The Partnership Economy

5 mins

Sphere is excited to launch our Life in Digital Podcast in the US! On our first episode, Dan...

By Daniel Bolter

VP, North America

Sphere is excited to launch our Life in Digital Podcast in the US! On our first episode, Dan Bolter, VP of North America, is joined by Todd Crawford, VP of strategic initiatives and co-founder at to discuss the partnership economy.

​ is the world’s leading partnership management platform who are transforming the way enterprises manage and optimize all types of partnerships, including traditional rewards affiliates, influencers, commerce content publishers, B2B, and more.

They believe in the power of science and technology to create transformational growth and create impact through partnerships.

Over the last several years, partnerships have dramatically changed the way that consumers interact with brands and make purchasing decisions. 49% of consumers today depend on influencer recommendations to make a purchase. 

The rise of platforms like TikTok are devoting $1 billion to creators to further expand inflencer reach to create authentic relationships with consumers and drive conversations. The future is changing and evolving every day. have worked with many big brands, such as: Walmart, Ticketmaster, Lenovo, Adidas and Coach.

Understanding the Partnership Economy

The Partnership Economy is made up of the people, services, and technologies that enable brands to generate revenue through referral partnerships. Partners receive payments and incentives for tapping into their expertise, influence, and authority to drive partnership collaborations.

In a recent report with WARC (World Advertising Research Centre), 'Aligning Marketers and Influencers: Shifting Perspectives on Influencer Marketing Across the Funnel', which surveyed 400 marketers and 400 influencers across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, found that "consumers are engaging with social channels like YouTube and TikTok more than ever before, which we expect to continue for the foreseeable future. At the same time, consumers have become distrustful of and annonyed with traditional marketing and advertising channgles", leaving a big opportunity for authentic partnerships and a growing influenver marketing economy.

Todd describes the partnership economy as:

“An evolution, or consolidation, of other types of partnerships that have been around a little bit longer”

Todd explains how partnerships work as a third leverage, alongside sales and marketing, and can be anything a brand wants them to be. The partnership economy is a capsule of all types of partnerships and allows for growth – what it is today will be much bigger and different tomorrow.’s CEO, David Yovanno, has authored a book called ‘The Partnership Economy’ – available for readers to purchase, which details how businesses can find new audiences, grow revenue and deliver exceptional customer experiences.

What about Micro-Influencers and Small Businesses?

“The key with the partnership economy is a relationship with the consumer that’s different – you’d never have that through advertising”

Todd discusses how partnerships create a relationship between the brand and consumer with an influencer they trust – consumers trust the advice of people that have tried products or services and are recommending them.

“When we think of influencers we think of celebrities, or sports stars who get paid 5,6,7 figures to post a tweet or an Instagram photo”

However, if you’re a micro-influencer it’s hard to demand these fees. The partnership economy allows micro-influencers the opportunity to shop around and find brands, products and services that match what their audiences would like to see. With smaller brands, programmatic search can be very expensive and risky, whereas working with partners allows businesses to use a performance basis. Todd believes this is a great system for both sides.

While macro-influencers boast followings in the millions, nano and micro-influencers with less than 1,000 followers may be key to unlocking a successful influencer strategy... Not only do they bring extra authenticity - they have very active communities of followers, resulting in higher engagement and their potential to influence product purchase decisions.

The Future of Partnerships

“Today what’s going on in this industry is so exciting – I have never been so excited”

Todd explains how the future of partnerships is infinite. 5-10 years ago, influencers were rarely spoken about nor B2B partnerships the way they are happening now. started continually seeing brands bring partnerships on that were initially for affiliates, and started to realise that businesses could create partnerships in a non-affiliate way. As a result, they started evangelizing this and enhancing their software for any kind of partnership:

“The future is so wide open for partnerships… the more success brands have, the easier it’s going to be for other brands.”

Todd believes that in 5-10 years from now, partnerships will be, for most brands, 50% of their strategy. For someone who’s been in the industry for over 20 years, there are big things coming.

To find out more about, explore their website here

This blog covers just a fraction of everything Dan and Todd discussed, to hear the full podcast click here.

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