Gayle Meyers discusses how finding her 'core genius' led her into strategic M&A

Our conversation with Gayle Meyers is a part of our investor and advisor speaker series, courtesy of Awin. Stream the discussion here.

Gayle Meyers has worn many hats in her 25 years in the affiliate marketing industry. She’s founded her own company and held roles as an operating partner, investor, entrepreneur and management consultant.

But her path into the space wasn’t a direct one: Meyers started her working life in the culinary world after following her father’s advice to simply get a degree in something – anything – as a way to feel successful and channel her creativity and extroversion. After graduating from culinary school, she joined her brother in the restaurant business.

“It’s about figuring out what your ‘inner genius’ is,” she said. As Meyers puts it, combining all her strengths and experiences has been like mixing a cake. “I took a little bit of this, a little of that and 25 years later, this is where I’m at,” she said.

Meyers now works as a strategic consultant, investor, operating partner and board member who focused on the media, marketing, commerce and technology ecosystem. She often works with executive leaders to help them raise capital, develop their go-to-market strategies and plan for mergers and acquisitions.

When Meyers first meets someone, she says she immediately tries to determine what drives them and what makes them tick and she listens to how they talk about themselves. “When in meetings, I come at it with the same thought process to find creative ways to scale what they’re doing and help them see what they can’t see for themselves,” Meyers said.

That, combined with her penchant for out-of-the-box thinking, has helped her with her longtime career goal of identifying and implementing effective technologies that solve pain points in the industry, she said.

She founded Digital Media Review and Industry Index, (which was acquired by Shouldertap Industries) to provide research-based and verified ratings and reviews for CMOs looking for marketing technologies.

“Of all the roles I’ve had in my career, the commonality is creativity and the ability to help both sides of the puzzle see the [big picture] and grow from there,” Meyers said. That’s what led her into the mergers and acquisitions space, where she says she’s happy to be focused on strategic growth work.

Being able to see all of the pieces of the puzzle is especially advantageous in performance marketing, Meyers said. That's where tech-enabled marketing service agencies can come in to help pull those pieces together for better outcomes, she said.

"There aren't that many places to go to get that feedback loop to be able to bridge all those different categories," she said. "For the partner marketing channel, which affiliate sites within, there's so much room and so much opportunity."

Meyers thinks about her career in three phases: After working as a salesperson, she went on to become an entrepreneur and built, scaled and sold her company. She’s now in her third phase, focused on strategic M&A.

As a dealmaker, Meyers said it's important that she maximizes value. She likens strategic M&A to selling your house to someone who came knocking on the door wanting to buy it without having to go through the process of hiring a realtor and putting the house up for sale.

In terms of buying and selling companies, Meyers said that strategic strategy can mean a buyer is willing to pay more because they are leaning in from the start. But she sees room for a middle ground for bringing strategic potential buyers along through a process. That’s where her work comes in with exit planning, which she said is like prepping a house before a sale.

“That attracts the strategic [buyer], she said. “It teases them into wanting to bid on you.”

Looking back, Meyers said her own exit from her company could have been better. Still, she said her experience proved a learning opportunity for her and demonstrated the need for services that educate and prepare founders for a deal.

“I always believe in a value exchange,” Meyers said, adding that she’s constantly thinking of 10 other things she could do to help someone she’s working with. “If I can help you grow, I’m going to double down on it.”

In thinking about the phases of her career, Meyers said she’s now in the “purposeful” phase. The first two phases, she said, were about proving herself and growing professionally, but now she wants to use what she’s learned to support others.

“I’m bullish on providing platforms of growth on people earlier in their careers and helping the accelerate to find that ‘core genius’ at an early age,” she said.

Stream the full conversation here, courtesy of Awin.

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