Tag Archives: coop

Best Practice No. 9: Contests and Promotions

Best Practice No. 9: Contests and Promotions

awardribbonc1408_x_th_cContests can work to drive short-term boosts in co-op sales. However, they 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. Simple things like a party for the local office or media property that generates the most intake forms or inquiries can amp up short term performance.

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.

 

Best Practice No. 8: Provide Ongoing, Online Training

computericonsc1506_x_th_cHaving a training program accessible online. On-site co-op training is great, but what is the back-up plan for new hires after that, or refreshers when co-op numbers are sagging? An online training program that people can take on demand can be helpful. Gatehouse’s Sigler said his organization creates these for their sales people, and he notes that the more localized the training the better. He also notes that Recas is a great resource for online training tools as well.

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.

Best Practice No. 7: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

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Best Practice No. 7: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Gatehouse Media produces a co-op newsletter every other week. “We will take a sampling of manufacturers who have just released promotions and we will put those logos in the newsletter — click here to get details of the promo, here’s a link to Recas for more info,” Sigler said. “It keeps it out there all the time. We can then take that list and share it out with local champions, and reps can access that too.”

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.

Best Practice No. 5: Eliminate Complexity

Best Practice No. 5: Eliminate Complexity

Simpler is always better. But simple isn’t easy. 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.

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For example, Netsertive has developed an approach that narrows the set of choices that a local dealer needs to make to a simple few, so that co-op becomes more like a simple opt in than a raging battle against red tape and opaque rules.

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.

Best Practice No. 4: Track Performance

Best Practice No. 4: Track Performance

“What gets measured, gets done.” The quote has many fathers (Peter Drucker and Tom Peters among others). But it applies to co-op. Organizations that measure co-op performance in real time are in a better position to drive co-op performance.

goalchartc1411_x_th_cSigler note that Gatehouse tracks its co-op sales by property on a monthly basis, which enables the company to know if co-op utilization is keeping pace, lagging or exceeding its targets. These figures can be triggers for conversations at the local level to improve performance or to glean best practices from those media properties that are outperforming the company as a whole.

A key challenge with best practices 3 & 4 is that many media organizations lack the mechanisms to track co-op revenue performance, making it difficult to hold sales leaders accountable for co-op performance.

Sales organizations using CRM tools do better with tracking performance and holding managers and reps accountable.

“Those using CRM tools do better,” said Hall of the RAB. “Especially if there is a manager checking in who can say, ‘Hey I see you are calling on an HVAC guy, but I didn’t see anything in there on co-op. So what’s the deal?'”

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.

Best Practice No. 3: Hold Sales Leaders Accountable for Co-op Results

Best Practice No. 3: Hold Sales Leaders Accountable for Co-op Results

While it’s critical to have a local co-op champion to service as a resource to local sales reps, the local champion is not likely to have the authority to compel a sales rep to bring up co-op in a sales call. That authority rests with sales leadership, which tends to be fickle when it comes to co-op. They may push it in spurts when they need to revenue boost, but they are rarely held accountable for co-op results. And when they are not accountable for a number, they won’t feel obligation to drive that number.

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“You need someone local who has a vested interest in co-op who is in a position to talk to the reps,” a senior local media sales executive said. “Sales reps will not listen to a clerical person.”

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.

 

Best Practice No. 2: Have a Local Champion

Best Practice No. 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.

“Having a local champion at each location is key,” Sigler said. “This person can remind the sales staff of new promotions that are out there. This person can remind them to make co-op part of every needs analysis and new and existing customers.”

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Giving local sales mangers and their superiors a co-op target and holding them accountable for it is a powerful driver of co-op performance. This used to be a common practice but the industry has drifted away from it, amid shifting priorities and thinning ranks.

In recent years, trends have been moving in the opposite direction. Many organizations have let their local co-op managers go, or moved them into new roles, leaving little in any local co-op support for sales reps.

Adding to the difficulty is the new era of virtual sales office, where reps work from home and are managed remotely. The Yellow Pages industry in particular has moved in this direction, which has many benefits, including reduced sales costs and greater autonomy for sales reps. One drawback is it makes promoting co-op more difficult.

“It creates another challenge,” a senior Yellow Pages executive said. “You are not able to hang up posters. You are not able to have the co-op subject matter expert walk up to a rep and say, ‘Hey, I see you were calling on a roofer last week. How much co-op are they using?'”

If a dedicated local co-op manager isn’t realistic given your organization’s resources, consider designating someone at the local level to be the co-op champion, even if it is only a small part of their job description.

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.

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.