Local Advertisers Don’t Have Time to Discover Co-op Ad Opportunity

I’ve had the good fortune to travel to new markets for 4-legged sales calls to non-advertisers with newspaper clients. In one case, of the 8 preset appointments we struck unused co-op funding in each and every location…it was really like shooting fish in a barrel.

In each case, the business owner simply had no time to do the discovery on the do’s and don’t’s of the co-op plan and really had no desire to take time out of their busy schedule to reach out to the manufacturer contact for understanding. All of these businesses were successful in their own right, yet were willingly wasting hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in manufacturer ad support.

Based on our authorized accrual research after the fact and basic math in presentations (about how much business have you done this year with this brand? Well 1% of $500,000 is $5,000), we estimated that those 8 non-advertiser calls had more than $40,000 in co-op money with the potential for over $60,000 in advertising solutions. Some of these accounts were not advertising anywhere at all…but hopefully now they will be.

These local dealer assumptions were not unique to these markets nor are their challenges in understanding the manufacturer co-op policies totally unfounded. There are likely several businesses like these in your market with similar feelings. Their thinking is that the co-op plan is mysterious because the manufacturer doesn’t want them to use it, which is not the case at all.

The key is making it easy for these beleaguered business owners who are as cut to the bone as we are. Here’s a one-two-three combo of how you can do just that for your SMB advertisers:

One: Do the math for them. Roughly estimate their co-op accrual by multiplying “about how much business they do with the brand” by the plan’s accrual percentage. Then do the math for them on how much more reach and frequency they could get with their advertising by including co-op.

Two: Show them how it looks. Work out spec creative for them with each media product that makes sense for them. What would a newspaper ad look like? How about a single-sheet insert? And hey, what about a banner ad linking to a landing page with your newspaper ad?

Three: Explain how they get paid back. Co-op is like a rebate program for advertising where they have to submit all of the documentation to get credit on their account. If you can, offer to get them the needed documentation and the claim address to send it.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and never assume your accounts are well schooled in co-op. If you haven’t seen them running brand materials in their ads, chances are that they’re just like the eight accounts I saw. And I’m thinking that $60,000 would help your budget goals also.

Click here to see how the Local Search Association can make co-op advertising a simple, revenue-driving strategy for your local media and marketing company.

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