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Imagine how your business might benefit from partnering with the largest brand in your industry.

How would that extend your reach or establish your authority? Whether you’re a solopreneur or the CEO of an established brand, partnering with a company that’s much, much larger than yours is called a Sumo Advantage. But where do you start?

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.

Listen, I want you to stop for a moment and think about who the absolute biggest brand names are in your industry. The top two or three.

For me, at Agorapulse, that’s easily the major social networks themselves… Meta, LinkedIn, Twitter, and so on. 

Got a couple of your own in mind? Cool.

Now think about what it might look like, and how it would benefit your business, if you were able to partner with some of those large brands.

And recall what we talked about way back in episode one, that partnership is about more than being a client and vendor. It’s about working together to create something new and innovative, like the marketing partnerships I’m working on right now with Meta and Linkedin.

So how do you go about getting the attention of one of those large brands and develop that kind of partnership?

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

George B. Thomas has been in sales and marketing for more than three decades, but in 2012, something changed. He started using HubSpot as a CRM and soon began partnering with them and working to help other brands improve their own sales, marketing and processes by leveraging HubSpot, one of the major brands in the MarTech space and host of Inbound, a huge event in Boston that attracts thousands of marketers..

George loves to truly come alongside other brands as a catalyst for growth, so in addition to being an expert in inbound marketing and sales, email and content marketing, and all-things-HubSpot, George brings a wealth of experience in partnerships and relationship building.

And he’s been a friend of mine for years…

Partnership Unpacked host Mike Allton talked to George B. Thomas about:

♉️ How he developed such a close relationship with a huge industry brand.

♉️ How to develop and nurture brand partnerships.

♉️ How relationships played a key role in his long term success.

Learn more about George B. Thomas

Resources & Brands mentioned in this episode

Full Notes & Transcript:

(Lightly edited)

How To Develop Profitable Relationships With Big Brands with George Thomas

[00:00:00] Mike Allton: Imagine how your business might benefit from partnering with the largest brand in your industry. How would that extend your reach or establish your authority, whether you’re a solopreneur or the c e o of an established brand, partnering with a company that’s much, much larger than yours. It’s called a Sumo Advantage, but where do you start?

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.

Exponentially. And now the rest of today’s episode. Welcome back. To partnership unpacked where I selfishly used 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.

Now listen. I want you to stop for a moment and think about who the absolute biggest brand names are in your industry. The top two or three for me at a Agora Pulse, that’s easily the major social networks themselves made of LinkedIn, Twitter, and so on. Got a couple of your own in mind. Cool. Now think about what it might look like and how it would benefit your business if you were able to partner with some of those large brands and recall what we talked about way back in episode one.

That partnership is about more than being a client and a vendor. It’s about working together to create something new and innovative. Like the marketing partnerships I’m working on right now with Meda and Linked. So how do you go about getting the attention of one of those large brands and develop that kind of partnership?

That’s exactly what our guest today, George Thomas is gonna talk to us about. George B. Thomas has been in sales and marketing for more than three decades, but in 2012, Something changed. He started using HubSpot as a CRM and soon began partnering with them and working to help other brands improve their own sales, marketing, and processes by leveraging HubSpot, one of the major brands in the MarTech space and host of Inbound, a huge event in Boston that tracks thousands of marketers.

Now, George loves to truly come alongside other brands as a catalyst for growth. So in addition to being an expert and in mount marketing and sales email and content marketing and all things, how it spout. George brings a wealth of experience in partnerships and relationship building, and he’s been a friend of mine for years.

George, welcome to the show.

[00:02:53] George Thomas: Mike. I’m so glad to be here and I think, man, I might pay you to be my partner to just introduce me from this day forward wherever I go, because I’m like, Hey, I’m a pretty cool dude, . [00:03:05] Mike Allton: I had to say I legit learned from you cuz we gotta take it back to content marketing world, but 2016, I think you were em MCing a room there and you were introducing Marcus Sheridan and other fantastic folks and I was like, oh man, if I ever get introduced, I want it to be.

By George Thomas.

[00:03:23] George Thomas: There we go. Yeah, it’s fun. It’s, it’s been a crazy journey. And Mike, I can’t wait to unpack some of the things as you were kind of going through the intro, you know, this idea of partnership and how it starts and how you get noticed and what can happen along the way and. I’m really excited to hopefully give all of myself an a massive amount of value to the listeners so they can think about, like you said, the two or three top brands, and how can they get on the radar, how can they impact the lives around them?

But, and with that, how can they impact their own life moving forward with smart decision?

[00:04:02] Mike Allton: Love it. What a great way to just segue into this first question, because I wanna know, how did you get started with HubSpot? How did you choose them initially? How did that evolve? [00:04:13] George Thomas: Yeah. It’s either the most crazy accident that ever happened, or it’s a grand design that I just don’t see yet.

Actually, I think maybe I do see it, but I was working for a small agency in Massland, Ohio, and our social media guy came running. Room and said, Hey guys, guys, you gotta check out this thing called the world’s largest webinar by a company called HubSpot, which to uh, the owner and I went A what? By who? To make a long story short, we watched this webinar and it was in 2012.

It was Mark Killens, Chris Lache, and probably Sarah Bedrick from the HubSpot Academy, and they were talking about kind of how marketing has been, how it can be more human, and they were talking about a platform called HubSpot, which I knew nothing about. And to make a longer story shorter , they said they’re gonna give away 10 free tickets to 5% of the people who tweet using the hashtag, hashtag world’s largest webinar.

Mike, unfortunately, I didn’t tweet at all, and the owner didn’t tweet at all. But man, our social media guy, his fingers were on fire. And we won two tickets. And so at that point, Zach and I went to our first inbound. We learned about HubSpot and I fell in love. And so September, 2012, we came back to Masson, Ohio.

We purchased HubSpot, and I started diving into HubSpot webinars and HubSpot Academy with a realization of, wow, I am a HubSpot and Inbound Zero. But also with the understanding and might I say, the gut response of, there’s something interesting with this. I think I might wanna pay attention to what’s happening right now.

[00:06:04] Mike Allton: That is fascinating. By the way, are you from Ohio originally? You from Maslon? [00:06:09] George Thomas: Yeah. So originally, uh, I don’t think I knew that. Yeah. I actually was born in Canton, Ohio. I lived most of my life in Montana. Have lived in Texas, California, Virginia. But when this happened, I had met my now wife of 20 plus years.

I’d met her and we were living in Union Town. Which is next to Hartville, Ohio. Mm-hmm. , which is like a hop, skip, and a jump from Massland, where the agency.

[00:06:35] Mike Allton: That’s funny to me because I’m from the Cedar Point area. [00:06:38] George Thomas: Oh, I’ve been there, been there. [00:06:40] Mike Allton: Oh yeah. , that’s amazing. But I, I’m in St. Louis now. And, and you’re in Massachusetts now, right? [00:06:47] George Thomas: Actually, I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina now. We moved here about nine and a half years ago. Yeah. But haven’t looked back since. Good weather, good people. [00:06:55] Mike Allton: Mm mm. Yeah. Yeah. So let’s go back to, you know, those, those early years when you were just getting started with HubSpot and you’re developing that relationship, that business, that partnership, what were some of the challenges that you faced initially? [00:07:09] George Thomas: Yeah, I think the biggest challenge and, and there’s probably two or three that I’ll take time to unpack because I think there’s lessons that can be learned out of all of these. The first challenge is that I was. Right. So why would HubSpot even care about little old me in Malin, Ohio and that I happen to just be a user of their product?

So number one was how do I actually create myself to be somebody of enough value? That hopefully someday in the future when conversations arise, HubSpot would go, oh, we know who you are and we’d like to do X, Y, Z thing. And so for me, the immediate path was education. And I want the listeners to know, like if you are trying to build a relationship, That will end up in partnership.

There’s probably a large vein of you need to educate yourself to be an expert in that thing, but then the bonus tip is then start to educate others in that same thing. So there’s started to be this happy mix of, uh, going down a trail of when we, when we left Massine Ohio Agency, I actually got. Again, grand design or crazy mistake, the opportunity to work for Marcus Sheridan, who is the author of They Ask You Answer, and one of the things that he said, because I was his HubSpot trainer for the clients he would bring in for content marketing initiatives and strategies, he said, Hey, I think we should create a podcast specific for HubSpot users.

Well to that, I said, man, I think you’re outta your mind. I hate my voice, . And the reason I’m bringing this up is because we ended up starting a podcast called The Hub. I actually did 272 episodes of that podcast before I end up leaving for another opportunity. But the moral of the story here is again, educate yourself, educate others, but also along the way, Be careful of the hurdles that you put in your own way to the magic that might happen in the future.

My positioning was, I don’t like my voice. It sounds squeaky. We had done about 20 episodes of the podcast. We went to Inbound 2014. At this point, Mike, and here’s what I heard. I love listening to your voice. You sound like a radio announcer. People even said, man, I could listen to stuff about HubSpot all night long.

And I’m like, wait, what? What I thought was my biggest weakness ended up being my largest strength. And so the, to the listeners, I would say to you, As you educate yourself through your path, don’t put hurdles in your own way, and also figure out what type of content you can use that actually ends up being like your magic mix.

For me, it’s podcasting and video. Not much of a writer doesn’t really excite me, but man, you get me on a mic or get me in front of a camera. It’s lightning in a bottle. We’re gonna have fun. So educate. Become known through the content you’re creating and an and a happy accident will happen. Amongst all of this, you’ll start to build a community, and when a community starts to talk about you, the company that you wanna partner with starts to pay attention to who you are.

[00:10:39] Mike Allton: I love everything that you just said, and I can definitely relate to the whole podcast thing because I don’t like the sound of my own voice either. I hear pops when I talk. That’s my jaw crackling. But other people are like, Mike, love your voice. This is like as S M R about marketing and influencer marketing.

I’m like, okay, I’ll keep doing it if you keep saying you like it. But the other thing you mentioned that I don’t wanna call out I love is that you said, oh, we know who you are. And we wanna work with you. That’s what the brand might say. And a brand says that when they’re thinking about doing some work, and the people that are coming to mind are the ones who are top of mind, and you’ve become top of mind by creating content that’s become an unintended thread throughout this entire podcast series, is that need for brands and influencers in particular to create content that helps establish a.

Helps educate others as well as yourself. Right. And builds that community that you were just talking about. So let’s, let’s dig a little bit deeper into that. What have you learned from hundreds and hundreds of podcasts and the community that you’ve created around you and the brands that you’ve been working in?

[00:11:47] George Thomas: Yeah, so a couple things that are definitely key for people to think about. One, and again, it goes back to those hurdles or potholes that we put in our way. Don’t think that you have to immediately create a hundred videos, a hundred podcasts. What I want you to do is, again, figure out the content that works best for you, but just do one and then the next.

And the next one, because the key here is consistency, right? Was I an inbound hero? The first five videos, the first 50 videos, the first hundred videos, no. By, you know, video 200, 500 or 2000 HubSpot tutorials. Was I the HubSpot hero? In other people’s minds, yes, but me personally, it’s about consistency. It’s about creating content by the way that is.

Coming from just a good human place of adding value, it’s from understanding that the content that you will create will equal reciprocity instead of you trying to create immediate content that equals revenue. Because with reciprocity, revenue will arrive. And there’s a really great story that probably towards the end of this podcast we can talk about how everybody that I’ve talked to is like, yeah, reciprocity.

Good talk, bro. But no, it’s, it’s a true fact that you need to pay attention to. And so like when we did the HubCast, We did hundreds of episodes before we even talked about like the first workshop that we were offering that people could get us to come on location and do HubSpot workshops. We did hundreds of tutorials before we really ever mentioned something about like we did actual HubSpot training or coaching, but it was because we were already filling that funnel.

The content was just this idea of let’s add as much value to the world. Create ourself as potential thought leaders, even though we would never call ourself thought leaders. And again, for me, it comes back to I was passionate about HubSpot. I was passionate about educating myself, and I was passionate about educating others.

And I know fundamentally for me, that comes from a historical point in my life where education wasn’t that. And I knew this was a place where I could create great education for people who needed to move their business to the next level. Who happened to use HubSpot at any time?

[00:14:17] Mike Allton: Were you concerned about leaning so heavily into a specific brand like HubSpot? [00:14:24] George Thomas: For me, no, honestly. Okay. I mean, I looked around in the space and I looked at their sales force. There’s Equa, Parda, SharpSpring, like all these Zoho, like there is not a, a lack of CRMs. Right? But it wasn’t so much about the SaaS, software as the messaging that was being put. As the content that HubSpot themselves were putting out as the inbound culture and idea of doing business in a different way they were putting out.

See, what I want everybody to understand is, for me, fundamentally, this was a vehicle to be like. I’m a good human doing good things, trying to make an impact in the world. Here’s another brand that I can actually get behind because they’re trying to impact the world in a positive way. How can I work with them even though they don’t know who I am to push this along faster?

Now, there’s some great things that happened because of that that like came back to me. But it wasn’t like I initially just said, HubSpot, pay me money and I’ll create these videos. No, I was creating the videos and the podcast episodes because I wanted to help the humans move forward. And by the way, on my website, it literally says, Mike, humans before hubs.

Because again, my core, my mission is to be the facilitator of catalyst moments in the lives of those around me. HubSpot just simply is a vehicle for me to have talking points around that.

[00:16:06] Mike Allton: I love that, that service minded approach. Yes, to what you’re doing. And I also wanna call out that HubSpot was a large brand even then, and they were pumping out a tremendous amount of content.

Even then, so you weren’t tying your horse to a startup. You weren’t trying to. Be the first to market in a space. Cause I, and I’m, what I’m pushing back on is some of the objections that I know. I hear in the back of my mind people saying, oh, there was nobody else creating content. So he was the first one that went, no.

Right. There was a lot of other content already existing. The difference was it was you.

[00:16:43] George Thomas: I, they need to understand I was competing against HubSpot and HubSpot Academy themselves. Right, but here’s the thing. What’s important is when you find your niche, you find your differentiator. You find the tribe that is supposed to circle around you.

So for me, I quickly learned that I am not academia. I am street smarts. If you wanna go take four or five hours of videos and get a certification, then by all means, go to HubSpot. Go to HubSpot Academy and do that. If you need a down and dirty in the streets tutorial, here’s how you fix that thing and get back to work.

Well then you’re gonna come watch one of my tutorials if you wanna stay up to date and apprised. All the updates that happened to HubSpot that back then, by the way, for the HubCast, there wasn’t a feed that you could go through for that. You would tune in because you wanted to know the latest and greatest thing that was popping up in your HubSpot portal.

So these were separators, these were types of content that I could create that at that point, for that type of content. For that C R M, it was kind of a first mover, and let’s not even forget in 2014, Not a lot of people were leveraging video or video tutorials at that point. So there is a little bit of like, what vehicle can you use?

And I’m not saying that you should use video or podcasting, but what’s happening next? Right. You had the opportunity of Vine, you had the opportunity of TikTok. You have the opportunity of what’s happening in the meta space. You have the opportunity with NFTs and blockchain, like there’s always gonna be something new.

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re not going backwards. There’s always gonna be something new where you can pick a partner, niche your content, and move in a direction that nobody else is creating it in. And you’re gonna see success as long. It’s all based on that good human servant value first, focusing on the humans and helping them mindset.

[00:18:47] Mike Allton: That’s why I almost love kind of a lean canvas approach to thinking about your business and the content that you’re gonna create because it forces you to fill in some different boxes and think about what are the differentiators in this thing that I want to create? Like you said, there’s the channel, there’s your voice, there’s the angle that you’re gonna take.

There’s the topic, there’s the partner of course. So there’s a lot of things that you can think about. Content creator as a brand, as a potential influencer that are gonna help make the entire package of you and what you’re doing, be a different voice, a different platform on which other people can say, yeah, all right.

I wanna learn about that. I wanna listen to Mike. I wanna listen to George. Fantastic. So over the years, what are some of the ways that you’ve grown that partnership and kind of deepened that relationship?

[00:19:34] George Thomas: Yeah, so the fun part is, again, remember going from a guy that’s unknown and inbound, zero, HubSpot, zero start putting out these podcasts and this content, and all of a sudden this.

Business, it starts to grow, meaning HubSpot starts to grow and they start to, it’s marketing and then it’s sales, and now it’s service. And they add a c m S platform. And so they’re, they’re literally becoming this thing that HubSpot is today. But along the way, they realize the software has gotten big enough that we might need some help training people on this platform.

And so one of the things that for me was a moment in time. That taught me a really big life lesson is that they started a beta program of a thing called HubSpot Certified Trainers, and this is the first time where HubSpot reached out and said, we’d like to partner with you. Would you like to be part of the beta version of the H C T program, the HubSpot certified trainer Program?

I kept my cool. I was like, yeah, that sounds good. Let’s do that . Meanwhile, when the call was over, I was like, dancing in the street. You know, like, woo-hoo, let’s go. But it was because what did I learn? All the hard work, all the dedication, all the consistency. All the passion, all the helping people had returned.

And now ho HubSpot notices me. I’m seen now. This is the beginning of something, and so now there are hundreds of people who have gone through the HubSpot Certified trainer program, and because I was in the H C T Beta program, I was also asked to go to Boston, create videos to be part of the HubSpot Certified Trainer certification system.

And so now all of a sudden HubSpot themselves is amplifying the personal brand. This is a key point. The personal brand of George B. Thomas. Who happens to be working at a company called the Sales Line? Now it’s not just my video. It’s their videos, it’s their system. And so we’re talking 3, 5, 10 x the amount of eyeballs that would even know who I am on the planet for the potential to have conversations or learn from me in the future.

So the life lesson that I learned out of this is with hard work, what you reap is what you sow and always be prepared for what one might call the happy accidents out of the work that you’ve actually put.

[00:22:05] Mike Allton: I love that. And just for some context, about how long was it between when you started using HubSpot in 2012 and they actually, and they got that call to be part of their certified program? [00:22:14] George Thomas: Yeah. HubSpot. HubSpot certified trainer program was in 2016, which by the way, actually skipped a set because 2012, my first inbound 2015 was the first inbound that I spoke at, by the way. And I’ve spoken at every inbound since that. But there’s that as well. [00:22:37] Mike Allton: That is really huge. For those of you listening who maybe aren’t familiar with Inbound, maybe you’re not a marketer, it is probably tens of thousands.

Yep. Of attendees. It’s huge. They have, you know, the, the literally biggest names in the world as keynotes. Michelle Obama and so on, and to be invited to speak on that stage is a massive, massive feather in your cap. Congratulations on that. Thank. Thank you. So we’ve talked a little bit about the business impact.

What about the personal impact? I wanna know how has this partnership impacted you personally over the years?

[00:23:13] George Thomas: Yeah, it’s crazy. There’s so many things, you know, for a lot of my life, I, I didn’t necessarily believe that I could be all that I wanted to be. I, I felt destined to do something great, but you know, I was just like, uh, why?

Why me? Why do I deserve it? And through this process of partnering with HubSpot, creating content, Being asked to be part of things like inbound, the HubSpot certified trainer program, shoot. Even having a two year period where they paid the agency that I worked for to do onboardings for HubSpot themselves, all of a sudden I started to have this dramatic change in my belief structure of.

And there’s something to be said when you can start to be more self-aware and you can start to build a belief structure around yourself, you’re gonna step out into places that once you would never have thought about stepping out to. And so for me, what that looks like is I used to always run a narrative of I make a great number two to a number one, I’m a great Robin to a Batman.

I didn’t ever consider myself an entrepreneur. I never really thought that I would open a business, but if it wasn’t for the winning tickets in 2012 and all the things that have taken place over that decade of time, last June, I would’ve never made the decision to go out and start my own business.

Around HubSpot consulting, training, implementation, and education. I just never would’ve done that. It’s almost unfathomable for me to think about right now the place that I live in, in life, and again, largely due to thanks to a SaaS software. A set of people who built the HubSpot Academy and educated me so that I could educate others.

And this divine intervention of being able to work for Marcus Sheridan at the sales line in Remington Bay at Impulse Creative and this journey of building things like the Sprocket Talk YouTube channel and the Hub podcast and, and now even the podcast that we’re doing now, the Hub Heroes Podcast. All of that has just put me in a place.

Like, it’s just dramatically different the way that I wake up, the way that I feel about myself, my life, my family, my relationship between myself and HubSpot. It’s just, I can’t say it any way. I went from inbound Zero to Inbound Hero.

[00:25:53] Mike Allton: That’s it. Fantastic. We’re gonna have to have some Disney music queued in to play at that moment.

Right? Because this is such a testament to not only building a, a relationship with a huge brand, but. Goals and accomplishing those goals and objectives that are so far out that you can hardly believe that you did it, and that, to your point, gives you this incredible sense of accomplishment and self-worth, right?

That just powers everything else that you’re doing, and you’ve got. So many channels, , that we’ve been talking about, right? You’ve got the podcast, the videos, you’ve got blog. I know you don’t like it all right? But you’ve written, yeah. You’ve got stuff that you’ve been doing on your own, stuff that you’ve been doing in partnership with HubSpot.

How are you defining success for all that? How are you measuring ROI with all these channels?

[00:26:46] George Thomas: Yeah. I love this question because everybody comes back to measurement and, and I wanna get into measurement, but you know what, something came to mind, Mike, that I think I wanna unpack for your listeners. Um, I want everybody to just take pause for a second and realize everything that you’ve heard.

I was inside of another organization. Right, we’re talking about right now, the power of personal brand. The ability for you to create a personal brand inside of your organization. The things that having a personal brand inside of an organization enables your brands that you’re working for. But also what it enables for you as a human being.

So trust me, for the first 10 years of the Sales Lion and Impulse Creative, they were reaping the rewards and benefits of having, and I say this humbly, George B. Thomas in the hallways in a desk. Virtually or in person, they were reaping the rewards of what I was building myself into. So everybody listening to this, you can build a personal brand inside of an organization.

That is one lesson that I learned, and it can be a powerful brand. And if you ever choose to step out of the organization, it will be like a slingshot. Now let’s get back to that measurement piece, Mike. I measure success. In a really interesting way because I actually don’t measure success at all. for me, I it’s, it’s gonna get crazier for a second, but for me it’s, I don’t really focus on success.

I focus on significance. Hmm. And when you focus on significance, the things that you start to pay attention are a little bit softer than views and clicks and conversions. And again, think in 2012, HubSpot was preaching. Don’t call me a customer. Call me a human significance. A k a, what most might call successes.

How many conversations? Have I had this week? How many conversations have I had this week that either impacted somebody’s life and they’re about to make a decision that they wouldn’t make otherwise, or they make a better decision than they would made? How many conversations did I have this week that actually closed with somebody saying, man, can you please send me a quote or an invoice, and I’d like to go this route that we just talked about.

Again, it comes down to, and maybe I’m a little old school, but how have I impacted the humans? How many have decided to work with me or partner with me? Think about that. What podcast are we on? We started this out like partnering with HubSpot. Now it’s humans at businesses wanna partner with me, right?

There’s a whole reciprocal thing happening in this conversation, and so that’s really how I measure this. I have never been. To go, oh, that video only got 20 views, or That video only got 200 views, or only 76 people have listened to that podcast episode. Because for me, it’s not about this short term success.

It’s not about this word that everybody wants to use that’s go viral. For me, it’s always been I wanna go value, which means I need to pay attention to the lifetime of metrics. And I also wanna realize that I would create that video, I would do that podcast, I would step on that stage if there was one human in the room, and I would give it 100% of what I have to.

To that one person because can you imagine if you were the one person that like influenced Gandhi or the one person who like influenced Billy Graham, the impact out of just thinking about one by one by one, one brick at a time. Can you measure things a little bit differently? Now, with that said, we’re talking about HubSpot.

Mike, I have a C R M that I can look at any analytics that I want from email to CTA clicks to form conversions to website visits. And yes, I look at those and I see is the business going in the right direction? Do I have more deals closing one than closed lost? Like, yes, you should pay attention to all of.

But I think first you have to think about what I first said around this. Are you chasing quick success because you wanna be a millionaire and take over the world? Or are you in this for the long haul and you’re just trying to make consistent growth 1% better over time? And then fundamentally, you find yourself in a place where you’re like, huh, how the heck did we get here?

[00:31:48] Mike Allton: Connections, relationships, significance. Folks, this is why I love this show so much. This is why I bring amazing people like George onto the show. This is exactly why we have this show. I know I’m not gonna reach millions and billions of people. I don’t want to, I wanna reach you, the person listening right now.

I wanna help you with influencer marketing. I wanna help you see the. Of relationships. I wanna create that one-to-one relationship with you. So thank you, George, for mentioning that folks we’re talking with George about relationships, about brand partnerships and how one measures roi. And I’ve got one more super important question to ask, but before I do, let’s hear from Agorapulse’s CMO, about the importance of measuring ROI from social media.

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

So what are your main channels? So I’m gonna guess there are 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. If you don’t have the mentality, and that’s okay. We’ve got you covered. You changed the mental. We’ll give you the tour of Gore.

Pulse tracks all the R ROI for you. One place to manage all your social media activity, your number one channel, change your success. Treat social media as a channel one CMO to another. My name is Daryl. I’m with Agorapulse. I’ll talk to you soon.


right. Let’s get back to partnerships. And George, my last question to you is this, how important have relationships been to your career and your business success, and what are some examples of those relationships or benefits?

[00:34:02] George Thomas: Oh my gosh. Relationships are everything. I mean, Listen, let me just take this, this journey, spin it on its head for a second, and honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever done this, but we’re gonna go for this.

If it wasn’t for me being a youth pastor, I would’ve never met Zach Basner, who started Wild Boy Design in Maslin, Ohio. I would’ve never then worked at Masson, Ohio because of the relationship with Zach Basner. If that didn’t happen, I would’ve never had the relationship with HubSpot, which means I would’ve never gotten on the radar and had a relationship with Marcus Sheridan, Bob Ruffalo, a whole bunch of other humans that I could sit here and name.

I wouldn’t have the relationship on the other side of it where people actually watching the videos, listening to the podcast, right? This digital relationship that is so hard to measure, where hundreds, thousands of people feel like they have a relationship with me across every country on the planet. If that didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have built myself into the person that I am and been able to work at Impulse Creative and met Remington Beg and all the smart people there cause there’s again, a metric butt ton of people.

If it wasn’t for relationships, I wouldn’t have met my wife who told me to double down on my dream. And go ahead and go into business on my own. If it wasn’t for the relationships built, I would’ve probably never met Brian Halligan or Dharma Shaw, the co-founders of HubSpot, which by the way, one of the cool things you asked me earlier, Mike, how do you measure success this year at Inbound or last year at Inbound?

To have the, uh, co-founder of HubSpot, knock on your Uber trunk, lean into the car and shake your hand and say, congratulations on starting your own business. I would say that’s a good measurement of success because that’s being noticed, but like it’s all of these relationships that I’ve built with HubSpot Academy professors.

It’s these relationships, which, by the way, a total side tangent, I can’t tell you how many HubSpot employees themselves. Thanked me for the tutorials and content that I created because it made onboarding to HubSpot as an employee easier. And those employees then send people my way when they know they need help that I can provide.

So it’s everything. When you think about relationships now with that painted, why would somebody wanna have a relationship with you? What are you adding to the world? What are you creating? How do you think different? What are you enabling? Like those are the questions that if you’re trying to build a personal brand, if you’re trying to partner with companies, if you’re trying to be known in your space, those are the fundamental things that I would ask yourself because it’s when you have that mapped out that you’ll reap the rewards.

But if you immediately try to go into a relationship because you’re trying to extract value, Instead of give value, it’s probably not gonna work out too well for you.

[00:37:20] Mike Allton: I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I’ve often said that when I’m approaching influencers to work with a gore pulse, these are, you know, big social media educators, people who are speaking on stages like it inbound.

The first thing I do is not ask them to do something for me. The first thing I do is say, Hey, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of a gore pulse or not, but I’d love to give you a complimentary account and just see if you like using it. I’m not asking for anything. I’m giving them the opportunity. To benefit from a Agora Paulson.

Some of them do, some of them don’t, and that’s okay. But that’s that first step. And then we take additional steps after that and it’s, it’s down the road. It’s when there’s an actual relationship in place before I ever start asking them for the opportunity to work with us or me with them, and so on.

[00:38:02] George Thomas: The other thing too, I, I want to add this little piece in because this is something that I’ve realized lately in the last seven months of owning my business.

You’ll get to a very interesting place where instead of asking somebody to help you, you know, success, right? If I think about what does partnering success look like? When you start to hear more people say this, Hey, how can I help you? You know, you’ve built the right relationships and created the right partnerships because they wanna help you so badly.

You don’t even have to ask.

[00:38:41] Mike Allton: That’s exactly right. I love when I get to have phone calls with, you know, CEOs, CMOs, heads of partnering and whatnot, social media managers, and the whole conversation is about, we’re just going back and forth. What else can I do to help you? Well, what else can I do to help you?

Well, what else can I do to help you? I love it. And. The repetition there often sparks, oh, you know what? I’ve got a podcast. Oh, you know what? We’re doing a webinar next month or a summit. Hey, you know what? I’m gonna be in Boston this fall. Let’s get together and have a little v i p event. So that eagerness to help opens up so many doors and opportunities, and I just love that you’ve shared with us over this time all the amazing things that are going on in your life today and are gonna continue to go into the next month and year and multiple years.

All. Of relationships that you’ve created. Thank you for sharing that, George. This has been fantastic.

[00:39:32] George Thomas: Thanks Mike, for the opportunity. Thanks, listeners. [00:39:34] Mike Allton: Yeah, yeah. Let let folks know where they can learn more about you if they wanna understand your journey. If they want to understand, of course, how to better use HubSpot.

And lastly, if they want to know about the book that you’re gonna drop next year.

[00:39:48] George Thomas: Aw, snap. Mike did it. He put me on the. I love it though. I love it. So, uh, listen, the easiest is just go to george b thomas.com. If you wanna know about the journey, just go to my about page. We did a really great job on the about page.

If I do say so myself, the person I was working with, I said, Hey, I want them to read this page and love me. She said, well, that’s no tall order, but I’ll get after it. . Um, so you, you can definitely go there on socials, you know Twitter, it’s at George B. Thomas On Facebook, it’s Mr. Dot, George B. Thomas LinkedIn, it’s George B.

Thomas, whatever your favorite social platform is, can do that. If you wanna learn a little bit more about HubSpot, even if you’re not a HubSpot user, check out the Hub Heroes Podcast. We have a lot of fun, by the way, speaking of relationships, max Cohen, Devin Bellamy, they work at HubSpot. I don’t, but they’re more than happy to be on a weekly podcast with me and Liz Murphy from Buena Volpe.

She doesn’t work at HubSpot. She doesn’t work for George B. Thomas, but she loves showing up every week and recording the podcast. Why relationships, right? We all know that we got each other’s back and we’re gonna move forward. So again, long story. Go to George B. Thomas. Hit me on the socials. Heck, if you have a really deep question, [email protected].

Hit me in my inbox.

[00:41:09] Mike Allton: There you go. We’ll have all those links and more inside the show notes, so you don’t have to try to remember Write ’em down while George was talking. And that’s it. That’s all we’ve got for today, folks. But don’t forget to find the Partnership Unpacked podcast on Apple and drop us review.

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


you for listening to another episode of Partner. Unpacked hosted by Mike Alton and powered by I 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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