On this episode Josh speaks with Robert Glazer, Founder & CEO @ Acceleration Partners and author of “Performance Partnerships”. They talk about what affiliate marketing is and how brick and mortar businesses might use it.

Bob Glazer is the founder and CEO of global performance marketing agency, Acceleration Partners.  They currently have 130 global employees, while being fully remote. Clients include Target, Adidas, Reebok, Gymboree, Ebay. In addition to being a serial entrepreneur, Bob has a passion for helping individuals and organizations build their capacity to outperform.

He is also a columnist for Forbes, Inc. and Entrepreneur. He writes on topics ranging from performance marketing and entrepreneurship to company culture, capacity building, hiring and leadership.

In today’s episode you’ll learn:

  • What is affiliate marketing?
  • What is the difference between affiliate marketing and referral marketing?
  • Is mindset the most important or actions are most important to improve your outcomes?
  • What we can do to make our lives better?
  • Get a free copy of Josh’s book Sustainable!


Narrator:         Welcome to The Sustainable Business Radio Show podcast where you’ll learn not only how to create a sustainable business but you’ll also learn the secrets of creating extraordinary value within your business and your life. In The Sustainable Business, we focus on what it’s going to take for you to take your successful business and make it economically and personally successful. Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable.


Josh:    Hey, how are you today? This is Josh Patrick. You’re at The Sustainable Business podcast.

Today, my guest is Robert Glazer. Robert is a really successful guy. He is the founder of performance marketing agency. When we first started talking, so let’s talk about affiliate marketing, but let’s talk about affiliate marketing from a different point of view. If you’re on the online world you know what affiliate marketing is, but if you’re in an offline work like [inaudible 00:01:06] said, “Look how our business is” there’s a good chance you never heard of an affiliate marketing before. It’s probably something you should hear about. [inaudible 00:01:16] about affiliate marketing, but I really don’t know what I’m talking about. Let’s bring Robert on.

Hey, Robert. How are you today?

Robert:             Good, how are you Josh?

Josh:                 I’m great. So for those who are listening, who have no idea what affiliate marketing is, why don’t we start with an explanation of where that is and will go from there?

Robert:             I’ll talk about what it is then everyone says, “That’s great, but now you can give me an example.” So, I’ll do both.

Josh:                 Okay. That sounds good.

Robert:             Yes, core affiliate marketing is actually not even a channel. It’s a way to a line payments and outcomes where two partners get together. It’s no different than a business development deal offline. I say, “Look, I’m willing to pay you [inaudible 00:01:52] infinity amount of money x percent of a sale or x percent of a lead as long as it is what I want to get.” You’re actually paying for performance or an outcome rather than paying for an impression or a click or a billboard or something like that.

So, when a company sets up an affiliate program that use a piece of technology that’s scalable that allows them to get all these partners in the system. They can pull links. They can pull stuff from the catalogue. They can promote what they want as long as it’s within the guidelines. It’s all tracked through the conversion then they’re actually only paid for sales or things that work or leads or conversions. So, we help build large affiliate programs for brands and some of them have hundreds of partners in them. Some of them have tens of thousands and are global. How would that work is, let’s say I’m an acne company. I must be careful not name companies that we’ve worked with—acne Company selling widgets online. Well, they have one partner who’s a coupon site that focuses on widgets, on sale in general. There’s another deal site that focuses on the best deal of the day widget. There’s a comparison shopping engine that helps people research different widgets on which ones they want. There’s a lot of bloggers that write about the features and reviews of widgets and all kind of stuff. All of these people could be publishers or affiliates or partners in a program. They join up for the acne company and they track everything they do. Acne pays for its marketing after it gets its sale which what makes the channel very attractive.

Josh:                 If I’m a brick and mortar blue collar business and I really don’t do much online—

Robert:             Yeah

Josh:                 I might have a website I might maybe send out an email marketing, newsletter every once in a while. I want to get around to it. Does affiliate marketing make any sense for me?

Robert:             It depends. So, brick and mortar a lot of time pay for leads, but then they have to look at the lead quality. Another example I would use, let’s pretend you’re looking for a great guest for your podcast and you started an affiliate program. You say, “I will pay you—” do you say a great guest is worth $100 to you then you figure one out of every recommendation that people make to you is worthwhile of being on your show. You could say, “Hey, my program pays $10 per lead because I’m going to pay a $100 to get these ten leads then one of them will be getting—you do those economics.” It’s a lead form, but what you have to do is then look really carefully because you’re getting leads to make sure that I’ve not sent you a 100 guest not of which you’ve book on your show and I’ve made a $1,000.

For businesses that are offline, there are some options around pay per call where you could track the phone call ringing. You could track a lead. The thing is affiliate marketing works well at high velocity and what makes it work in high velocity is when everything is tracked in real time.

Josh:                 So, what is the difference between affiliate marketing and referral marketing other than the fact that affiliate marketing, you pay somebody for the business and referral marketing usually don’t?

Robert:             It’s a great question. One that’s not asked enough because we see a lot of programs that where people are over running their referral program when they really should have had an affiliate program. The simple answer is, a referral program really should be a one to one. Also, oftentimes the compensation is with the company’s product.

So, if you think about historically great referral program like gyms. Josh refers me. Josh gets a month free. I get a month free. It’s an incentive. They pay with the product. We both get something. It’s one to one. That’s great if I’m like user of the service. So, referral programs would be focused on a customer of the service. An affiliate program is different in that. They don’t have to be a customer, but they can be someone with a huge demographic or looking for one to many. Let’s say the gym has the referal program for Josh and I, for the one to one, but let’s say there’s a website out there that has a list of top ranking list of all the best gyms in DC. Your gym is in DC.

Well, they are looking for free months. They want to get paid. They would be a better affiliate because they’re not part of the gym. They just knew that they could send a lot of people to the gym and would like to get money for that. It’s more likely that you pay them a $20 lead fee or a $100 conversion fee for every new client that they send and it’s one to many. So they believe that they can impact a large group of people. Referrals in my point are current customers and they should be kind of one to one.

Josh:                 Let me just ask you and see if this makes sense to you. I own [inaudible 00:06:02] with grocery store and the gym down the street says, “I would just like to have an affiliate program with you. For every person that you send our way, we’ll pay you $10 or something on that nature or for every conversion we get for an annual purpose, you know a typical affiliate program from my [inaudible 00:06:20] about 30% to %50 of gross sales that you get for the first year.
Robert: It depends on the margin. Yes. Some businesses that are 5% margin don’t pay that.

Josh:                 Will obviously not going to do that, but let’s say you have a gym where you have a margin big enough that you could afford.

Robert:             Yes.

Josh:                 That might be a good example of how does [inaudible 00:06:36] brick or mortar business with an affiliate program.

Robert:             Yes. There are a lot of times that’s done with coupons or redemptions. There are lots of things that are affiliate programs. When you think about—when you ask a concierge to the hotel which sky diving company he recommends. It’s definitely getting a piece of that action. I think when you start to look for these things everywhere because there are sort of—it’s like a call performance partnership. They performance based on development and then you just add the digital tracking. The start of my book opens with the story of this company called “Tiny Prince” where I worked at this center at a time called Isis [inaudible 00:07:06]  which was a business around and it was named Isis the god of fertility. This was like 15 years ago before the other definitions came into play.

There was this [inaudible 00:07:16] announcement company at that time called Tiny Prince which really wanted to get into our demographic and the owner reached out to our board member and they gave us a coupon. They said, “Look, promote this to all your new parents. These are $300 expensive, fancy paper birth announcement before. When you’re just starting photo based and you’re first time parents so they would spent a ton of money. The second kid doesn’t even get one. They get an email.” They gave us a code.

Each month we would give the code to people and then they would use it. They would track it. They would print out an excel sheet and they would say, “We owe you $500.” That’s a perfect example of performance based partnership. We actually evolved that into building their affiliate program for them.

We said, “Hey, there are hundreds of other people like this.” But if you have to do all those things with all the manual layer then you’re taking a business development where you need to sign an agreement and you need a [inaudible 00:08:02] and you need accounting involved. The platform of the network in this takes out all of that. It handles the tracking, the taxes, the payments, [inaudible 00:08:10] of the account, sign the contracts in real time. That’s really one of the huge benefits that it adds to scaling a program.

Josh:                 I have a pet peeve around affiliate marketing and I have to ask you about—

Robert:             Yeah

Josh:                 My pet peeve is there are a bunch of internet people out there who have their own very large online programs and then once it get passed their launch every single week they will ask you with another affiliate marketing program.

To me, it makes me not want to do business with them. Is there a point you get to where you’re over affiliating with other people in selling their programs?

Robert:             So this is why we came up with the term performance partnerships and part of why I wrote the book was really distance ourselves from other things that we saw as an affiliate marketing because it has a lot of names and a lot of dirty names—I’m the first person—I mean the book is called The Checkered Past, Changing Present and Exciting Future of Affiliate Marketing. I go in to all the checkered past and that stuff. We’re working mostly revenue shares based with large global brands. We’re running per sale programs. There is a huge business that people within the health space or wherever with email list that are products that are 80% margin when they pay 50% commission and they’re just each swapping list and each other’s products kind of all day long. I think that’s what you’re talking about.

Unfortunately, it also has the name of an affiliate marketing which is why we’ve tried to move towards performance partnerships, but yes I mean it’s overpriced products being given overpriced commission with everyone burning their list and trying to sell people not because they believe in the product, but because it is 50% commission. We’re working with global clothing and electronic and consumer goods companies that are paying more traditional 7% or 8%, 9% or 10% commission which really eliminates all this stuff.

I was actually also on [inaudible 00:09:54] two years ago because he was trying to break down this whole scheme in which all these publishers out there— we’re using his name to endorse products and it turns out they went to the company and said, “Why are you letting them do this?” and we said, “Oh, those are publishers. We don’t know who they are.” The company was selling like some sort of lotion that was like you probably could buy for $2 a month for $80 a month that’s subscription. So because they had $78 of margin to play with, they were promising affiliates 70% commission. They don’t care about their brand because affiliates can make $60 on getting people signed up to subscription lotion. They say whatever they need you to say to get the sales. So, fortunately for me, that is a whole dark side of the affiliate world that we have nothing to do with and that are clients are in and it exist, but we’re just outside of that space.

Josh:                 For me, I mean I run into— I actually know this kind of world. I just work with them. I won’t say who it is because it’s not necessary, but he was [inaudible 00:10:50] why in the world why I should do the same with you when I can do affiliate programs and make as much money as I’m making right now doing anything else. My comment to him was, “Well, that maybe true for the short term. It’s not a good long term play for you because you are going to annoy— I was going to say something else.

Robert:             You’re going to burn your list.

Josh:                 You’re going to burn your list. You’re just going to burn your people and they’re going to hate you and they’re not going to buy your program anymore either where you make your real money.

Robert:             You can make a lot of money in a short term. The industry has been totally set up around people driving the bus through the wall as long as the hole is there and try to find the next hole. The people we know that have long term success that focused on creating value audience— we have a merchant who has a daily deals site and she would just crashed it on this one category of products every time. So we’ve reached out to her and do hundreds of thousands of dollars and said, “Can you promote this other stuff?” She just said, “Nah, I don’t believe in that product. I believe in this product.”

That’s why she did well because she had a great audience. She was authentic with them and didn’t tell— there’s people that tell people to buy things because they get paid a higher commission and there’s people that tell them to buy them because they believe in them. I have talked to several publishers around. They are still worried about editorial integrity around certain reviews. I would say, “Look, you can review it. You can say it was two and a half stars and here’s the problem with the toaster, but you can sell the links.” Maybe the downside of it being too small is an issue for someone with small kitchen. I mean you could be good—

I had a discussion with several sites whether a shelf book is on a limit of their reach because they only want to do 5 stars things. I was like, “Tell someone if it’s one star. Put the link maybe they’ll go to Target. Look at it and buy another product and you can get paid. You’re not misrepresenting them at all. You just created an opportunity for them to go to Target and then they bought something so Target is happy about that.”

Josh:                 Cool. So, Robert I read a new stuff that you sent me that you’re on a new project also. What would that be?

Robert:             Yeah, bunch of new projects. Marketing on my second book which is a out grows of email I started to my team a few years ago. There was sort of like Friday inspiration, email that I shared ideas, personal development, growth. It got forwarded on a lot. It made its way to into CEO circles. They sent it to their own employees, turned into something called Friday Forward which I still write the same note every week now.

I just have about 100,000 people around the world who get that and who shared that each week so I’ve been working on sort of turning the lessons of that into a book. Really around building up yourself, your capacity and as a leadership strategy focusing on building your team members up holistically and how you do that. I’m using a lot of examples in Friday Forward stories as lessons on how to have a map for that.

Josh:                 Sorry, can you be a little more specific because I am not really quite clear what you’re talking about doing here on the community— the Friday Forward Community?

Robert:             Yes. I have about a 100,000 people who receive the same note I’ve written for every three years on Friday at this point. They pass around companies. They’ve shared it. I have all these incredible stories and opportunities kind of around the world from people who receive this email and shared it in different ways and acted on it.

Josh:                 Is this the same note you send every Friday or is it a different note?

Robert:             It’s a different note. If I send the same note every Friday, I probably wouldn’t have a lot of subscribers.

Josh:                 That’s was assuming that.

Robert:             It wrote it’s around themes of self improvement and capacity building which is the term I’ve come to use. Yes, it is a different story every week. It’s usually about four or five hundred words. It’s a story. It’s a lesson. It’s an idea. It’s a concept and people have used it to improve themselves and improve their company and their culture.

Josh:                 So give me examples of what kind of stuff you talk about?

Robert:             So, last week was on how changing— there are a lot of times, there’s a lot of writing and studies now that will power and habits are great but in the end of goal setting— actually, your environment kind of matters more than anything. And so I talked about micro environment, macro on a micro level. You decided to take batteries out of your remote or put your shoes— But I actually have a partner email us this morning, he emails me something else. He said, “Thanks for the tip on the shoes. I’ve gone running everyday this week.”

He was trying to share is when someone said, “You put your shoes next to your bed. You put your cell phone downstairs. They are more likely to get out of bed and go work out than you are to play on your cell phone. If you put a candy dish six feet away from you, you’ll eat half the amount of candy.” It’s about how you control your micro environment then on a macro level who you spend time with, where you live, what they are doing, has a big impact on you. If you want to drink less and your friends go to the bar four nights a week, it’s really unlikely that you’re going to drink less. You probably need to stop hanging out with those friends three out of the four nights. It’s sort of dove into some of those principles on how to think about changing your environment to be more align with your goals.

Josh:                 So, what’s the most important thing you think that we can do to make our lives better?

Robert:             Couple of things I think is first is raising the expectations for ourselves and believing that we can do more and that is in our control. I think a lot of people when they work on getting better, they realized if they stop blaming external forces and believe that they have control. It’s a lot more powerful. I [inaudible 00:16:01] the book up into what I’ve seen across the years and talking to a lot of high achievers for areas of capacity—high achievers master. It’s kind of a ball.

You get all of them expanding and rolling in the right way. Your performance doubles and triples and that’s kind of spiritual which is not religious—spiritual capacity, intellectual, physical and emotional. Every aspect of self improvement I’ve seen falls under one of those disciplines. And I think when we look at them when we compartmentalize them and we work on the elements on those areas. We can get a lot better quickly.

Josh:                 We have a couple of minutes left. You started to get into like call my chicken and egg conversation which I’ve been obsessing about for the last six months or so which is around mindset. [Laughs]

My question I have to ask you this, I asked this to plenty of other mindset people so I’ll ask you the same question. When it comes to mindset, is it mindset is the most important or actions are most important to improve your outcomes?

Robert:             You divided the baby in my book because I have the mindset piece and I have the action thing.

Josh:                 Right.

Robert:             I think they feed off of each other, but actually I’ve written some articles and where I talk about this around in the endorsement that I did which is I think you have to go into something. It was a plan and believing that you could do it, but at some point you have to put one foot in front of the other and you just have to keep doing it and then that surprises you. I’ve been on book writing in all the time. I’ve heard people be like, “I want to write a book. I want to write a book. I can’t. It’s such a big mountain and I just haven’t written a page or ten words.”

Then they talk about writing a book for you. If you want to climb a mountain, ten steps, ten steps, ten steps, ten steps and I give the example that if you just took 20 minutes off of Facebook everyday and started writing in the morning for 20 minutes, you pretty much have a draft of a book after 60 days. The one person is lamenting that they don’t have time to write a book and the other person has put this small application of energy in the right direction and then gets there. I think most of these big things that we want to do, just need to broken up into smaller things. The mindset is twofold believing that you can do it and then having the discipline to make choice A over choice B.

Josh:                 I kind of think it depends where you are and what Dave Logan calls the Five Levels of—it’s not accusation in fact it was be—Logan has to see the world suck, I suck. The world doesn’t suck but I still suck. The world’s okay and I’m okay. If you’re at the place in life where the world sucks and I suck.

I don’t care what your mindset is. It’s not doing a good taking action. I used to own a vending company and that’s where a lot of my employees started off and they work with us. They came in to our organization. There are a lot of folks who are on welfare when they started working with us and they would come with us and say, the world sucks and I suck. I realized very early that forget about talking about what their thought process was, just do something.

Robert:             Yes. I had a whole debate on this with Alex Hutchinson who wrote the bestselling book Endure on sort of resilience and I was talking about this intellectually as I finish the book right before I did a 180 mile overnight bike ride from London to Paris. I said, “I’m going to put this to test.” What matters more physical or mental resilience? There’s a chicken and egg and there’s both, but I think that you need the right mindset going into it but a lot of times it’s just keeping your foot going pedal over pedal and being like, “I’m still biking and therefore I can do this.”

I think oftentimes it is the physical act of doing and just doing it and surprising ourselves that we’re not dead yet and keep going that then reinforces the positive psyche of the mind. Similarly, he has shown [inaudible 00:19:30] going to something be like, “I’m going to fail this. I’m going to be terrible then it’s going to be hard to perform at a high level, too.”

Josh:                 Robert, unfortunately we are out of time. I’m going to bet people are going to want to find your book, find you, find your company, and find something about you because you are really interesting guy with a lot to offer. How do you go about doing that?

Robert:             If you’re looking for a company, affiliate marketing. You can check out accelerationpartners.com or Google it. I’ve got a free downloadable—you can get the first chapter of the book or a mini-book of it if you want to see what’s it about. It has all my other stuff at robertglazer.com which is speaking right in columns and if you want to join that Friday Forward, list of 100,000 people it’s fridayfwd.com and also there’s information on the elevate book on that site that’s coming out.

Josh:                 I also have an offer for you. I actually have a request for you. It’s not really an offer. I would love to have folks who are listening go over to iTunes and leave a rating and a review of the show. We will all post our episode 200 and I haven’t asked this and this is really something what I really want you guys to do. If you’re listening, go over to iTunes, leave a review, rate the show and let me know what you think. Send me an email and if you that and you send me proof that you did it, I will send you free copy of my book Sustainable, a fable about creating a personally and economically sustainable business, when I say free, I mean really free. No shipping. No handling, free. So, this is Josh Patrick. Thanks a lot for stopping by today. I hope to see you back here really soon.

Narrator:         You’ve been listening to The Sustainable Business podcast where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around a hundred years from now?” If you like what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802-846-1264 ext 2, or visit us on our website at www.askjoshpatrick.com, or you can send Josh an email at jpatrick@askjoshpatrick.com.

Thanks for listening. We hope to see you at The Sustainable Business in the near future.

Topics: sustainable business podcast, Sustainable Business, referral marketing, mindset, acceleration partners, actions, performance partnerships, robert glazer, affiliate marketing, self improvement, affiliate programs

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