It feels like group projects you were assigned in college. Your company is about to start an alliance marketing effort with a partner and you’re on point to make it happen. The dread creeps in. You start to sweat. Alliance marketing campaigns are great for reaching customers (especially in technology where there’s a lot of reliance on partnerships to sell and integrate offerings), gaining exposure to new markets, and sharing the cost and effort with a partner company, but like that group project, the challenges and obstacles can drive you to hit happy hour early.

You remember the past challenges well. Those nightmares still might wake you up in the middle of the night. This isn’t much different. You’ve been assured that a co-marketing project will be effective, but there are risks. Campaigns that are off will dilute your brand’s message and positioning. And there are operational challenges. Which brand leads? How will the campaign be executed? What systems will be used? What metrics do you use? What? Why? How? Ugh.

Ultimately, you’re left with two choices: Run screaming or hang on.

If you run screaming, run to BuzzBee. We’ll take care of everything. If that’s not an option, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Develop a clear and unique “better together” story. Get clear and agree on the story you want to tell. Be devoted to a story that tells why your brands work together. Talk about how together your brands complement each other and are more than the sum of their parts. Make this the backbone of your messaging and the content you create. Get buy in then stick to it.

Plan for the long haul. Effective marketing takes time. You just can’t create something, slap up some logos, and expect anything positive to come from it. Nope, it doesn’t work that way. Tell your story with your partners together and individually. All parties need to be committed to collaborate, compromise, share learnings and data, and to roll up their sleeves to do the hard work. Define up front what success looks like for both partners, and discuss how sales leads will be shared.

Relationships will help you deal with gaps you can’t see. Suss out the nitty gritty details. Your partner won’t see or do things the same way you do so understand their branding guidelines and agree on editorial approvals, legal reviews, and other processes up front. Understanding these details coupled with the trust you develop will help you bring everything together. Do it early to minimize the headaches later.

Marketing takes practice – it’s the only way to get good at it, honestly. While it can be a challenge, with a solid story, a commitment to doing the work, and attention to the details, you’ll find success.

What lessons have you learned partnering with other brands?