JV Partners Are Where You Find Them

By John R. Aberle | Small Business Management

Dec 12
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Joe opened a pet friendly restaurant in a southern U.S. community that had a very high percentage of pet owners. His challenge, though, was the same as other small business owners: how to get the word out to prospects, in this case, to pet owners about his pet friendly restaurant.

The Pet Friendly Restaurant Appealed to a Movie Theater and Video Store

Fortunately for him, his cousin, Gina Gaudio-Graves, the JV Queen, had some helpful ideas. Gina has demonstrated time and again that joint ventures are where you find them. You just need to know what to look for. For one JV, Gina worked with the restaurant owner to develop what Internet marketers call a joint venture with a local movie theater that was running a movie popular with pet lovers. The theater gave out discount coupons to the restaurant while Joe returned the favor with tent cards promoting the movie and gave out discount coupons for it.

Gina advised him to do a second joint venture (technically a strategic alliance) with the local Blockbuster. Obviously, this was a few years ago. Nevertheless, the joint venture worked well for both of them. And the customers for both gained from their alliance.

Pictures of "Adventure to Santa" Christmas house at Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga 

“Adventure to Santa” Christmas house at Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga


Last week you read about a joint venture between Disney and Victoria Gardens where Victoria Gardens promoted an Adventure to Santa with Kung Fu Panda, Mr. Ping and Shifu. The beauty of that alliance lies in the unlikely nature of combining Kung Fu Panda with Santa Claus, yet because of the clever story, the joint venture works.

Three Keys to Successful Joint Ventures

What are some of the elements necessary to make a joint venture or strategic alliance work?

  • First, it must be a win for everyone involved, especially for the customer.
  • The key to making it work is having similar target audiences.*
  • Your story makes or breaks the synergy.**

*As much as possible, match up demographic, psychographic and geographic profiles. In the case of Kung Fu Panda and Santa Claus, the profiles matched beautifully because at Christmas time, families are taking their children to see Santa at malls across America. They are also shopping destinations for gifts. As most families enjoy Disney’s Kung Fu Panda movies, this is something that the children can identify with.

Picture of John & Dorothy Aberle & Stephanie Doherty with Santa at Victoria Gardens, Rancho Cucamonga

Picture of John & Dorothy Aberle & Stephanie Doherty with Santa at Victoria Gardens, Rancho Cucamonga

The geographic element is that it is a physically local type of event where people are going to go anyway. Disney has a recent release of the Kung Fu Panda 3 movie so they benefit from keeping interest in this movie alive longer as well as in viewing Kung Fu Panda and Kung Fu Panda 2.

Victoria Gardens benefits from having a novel and fun way to elevate their Santa Claus out of the humdrum while their shoppers really win by experiencing a clever “ride” in order to get to visit Santa.

**Your story doesn’t have to be as elaborate or clever as the Kung Fu Panda “Adventure to Santa.” It merely has to make the reason for the alliance obvious. For instance, Mr. Ping is a baker. He wanted to take Christmas cookies to Santa Claus. Without that story, it would have merely been an advertising gimmick of dubious value.

Joint Venture Between a Pharmacist and a Jeweler

Gina Gaudio-Graves shares another Christmas joint venture story. This one is about a jeweler and pharmacy. A JV broker friend of hers saw the opportunity and pulled these dissimilar businesses together. The pharmacist did a Christmas mailing every year to his list of a few thousand customers. The jeweler offered to pay for his Christmas mailing if he would include a flyer for the jeweler offering a major discount on a jewelry purchase. In addition, the jeweler paid the pharmacist a commission for every customer buying because of that flyer, which contained a discount.

So, you don’t need to be as big as Disney or Victoria Gardens to put together a winning deal. You just need to look with the eyes of a marketer like Joe did. It helps if you have the eyes of a JV broker, like Gina Gaudio-Graves, to see dissimilar businesses that share a common market and then can see the story to make a joint venture or strategic alliance work.

If you want help finding the joint venture opportunities available to you, please contact John R. Aberle at info@aberleenterprises.com.

Open your heart in selling,

John's digital signature written with mouse






John R. Aberle


See “Santa’s Visit Was a Clever Marketing Experience” for the first article about this clever marketing effort through a strategic alliance known as a joint venture.

New Product Creativity Comes from Combining Products in a New Way” provides another look at the importance of joint ventures.

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About the Author

I have a strong love for small businesses, especially brick and mortar companies. After an 18-year career in sales and marketing, I started my own service company, which I grew in both sales and profits for the first five years. In my sixth year, the bottom dropped out of the printer market such that it made more sense to sell my assets and return to Southern California. There I went to work for an international small business consulting company. I spent over three years on the road with them helping small businesses to become more profitable and better managed. I then started my own company specializing in sales and marketing consulting, coaching and training. My emphasis is on heart-centered, relationship selling that empowers prospects to make their own choices.