Reading Time: 28 minutes

Robin Dimond once said to me, “Partnerships are a long term relationship. You don’t expect to wife up right away. Same thing with a partnership. You have to work that relationship and really get to know them on every level.”

But in today’s world of short form video and voice texting and Slack messages… how do we really get to know partners and potential partners? Are long term relationships really that important?

Isn’t it easier and more efficient to focus on processes and workflows and other aspects of the business that can be scaled, and aren’t so individualized?

That’s what we’re covering in today’s episode of Partnership Unpacked.

Welcome back to Partnership Unpacked, where I selfishly use this time to pick the brains of experts at strategic partnerships, channel programs, affiliates, influencer marketing, and relationship building… oh, and you get to learn too! Subscribe to learn how you can amplify your growth strategy – with a solid takeaway every episode from partnership experts in the industry.

Do you feel like your partners care about you? Would they go out of their way to help you or work with you if you needed them?

How do we move purely transactional exchanges into long-term relationships where brands and influencers can collaborate more fully? And what’s the ROI for these kinds of partnerships?

That’s exactly what our guest today, Jessika Phillips, is going to talk to us about.

Jessika IS the Queen of Relationship Marketing. She founded NOW Marketing Group in 2010 with only a laptop and vision to give people with heart an upper hand, and over the ensuing years she’s demonstrated time and again how powerful relationships can be. From building a Forbes-recognized Agency Partner, to assembling the annual Social Media Week Lima event that’s packed with the most incredible marketing experts and speakers.

And I can’t wait to get her help us unpack the importance and relevance of professional relationships.

Partnership Unpacked host Mike Allton talked to Jessika about:

♉️ What Relationship Marketing is, and how to integrate it into your brand activities.

♉️ How the Relationship ROI Flywheel can help you build community & advocates.

♉️ Tips on how to build relationships with other brands and influencers.

Learn more about Jessika Phillips

Resources & Brands mentioned in this episode

Full Notes & Transcript:

(Lightly edited)

How Relationship Marketing Can Strengthen All Your Partnerships with Jessika Phillips

How Relationship Marketing Can Strengthen All Your Partnerships with Jessika Phillips

[00:00:00] Mike Allton: Robin Diamond once said to me, partnerships are a long-term relationship. You don’t expect to wife up right away. Same thing with a partnership. You’ve gotta work that relationship and really get to know them on every level. But in today’s world of short form video and voice texting and slack messages, how do we really get to know partners and potential partners?

Uh, long-term relationships really that important. Isn’t it easier and more efficient to focus on processes and workflows and other aspects of the business that can be scaled and aren’t so individualized? That’s what we’re covering in today’s episode of Partnership Unpacked.

This is Partnership unpacked your Go-to Guide to Growing Your Business through partnerships quickly. I’m your host, Mike Alton, that each episode unpacks the winning strategies and latest trends from influencer marketing to brand partnerships and ideas that you can apply your own business to grow.

Exponentially. And now the rest of today’s episode, well welcome back to Partnership Unpacked, where I selfishly use this time to pick the brains of experts at strategic partnerships, channel programs, affiliates, influencer marketing, and relationship building. Oh, And you get to learn too. Subscribe to learn how you can amplify your growth strategy with a solid takeaway every episode from partnership experts in the industry.

I’m Mike Alton, and I’m here in the home office in St. Louis. Now, do you feel like your partners care about you? Would they go out of their way to help your work with you if you needed them? How do we move purely transactional exchanges into long-term relationships where brands and influencers can collaborate more fully?

And what’s the ROI for these kinds of partnerships? Well, that’s exactly what our guest today, Jessica Phillips is gonna talk to us about. Jessica. Is the queen of relationship marketing. She founded now Marketing Group in 2010 with only a laptop and a vision to give people with heart and upper hand. And over the ensuing years, she’s demonstrated time and again how powerful relationships can be from building a Forbes recognized agency partner to assembling the annual social media week Lima event that’s packed with the most incredible marketing experts and speakers, and I can’t wait to get her to help us.

Unpack the importance and relevance of professional relationships. Hey Jessica, welcome to the show.

[00:02:35] Jessika Phillips: Hey Mike. So good to hang out with you and talk about this. [00:02:38] Mike Allton: So excited. I was just saying, you know, in the green room, this is the first time I’ve been able to introduce you and talk to you live on camera.

Even though we’ve been on many shows before, together, I’m usually behind the scenes producing. So this is a bit of a special treat for me.

[00:02:51] Jessika Phillips: This, this, yeah, I love it. [00:02:54] Mike Allton: Now I’m gonna start by asking the question that I usually reserve. For the end. Those of you who’ve been listening to the dozens of podcast episodes we’ve shared this year, you know how important relationships have been to each and every guest, but that’s why I asked Jessica to join me today.

But just to set the stage, Jessica, how important have relationships been to your career?

[00:03:15] Jessika Phillips: It has been the backbone of everything that we’ve done both internally with now marketing group and growing the brand. Because we’ve not had a salesperson, we’ve relied on relationships to not only help grow from a small Lima, Ohio community that we’re based in to now working with.

Some of the top brands across the US and top individuals that work with me, that live across the US to forming partnerships like with you, Mike, and others that, you know, if it hadn’t been for relationship marketing and just approaching business with a relationship first mindset, I think we would’ve been cutting ourselves short.

And I know that.

[00:03:56] Mike Allton: Now you said something that I’m hoping you can unpack for us some more. You talked about relationship marketing. What do we mean when we say that? Or what do you mean when you say relationship marketing? [00:04:06] Jessika Phillips: Yeah. I sometimes refrain from even putting marketing with it, but it’s honestly the approach that.

Every brand I feel, doesn’t matter what kind of business that you are, b2b, b2c, you know, SaaS company, it does not matter that relationship marketing is the foundation of how you approach your business starting from the inside out. I believe, uh, relationship marketing is defined, I mean by most people, as focusing on a long term repeat referral, organic and sustainable growth model by looking at.

Hey, what are we in it for The long term? We’re gonna go deeper with our relationships versus wider. I try to unpack that even a little bit more on how we approach working with our clients and how they show up, not just online from a marketing perspective, but at the core North star of who they are as that organization.

It’s like, here’s. Our brand voice and we’re passionate about it. We know who we are. We’re creating an environment, which I think this part is the key of psychological safety for our team members that are gonna be working with our clients that we’re trying to build a relationship with, and empower them to want to do more for the people that they’re serving.

And when they feel empowered, then our clients are getting that experience. Relationships are. Experience we’re providing, how we’re making start into what created Brando and excited to do. And then working with people that you can truly, truly serve like your ideal audience. And then your partnerships kinda branching out from there.

It creates this flywheel effect. Cause we’re focused on maintaining the longevity of every relationship that we’re working with. And we look at things as how will this grow in momentum? Because we all know word of mouth is the number one referrer business, but how? A relationship marketing approach to, instead of just going word of mouth now with everything with online, as you mentioned, as you open this voice, text, video, everything else, that we create a world of mouth referral system that nobody’s ever leaving our marketing funnel, cuz I don’t believe in a sales and marketing funnel.

I think it’s a flywheel relationship marketing.

Build deeper, not just wider short term relationships.

[00:06:37] Mike Allton: I absolutely love that approach. And as you were talking, you mentioned, you know, colleagues, you mentioned other businesses. Mm-hmm. You might be partnering, of course, you mentioned clients cuz that obviously is, is one of the main focuses of, of your business as an agency.

That’s what, that’s what you do. You’re working with clients, but what differences do you see them between client partners and other kinds of partnerships and professional relationships?

[00:07:00] Jessika Phillips: Yeah, so the differences are really that we focus on what we call out carrying the competition and care is an acronym of how we approach like every relationship that we’re doing.

So talking about, you know, clients and partnerships, you really still approach it the same way. First, it starts with clarity of knowing who you are, what you’re here to do, organization. And so when partnership client.

I have clarity and I’m succinct in showing up with clarity and conviction in what we’re here to do and how we can help others. So instead of just running in and asking for a sale or asking somebody to be on your show, Mike, which I know you would never do, just like right out of the gate, right? You’re building and maintaining a relationship and helping to show up to give first and out care someone else.


surface level stuff, right? Engaging with. And that’s part of the A in care process is all about articulating our message, right? So it’s not only that we are showing up to capture attention, now we’re articulating our message and building the relationships, which is the R part of Care for Repeat Referral, business and partnerships.

And the E part of care is all about exceptional experiences. So instead of just showing up, let’s just say you’re talking about partnerships. If we’re you, show. Instead of just saying, you know, thank you, I’m gonna show up, do my job and leave. I’m gonna, you know, go back and tell you thank you. I’m gonna probably send you a card, take some time out and truly show up that, that mattered to me.

I’m thankful for your time and you going out of your way. The same thing you mentioned that Social Media Week, Lima, the conference that we host, when speakers come in, we try to make sure everything is a smooth process for them. We literally write out, Our full process of engaging with speakers and look at for ways that we can add delight and remove like friction points from the process of working with us.

And by doing that, we can look for opportunities of how to stand out. And give them that cause for pause, if you will, where instead of, like for example, when they’re speaking on stage, most people, if they get a speaker gift, it’s like swag from the conference or something, we customize like a personalized bobblehead for them to give them as a speaker gift, something that is personalized to them, that it’s all about shining the light on them versus just being on us and rapport ongoing.

That goes above and beyond just business.

[00:09:36] Mike Allton: Right. Love that. And I have to say, there’s so much that I have learned from you over the years. So many lessons that I’ve taken from how you treat the people around you, how you thank and reward, and just shine a light on what they’ve meant to you. So I enjoy sending people gifts and I love it when every time we do something, it’s not that it’s expected, but I now know that I’m gonna get something like, you’re gonna send me a sugar wish or something like that.

That’s, that’s who you are. That’s a part of the fabric of who you are, and I love that you’ve ingrained that into your agency and now that’s just a part of the agency that you found at the event that you’re doing. That’s, I’ve been a multiple times speaker at your event, and it is phenomenal. It’s one of the best events in the world, and there’s a reason why.

Speakers who are going to big stages mm-hmm. In massive cities around the world, are willing to take the time to, you know, literally planes, trains, and automobiles. Automobiles to get to live.

[00:10:38] Jessika Phillips: Right. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. But you mentioned something, uh, the word ingrained. I think that’s the key that’s missing.

Everybody knows, like if you’re, you know, that. Make people feel good. You can send them gifts, but it’s above and beyond that we can feel when things are phony and false and fake right, and are not genuine, but organization no matter what company. People know it. They feel it and they remember it. They remember how you make them feel.

You know the famous quote, nobody cares what you say until you know, they know that you care. That’s so true. But it has to be ingrained. So it has to start from the inside out. And that’s why I say like the key to a lot of this that’s often missed because we jump to the actionable tangibles, is that psychological safety.

Of how we’re creating an environment where people don’t feel like they’re gonna be judged or you know, that they have to just keep quiet and you go with the flow and it comes from the head down of what you’re doing. Because let’s face it, all of us have been through so many changes recently as organizations, you know, with and everything else, just the rapid rate of technology changing the tools that we’re using that.

It won’t organization. Interaction. Right? Most likely you have a team and people that you’re working with that are handling things from you, whether it’s a VA or you know, a fulltime team member. So it has to be ingrained and that starts from creating that environment of psychological safety of, of showing up and.

Truly celebrating people on your team, giving them a voice. And some of our best ideas, like I’m so excited for the event this year too, and just other services that we’ve rolled out at now have come from the team because felt comfortable to share that, and that’s enhanced our partnerships as well as our client relationships.

[00:12:33] Mike Allton: I love this. And so for everybody listening right now, one big takeaway that you can write down and, and think about already is how easy it is to do something as simple as a handwritten note to thank mm-hmm. A client partner, a brand partner, an influencer that you’re working with or maybe you’d want to work with, whatever that partnership is, whatever that individual looks like, take the time to write a thank you note.

It’s just a little bit of time. It’s not expensive, it’s not elaborate gifting. But you can do it and it’s gonna make such an impact. Now, Jessica, one thing I wanna go back to, because you mentioned this a moment ago, this concept of a flywheel. Mm-hmm. Talk to us about your relationship ROI flywheel.

[00:13:15] Jessika Phillips: Yeah, so the flywheel approach is thinking differently about our marketing and sales process.

It’s truly thinking of, instead of things just coming in and we’re marketing ourselves out and trying to, I call it a bullhorn approach of marketing ourselves out. We try to think like a magnet instead first and the core of our trying attract. Our process turns into a flywheel. We start thinking about who do we want to be sticky to us to be magnetic to us as a brand long term?

That starts with knowing first who you are, and I like to say it’s converting instead of just even followers on your page to real fans showing up and listening, creating that psychological safety for them, for them to share and give feedback, asking questions, them truly listening to responding and engaging more than engage.

Then taking your clients and making them true advocates for you. So your marketing and your approach to doing business is thinking about how can we serve and out care our competition with our clients? Like what is it that we’re missing? It’s riding out our sales and ongoing management process with our clients.

That can truly delight them in a way that’s gonna keep them sticky to us and referring us on. Once we get this momentum of our followers to fans, our clients, to our advocates, team members, and to our biggest evangelists, one that are providing experience, most likely the end day clients and customers.

Then we can take it and move it into a place where we’re growing with our community partners and two collaborators. So instead of just being somebody that you know in the community, like for example, you know, Mike Alton here with Agora Paul, we’re huge cheerleaders of them, but now we’re collaborating on sharing value here to their community and also something that I share with community.

Over time, nobody’s dropping out a funnel they’re staying in and we realize that people should stay within our brand Flywheel momentum growth cause of that world of mouth Now referral process, the number one reason that people are gonna work and choose to work with you over someone else. Studies have found that it’s all based on the experience.

90% of all buying decisions are starting online. People are doing a search and they’re trying to see what branch should I choose, this one or that one. They’re looking up what people are saying. They’re asking their community a lot of times in private channels that you don’t even see these questions being asked.

So you wanna make sure that people are empowered, one, that they know what you do. Two, they feel convicted and excited. To refer you on to the people that they trust most as well. By doing this, you’ll grow organic, sustainable, long-term growth within your business, and you don’t have to worry about just keep blasting your message out.

It becomes a magnet versus a bullhorn approach to doing business.

[00:16:26] Mike Allton: Love that concept of a flywheel so much. If you’re just tuning in, we’re talking with Jessica Phillips about the ROI of relationships in your business, and I wanna share with you a quick message from our cmo. Go Paul, about another area where you’re missing out on roi, social media.

It’s the arc de triumph. Can you imagine if you’re in charge, if you’re the CMO of marketing Paris, what are your main channels? Wow, there’s. The arc de Triumph. There’s the Eiffel Tower, there’s the Louvre. Those are your channels you’re gonna use to drive tourism dollars in. Okay, now, but you’re not the CMO of Paris.

In fact, you’re the CMO of your company product service. So what are your main channels? So I’m gonna guess they’re things like pay per click, maybe trade shows, events, maybe content. Those are all pretty predictable, right? Let me ask you this question. Are you treating social media as a main channel? By the way, only 1.8% of you today measure social media and can prove an ROI in that investment.

HubSpot and Gartner say, social media is the number one channel to invest in this year. Are you doing it? If not, I can tell you why you’re not doing it. Because you don’t have the tools, you don’t have the mentality, and that’s okay. We’ve got you covered. You changed the mentality. We’ll give you the tour of Go Pulse tracks all the ROI for you.

One place to manage all your social media activity, your number one channel, change your success. Treat social media as Channel one CMO to another. My name is Darryl. I’m with Agorapulse. I’ll talk to you soon.

I just love that video so much. We need to go back to Paris and film more video content.

[00:18:07] Jessika Phillips: Oh, I volunteers. Tribute. I just wanna say I love the feature, the social ROI feature. I mean, showcasing it, right? Like it’s there, black and white, and it’s amazing. So thank you for making my life easier. [00:18:23] Mike Allton: Awesome. Thank you for plugging that in there.

And so, Of course for the first half we’ve been talking about, you know, why relationships are important and talking at a very high strategic level, which I love. Let’s now get into some of the details. Could you share? Yeah. For instance, a couple of examples of situations maybe where focusing on the relationship paid dividends.

Long term, particularly if involved like you, another brand or perhaps another influencer.

[00:18:47] Jessika Phillips: Yeah, I can share a couple examples, quick ones, and I’ll start from the most basic level time. Okay. So one, since we’ve been talking about social media week, Lima and plugged that a couple times, really that all started from me attending a conference, social media marketing world, and when I went there, Instead of just focusing on what a lot of people do at conferences is like try to get to know as many people as you can and you just say your name and where you work and all that.

Just like surface level stuff that nobody remembers. We’re all smiling and just trying to think about the next thing that we’re gonna say next. Instead, I went through the approach of truly getting. First a look at who’s attending the event. Still do this today, still teach this to my team. Look at who’s attending the event.

Who do we feel like we could connect with intentionally going and looking for those people and asking more authentic, relating type questions like what’s a project that you’re working on that you’re excited about? That kinda thing.

Instead of just trying to feel like I was amongst a sea of people, which I was, I tried to pull those most intimate connections that I wanted to have, and I created what was called a smores night. Um, invited everyone to come and have some ss and wine on me, and we set and we laughed around the fire. And what happened as a part of that is one, everybody got outside of their brain of thinking of just business, business, business.

We laughed, we got real, we had really great connections. And what transpired out that is I maintain those connections and now hosting a conference of my own Cause those connections and relationships were maintained. I was memorable.

They felt when they were hanging out. Now they’re willing to come in, as you mentioned, planes, trains, and automobiles to social media week Lima, and to have that experience, that fix that connection with others that are just like them, because that’s who we surround ourselves with at that event. That’s paid huge dividends.

People have come back like, you know Brian Fanzo, he’s come back like eight years, you know, and we’ve amazing. Angus Nelson, you Elton, truly amazing people show up and for this event town. Of people when they could be on this big stage because they realized, and many of them said this in a video, that not only did it pay dividends for us because we’re hosting this to add value in our community, but to them, cause it’s a community, even though it’s, it was smaller event like people took action on what they were saying and they’ve maintained and had sales as it related to that event afterward too.

That’s one example. Second example. Using time again. When I first started out now marketing group, and I still do this today, I realized that people weren’t gonna hire me because they couldn’t Google how to do social media or you know, Google, you know how to hire a VA really quick. I realized that they just maybe didn’t understand the power of it or how to do it in a way that could lead to really great results.

So I started hosting free trainings in our once. Still do this now and offering those trainings to people for free and teaching them the process that honestly we do for them. And by doing that, some of them didn’t have the financial ability to hire us at the time, but they went to work at a company or they’ve grown their business and they’ve become my lifetime clients that have been with me.

Many of them for the whole time that I’ve been in business or since they’ve started attending those sessions, uh, one of them just landed a really long agreement for the year to now speak and teach their community within the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare system. So now I’ll be in front of a target audience group of hundreds more that now they’ve invited me in the door, my approach, how I’m showing up, and that I was serving first.

I had a heart of serving first, not just asking.

[00:22:39] Mike Allton: And the one thing I wanna highlight there that you didn’t mention, but I know, is that when you were doing these trainings, you were also partnering with other individuals, other community members, other organizations and brands like, like Mark, uh, the comic bookstore owner, and folks like that, to widen that reach and to help more people and bring more people on board.


[00:22:58] Jessika Phillips: Absolutely. During each training session, not only do I have, it’s not just about us, right? Like, like you said, using examples from others, but we create an environment of community psychological safety of partnering together and realizing that there’s strength in numbers, right? Like when you can align with others that believe what you believe in and wanna show up and, and it doesn’t matter, like Mark’s a comic book store owner, right?

We’re in an office, uh, collaboration with a comic book shop on one side. We have a wine boutique in the front, a music studio event venue. And then a marketing office all in this space here. But it works because of our approach of what we’re here to do. We wanna help grow our community to thrive, right? We want our community to be a place of makers and creators to be able to know how to grow their business.

So they’re learning from other entrepreneurs that are doing just that. Started where they started, right? And are growing and learning lessons along the way that we create this environment. We can all help and serve each other and we’re giving advice back and forth, and those partnerships have been pivotal to growing the business.

Now, this is in the local space, but the same thing can be done online, right? Like I’ve done group collaborations. We have the Queenies for a while where it was a bunch of us women that came together just to empower each other of, you know, how we wanna show up and get on stages and empower other women to be able to speak up and know that there’s a place for them in their voice.

And, and that we should hang out and really get to know one another and, and be real and have that safety and knowing that there’s other people that have your back. We share all the time. We may not hang out all the time, but we give feedback forth on, Hey, can you look at this? I’m getting ready to launch, give everybody feedback.

And it’s.

Giving yourself permission to be open and then truly putting in the effort of wanting to deepen the relationships with key people that you serve. But then also that’s tenfold.

[00:25:06] Mike Allton: When Mark watches the replay of this, he’s gonna appreciate what I’m about to say, which is that this is the Voltron of building businesses.

We are stronger when we come together into one. Mm-hmm. And I do the same thing with my virtual events. Every recorder on these massive virtual events. And I could not reach the audiences that I reach and have the depth of speakers that I have if I didn’t have relationships with influencers and if I didn’t have deep partnerships with other brands in this space that I can tap and bring on.

Like meta are gonna be a couple ones coming up. And longtime partners like waved up video and air meat and so on. They’re fantastic partners and they’re so important and we’re important to them. It’s that safe space, exactly as you’ve been talking about.

[00:25:46] Jessika Phillips: Yeah. I think people get intimidated by that sometimes.

You know what I mean? Like when you think of a big brand, people are people at the end of the day, like we all have the same basic human needs. So I think, you know, just, it’s all about your approach and how you show up, and I know you do that. Phenomenal. Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt, but.

[00:26:02] Mike Allton: No, no, no. Thank you.

Yeah, no, I appreciate the compliment. So as we’re talking about all these different ways that we’re going to connect with clients, we’re gonna connect with influencers, we’re connect with partners, and we’re gonna build deeper, wider relationships. Are there any tools that we can draw on today that can help us do this in a better way?

[00:26:22] Jessika Phillips: Yeah, a ton of tools. So one, of course, like you wanna, first, I say start with where you’re at with what you have first, right? So the tools I suggest first are literally writing out your flow and your process, who you are, what you believe, get your team involved. And by looking at this, you can see where there’s.

Some gaps in areas that you can remove friction, add in points of connection and delight in making sure that you have everybody on the same page. So I’m gonna share a couple, probably non-traditional ones, but the one thing that I’ll say for creating this environment of psychological safety, which I feel is at the key is.

Setting up a time, whether you’re remote or not, to have a check-in with your team and how you can celebrate what they’re doing and share other examples back and forth of what their connections that they’re making, um, with other community partners or clients or even internally. We do every Friday, we call it the now, where it’s a time where we do shout outs for our team members each week.

To know each other more. We have members spread across nine different, you know, states across.

Start with the basics, right? Like intentionally don’t let your tools get in the way of your technique, right? So start with the technique first, then the tools. I love, of course, I’m, it’s gonna sound phony because I’m inbox. So you can monitor conversations and know what’s happening, and you’re not leaving anyone feeling like you don’t care and you’re not responding to them.

We like show on everything. We’re online, social media, keep the conversations going and making sure that people are feeling one. That safety of sharing feedback back to what we have, like we just named our mascot and we got everybody else to chip in on that, but they were responding to them in a timely and approachable manner.

Another tool that I really love is we use Sugar Wish, which is just a digital candy store Evite that actually now has expanded where you can send people gift. There’s also a tool called Thanks.

They’ve meant something to you that you recognize their, their efforts and their connection with you. Uh, another tool is like, send out cards. I love that one as well. But you don’t even have to spend a lot of money on, I mean, handwritten notes are great. That one can be a tool. And another one that I really love recently is called Fireflies.

So, We do a lot of remote meetings and I wanna make sure the partners know that they’re being heard and that I can go back and listen to what’s been said in Firefly. It joins your meetings automatically and transcribes the meeting for you, also provides you sentiment of that meeting in case you missed it and lets you, you know, have the dates, times, everything that was mentioned.

And you can go back through. You can also then take that transcription and potentially you can have like another team member jump in and, and get some. On what’s being said if you were unsure. But it’s a great way of making sure that you’re documenting what you’re taught, what’s been said in a way that’s gonna let people know that they were heard.

Cause they may have mentioned their dog’s name or something in there. And now you have those notes to put into a crm, which is another tool to know and remember that like Mike and I were talking about our girls in dance. Before we jumped on here, that he’s got daughters that are in dance and one of ’em is gonna do this big event in Orlando.

And then, you know, you can remember those moments, document it, and then remind yourself later to follow up and make sure that you are making a point to bring that back to memory because it feels good to know when other people are noticing and remembering what we’re saying and that they’re taking action on it to remind us of that.

[00:30:18] Mike Allton: That’s such a great point because we’re never gonna remember ourselves. All these little details from that, people just happen to, you know, popcorn out in the couple of minutes before you actually get into the agenda, whatever it is you’re gonna talk about in a meeting. But if someone happens to say, oh, you know it’s my birthday, well great.

Celebrate that. Wish them happy birthday. But then make a note of it because if that’s a partner you wanna have a long-term relationship with, guess what? Their birthday’s coming up next year and you can be on top of it instead of just happening to wish them happy birthday. In a meeting. Exactly. Right.

And I wanna share a fun story because one of our key partners I, I mentioned just briefly earlier, is Air Meet. That’s where I host our virtual events and they just announced a partnership with Send Doso where they’re able to send out automatically, virtually, automatically gifts to their attendees. So, oh, that’s amazing.

I know like part of my onboarding process is to just take on the speakers addresses and that sort of thing when, when they’re applying to be speakers. But now I can integrate it directly into the platform. I can reward attendees as well as speakers and other participants. Fantastic.

[00:31:23] Jessika Phillips: It’s great. I mean, sentiment is huge and, and especially monitoring that too, and tools will help you do that cuz sometimes we’re, we get in our own way with how we’re feeling and so it’s nice to wanna have a tool to help us.

As well as, like you said, just document it, write it down, and then take action on it, but make it part of your, your approach ongoing.

[00:31:43] Mike Allton: Right, right. So now what advice would you give to brands who are looking to build relationships specifically with B2B influencers? [00:31:52] Jessika Phillips: Ooh. I would say don’t jump right in and just ask for something right away.

I would say one. First, know what they’re about. Take time to engage with them, understand a little bit more about them, and that can even just start from looking at their past content, then responding and thoughtfully on what they’re sharing online. And then what I’ve done. To do this and make this happen easier is like on Facebook, I’ll do a See first kind thing, right on Favorites Twitter.

You can have Twitter list, LinkedIn, create a saved list there, and that way you can be intentional with your time that you’re spending and make sure that you’re engaging it again. Thoughtfully engaging. Then look for an opportunity after you feel like you’ve had some headway there, you’re, you know, you’re connecting.

Then look for a way to be mutually beneficial. Whether you can help them in a way and they can help you. So maybe it’s a collaboration that you’re doing, but not just asking for something right outta the gate. Right? You gotta feel it out and see how those can work. One of the things I’ve done is personally is like feature others.

So I look at. Of one, like talking about brand and I’m like, Hey, I know you are all about this. You expert at it. Share with me your tips on how you feel that brands can build, you know, this craveable brand, they give me their, their input, and then I feature them all over on them versus asking them to shine the light on me.

By doing that. Then you can progressively build that rapport over time to then maybe invite them to your conference, invite them to be on your show, that kind of thing. And just remember to stay in contact with the people that you care about, regardless of whether or not you need something from them at that time.

I think that’s definitely another thing that matters a lot.

[00:33:43] Mike Allton: I love that approach. In fact, another example from you that I recall is an article that you wrote, you collaborate with your team listing women in marketing. Mm-hmm. To, what was it, 65 women? Yeah. [00:33:54] Jessika Phillips: It keeps growing like the more women, I mean Yeah.

I love it though. And it’s just featuring them what I, and then I intentionally, I didn’t wanna just create another list. Right? Yeah. I wrote in there what loved about each person and like what their core you on other. Chance and opportunity to then connect with more done by a very well known publisher, and they were listing the influential.

And there was like one woman in there I think, and I think she may have even been the beside a guy at that time, and I was like, wait, what? There’s so many amazing women to feature too, but look for those opportunities too. Again, shining the light on people and when there’s nothing in it for you. Many of them, yes, they have marketing agencies too.

They do similar things to us, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still a collaboration and you know, celebration of. All the people that we can serve greater together when we’re working together.

[00:34:52] Mike Allton: For those of you listening, this is such a terrific case study in relationship marketing. It’s the idea of a listicle, but done just so many ways better.

Like, like Jessica said, she took the time to include a personal opinion, thought validity to each post. Mm-hmm. It wasn’t just a list of 65. Women that happen to have high Twitter follower accounts, right? Yeah. There was a reason for picking each and every one of these. And there’s also the added angle, which I absolutely adore because I’m a huge supporter of shining a light on women specifically.

So there was a sociological angle. To put it another way, right? Where we are helping a somewhat disenfranchised audience. Mm-hmm. Through our content, through our own influence. And by so doing, we’re creating a positive relationship. Maybe an intro to some of those women. Right. And we’re endearing ourselves to our audience.

That’s why this is a case study to me, cuz it was just so brilliant. There’s so many layers to this.

[00:35:51] Jessika Phillips: Well, I love that you said the underserved too, because it brought up another point there when I was creating this list, some people were like, Wow, I’m on there because they’re looking at some of the other women that are, you know, maybe years ahead in their career or follower count, which I don’t care about.

But you know, those kinds of things. And that’s another angle to look at when you’re thinking of influencer. Everybody has a level of influence, right? And so sometimes even the speakers that we have, the stage in Lima, the people, it’s. And they’re going somewhere. If they’re very passionate about what they’re doing and they’re showing up in a way, they may not be that influencer today that people call influencer, but they’ll be tomorrow.

You know, if they’re continuing falling in their path, they could grow there. So it’s like connecting with the people that you do truly vibe with, cuz you have no idea what they’re going to grow and blossom into on their next level. They may just be getting started. But it’s been the same thing. True with, you know, like I said, social media week laima.

Some of the people, it was their very first time that they’ve spoken on stage was in Lima. Chad, our friend, you know, heed the event last year and he’s gonna be back this year. He’s amazing. And everybody was just like blown away when they found out this was the first time he’d MCed. Cause he was flawless and so creative.

Sometimes people just need that shot first. That feature that, you know, you just get to, that’s the benefit of also of relationship marketing is you get to know their story a little bit more, more intimate details on someone so you’re not just looking at the surface level of stuff to decide if you should work with them or not.

[00:37:28] Mike Allton: Really digging everything you’re saying cuz that’s a hundred percent my approach as well. Many of the influencers that I work with are folks that I can tell how they run their agency. I can tell how they approach social media and I don’t care how many followers they have. It’s their mindset, their philosophy, their beliefs.

Yep. That’s what resonates with me. What’s gonna resonate with the brand Agorapulse. So those are the kinds of people that I’m looking at today. Mm-hmm. To be our major, major influencers. Down the road and there’re often people that I’m working with individually that, like you said, they’re like, I’m not an influencer.

I don’t have a big audience. I don’t have a voice. And I’m like, well, of course you have a voice. Yeah, of course you have influence. Yeah. You may not have as much follower account as, as somebody else in your space, but that’s not relevant today. What’s relevant as, what is your message? Who are you talking to?

Mm-hmm. Trying to accomplish. Yeah.

[00:38:18] Jessika Phillips: Exactly. Amen to that. All that. [00:38:21] Mike Allton: Yeah. So now let’s, let’s turn the table a little bit and mm-hmm. Let’s suppose we’re trying to build relationships with brands. You have just like one or two quick tips for folks who wanna build and, and drive better relationships with brands. [00:38:33] Jessika Phillips: Yeah, absolutely. I would say the same really approach that we were talking about with the influencer is really looking at the brands that first you align with and you, they believe what you believe and they’re serving the similar community that you wanna connect with. And then look for ways of how you can serve and support them too.

But look for key people in the organization. Example. Looking at like Agora Paul. So you’re gonna look at Michael Alton or who else that you wanna, uh, you know, Deb May on the team. But look for the individuals that you can truly build that relationship with first. That’s then gonna help, you know, open doors potentially, or maybe look at ways at collaborating together.

But for each brand, you also

humans behind. Still do wanna take that relationship. First mindset on getting to know the people there and what’s at the core of their business. Where are they looking to grow? What are their goals? Where, you know, where can you help serve them? And how then can you align together to potentially create something amazing?

And we featured. Companies all the time, like our favorite companies that help us grow in relationship marketing, right? There’s some of ’em that I just mentioned. Sugar Wish and Send Out cards. And you know, at the time when I was first writing, it was BombBomb. It was like the video email company, but featuring them in a way too that’s shining the light on them, not asking them to shine the light on you.

And by doing that, then you both grow together.

[00:40:07] Mike Allton: That’s such a great point to identify and build relationships with the individuals at the company. Mm-hmm. That actually echoes something. You know, somebody that was watching Jim Nichols said earlier, cuz he said, I love to see a brand reflecting their own character in their go to market.

So many service businesses say what makes them different is the people. But forget the unique character of their people in the ways that they reach out to acquire new customers. So to your point, yes. Brands that do a better job of showcasing their own employees, yes, on social media through their marketing channels, are making it so much easier for their customers and their potential partners.

[00:40:41] Jessika Phillips: Yep. Connect with them. Absolutely. Yeah. And, and also I love the companies that are giving like, that creative freedom to team members too. To, you know, do a show, right? Like, or do something else. Like that is all a collaboration together. Uh, but it showcases the personality of the team that’s there within the company that shows.

Yeah. Cause there’s how many companies, you know, that’s their motto. Like we have great customer service, or it’s the people, but it’s like, what does that really mean? Like what do you really care about at the end of the day?

[00:41:12] Mike Allton: Right. Right. Jessica, you have been amazing. This has been such a powerful show, so many fantastic clips.

I can’t wait for the podcast to come out and all the highlights, but until then, can you tell folks where to reach out to you, connect with you, where to learn more?

[00:41:28] Jessika Phillips: Sure. Absolutely. Thank you by the way, it’s amazing hanging out with you and realizing that this is the first time you’ve actually interviewed me.

I didn’t know, cause uh, we’ve been on so many shows together that you as the voice of God in the background. But I would love to connect with people, um, you know, learn more about you and, and connect and see how I could help. You can find me personally at Jessica Phillips do com. That’s Jessica Jssi, kps, and then just.

The social channel of your choice is all at the top listed there, and I would love to start a conversation with you there.

[00:42:03] Mike Allton: Fantastic. And friends, that’s all the time we’ve got for today, but don’t worry, we’re live every single Monday with a new podcast dropping. So make sure you’re following us on Apple or Spotify or wherever you’d like to listen to great podcasts and leave us a review.

We’d love to know what you think. Until next



you for listening to another episode of Partnership Unpacked, hosted by Mike Alton, empowered by Agora Pulse, the number one rated social media management solution, which you can learn more [email protected]. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe on your favorite podcast player. Be sure to leave us a review.

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