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I was 12 years old when Terminator 2 hit movie theaters worldwide back in 1991 and that was the movie everyone was going to see. How could you not be excited about T2? Arnold was back as the good Terminator, Linda Hamilton was a buffed-out version of Sarah Connor, and then there was the newcomer, Eddie Furlong as John Connor, future leader of the resistance.

T2 was the first time I was fully introduced to the idea that at some point in the not so distant future, without a doubt, machines will be replacing humans. And of course, John Connor was everything I wanted to be at 12 years old: 

  • He rode a dirtbike (awesome!).
  • He played by his own rules (so cool!).
  • He had that “super long bangs in your face” haircut that my parents would never let me get. 
  • And if all that weren’t enough, he was the one person that was destined to save humanity from extinction by the evil robot overlords. 

Here I am 30+ years later, working at Impact as a partnerships leader . . . I assumed that I would be safe from Terminator robots in 2021.  But am I? Our industry has become increasingly sophisticated. As terms like AI and machine learning enter our lexicon more and more, it does make me wonder . . . will partnerships be fully automated? 

When humans and machines work together in partnerships

Now, I finally get to play the role I have been dreaming of for 30 years. Allow me to be your own personal John Connor in 2021: humanity (in partnerships) will survive! While many of the functions of executing a high-quality partnership can and should be automated, its key decision-making activities will always rely upon the expertise of two parties that are willing to have an open conversation about how to drive toward a shared objective.

Simply put, partnerships require at least two people to work together, not two machines. 

Here’s the deal: Partnerships are most exciting when both human and machine are able to work side-by-side in order to make partnerships a repeatable, scalable business practice. In fact,  that’s a key objective within the Impact Partnership Cloud, Impact culture, and more specifically to me, the Impact partnerships team. 

Here’s the deal: Partnerships are most exciting when both human and machine are able to work side-by-side in order to make partnerships a repeatable, scalable business practice. Click To Tweet

Examples of people-driven partnership automation 

Here are some top-of-mind examples of how people-driven automation occurs on the Impact platform today. 

  • Partner discovery: Like any other relationship, for a partnership to take place, it requires at least two interested parties. Much like me at a club in my 20s wandering the dancefloor hoping to find a partner . . . the whole process can feel daunting. If I am pop and locking on the dancefloor when everyone else is doing an intricate salsa, then I am probably going to be dancing alone. Impact’s technology helps to bring interested parties together at scale through our Marketplace, discovery tools, and more. The technology helps to surface relevant interested parties while the people navigating the partnership on either side determine who is just the right dance partner. 
  • Negotiating payment terms: Let’s face it, while we all share a passion for building partnerships, it’s also nice to get paid. When using the Impact contracting system, what used to be a narrow conversation about “percent of sale or flat rate on a last-click attribution model” can now expand into what truly drives value for both parties and their larger business objectives. 

Are you a publisher that is an expert at driving top-of-funnel consumer awareness and complement targeted SEM campaigns that drive conversions? Great!  Brands that use Impact can configure a payment appropriate for the value you drive. Impact automates the tracking and payment after all parties have agreed upon terms. 

  • Reporting and data analysis: Unbiased opinion here, but Impact has the best reporting suite in the game. It is robust, flexible, and customizable, and the data can be pushed to you in views and delivery methods that make your life easier. That said, automation can take you so far: only a person who is familiar with the key objectives of the partnerships in play will be able to fully use the data suite to pull out actionable insights relevant to them. 

Partnerships and Terminator 2: More in common than you think

But what about Terminator 2?!?!

Don’t worry friend, I am going to bring it all back around in a tidy package for you now. The prevailing theme in creating powerful partnerships and in Terminator 2 is that humans are more powerful when working in tandem with a powerful machine. In T2, it is the pairing of John Connor, the savior of humanity along with Arnold Schwarznegger as the newly minted “good guy” robot that work together to save humanity. 

In the partnerships domain, powerful partnerships revolve around motivated partners who are able to use machines to expand and automate relationship types to drive toward shared goals at scale. And if done correctly, I am pretty certain that partnerships will save the world . . . or at least your business. 

Want to inject some T2 into your partnerships? Contact a growth technologist at

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