In the mid 80’s I was an account executive for a radio station located in Santa Rosa, California. During that time I became very familiar with what is referred to as co-op advertising. Co-op advertising is a great source of advertising dollars. And there is so much of it available to people, yet most people know very little, if anything, about co-op dollars.
Interestingly, I was one of the only reps at the station who made sure my clients knew about this benefit. The reason was simple, there was more work involved in getting my clients set up, and yet, there was financial gain for both my client and myself by taking time to help them stretch their marketing dollars.
Co-oping is where you put in money for advertising and the manufacturer of a product you sell also puts in money. Often it is as much as 50% of the campaign. It is a great way to stretch your advertising campaign and to beef up your campaign.
Unfortunately, even though the money is available if conditions are right, many people either aren’t aware of this or if they arethey think it’s too much work to meet the criteria. Granted, in somecases it is, but often utilizing co-op money is a great way to stretch your marketing budget.
There are many co-op-advertising opportunities available if you plan to do advertising on the Internet. Not all are good investments though. Check opportunities out very carefully before making a final commitment.
Using co-op dollars is an excellent way to build a stronger relationship with your retail suppliers and to generate a lot more traffic in your store or on to your web site. If the overflow of business is handled correctly you will increase your sales and profits.
The great thing about using co-op dollars when you are dealing with standard media is that your account rep can handle the paperwork for you. Many retailers hesitate using the “hidden” dollars dueto feeling intimidated by the paperwork, the unknown.
Not only can the rep help you with the paperwork, they can also help you to build the campaign. However, before you trust them completely, find out what their experience is, what successful campaigns they have spearheaded and get some references. Take the time to do some research upfront to save money over the long run.
The reality is, if they are professionals in the truest sense of the word, they will be more than willing to take much of the paperwork burden off of you by handling it. After all, the more value an account rep creates for their clients the greater chance for an ongoing business.
Co-op dollars are not limited to retail businesses. Often, there are hidden dollars for non-profits. There are city and state funds that are set aside to help various organizations increase their visibility and reach.
One nice thing about using co-op dollars from a large manufacturer is that brand names do attract customers to your business—that’s whyyou offer them. Advertising specific well known brands will increase your foot traffic. Harley Davidson has an amazing co-op program they offer to their retailers. It is a primary reason they have done so well. They encourage advertising based on specific guidelines.
It is to the advantage of an advertiser to utilize these dollars. Manufacturers in virtually every industry want to help with advertising costs. They are very aware that when you correctly advertise their brand name product you will probably sell more of it, thus increasing your orders.
The disadvantage of co-op advertising can be the restrictions set by the manufacturer. Often, they have such rigid guidelines about how to design the ad that you may lose all control of creative expression. For example, their logo may have to be positioned in an exact location in order for them to co-op the campaign.
If you are working with someone who claims to be an expert at advertising and they know nothing about co-op dollars they are not the expert they claim to be. Be aware.
Areas that you need to be educated on are program terms and reimbursement schedules. In some cases it can take months to receive reimbursement for a co-op campaign. In other cases, the company you are cooping with will send the money directly to the media source. Be sure to check this information out in order not to run into a cash flow problem.
Advantages of co-op advertising
– Extra money to advertise
– Account executive can do the paperwork
– More frequency
Disadvantages of co-op advertising
– Restrictions by manufacturer
– No guarantee it will work
– Limited creativity in ad copy
Before making a final decision, research your options on co-op advertising. You may be pleasantly surprised with what you discover.
In the world of Internet marketing, you can strike up similar arrangements. Often this can be referred to as Joint Venture partnerships. Many of those using the Internet in their overall marketing find this to be a great option for expanding market reach, lowering costs and increasing revenues.
The Street Smarts Marketer