4 top tips for co-op & trade fund management

For brands that rely on dealers or retailers to sell their products, it’s imperative that their co-op advertising program operates in a way that keeps their dealers/retailers happy. Having a dedicated co-op advertising management and support team in place that’s responsive, helpful and resourceful for dealers is a good start.

In order to go from a good program to a great one, however, your dealers need to feel that your co-op team is a functional extension of their business, put in place by your brand to effectively help your dealers navigate the sometimes murky, ambiguous waters of any cost-sharing program.

So how do we take an existing co-op management team from good to great? Below are four helpful tips to take your co-op management practices to the next level:

1 – Co-op funds Management should be a two-way-relationship.

Traditionally, co-op management programs are reactive account service structures, operating as a customer service hotline. A great co-op team is there around the clock to help resolve any co-op inquiries that arise but should also be doing its part to proactively reach out to help resolve something that could potentially pose an issue for a dealer or retailer. Your dealers or retailers will be thankful that you are looking out for their best interest and have their back.

2 – Dealers/retailers that make up your network are the lifeblood of the brand

Your co-op managers should understand that there is a “trickle up” effect when it comes to ensuring that your co-op advertising program is healthy, and it starts with making sure that the dealers are taken care of. When your co-op advertising program places the emphasis on dealer satisfaction, it will result in more engagement with the program and more advertising efforts made by dealers to sell.

3 – Become an extension of your dealer’s/retailer’s marketing department

This ties into number one and two above, but it really deserves its own bullet point, too. Your co-op management team must feel like a consultant to each and every store that makes contact with you. Become a partner that’s vested in your dealer network’s best interest. After all, you are representing a brand that relies heavily on the dealers to move product. Understand the ins-and-outs of the program, available advertising assets, available resources, and how to best utilize co-op funds so that you can guide dealers in a direction that’s going to prove successful and beneficial for their business and the brand.

4 – Co-op funds management should provide insights and direct feedback from the field to the marketing team

This is key to help improve overall programs and help evolve co-op from good to great status. Utilize your co-op management team for inbound and outbound communication. They help monitor the pulse of the dealers and are essential to objective, real-time feedback as to what is and isn’t working.

We hope that the above tips will help serve as a quick guide on how to take your co-op management to the next level. Encourage your co-op advertising management team to go above and beyond, and see for yourself the benefits that it will have on your brand.

Cooperate is a Chicago-based agency that solves complex problems for OEM’s and service providers through our insightful, collaborative and cost-effective approach. We pride ourselves on providing white glove service to our clients and their dealers. Do you have a co-op issue that you’re struggling to solve on your own? We’re experts in the field and would love to offer our perspective.