Tag Archives: coop

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. 

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. 

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

COOPConference-pageImage.jpg

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.

 

coopspeakers

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!

Changes to Co-Op Programs

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 beginning 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.

TitleMost 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.

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. 

Why Co-op Has Eroded In Your Market

Why Co-op Has Eroded In Your Market

Despite the fact that over 99% of co-op programs are authorized for newspapers, their usage in the medium has been declining for years. Obviously some of that revenue has pushed over to the digital side and newspaper companies may be capturing some of that, but overall the attitude from the top of many news media operations is that co-op is so 1990.

Yeah, 1990 when the money was rolling in.

Since then there has been an explosion in media options for local businesses, while churn on the local sales side of many newspapers has eroded the relationships and trust earned from those business partners. Co-op programs have evolved to include most of these new media options and their usage has been left to the discretion of the local dealer. Those dealers are slammed with a multitude of local media opportunities on a regular basis and their business is earned by those that demonstrate value along with expected results…the ability to speak the language of co-op and manage the process is a bonus.

TitleLocal businesses that have survived the latest economic repression are as cut to the bone as the rest of us. Their sole goal in advertising is to make the cash register ring while not having to think too much about the process. Their co-op budgets have dwindled with their purchase volume and various turn-key programs the manufacturer has put in place to enhance their display, both in their physical store and their virtual storefront. The funds leftover get used (or not) to drive traffic to the store for specific brand promotions, generally not for the co-branding efforts the manufacturer might prefer.

Your brand dealers all have access to some form of dealer portal or asset management site with the brand that has material for them to customize for local promotion. The disconnect is that they are generally not ad designers. They are not media planners. They are not advertising strategists. They need direction, they need support, and they need to know what your audience means to them and how you can help them. They sometimes carry multiple brands with multiple co-op programs to manage. Unlocking the detail to those programs takes trust, and just how might you earn that?

Any market will have a wealth of opportunity with local dealers of major brands. Appliance stores with Frigidaire, General Electric, Whirlpool…Building Supply stores with Andersen Windows, Larson Doors, Owens Corning Insulation…Flooring stores with Karastan, Tarkett, or Mannington…not to mention Motorsports operations, Auto Service locations, Jewelry shops, Heating contractors, Boat dealers, Insurance agents, Hardware stores, etc.

All it takes is an interest in their business, the devotion to help them manage the details, and the ability to deliver customers from the investment in your audience.

The reason co-op has eroded in your market is that you’ve let it. As you see brand name products displayed or featured with your area merchants, simply ask about it. Their answers may surprise you. You could likely find an opportunity to step up your business and really discover what co-op advertising is all about. Hint: it’s advertising.

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 Can You Simplify the Co-Op Process

How Can You Simplify the Co-Op Process?

Nearly all manufacturer co-op programs have availability for newspaper promotion for their local dealer base. Sadly the numbers on usage in newspapers with these programs has been dwindling (some would say plummeting) for years. Why? Well, there’s a lot of reasons but for the most part the answer is that newspapers are generally not good at making it easy.

Broadcast operations in a lot of cases have a standard process for co-op ads that will automatically generate the notarized affidavits necessary for claim submission and reimbursement. You’ve seen obvious dealer programs with magazines, billboards, direct mail, and increasingly online. Many other media have developed solutions to help local businesses place this advertising simply with all of the necessary support. Services like this with many newspapers is cumbersome.

Oftentimes the creative is teed up for the local dealer but they don’t pull the trigger because they think it’s complicated. They may have ample co-op funding but some don’t have the bandwidth for the details. Those that are successful with co-op connect all the dots for the dealer with the program.

In May there are plenty of brands and programs in motion and the co-op dollars follow the inventory to be sold.

  • Lawn care…to green up the yard. Scott’s, Jonathan Green, and Easy Gardener products.
  • Paint…to touch up the house and the deck. Benjamin Moore, Clark & Kensington (Ace), and California Paints.
  • Auto aftermarket…to prepare for those summer road trips. Michelin, Cooper, and Toyo Tires.
  • Auto service…for some late Spring car care. How about Pennzoil, Quaker State, and Valvoline motor oils?
  • Pool products…to start opening up the pool. Bio-Lab, Lonza, and Zodiac.

If you can make a sensible ad program covering all of the details for your local brand dealer, you’ll find a number of opportunities in every market large and small.

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.