5 steps to increase co-op program participation

Does your co-op program need a push to get dealers to participate? Here is a quick list of things to look for that will help. All of these tactics have been tried and tested by our team of co-op marketing professionals.

1. Make your guidelines easier to read

Do your co-op program guidelines read like a complicated legal document? One easy way to get dealers more involved is to simplify the language in the guidelines. Make the important information straightforward and easy to read. Also, consider creating a short checklist that dealers can quickly and easily check an ad against.
Make the guidelines more user-friendly by re-organizing them. Is it easy for a dealer to find what he or she is looking for in your current document? Are the chapters/sections organized in an effective way? If the answer to either question is “no”, take another shot at improving the user experience of the guidelines.

2. Increase dealer phone and email support 

Dealers and sales staff need a dedicated resource when there is a question about your Co-op Program. That dedicated resource should not be a marketing manager whose principal focus is on another task. Treating co-op as an afterthought is sure to annoy your dealers, especially when their questions are not getting answered promptly. Provide your dealers with dedicated staff, a hotline and an email address to handle all incoming requests, and dealers will be much more inclined to participate. Already have a solid support staff in place? Think about going above and beyond with the addition of a live chat feature.

3. Decrease audit turnaround time

How quickly does your program guarantee a response for prior approvals and claims? Anything longer than 48 business hours is too long, and even that might be pushing it. Claims can take a little longer, but prior approvals should really be processed within a maximum of 24 hours. Often, dealers have less than a day to get ads to production. Dealers are more likely to use a program that doesn’t make them wait around and miss their deadlines.

4. Develop special reimbursement promos 

A special reimbursement promo is a great tactic to get dealers to utilize unspent co-op funds. It’s also a great way to get dealers to use brand-created advertising assets that support a national campaign. Do you have a national media buy coming up to support the launch of a key product? Engage dealers to support it on the local level by offering them advertising assets and 80% co-op funded to 20% dealer funded reimbursement. Just be sure that you have the staff in place to support the administration of the promo on the back-end.

5. Increase dealer outreach

Some dealers are more likely to advertise than others. Organize a list of the dealers who have the lowest annual co-op utilization and reach out to them. Find out why they’re not advertising and develop a plan to help them utilize their unspent funds. You might find an important insight into how you can make your program more dealer-friendly. You might also find out that the dealers are simply too busy to concern themselves with the claim process, which would make them more inclined to participate in a turn-key dealer group advertising program.

Want more helpful tips? Look at the case studies on our website for examples of how we have helped our clients implement the strategies and tactics listed above, or give us a call for additional insight on how to help your co-op program take the next step.