Does your business model include accruing co-op money from your distributor or manufacturer? If so, then Q4 is an important time of the year. And for any business looking to expand an advertising budget without using its own money, efficient use of your co-op advertising funds could provide everything you need.
These arrangements allow dealerships to collectively leverage the money they earn through purchasing equipment that they need anyway to be in business. In most cases, though, your co-op advertising dollars will expire at the end of the year, so now is the time to use those dollars or lose them. Here’s what you need to know before you decide how to make those spends.
Co-op Advertising: What they Don’t Want You to Know
The unfortunate truth is that your distributor or manufacturer are counting on you not spending your hard earned co-op fund and they can keep the money in their pocket. Don’t let this happen to you!
Everyone needs to advertise since you will lose customers through natural attrition, re-location, competition, or just plain lack of interest. Given this fact, why not leverage your advertising budget by spending every penny available?
Getting More from Your Advertising Budget
“But,” you may say, “the money is not ‘free’ for me to spend since I have to ‘match’ the funds to some degree.” That is true. The incentive is for the manufacturer to have you advertise with part of their money (typically 50% or greater) and part of yours.
This requires you to follow some guidelines with respect to your advertising messages. Yet, working with an agency that’s familiar with your brand’s co-op advertising plan will allow you to have your business remain front and center.
The key lies in leveraging your own business and the affiliation with a national brand. For example, if you’re in the HVAC industry and primarily selling a single brand of heating and cooling equipment — or if you run a motorcycle dealership that’s affiliated with a specific name brand of bike — then you’re in the best situation to use your co-op funds to their full extent.
Instead of paying full price, you pay less and benefit from 100% of the advertising. When you advertise properly, your business increases proportionately, and you need more equipment and your co-op funds grow. It’s a nice problem to have; that is, as long as you plan properly to spend it.
How do You Spend Those Co-Op Dollars Properly?
So it’s nearing the end of the year, and you haven’t spent your accrued co-op funds yet. You quickly grab a catalogue and buy some hats, t-shirts, and cups — items known in the ad world as “trash and trinkets.” So why do you think those items are referred to that way? Because they don’t add any value to your business (from an advertising perspective) to lift your sales and increase brand equity.
When used wisely, you may be able to invest in mass media advertising — broadcast TV, radio, cable TV, billboards, and more. Since mass media can be a costly space to get into, small businesses often overlook these media channels. Yet there are big rewards for those who are willing to invest the dollars.
Your business immediately elevates to a different level when you’re heard on the radio or seen on the local TV. It’s also the least costly way to reach the most amount of people in the service area. By leveraging the co-op money to make a significant impact, you can retain and grow your current business to the levels that you want to handle.
And a mass media co-op investment is amplified when it leverages all key channels. Using mass media along with Internet marketing campaigns (mobile, search, display, and social media) allows your co-op advertising campaigns to create a synergy that can grow your business exponentially.
What is the Bottom Line for Your Co-op Investment?
Co-op advertising is a smart investment for any company that can take advantage of this strategy. The right advertising company can help you harness the power of a co-op partnership, launching a new kind of advertising campaign that will consistently achieve results in three areas:
- Maximizing consumer awareness for your products and company
- Increasing market share and besting your competition
- Opening new avenues for lead generation for the individual business
Don’t give the money back! You deserve to use it to increase your own business, and Mediagistic can help you invest those dollars to achieve maximum returns. Our team has planned and executed co-op and group programs across the nation, and we would welcome the opportunity to consult and recommend a co-op advertising plan for your company.
Geri Persiano-Vukas is Mediagistic’s Vice President of Sales & Service. A veteran of international sales and marketing with AT&T, she joined the Mediagistic Team over five years ago. Within a few months of her arrival, our well established business managing regional and national dealer co-op programs for manufacturers like Carrier and Bryant exploded into full service agency representation of dealers for all of their individual marketing and advertising needs. Connect with her on Linkedin.