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To be a good partnerships leader, you need to be innovative, ready to pivot, and adopt a sustainable strategy that goes beyond “set it and forget it.” That’s what 10 of the top partnerships professionals shared in Season 1 of The Partnership Economy podcast. 

In each episode, hosts Dave Yovanno and Todd Crawford posed the simple question: “What keeps you up at night?”  In response, experts from BuzzFeed, Foot Locker, and more shared their thoughts and predictions, plus valuable insights into their success that will help you discover how to add them to your toolkit.

Staying ahead of the curve

“I stress every day whether I can actually produce the quality I want. You have this idea and vision of what the best possible product needs, but executing it is really hard. ” –Michael McNerney, Publisher at Martech Record [Episode with Michael]

“The industry is evolving at such a rapid pace. It’s happening so fast, and you constantly want to stay on top of it. There’s always new stuff. Always an opportunity to learn something in terms of what people are thinking.” –Adam Weiss, Principal Consultant at Weiss Digital Consulting [Episode with Adam]

“What keeps me up at night, I think it’s the fast pace of the industry that we’re in and the constant need to innovate and get to market first.” –Bryce Widelitz, Vice President of Publisher Innovation at [Episode with Bryce] 

Marketing to different generations

“How do we anticipate what consumers are looking for because every generation’s views are completely different? It’s an exciting challenge to face, but what you do for Gen Z vs Millennials vs Gen X is completely different.” –Nilla Ali, Senior Vice President of Commerce at BuzzFeed [Episode with Nilla]

Attracting the Gen Z audience means there’s got to be catchup from more traditional types of platforms for advertisers to tap into that Gen Z market, and that can only be a good thing!” –Richard Lane, Former U.K. Lead of eBay Partner Network [Episode with Richard]

Affiliate marketing at the forefront

“How do we change the narrative of affiliates being this passive channel who plays the offense and have targeting capabilities in our own way? Are there targeting capabilities out there that I don’t know about?” –Heidi Solchenberger, Senior Manager of Affiliate Marketing and Partnerships at Foot Locker [Episode with Heidi]

The future of tech: VR, gaming, metaverse, and more

“The new flashy thing for marketers — the gaming industry. I still think these universes are being occupied by millions of human beings across the world rallying against a commonality — this is where it’s going to happen in the future, but the question is just when?” –Steffen Daleng, Chief Marketing Officer of Booktopia [Episode with Steffen]

“Metaverse. In Web 2, when social media was just starting, people were like, ‘it’s not going to catch on.’ Those that were there during the early days said, ‘pay attention, this is happening,’ and that’s how I feel about Web 3. –Aliza Licht, Founder and President of Leave Your Mark [Episode with Aliza]

Maintaining brand image

“As a marketer, you worry about things you can’t control in terms of where your message or brand shows up. –Fred Ehle, Former Vice President and Head of Product Marketing at Jockey [Episode with Fred]

People first

“I deeply care about these employees. Making sure that I can be as good as I can be for them and help grow our business. Sometimes you get advice from people who say you can’t worry about that, but I really care.” –Melissa Feemster, Cofounder of Team Bespoke [Episode with Melissa]

“How to be a better human. How can I lead the team to greatness? I believe that if you’re an impactful leader, that will lead to fantastic results. It always does, but you need to be human, too.” –Anna Samkova, Group General Manager for Digital at The PAS Group Limited [Episode with Anna]

The lowdown: Keep your strategy fresh

Engage in conversations with your peers in the industry and share thoughts on the next big thing to counteract the unpredictability of the future. This way, you’ll ensure you’re never the last one in! Be mindful of consumer demographics and be open-minded. It helps to remember that clients and colleagues are also human. 

Follow The Partnership Economy to be notified about Season 2 of the podcast, where you’ll hear up-to-the-minute insights from top partnerships leaders. Want some expert advice now? Email

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