Changes to Co-Op Programs
As co-op programs shift into a new year of availability to dealers, there is an expiration of their previous year’s allotment and a reboot to the dealer’s new allocation. Of course every manufacturer is different on how and when those co-op budgets are earned and applied, but generally the beg inning of the year is the reset button. When that happens (in the best case scenario), local dealers and their manufacturer partners are supposed to huddle up on the new year opportunities and work out some planning. Outside the larger accounts and more proactive brand managers, this happens pretty rarely.
Most co-op programs roll from year to year with very little adjustment. There may be a media type added under the program (mostly online these days) or one subtracted, but mostly the budget structure and participation remain constant from year to year. Of course with any program or agency relation, there are scheduled reviews and adjustments, but since you’re dealing with, in most cases, hundreds of local retail partners of all sizes and dozens of sales territories and distributors, changing a co-op program is a pretty big deal. And when it does happen, plenty of notice is required from the legal types.
So generally what this boils down to is a brand marketing program for dealers that doesn’t change very often, doesn’t get communicated very well through the sales channel, and doesn’t really highlight the budgets available to the local dealer. It’s kind of the perfect storm of marketing dysfunction but changing it has pretty deep ramifications.
Where you can help as an ambitious media sales person is simply to offer assistance in exploring these programs for the dealer. Sometimes it’s as easy as accessing a database of co-op plans like Recas to show what it is and who to call. Sometimes it’s a deeper dive in reaching out to the manufacturer sales rep to ask about how she can help your dealer promote their stuff. And then there’s the ad creation and documentation components that make sure the dealer is presenting properly and then claiming their reimbursement.
This month a good category of business to nail down on the co-op front would be Appliance stores. Nearly every brand in the Appliance arena has some form of advertising support for its dealer base with some being quite lucrative. More often than not President’s Day is a big advertising opportunity in this area and coincidentally, one of the major brands in the category just altered their co-op program.
Changes like that are always good opportunities to talk about co-op assistance with your local dealers…and as I used to tell my staff, simply engage the local business owner by saying “co-op” and shut up. You’ll learn a lot.
This information is provided by LSA Recas to help take the mystery out of co-op advertising. For more information on how Recas can help expand your brand advertising potential, please visit www.recas.com. Email Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org.