Co-op (cooperative) advertising – an agreement between manufacturers and dealers to share the cost of advertising – is a great way for dealers to offset costs and increase sales.
Although program details vary among manufacturers, the basic premise is that manufacturers will reimburse dealers a percentage of the advertising costs when their products are featured.
Here are a few tips to help you leverage this “free money” and maximize your ROI.
Follow the Rules of the Co-op Road
Typically, there are specific rules set forth by each manufacturer that must be followed precisely to receive reimbursement. For example, logo usage, whitespace requirements, and exclusion of other brands are standard across most manufacturers.
It is important to note: pre-approval of the advertising piece before it is used is a key part of the process, and essential to ensuring you get paid. In addition, many programs have a “use it or lose it” policy on co-op funds. Therefore, it is a good idea to map out a marketing /advertising plan for the year to ensure you take advantage of all the money available to you for each brand you sell.
Take Advantage of Your Options
Often manufacturers have a list of vendors that offer a “one-size-fits-all” direct mail piece that is pre-approved. While this may seem like a quick, easy solution, this approach is not the best use of your co-op funds. Keep in mind, you do not have to use a “pre-approved” mail piece or vendor to leverage your co-op dollars. To get the biggest bang for your buck, you should use a direct mail piece that is created specifically for your dealership, local area, target market and personalized for your audience.
Direct Mail and eBlasts Eligible for Co-op
Direct mail and email marketing are both eligible for reimbursement under most manufacturer co-op programs. In fact, many manufacturers are encouraging and even requiring that a portion of their co-op money be used for digital advertising. Coordinated eBlast campaigns are an excellent way to enhance your direct mail results.
Simplify the Process… Get Help!
Unfortunately, many dealers do not take advantage of co-op funds as the process can be complex and frustrating. However, it doesn’t have to be. An experienced direct marketing partner can help you navigate the process and handle most of the legwork for you.
An Important Note:
Successful dealers understand that co-op advertising is just one part of an effective marketing strategy. Not every type of advertising will be eligible for co-op dollars; however, it is worth the extra cost if it sells more cars and produces a strong ROI. The right direct marketing partner can help you evaluate which mail piece will deliver the most “bang for your buck” – even if it is not co-op eligible.
Ready to Maximize Your Co-op Dollars?
AMG can help! We can efficiently and effectively navigate the co-op process and maximize your co-op dollars. AMG has proven, copyrighted mail pieces with influential messaging specific to your market designed to drive more customers to your door. In addition, we will handle all the necessary paperwork and present you with a package ready to send to the manufacturer – ensuring you get paid!