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Are You Using Your Co-Op Marketing Dollars?

If you could essentially get paid to advertise for a brand that your business carries, would you want to do it? Most likely, 99.99 percent of the time, the answer would be, “yes.” Good news! You may be sitting on a gold mine of advertising money that you don’t even know is there. This is the magic of co-op. If you’re not sure about the implications of co-op marketing dollars, you’re not the only one.

What is Co-Op advertising?

Co-Op advertising is defined by as “advertisements by retailers that include the specific mention of manufacturers, who—in turn—repay the retailers for all or part of the cost of the advertisement.” In other words, a manufacturer of a product that your business carries may offer cooperative advertising opportunities to companies that carry its product. Through this type of campaign, a business can recoup a percentage of its advertising spending from the manufacturer that it is helping to promote.

If you are already paying to advertise anyway, then essentially co-op marketing dollars are “free money” that you can take advantage of. If you have co-op opportunities available that are currently falling by the wayside, you are missing out on the chance to promote your brand with the funding of an outside entity.

Who offers Co-Op marketing dollars?

Co-Op advertising, which came about during the Industrial Revolution, is not a new concept. Big brands like Coca-Cola have long been incentivizing carriers of their product to advertise on their behalf. The problem is, many businesses have no idea that the brands they are carrying even offer these types of programs. To find out, take inventory of a few of your top-selling brands, and do research to see whether they offer a co-op program.

How does Co-Op work?

Co-Op programs vary in how they are set up. Some programs base the amount of co-op marketing dollars you will receive on the amount of revenue that your store has been able to garner from that product or line of products. Others do not take sales into consideration, and the manufacturer simply outline a percentage range that it is willing to pay back to the retailer in exchange for advertising a product or brand, based on the frequency of advertising.

Another thing to keep in mind about how co-op programs work is that sometimes they will specify the type of advertising media that should be used. This includes digital, television, direct mail, etc. The benefit of this is that your business might be able to expand its marketing efforts into new arenas that you may not have previously been able to afford. You can also diversify your marketing by taking advantage of available co-op marketing dollars.

What else should I know about Co-Op?

Because co-op involves advertising on behalf of another business, participating in this type of program means you will be subject to the manufacturer’s rules and standards. Most manufacturers will only reimburse you if you use ads that have been approved by them, with approval depending on factors like logo size and placement, products featured and the overall aesthetic of the ad. Before sinking too much time into making a co-op ad, check the manufacturers’ standards first. Vendors should also be able to provide resources like a bank of hi-res images, logos and other assets that can help you in creating co-op approved ads.

Also when creating a co-op ad, make sure your business’ name is included! Remember that the goal of co-op is to mutually benefit both your brand and the manufacturer’s.

One reason that many businesses aren’t taking advantage of co-op advertising is that they don’t have the time. In that case, let us handle it for you! We are experienced in helping clients recoup available co-op marketing dollars so that they end up spending less on quality advertising. Call us today at 334-521-1010 or visit our contact page to learn more!


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