For years joint (ad)ventures, as I like to call them, have been “the way” I’ve taken big leaps in my business – elevating my visibility, authority and income in as little as 90 days.
It’s the #1 way that clients and customers find me.
And, it’s my most requested expertise that my private clients want to tap into.
But, I’ve noticed the JV landscape becoming a little… well, divided. And, I’m not the only one.
My business girlfriends and I have noticed some not-so-subtle push back on the way joint ventures are being done (and taught) to the degree that some question whether or not they should be done anymore at all. (Gasp!)
And I do get it, there is some questionable behaviour going on (keeping in mind that everyone comes to their own conclusions based on their own perspective).
But, I don’t believe these frustrations define the viability of the strategy.
So let’s look at what’s going on here…
Let’s start with an important reminder that Joint Ventures are a relationship-based marketing strategy. And this is where I believe things start to get a little tricky… in some cases the relationship element is being glossed over, in other cases the marketing aspect is taking a back seat.
What I’ve realized is that based on personal perspectives, objectives and even niche-specific variables, some will resonate most with the relationship side of a joint venture strategy, others are all about the marketing side and others are somewhere in the middle. Like a spectrum.
And I believe much of the frustrations surrounding this strategy would be mute if more time was invested in:
a) determining where YOU fall within this spectrum
b) finding relevant joint venture partners who share your perspective.
Here’s an all too common example of how this can play out in the real world when these distinctions have not been made…
Julie is an entrepreneur who is very technical about marketing. She skews to the marketing side of the spectrum paying close attention to the numbers and metrics and conversion. And she views collaboration as a smart way to leverage the collective marketing reach.
Michelle on the other hand is an indiepreneur who is more focused on impact, value creation, and thought leadership. She views collaboration as a way to widen the ripple effect of her message, a way to inspire change and an opportunity for good will.
Can you imagine Julie inviting Michelle to play or vice versa? They might as well be speaking a different language, essentially they are.
And, there’s no doubt in my mind that Julie would ask the single most controversial question to ever be asked in the land of joint ventures which is “What is your list size?”.
To Julie, this is a logical question. There’s no emotional attachment. I mean, how will she track and measure the effectiveness if she doesn’t have the most accurate information?
Ask Michelle this question and you’re likely be the topic of her next rant to her business BFF. She doesn’t care about the numbers and when approached this way she feels like a commodity. She doesn’t want to be “leveraged” or to have her community “exploited”. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t expecting some type of ROI.
Neither perspective or approach to the strategy is wrong or bad, it just is. What we have in many cases is a values mismatch that templates and scripts and step by step formulas cannot detect. The true value in these tools (and any strategy for that matter) relies on your ability to translate them to your specific scenario and style.
You can prevent this from happening through careful consideration of your project, prospects and partners as well as the side of the spectrum that matters most to you.
But it doesn’t end there. Clear and intimate communication with potential partners is vital. My best advice is to schedule an initial phone call so you can have a meaningful conversation and from there determine if it is a mutual fit (or not).
An email can’t fully convey your passion and enthusiasm for the project anyway. Sending an email invite followed by a google doc for your potential partner to complete might have worked in 2010 but today it’s not enough (it never really was).
This brings us back to the original question – are joint ventures broken?
I’m not sure “broken” is the right word but I do believe the bar has been raised, the standards have changed. There are new expectations and a new baseline of joint venture etiquette is emerging.
And, at the end of the day, not every strategy is for everyone.
“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there’s still going to be someone who hates peaches.”
The question is, how do YOU feel about joint ventures? What do you think? Do you see the potential? Does it sound good to you?
The next few posts will be devoted to the potential of joint ventures, consideration of what I believe to be the new baseline for this strategy and further exploration of the question I’ve posed today “Are Joint Ventures Broken?”.
If a joint venture is something you’ve been considering as a way to grow your list and ultimately your business you’ll want to stay tuned.
And as always I’d love for you to contribute to the conversation by sharing your thoughts and experiences with joint ventures in the comments below.
Have you asked joint venture partners to reveal their list size? Have you been asked to reveal yours? I’m curious to know what you think about this controversial-to-some question.
~ Gina xo
P.S… Meet Play Love Summer Camp is coming to help you navigate the nuances of a joint venture by creating a plan for your project that is unique to you, built to attract the audience you want to grow AND irresistible to your potential joint venture partners. In six short weeks you’ll have your project planned, in motion and powerfully positioned for success. Stay tuned!
Latest posts by Gina Bell (see all)
- 7 Reasons Why Joint Ventures MUST Be Part Of Your Marketing Plans - June 15, 2015
- 4 Ways to Skyrocket the Results of a Collaboration #meetplaylove - June 10, 2015
- Are Joint Ventures Broken? - June 9, 2015