Affiliate MarketingA "seismic shift in how consumers interact with brands": Impact's Ross Negus...

A “seismic shift in how consumers interact with brands”: Impact’s Ross Negus on the partnership economy

Partnership management platform Impact recently gained unicorn status after it raised $150 million in a funding round that rose to $1.5 billion.

We are here to catch up Ross Negus, Enterprise Account Manager at Impact, to find out what life is like a rhino, and why the partnership economy is a growing opportunity for brands today.

Tell us more about your role – what does a normal day look like?

My role can really be summed up as solving problems with customers and prospects, navigating and understanding their goals, their KPIs and any gaps in their existing systems. about discovery. help determine how they can reach their goals; Demonstrating our way of working with these brands, while sharing ideas with clients and anticipating results.

When I joined in 2015, Uber and Airbnb were Impact’s biggest clients and it told me all about the company’s potential. There has been a seismic shift in how consumers interact with brands in recent years – they do not fully trust advertising in the traditional sense, and prefer recommendations and reviews. People want these unique and authentic customer journeys that happen between brands, partners, reviewers, and influencers.

You say partnerships have emerged as the third and fastest revenue channel for organizations. What does the “partnership economy” refer to and what are the benefits?

Basically, the partnership economy is a modern way of thinking about growth. Some of the brand’s methods have been centralized and fixed. There was a focus on Google and Facebook and a fairly strict approach to acquiring new customers.

But the partnership economy connects you on a global scale. A lot of growth is possible through these connections – and fostering partnerships is often the fastest path not only to growth but also to trust. With the best partnerships, you don’t feel like you’re being sold on, providing a delightful customer experience.

What has been your biggest and biggest challenge during your tenure at Impact so far?

I’ve been here for six and a half years. Looking back, the greatest achievement really is where we are today. Only four of us started in London – our first commercial office outside the US. At that time, we were a little-known company in the UK. Being a part of that journey has been amazing. Many things happened. And seeing what we’ve achieved in those six years is amazing. We went from a little-known entity to disrupting competition to the entity everyone is talking about. First they ignore you, then they laugh and then they fight you. Today, they are all fighting us. We are a force to be reckoned with.

On the contrary, the biggest challenge was entering the unknown market. In those early stages, people don’t know you and don’t want to see you. You have to navigate the ever-changing competition of people who have grown up and know how to sell against you. And it wasn’t just the unknown technology. What the term partnership could mean was also unknown.

What would you say was integral to Impact’s arrival in Unicorn mode?

The brands we work with have been completely integrated. If we look at some of our old customers, like Getty Images, Lenovo, Ticketmaster, and Uber, those early adopters were already on this journey with us.

They gave us this initial stretch and this had a snowball effect. Those customers who trusted and understood early on that technology was of paramount importance were paramount. Those who were looking for a market leading platform even in the early days; These clients helped us keep innovating, move forward in terms of adapting to local nuances, etc. They remain our North Star and we have grown up with them.

It’s fair to say that we certainly benefited when competitors were slow to react and improve their platforms, but the big change came in 2019 when we raised $75 million in funding and then announced our new model – Partnership Automation. Historically, many brands have had external relationships with affiliate networks, but we have provided a platform whereby affiliate relationships, as well as all other types of partnership, can be managed directly and with a significant degree of automation that would significantly reduce the hours of people involved. in operation.

We’ve also amplified our message about all kinds of partnership, not just affiliates, which was a bright spot; Now everyone is talking about the marketing partnership. We introduced a new ocean of opportunities where brands can take this model to pay on performance and then start working with any unique referral partner.

I wouldn’t say we were simply lucky, it’s a case of identifying great opportunities and getting a solid response when that’s what’s needed. The credit goes to the great team at Impact who not only predicted which direction the market was going, but were then able to actually steer the market pretty much.

How has life at the company changed since then?

We have matured a lot. It’s all about solving problems with customers and we’ve pioneered partnership automation. Being part of an organization that defines a category is a once in a lifetime opportunity. And while demand grew, so did business. We now have 850 employees and streamlined operations. Leadership has been supportive the whole time – in the journey from start to unicorn and through this maturity curve. As operations improve, we are a fine-tuned engine, growing alongside everyone else in the partnership economy.

What’s next for Impact and what do you think his legacy will be?

We came to disable affiliate marketing and we did just that. We are now a partnership management platform. We are changing how businesses grow; How they think about gaining growth through partners. Partnership marketing is now a simpler automated process, which is not something that would have happened without the vision of the Impact team.

We will continue to be the de facto platform for global partnerships. It’s exciting. In many ways, this is just the beginning of the journey and the ongoing shift of spending from Facebook and Google to the partnership economy. The legacy of all this is growth.

Our focus on growth also begins with our employees. We are a people first organisation. These individuals build technology that helps brands grow, while Impact grows jobs, along with its partners – as a kind of business development toolkit, enabling growth for everyone. This legacy will remain with us forever, all driven by the innovative spirit of our founding team. They are passionate about our goals and with their dedication and support we have built this incredible team – a team that has innovated to support the world’s most advanced companies, enabling them to expand and evolve. In this way, he truly changed the world.

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