Tag Archives: co-op

Best Practice No. 1: Make Co-op an Integrated Part of the Sales Process

Best Practice No. 1: Make Co-op an Integrated Part of the Sales Process

“The hardest thing to get done within sales organizations that use co-op is making sure the search for co-op, the processing, the facilitation and so on is part of the actual sales process,” said the RAB’s Hall. “Too often salespeople will have some co-op, will go in and get the sale, but when the co-op is gone, so is the client. Others will do a needs analysis and never mention co-op.”

TitleHall believes co-op performance would improve if sales organizations baked co-op into all of their sales processes, for example by making sure a co-op search is a routine part of their sales prospecting and sales prep activity.

“Find out what brands are available (for a prospect), or which brands will the client respond to, for example those offering 100% participation. Do that research as part of the needs analysis,” Hall said. “If you make it part of the process it pays off well and it doesn’t seem like a lot of work because it comes a part of the work flow.”

Gatehouse Media’s Sigler agrees. “In training and roll-out, reinforce the idea that co-op can supplement a current ad buy,” Sigler said.

Sales people have so many products or initiatives to sell at any given time. Sigler’s point is if co-op is “integrated into everyday conversations, it can help with existing sales. It is not something else the rep has to go do.”

iconThis article was written by Charles Laughlin of the Local Search Association in Breaking Through the Co-op Clutter: Best Practices for Improved Co-op Advertising Sales. For more information on how Recas can help expand your brand advertising potential, please visit www.recas.com.

Recas Holiday Survival Kit

 Recas Holiday Survival Kit

November and December are crunch time for a lot of retails as well as their manufacturer partners. The vast majority of co-op programs expire at the end of the year, so co-op reports tend to reflect wrap-up usage for available funding in addition to standard holiday advertising spend.

Recas aggregates co-op claim numbers from media companies nationwide and their advertising totals among local businesses with their co-op partners. Using this data the service looks to highlight the categories and brands that made the most impact in their local dealer advertising. Obviously automotive brand advertising would rank very high on any co-op usage report, but for purposes of this report we’ll exclude that to look at the other top categories and brands.

In November there are still a couple weeks of solid home improvement numbers as those industries close up their pre-winter business and hunker down for the holiday season. Expectations in businesses that sell paint, windows, cabinets, and other extensive home remodeling products are thin on sale messaging as you move from late November through the end of the year, but co-op monies can provide solid branding during this time that consumers are much more “ad aware.” Of course HVAC operations should be in high gear by this time with ongoing schedules related to the brands involved, simply to build awareness with potential customers reacting to equipment failure.

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As we move into December, the categories start to show a little more relation to the gift-giving season with the types of local accounts that would garner co-op support. Obvious categories missing here would be those like Toys or Electronics where big box category killers and the Walmarts of the world have eliminated local accounts that would rely on media co-op support functions.
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Obviously those categories represent a broad look at business types in your market that have potential with co-op advertising support from their manufacturer partners. Once you get into some of the specific brands involved, this presents a clearer picture on targeting for particular promotional opportunities. Following are some of the top brands with activity for November and December 2011. These brands all represent ample opportunity for targeting local dealers in your market with brand marketing support programs that provide solid potential for local promotion. These listed brands would represent the largest co-op dollars claimed by co-op program and the number of claimed ad schedules for the month.

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With all co-op programs from the manufacturer there are a certain level of dealers who “get it” and then another level who really need to be helped through the process. Those latter dealers need a degree of assistance at every stage of the co-op process from showing them what and how to run this advertising through your stable of media products through to what and how to claim back their reimbursement under the manufacturer’s co-op plan guidelines.

It’s those that provide the best solutions for the materials at hand that win with the local dealer base. And you’ll find examples of these dealers in each of the categories and brands noted.

Tim Brennan, VP of Strategic Development for Recas
Tim Brennan, VP of Strategic Development for Recas

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 tbrennan@recas.com. 

Co-Branding Focus

Co-Branding Focus

Co-op is generally just branded advertising with financial support from the supplier. One of my favorite clients over the years focused on the brand promotion aspect of the advertising sale first and foremost with a nod toward the potential reimbursement under the co-op guidelines. Her approach in the local market was that the dealer should advertise the branded promotions through local media to capitalize on the manufacturer’s national push and tell area consumers where to take advantage of it.

Her vision of the process was really co-branding the local store to the manufacturer product with frequent advertising. This built a strong association of the local store with the brand and should provide some long-term recognition to play off any other manufacturer promotion. Since any national advertising by the manufacturer really just focuses on the “what and why” of the product messaging, she looked to leverage the same brand message with her clients to focus on “where” for the local audience. She was VERY successful with this approach.

advertiseheadingc1507_x_th_cHer work with the local advertiser targeted the specific need for brand association with her audience and, while she would provide the co-op plan detail and manage the brand compliance work, co-op reimbursement was secondary to the conversation. She would be happy to explain how co-op worked and what to submit for plan reimbursement, but left those details for the advertiser to manage on their own. She worked exclusively on the co-branding concept regardless of whether the dealer had enough (or any) co-op money for the campaign simply because this was the best way to drive traffic and sales.

How could this concept work for you? What sort of local brand champions might you find in your market for Allstate Insurance, Benjamin Moore Paints, Castrol Motor Oil, Delsey Luggage, Emerson Air Conditioners, etc., etc., etc.?

For those that would like to target a specific consumer promotion tied to a major manufacturer brand in June, there are plenty to choose from. In the motorcycle category you can aim at your Indian, Victory, or Yamaha dealers… in the tire category you can aim at your Goodyear, Hankook, or Michelin dealers… in the boating category, there’s expiring co-op plans with Honda Marine and Mercury Marine. There are always branded opportunities…

Sometimes the process just needs a brand and an aggressive local reseller, so you don’t have to overthink the co-op detail. Just look for your local brand champion.

Tim Brennan, VP of Strategic Development for Recas
Tim Brennan, VP of Strategic Development for Recas

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 tbrennan@recas.com. 

Data: 43% of SMBs Sell Brands that May Offer Co-op Funding

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When it comes to co-op advertising, there is much discussion around the roughly $70 billion in annual co-op funding available in the U.S. While not every SMB sells brands that offer these kind of programs, almost half do and only a fraction are taking advantage.

According to an LSA and Manta joint study, 43% of U.S. SMBs sell brands that potentially qualify for co-op funding. In other words, almost half of SMBs are at least in the discussion for co-op advertising.

2010 Census data found there were about 28 million SMBs in the U.S. Using the 43% figure above, about 12 million (likely less) SMBs may have co-op advertising available to them. It is up to local media and marketing sellers to discover the co-op opportunity with each SMB and take advantage of these funds accordingly.

The data comes from a new LSA report titled, “Breaking through the Co-op Clutter: Best Practices for Improved Co-op Advertising Sales.” To access the chart, download the report.

Co-op Claiming

Co-op Claiming

Proof of performance documentation and reimbursement claiming is the last hurdle in the co-op advertising process for all brand dealers and often a sweet service opportunity for their media partners. Sadly this often presents multiple challenges for the harried sales rep in pulling together the tearsheets, screenshots, URL reports, and media invoicing necessary for the dealer to submit in a timely fashion. Operationally it shouldn’t be a complex process.

Most order entry and business systems are designed with some means of providing detailed documentation back to the client. In most cases, this is the most expedient and effective means of alerting the need for any duplicate documentation on the schedule. Add-on systems like Recas can aggregate the data from this entry into a coordinated co-op claim for the dealer, complete with submission address and requirements along with the related reporting on every aspect of the data import. Of course, this requires that the sales rep knows that this is a co-op ad to begin with and this is not always the case.

TitleThose in advertising sales must be able to recognize clients who may use co-op to support their advertising and what those ads require from the dealer for reimbursement. The brand dealer is likely to invest more advertising dollars in any given media promotion when they are assured of co-op support from the manufacturer (up to 50% more in some studies). They will have some basic expectations for that investment and often don’t have the bandwidth to deal with any complications. And in their mind, co-op is filled with complications. The sales rep should know to ask for any special documentation requirements for any client and there should be procedures in place to help them manage that process.

Some media companies have mastered their internal systems to manage the co-op process. A co-op flag in order entry produces a streamlined process to deliver the dealer the basic material needed for co-op submission. They’ve made it easy for the client to place co-op in their products and that has helped draw in more co-op revenue through more clients as a result. How can this happen for you if there’s not a process in place and your sales folk can’t recognize a co-op schedule to begin with?

This month, discover what co-op can be brought to bear on the Back-To-School season. Whether it’s your Auto dealers with Year-End Clearance offers, Leasing specials, or Certified Pre-Owned deals, there’s co-op for that. Maybe it’s a specialty shoppe with a Vera Bradley backpack event for the fancier student or an eyewear store with an optical offer on Charmant or Clearvision frames, there’s co-op for that. Or perhaps it’s an appliance store with special deals for the new empty-nesters with a Jenn-Air appliances, there’s co-op for that.

Look for the brands, ask the dealer how you might help with the co-op, and make it happen. It’s not that complicated.

Tim Brennan, VP of Strategic Development for Recas
Tim Brennan, VP of Strategic Development for Recas

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 tbrennan@recas.com. 

How to Break through the Co-op Advertising Clutter (Free Report)

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The idea behind co-op is simple: manufacturers make money available to help local retailers, dealers and distributors sell more of their products. There are billions of available dollars but most co-op programs are underutilized.

Though simple in concept, there is no magic bullet for taking advantage of co-op advertising. Improving co-op performance is a matter of applying hard work, discipline and common sense to make the entire process work better.

Our new report titled, “Breaking through the Co-op Clutter: Best Practices for Improved Co-op Advertising Sales,” discusses how to unlock co-op funds and explores 10 best practices to help sales organizations access more co-op revenue. Here is what you will find in the report:

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10 Best Practices for Improved Co-op Advertising Sales

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The opportunity with co-op is huge. LSA often talks about the $35 billion in co-op ad dollars that go unused each year. Actually utilizing these funds, however, remains a challenge for many.

The first ever LSA Co-op Conference was created to demystify the often misunderstood and widely underutilized world of co-op advertising. Today in Chicago, the half-day event brought together sellers, practitioners and brands to provide a comprehensive look into the co-op advertising tactics and opportunities that are driving meaningful revenue growth for media sellers.

In addition to a number of practical takeaways provided by speakers at the event, attendees also received an advance copy of an LSA paper titled, “Breaking through the Co-op Clutter: Best Practices for Improved Co-op Advertising Sales.” The paper will be available more broadly in coming weeks.

After highlighting the co-op opportunity, the paper provides 10 best practices seen in the market. They are:

1. Make Co-op an Integrated Part of the Sales Process: “Co-op performance would improve if sales organizations baked co-op into all of their sales processes.”

2. Have a Local Champion: “Several of the co-op experts interviewed for this report cited a strong relationship between having a co-op champion/subject matter expert in the local sales office and greater success with co-op.”

3. Hold Sales Leaders Accountable for Co-op Results: “You need someone local who has a vested interest in co-op who is in a position to talk to the reps.”

4. Track Performance: “Organizations that measure co-op performance in real time are in a better position to drive co-op performance.”

5. Eliminate Complexity: “Innovations that limit the steps required of local businesses and media sellers, that make information more accessible and easier to understand and streamline the approval and reimbursement processes, will gradually transform the co-op opportunity.”

6. Develop a List of Target Accounts: “Focusing on a limited number of high-opportunity accounts for co-op can yield better results than requiring co-op in every conversation or needs analysis.”

7. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: “Keep your teams informed of new co-op programs and the brands that are offering these programs.”

8. Provide Ongoing, Online Training: “On-site co-op training is great, but new hires and refreshers via online training can help prevent co-op numbers from sagging.”

9. Contests and Promotions: “Contest are by their nature not sustainable, so they should be seen as a supplement to more fundamental, long-term changes like integrating co-op into the sales process.”

10. Arm Your Reps with Research: “Supporting all reps with co-op prep will produce more consistent and better conversations about co-op on sales calls.”

View more at the LSA Insider.

Keep It Simple

Keep it Simple

The key to selling advertising related to manufacturer co-op plans is to help the local dealer with aspects of the process they’re not comfortable with or need some level of assistance. Your sales process remains the same as it would be for any prospect; you’re selling the value of your audience as potential customers of their business. With co-op however, any material they run generally needs to be reviewed and approved by folks with the manufacturer brand, since they will be reimbursing the dealer a portion of the ad cost. When all is said and done, the local dealer is paying your ad invoice and submitting a co-op claim based on that spending, along with any proof-of-performance documentation (tearsheet, screenshot, notarized script, etc.)

Thousands of manufacturers provide advertising dollars to the dealers of their product lines, but you can never assume that those dealers are entirely aware of how to make use of it. Increase chances for co-op success by using these four simple steps:

  1. ManRetroComputerC1410_X_th_CProvide Co-op Advertising
    Research…
    Find promotion opportunities with manufacturer brand partners from a co-op plan database or ask the dealers what they know about the brand’s marketing assistance. Most major brands offer some level of local advertising support to their dealer base, so find what you can and ask the local store how you might be able to help them run this with you.
  2. Present Brand Advertising Opportunities…Manufacturers run sales promotions all the time; special financing, gift with purchase and new product introduction offers hit the market regularly. The manufacturer is promoting these through the major networks and other national media, and usually trying to “incentivize” their dealer base to run local promotions as well. Do the stores know how to target your audience with these?
  3. Offer Co-op Advertising Approval Service…Simplify the co-op process for local businesses by offering to have their finished ad reviewed by their manufacturer contact. Helping them manage the approval process will ensure approved dealer promotions and co-op reimbursement.
  4. Supply Co-op Claim Documentation…Ease the process of claim reimbursement for your local dealers by compiling any necessary proof-of-performance under the plan guidelines. Simply commit to delivering a duplicate copy of their invoice and tearsheet/screenshot/script/etc. for each co-op schedule that they run with you.

Stick to the easy stuff…you’ll have far more luck in co-op advertising with the major brands. With your local accounts, look for the big-name product lines that normally have well-established programs and materials. The bigger manufacturers are much easier to work with since the parameters are already established for dealer promotion, and there are online portals for ad material access. All brands will have some semblance of dealer marketing support but in most cases, bigger is better.

Take advantage of current manufacturer promotions…For example, April opens up Spring business north of the Mason-Dixon line and manufacturer brands offer sales promotions to build consumer business. Among the hot categories/brands with consumer promotions this month:

Auto Aftermarket: Castrol, Pennzoil, Valvoline, Bridgestone

Motorsports: BRP CAN-AM, Suzuki, Yamaha

Outdoor Equipment: John Deere, Snapper, Simplicity, Toro

Paint: Ace Hardware, True Value, Benjamin Moore

Certain local dealers will need some level of assistance with the co-op process in order to make sure they get reimbursed for the effort. The only way to know for sure is to ask.

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 tbrennan@recas.com. 

Attention to Detail

Attention To Detail

It’s been said that there’s much less co-op advertising money available these days than in the past, but those saying that aren’t the manufacturers offering the funding. Generally those comments come from media sales folk who aren’t seeing as much, retailers who aren’t buying as much, or media sales managers who aren’t devoting many resources toward it. Brand manufacturers continue to pump funding into these programs to drive local promotion and build store-level sales. The only reasons for less co-op money spent by brand dealers in the market are less purchase volume earning the co-op, possible turn-key offers from the brand for regional marketing, and the lack of support from the media level in assisting the local dealer with the co-op process.

TitleAs an example, the average auto dealer moving roughly 800 vehicles per year will have approximately $150,000 in co-op support from the manufacturer just for that new vehicle allotment (not counting anything for Certified Pre-Owned inventory or Parts and Service allocations). With that level of funding the dealer has many options in what and where to advertise and will generally have someone on staff to manage the workflow of approving co-op ad sand submitting claims for reimbursements. Many other businesses however have no such person to handle the co-op details and will often have their co-op monies expire simply because they have little bandwidth to deal with it.

Media companies have the opportunity with many local businesses to assist in the process of co-op to earn the dealer business and expand their advertising opportunities. Best practices with this are to have a designated sales assistant exploring brand programs for the sales team, providing ready-made materials for dealer presentation, and managing the details involved. Without that support, individual sales reps can try to assist local dealers where they can in just providing whatever co -op plan detail they have available and ask what help the dealer might need in making it happen. Generally co-op plan detail will include the appropriate manufacturer contact information for any specific details and the dealer will simply need assistance obtaining the creative approval of ads and the invoice/proof-of-performance requirement for claim submission.

There are always plenty of brand advertising opportunities with co-op advertising and no end to the amount of leads that can be developed by time frame, territory, category, etc.

Every dealer of brand name goods is a target for co-op sales…simply find out what you can and offer to help.

Tim Brennan, VP of Strategic Development for Recas
Tim Brennan, VP of Strategic Development for Recas

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 tbrennan@recas.com. 

LSA’s First Co-op Conference: Attendance is Limited to 50

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Despite increasing interest and awareness, co-op marketing funds remain dramatically underutilized in the “local ecosystem.” Estimates show that about $35 billion of nearly $70 billion in co-op ad dollars go unused each year. The biggest challenge is that many local media sellers don’t understand co-op or how to sell it.

Co-op dollars can help brands build local awareness and help small businesses or local dealers and distributors boost their visibility as well. They can also grow media programs for publishers. About 69% of co-op programs offer digital marketing reimbursement and that figure continues to grow.

To help publishers and media sellers more effectively tap available co-op funds, we’re hosting our first LSA Co-op Conference. This half-day seminar in Chicago on September 20 (co-located with and preceding the Place Conference), is designed to get more co-op dollars into the local ecosystem for the benefit of media sellers and their customers.

 

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The event will bring together publishers, media sellers and brands to provide a comprehensive look at co-op advertising tactics that drive meaningful revenue growth. Here are some of the discussions you can expect to see at the event:

  • The Brand Perspective: Learn what brands are doing to drive local awareness through co-op advertising.
  • Tactical Insights: See how media sellers leverage co-op funds to close more sales and increase client ad spend.
  • Best Practices: Find out what is working and the lessons learned from co-op ad veterans.
  • Getting Started with Co-op: Discover what you need to operationalize co-op ad funds at your media organization.

Attendees will receive lunch and be able to attend a networking reception. They will also receive a free copy of a new, proprietary LSA white paper that explains best practices and shows how local media organizations can implement a successful co-op sales program.

Space is limited to the first 50 registrants. Click here to learn more or register now!