately saw good reason to do something similar, albeit on a smaller scale. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I have enjoyed composing it.

While WorkBook6 began to assemble in 2016, 2018 is actually just our second full commercial year. This is important to note, as I believe our accomplishments over the past twelve months resonate just a touch more meaningfully when one considers the truly nascent maturity of this business. As a parent of young children, it’s hard not to see the parallels between starting and growing a company and raising children. In that sense, I like to think of WorkBook6 as a promising adolescent. We are at once proud of our progress and mindful of how we can continue to grow. Among other milestones, we’ve accomplished the following, this year:

  • Our team has doubled the company’s topline revenue for the second consecutive year. While this may be ‘table stakes’ for a young firm, I can assure you that we don’t take it lightly. Growth like that is the product of the entire team’s tireless work, as well as the trust our clients and partners have invested in us.
  • Our partnership development team has increased performance-based revenues by over 250%, Year-over-Year. This figure, which refers only to those fees that the firm earns through our clients’ execution and performance in new partnerships, is perhaps the single most important indicator of WorkBook6’s health. 2018 was a year of tremendous progress in this area.
  • To meet this growth, we have expanded our team. WorkBook6 is a technology enabled service business. To provide great service, we’ve added great people. This year, we welcomed Anna Lewis, Chris Cox, Justin Guido, Savannah Day and Kyle Casaccio. We also announced the acquisition of Maszi, Inc, which brought Kara Hutcheson into the firm on a full-time basis. Each of these people have made material contributions to our work and to our clients’ growth.
  • We have developed a fully-functional and entirely proprietary technology platform. This system, which we call Perenn.io, is the backbone of the entire operation. Today, our team leverages this technology across many disciplines, including relationship management, sales and marketing automation, task management, business intelligence and even billing. In fact, we believe Perenn.io to be the first many-to-many business and relationship management platform. This, as I will point to later on in this letter, is critical to our business’s identity. We’re particularly thankful to Max Richardson and Savannah Day’s work in this area.
  • Through the hard work of our client success leaders, we have successfully launched and incubated our full-service partner management program. This effort, which involves full scale partner program management, came at the request of an ambitious client, to whom we’re deeply grateful for the trust and resources they’ve committed.
  • We’ve continued to build out our workshop series as a marketing and partnership development mechanism. In 2018, WorkBook6’s workshops at LeadsCon and InsureTech Connect attracted over 300 attendees.

As I think through these accomplishments, I’m left with what might best be described as a ‘dumb grin.’ That’s because throughout the process of building this momentum, it didn’t always feel as if we were making such progress. As I’m sure many entrepreneurs will tell you, it’s hard, sometimes, to see the business’s progress while it’s happening. I spent much of my time this past year thinking through new kinds of challenges and evaluating new types of opportunities. This, I’ve learned, is what growth feels like in this business. I once listened to a keynote given by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah (who co-founded and continue to lead HubSpot). While I recall many useful lessons from that talk, perhaps the assertion that best applies to the year behind us is this: “companies are more likely to die of over-eating than starvation.” I don’t think there are more useful words of advice for a young business that’s lucky enough to be growing, quickly. The message, which speaks to focus and discipline, could have been better applied to some of our work this past year, and will certainly influence what we decide to do – and not to do – in 2019.

In this sense, I’m most excited about all the things we can still refine, here. I think the holidays are a fine time for candor and for vulnerability, so I hope you can find some value in reading about a few of our hard-earned lessons, too. Key learnings for our business this year include the following:

  • We have a sweet spot, and we also have the opposite. In 2018, we sometimes stretched ourselves too far to meet demand that didn’t actually align with what we do best. Good growth takes time, and sometimes it’s actually best to pass up immediately available revenues until more befitting opportunities emerge.
  • Doing what you’re told to do and doing things right aren’t always the same. On a couple occasions, we deferred to external direction despite a ‘gut feeling’ that the strategy might be off-target. We’d have been better off pushing back in those cases, or even walking away.
  • Finally, there may be CEO’s out there who are great at account management, but ours isn’t one of them. In 2018, I learned that the most respectful thing that I can do as a leader is actually to avail our best resources to our clients. And, when it comes to account management, that ain’t me!

These lessons have informed our plans for growth in the new year, which will differ somewhat from the past. As we begin our third full year in business, we’ll do so with a few important themes guiding our strategy. These themes, which have been drafted with input from our entire team, are designed to help us focus on quality growth and revenue diversification while taking a deeper approach to serving our clients. Each of these themes are outlined, below:

  • We will stay independent. Our business has not raised outside capital. We plan to remain on this path, because we feel that having the autonomy to operate this business and apply the learnings we’ve worked so hard for is paramount.
  • We will focus on deepening our relationships with our existing clients, and also limiting the number of new clients we agree to take on. Two consecutive years of rapid growth is fun, but we feel we can continue on this trajectory without taking on business that doesn’t ideally suit us. More importantly, we plan to expand several existing relationships to include our full-service management offering, and we’d like to focus more of everyone’s time on client growth than we do on our own.
  • We will continue to invest in technology and systems. Through continuing our work on Perenn.io, we believe we are building a company that can mature far beyond being perceived as a mere ‘relationship’ business.

As you can see, we’ve got a lot to be thankful for. For both the growth we’ve accomplished and the opportunities to continue improving, we are grateful. In this light, it only makes sense to end this letter with a sincere note of thanks. Because so many people and companies impacted our successes and our lessons this year, we must stay general here. To each of our clients and partners, as well as our friends and families, we offer a very heartfelt and earnest ‘thank you.’ It’s been an incredible year, and we’re brimming with optimism for 2019. We wish each of you a happy, healthy holiday season and a new year filled with accomplishment.

Sincerely,
JT Benton
Founder, CEO
WorkBook6

WorkBook6 launches new brand identity, website

WorkBook6 Launches New Brand Identity, Website

Partnership-centric site designed to initiate and power strategic partnerships across
multiple service areas, industry verticals

Tempe, AZ – December 07, 2017 – WorkBook6 today announced the launch of their new corporate website and brand identity at www.workbook6.com. As part of the company’s continued expansion, the brand identity and site is the product of a thorough analysis and client feedback program.

The new site brings WorkBook6’s core service areas into clear focus: Strategic Partnership Development, Marketing Program Management, Media Monetization and Affinity Organization & Membership Group Engagement.  This new format allows the firm to better deliver content and thought leadership to key decision makers looking to grow their businesses through strategic partnerships.

“The new site is a reflection of our growth and maturation through the startup phase. This isn’t promotional – we want our website to be the front door to the business and to provide a clear view into our operation. The work our team has invested into building a valuable client resource at www.workbook6.com is commendable,” said JT Benton, Founder and CEO of WorkBook6. “By integrating live social content and a searchable blog, we’re able to bring our team’s thought leadership to the reader in an interactive and fun way.”

WorkBook6 is a strategic partnership hub, and is one of the fastest growing businesses touching the customer acquisition and customer retention ecosystems. The website’s content also previews WorkBook6’s technology platform, which includes a custom-built CRM technology called Perren.io and the firm’s patent-pending go-to-market program.

“Technology will be a major differentiator for WorkBook6 as we help pioneer the partnership development marketplace,” said Benton. “WorkBook6 has already assembled one of the industry’s top client-facing teams, and I’m very proud that our technology backbone is catching up to that level of excellence.”

About WorkBook6
We Power Partnerships. Uniquely positioned across four primary service areas, WorkBook6 combines strategic leadership with unparalleled experience across all facets of Strategic Partnership Development, Marketing Program Management, Media Monetization and Affinity Organization & Membership Group engagement. WorkBook6’s technology leverages the efforts of a diverse team to power dozens of partnerships throughout a wide range of industry categories, building sustainable revenue for our partners across the customer acquisition and customer retention ecosystems.

For more information, please visit www.workbook6.com

Fancy Goldfish Principle

The “Fancy Goldfish” Principle

Let me start this post by being 100% honest – I recently read a wonderful LinkedIn post by Tony Cañas, about the concept of the Fancy Goldfish principle.

To bring you up to speed: Tony travels a lot for his job as a Territory Manager for Liberty Mutual Insurance, and on one of his travels he decided to stop at a PetSmart location to pick up a gift for his children. Tony walked in, headed to the fish aisle, and was confronted by…well, fish. Classic goldfish, available for $0.32, swam in packs as Tony deliberated.

But just above the “regular” goldfish, Tony saw a sign reading “Fancy Goldfish”, priced at $32.

Like me, Tony had questions – what is a fancy goldfish? And what – aside from the fanciness – could possible make one goldfish worth 100 times a regular goldfish?

Turns out “Fancy Goldfish” is a wonderful (fish) industry catch-all top describe a goldfish that is “fancier” than a traditional fish, gold or otherwise. Or to put it another way, it’s a simple way to explain a complex idea (like subbing Fancy Goldfish for Carassius Auratus).

I love the Fancy Goldfish principle. Too often as marketers we get caught up in branding or approved language or trying to speak at customers and consumers. We forget that more often than not, our customers are looking for fancy goldfish, and probably don’t know what a caraasius auratus is.

Marketers “carassius aratus” when they should “fancy goldfish”.

I am often guilty of this: here at WorkBook6 we specialize in bringing like-minded companies together to monetize common target audiences in a bilateral, mutually beneficial capacity…but it took us MONTHS to boil that down to “We Power Partnerships”. The concept of strategic partnership development is easy to understand but incredibly difficult to write down. And I need to constantly remind myself of the fancy goldfish principle.

Tony summed this up beautifully:

I think there is a valuable lesson to be learned from this, for all industries, and especially for our insurance industry. The customer doesn’t shop for auto insurance, they search for car insurance. They don’t look for commercial insurance they want business insurance.

Are you using terms your customer will search for, or is your language on brand? How can you migrate your brand to better reflect the language your customers use on a daily basis?

And most importantly, how can you make your goldfish fancy?

Unit Economic Crisis

Marketing’s Next Big Hurdle: The Rising Cost Of Customer Acquisition & Solving the Unit Economic Crisis

At WorkBook6, we’re pretty passionate about forging strategic partnerships. It’s what we do (among many things),but it’s the one thing that drives us each and every day.

With Customer Acquisition Costs rise and LifeTimeValues fall, it can be hard (maddeningly hard) for marketers to build meaningful pipelines of engaged customers that convert. Competition for leads is fierce, and let’s face it – customers just aren’t as loyal as they used to be. We call this problem the Unit Economic Crisis.

Unit Economic Crisis

But do you know what’s cool? Forbes magazine calls it that, too – in fact, Steve Olenski from Forbes just interviewed our Founder and CEO JT Benton about the Unit Economic Crisis facing today’s marketers:

“Paid search, programmatic display, cost-per-everything affiliates and third-party lead generation, these are the tools today’s marketers leverage first when looking to acquire customers,” said JT Benton, founder and CEO of WorkBook6, a customer acquisition and demand generation firm specializing in partnership marketing. “It’s like fast food; it’s hard to beat the convenience of engaging a new prospective customer programmatically, but that has downstream consequences.”

It’s a great read – check out what else JT had to say!

Dress FOr Success

The case for: dressing for success

By Brett Kaufman

Dress for success or dress for your personality?

Everyday, we sit down for in-person meetings and there is always that fear: “Did I overdress? Or Worse, did I underdress for this occasion?”.

When you travel for days at a time, it can be tough to prepare for every circumstance. Do you need shorts, slacks, jeans or something else? Icons like Zuckerberg and Jobs kept it simple, we all knew what they’d be wearing, but what’s the common business executive to do?

Dressing for Success: when is business causal the right answer?

Do you try and tailor to the audience or do you always wear the same thing and set your own tone? Over my career I’ve been known as the sweater guy; you can usually can find me rocking one in NYC during my frequent visits.

Most important to me is to be comfortable and to reflect who I am. I’m a jeans and polo/button up – MAYBE with a jacket – type of guy, nothing more. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all show up in shorts and just sit by the pool to get deals done?

What makes you feel the most comfortable when you sit down for a big meeting? Would you rather be dressed for you or for the room?

Strategic Partnership Growth

WorkBook6 Expands National Business Development Team Focusing on Strategic Partnership Growth

New addition brings deep partnership development and engagement experience to the industry’s first full-service strategic partnership growth engine

WorkBook6 today announced the expansion of their national business development team with the addition of Keith Selvin as Director of Partnership Development.

In his new role, Selvin allows WorkBook6 to expand its reach across each of the company’s four service areas: Partnership Development, Marketing Program Management, Media Monetization and Affiliate & Membership Groups. Further, Selvin’s deep partnership and revenue stewardship experience in both business and consumer focused marketplaces will help WorkBook6 continue to drive meaningful results for its broad range of clients.

WorkBook6’s brings proprietary new efficiencies to the marketplace through a flywheel effect, meaning the model outperforms traditional business development efforts through the creation of a growth-oriented community of marketers which self-propel. The addition of Selvin to the team allows for expansion of the model.

“As mainstream customer channels become more competitive, many companies are now looking to add scalable strategic partnerships,” said Selvin. “Brands, media partners, affiliate groups, everyone is looking for out-of-the-box ways to build sustainable revenue streams that deliver maximum impact, and WorkBook6 is on the leading edge of exactly that.”

Prior to joining WorkBook6, Selvin served in senior sales and marketing roles at industry powerhouses Goji and Hubspot.

“I’m proud to have Keith aboard. It’s great validation of what we’re building at WorkBook6,” said JT Benton, founder and CEO. “For many people, enterprises like Hubspot represent the pinnacle of the career path. For us – a young and growing company – to be able to recruit a talent like Keith to the team is really encouraging.”

With demand for WorkBook6’s service area expertise continuing to increase, the addition of Selvin is the first of a new wave of hires WorkBook6 is planning through Q4.

“The expansion of our partnership development team is part of our continued investment in client success and support,” said Benton. “WorkBook6 is all about bringing great business partnerships together. While we continue to build great technology, our people are the foundation. In that sense, we’re all excited to make Keith’s talents available to our clients.”

About WorkBook6

We power partnerships. Uniquely positioned across four primary service areas, WorkBook6 combines strategic leadership with unparalleled experience across all facets of Strategic Partnership Development, Marketing Program Management, Media Monetization and Affinity Organizations & Membership Groups. Combined, WorkBook6 leverages the efforts of a diverse team to power dozens of partnerships throughout a wide range of industry categories, building sustainable revenue for our partners across the customer acquisition ecosystem.

For more information, please visit http://www.workbook6.com

Strategic Partnership Workshop

What is the Leadscon Strategic Partnership Workshop?

Guys! The WorkBook6 team has great news – we’re thrilled to partner with the 2018 Leadscon conference in Las Vegas to present the Strategic Partnership Workshop, March 5, 2018.

So, what is the Leadscon Strategic Partnership Workshop?

It’s no secret: the headwinds impacting customer acquisition are as strong as we’ve ever seen. Brands face stiff competition and must ask hard questions about the customers they acquire via the internet. Publishers and lead sellers feel this pressure as their brand partners look to right-size costs of acquisition and increase Lifetime Value (LTV).

Escalating costs. Fierce competition. Falling LTV’s. Oh, my.

But there is a solution. Forging partnerships can deliver the growth and economic outcomes we’re all seeking more of.

On behalf of the entire WorkBook6 team, we invite you to join our founder and CEO, JT Benton for a workshop built exclusively around this topic. JT will be joined by CEOs, CMOs and Business Development professionals from top US brands, publishers and membership groups. Broken into chapters, this workshop will cover everything one needs to know in order to build more revenue impacting partnerships.

What Will You Learn?

Among other takeaways, participants in this workshop will focus on:

  1. How to identify potential partnership opportunities and make sense of the revenue impact for your company
  2. How to form aligned partnerships with leading firms while staying true to your brand
  3. How to negotiate commercial outcomes that work for every stakeholder – especially the consumer
  4. How to track and manage multiple partnerships – with different conversion paths and commercial structures
  5. When to bring in outside products and services to increase your brand’s loyalty
  6. Which billing formats work best in competitive marketplaces

And much, much more!

Who Should Attend the Leadscon Strategic Partnership Workshop ?

This Leadscon Strategic Partnership Workshop has been designed for senior, revenue-focused leaders – CEO’s, CMO’s, CRO’s, marketing and business development leaders – each will benefit from this content, directly. We’ve also built content that will inform and educate the doers from within the business development and marketing teams. If you touch customer acquisition on the brand side, or media monetization on the publisher side, this workshop is for you. And if you represent a membership group or association, it’s a “can’t miss” curriculum.

Short topical segments will alternate with longer-form hands-on case studies designed to dive deeper into industry-specific challenges, and how best to analyze and overcome in a strategic and sustainable fashion.

Sign up today!

 

Strategic Partnership Development

Advertising Isn’t Dead…Yet

By Keith Selvin

First off, let me just say that I’m a sucker for good advertising. Awesome branded content, highly personalized and well-placed remarketing campaigns, Google Ad results that show me exactly what I was looking for – I love it all. But I think it’s safe to say consumers are getting really good at finding ways to block out advertising. TiVo, streaming, ad blockers, spam filters – the list goes on.

To be fair, marketers have gotten smarter too. Bogus ads and landing pages designed only to flood your inbox with irrelevant and uninteresting offers is largely a thing of the past. It doesn’t take being a digital native anymore to have a finely-tuned “marketing BS-meter”.

Even my 93-year-old Grandma Jean knows not to click on silly, too-good-to-be-true offers anymore (for the most part – yes, Grandma, I promise there’s no such thing as $9/month car insurance).

Look, there’s a reason that $72.5 billion was spent on digital advertising in 2016 (22% more than 2015). It works. The ROI is there. We’re getting smarter at targeting the right customers, in the right place, at the right time. But there’s an inherent problem with this: now everybody wants in.

It’s not just big companies anymore that have figured out effective, programmatic, targeted ad-buying. Pretty much everyone has it figured out now. Over the next 10 years, two critical things will happen:

Marketing costs will continue to rise.

Today, Facebook impressions are cheap – whether it’s pennies or dollars, your industry’s CPM on major platforms is going to increase 10x in as many years. But customer lifetime value isn’t following suit, which means one thing: margin compression.

It’ll be harder to break through the noise.

Consumers now have access to so much information, and so many offers, it’s difficult to know where to look to find the right solution. The key is to give consumers simple and easy ways to solve their problems. If it’s too hard to make a decision, I’m just going to give up and go with the first option presented to me, cutting your company’s entire value-prop off at the knees.

Oversaturation leads to increased supply-side cost, and decreased demand-side attention. That’s a recipe for disaster, and requires a way out. Think 2nd Law of Thermodynamics: high-pressure to low-pressure.

“Okay – so what do I do now?”

Well the good news is, there’s no shortage of new and innovative ways to get in front of potential customers. Direct mail is making a comeback (I know, not new and innovative, but it certainly bucks the digital trend). Content marketing is growing if you’re in the right space. However, we think partnership marketing is the next frontier.

Let me give you an example:

You’re just about ready to buy your first house. There’s six million things on your to-do list. Get the best possible mortgage rate, find a moving company, figure out cable and internet, look into a landscaper, install a home-security system, find homeowner’s insurance, look into getting a new car insurance quote while you’re at it, get an estimate on house painters because “eggshell white just doesn’t match our esthetic, hun”.

What do you do?

It’s daunting. There’s a ton of research that needs to be done. Reviews to read. Questions to ask. Quotes and estimates to receive. Decisions to make.

What if a single trusted company could point you in the right direction? Perhaps, by doing business with one reliable brand, you were then shown several others – with all of your options at your fingertips – no research required? What if you and your business were one of those brands? What do you think your conversion rate would be? Probably better than Google Adwords.

The beauty in partnership marketing isn’t necessarily exclusivity. It’s that it provides a path of least resistance. It cuts through the noise. It positions your brand, or service, or product, as one that can be inherently trusted, since it’s being recommended by a company the consumer is already doing business with.

Want to learn more about partnership marketing? That’s easy – drop me a line at keith@workbook6.com, and let’s talk!

Let’s Connect!