4 tactics for maximizing co-op social media expenditure

Dealers and retailers constantly evaluate different ways to reach prospective customers. However, with limited adverting budgets and an overwhelming amount of advertising mediums available, less technologically-savvy dealers and retailers are resistant to change and fall back on traditional advertising. Help dealers and retailers get comfortable with digital media by employing these tactics.

1. Make your social media assets easy to find
Dealers and retailers often cringe when they hear social media advertising because they either don’t have a strong understanding of it or they believe the process for submitting social media advertisement claims is too cumbersome. Be sure to develop a process document listing easy-to-understand steps for executing and receiving reimbursement for an advertisement.

2. Promote the use of OEM-created assets 
Not all dealers and retailers have deep pockets. They want to advertise the best assets they can without hiring a vendor to pay out-of-pocket fees. Inform dealers of the incentive for utilizing your professionally-created assets. Whether it’s a Facebook ad, Internet Banner or an Email Marketing campaign, it’s a win-win. Depending on the reimbursement rate established, dealers and retailers may be eligible for a higher reimbursement rate if they utilize the OEM-created assets. Additionally, the OEM has piece of mind knowing its creative is being used at the national and local level.

3. Make requirements for dealer-created assets clear and concise
It’s OK if dealers don’t use OEM-created assets. Sometimes the respective OEM’s assets don’t speak to the needs or values of the community they’re being advertised or the products a dealer is trying to sell. Ensure the reimbursement guidelines for dealers and retailers who want to create their own social media advertisements are very easy to follow, especially the requirements for the ad itself.

4. Provide customer support to dealerships and retailers
OEMs who provide customer support to dealers and retailers increase their ability to connect with them. Customer support specialists alleviate small business employees’ duties by walking the employees through the process for social media reimbursement. This provides dealers piece of mind, as they feel taken care of by the OEM, and their co-op budgets are nurtured rather than guarded.

Let’s connect. Cooperate is a Chicago-based agency that solves complex problems for OEMs 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.

Is your co-op fund management platform benefitting your dealers/retailers?

OEMs who offer cost-sharing programs to their dealer network need to make sure they have a streamlined, error-proof co-op fund management platform for the administration of co-op funds, prior approval & claim submissions. We understand that a great co-op advertising program leads to satisfaction among dealers, which results in a healthier and stronger brand. We’re also firm believers that one of the tenets of a strong co-op advertising program is employing a platform that keeps the program running like a well-oiled machine; a Co-op Resource Center. Many OEMs don’t have a platform in place for handling their dealer’s co-op administration and often fall back on antiquated websites and approaches, operating on an “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” mentality that leaves dealers and retailers tired, confused and often frustrated. Below are four reasons why a co-optimized platform positively impacts your dealers and brand.

1. Better UX improves dealer satisfaction and desire to advertise

Older platforms for managing co-op administration can be equated to using dial-up. It’s old, clunky and time-consuming. Antiquated platforms for handling co-op advertising result in an attitude among dealers that local store marketing and cost-sharing is a “necessary evil” of running a dealership. In some cases, poor UX leads to dealer frustration resulting in some dealers not wanting to deal with the hassle of spending their co-op dollars. This attitude will negatively impact your brand in the long-run. Conversely, a great CRC that’s fast, efficient and has a flawless UX will be something your dealers will look forward to using, as it eliminates unnecessary work by functioning in the manner that it’s supposed to.

2. Garner more meaningful insights for your brand

Co-op budgets are often times one of the largest line-items in an OEM’s budget. Yet, time and time again, OEM’s are relying on insufficient co-op portals that don’t allow them to be informed as to how their money is being spent. Instead of being complacent with blindly throwing co-op dollars into the ether, rely instead on a co-op portal that offers intuitive and thorough reporting functionality, allowing you to garner insights as to how your dealers and brand as a whole are using their co-op dollars. This insight is vital, as it can help inform asset creation and allow you to analyze how dealers are spending their co-op dollars.

3. An optimized co-op portal eliminates back and forth and miscommunication, which means happier dealers

Dealers appreciate a co-op portal that keeps them updated on prior approval and claim decisions, as well as a system that offers clear, concise and actionable audit notes. What about the ability to connect with a co-op manager or auditor in real-time? If this feature isn’t implemented in your current portal, dealers are spending more time than they should flagging down answers on why ads aren’t approved and why claims haven’t been paid.

4. An optimized co-op portal allows dealers to do what they do best: SELL!

Co-op administration & processing shouldn’t be a burden for dealers or OEMs. An optimized co-op portal allows for administration of prior approvals and claims to be more streamlined, alleviating time and stress for dealers to focus on running their dealership and selling product. Outdated co-op portals often make finding prior approval, claim and fund information difficult, which frustrates dealers. An optimized portal takes on most of the work so that dealers only need to worry about submitting and checking their funds. The portal should do the rest.

We hope the information above illustrates how an optimized Co-op Resource Center can be a game changer for your dealers and your brand. Cooperate offers a proprietary Co-op Resource Center built from the ground up based on more than a decade of experience. Please call Cooperate today for a CRC walkthrough and let us help you take your Co-op Advertising program to the next level.

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.

 

 

Are your co-op auditors helping your dealers and your brand?

Co-op advertising auditors have oversight on your brand at the local retail level, and they interact daily with your dealers. Are they invested in the overall success of your brand? Or are they just going through the motions? Below are a few questions to ask yourself and your greater marketing team about the service that’s being provided by your co-op marketing auditors.

1. Do you get emails from frustrated dealers or sales staff about your auditors on a regular basis?

It’s understandable to have the occasional dealer or regional sales manager get upset with the co-op advertising auditors working on your brand. It becomes a problem when the perception of the co-op auditors among dealers and corporate staff starts to sour. It’s not only the reputation of the auditors, but it’s also the reputation of your brand that’s at stake. Your auditors should be treating every dealer or retailer as a client, and resolving their issues accordingly. Providing a different level of service to dealers and corporate staff is unacceptable and could do lasting damage your brand.

2. Do you get the sense that your auditors are willing to help your dealers?

Co-op advertising auditors must do more than just hit the approve or deny button-there are many occasions where a simple phone call or email about a denied claim or prior approval would go a long way. It’s that kind of personal attention that gets dealers and retailers excited about co-op marketing. With the slightest extra effort by the auditor, dealers and retailers will have increased confidence in their own co-op advertising, because they know there is someone looking out for them. That kind of white glove, proactive service by co-op auditors also increases the level of trust dealers have with your brand’s co-op advertising and marketing program, which leads to happier dealers and a stronger retail brand presence.

3. Are your auditors doing their best to help your dealers increase their knowledge of the brand and the co-op program? 

Co-op auditing without education is a disservice to dealers/retailers and your brand. If a dealer or retailer has a denied co-op claim and it’s not clear to them what they did wrong and what they need to fix next time, there is a good chance they will continue to make the same mistake, or worse, they will stop advertising altogether. Co-op auditors should be more than just enforcers of the rules or co-op guidelines mandated by marketing-they should be invested educators who have the full confidence of your sales and marketing departments.

4. Do your auditors think critically about your brand and provide intuitive feedback? 

When was the last time your co-op auditors provided useful feedback on a program or campaign? The answer is likely ‘never’ if the company who handles your co-op advertising auditing simply functions as a machine when processing prior approvals and claims. If your auditors were truly invested, they would give you feedback on what’s being utilized by dealers and what those dealers currently don’t have that could help with the brand’s collective success.  Co-op auditors have the opportunity to communicate with dealers all day, every day. They should have some useful feedback to show for it.

5. Do your auditors provide beneficial metrics that go beyond basic “Co-op spend”? 

Think about all the incredibly useful metrics that could be captured when co-op claims are audited. There is a good chance your co-op auditors are not capturing any of this incredibly important information, nor would they even know what to look for. With digital advertising’s increasing importance and utilization, metrics for dealers’ co-op advertisements should mandatory for auditors to capture and report-and that should not cost any extra. The information is at their fingertips. They’re just skimming over it.

6. Do your auditors nickel and dime you? 

There is a good chance your co-op auditing provider is charging for their service per claim or prior approval. You’re also probably getting charged for every email and phone call to a dealer. That means your brand is often paying too much for adequate support. It’s time to get rid of that pricing model. Your co-op advertising audit provider should charge you a flat fee for their services, which are clearly identified in a scope of work. Otherwise, auditors are incentivized to do a great quantity of work at very low quality, instead of giving everything the adequate attention it requires.

Cooperate is a marketing agency based in Chicago that has over 10 years of co-op advertising and marketing expertise. Our co-op programs are recognized nationally for their dedication to quality service. Through our own experiences and observations of co-op auditors in the past, we know exactly what it takes to provide the top level of co-op auditing service to brands and their dealers and/or retailers. Our team of dedicated marketing professionals are problem solvers who are invested in the brands we work on, which is proven by our track record of white glove, concierge-level service. Give us a call or shoot us an email to start the conversation about how we could benefit your brand, and increase the impact your co-op advertising and marketing dollars get at the local store level.

Elevate Your Co-op Management Program

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 team in place that’s responsive, helpful and resourceful for dealers is a good start. But in order to go from a good program to a great one, 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 and often ambiguous waters of any cost-sharing program.

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

Co-op Management should be a two-way-relationship. Traditionally, co-op management programs have been 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.

The dealers an/or 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 your product.

Become an extension of your dealer’s and/or 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.

Co-op 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.

4 things dealers hate about co-op advertising

Dealers and retailers have a great incentive to participate in co-op advertising programs: free money. Sometimes, however, the program itself is standing in the way of a dealer’s participation. Make it easier for dealers and retailers to participate by avoiding these four common issues with co-op programs.

  1. Poor support
    Dealers don’t have time for incorrect information or delayed responses. The best way to avoid these issues is to establish a core group of co-op experts who are responsible for providing all the answers in a timely and orderly fashion. Dealers will appreciate your brand’s effort when it saves them time and money. Don’t make dealers think about where to go with their co-op questions. Provide a dedicated, friendly support staff, a single phone number and a single email address. They will repay you by singing your praises and supporting the brand.
  2. Complicated guidelines
    Dealers should not have to read a set of guidelines multiple times to understand what they need to do or how they need to do it. Make the guidelines straightforward by focusing on organization and checklists. The organization factor will ensure that dealers don’t waste their time trying to find specific information in a long document. Checklists will ensure that dealers can easily digest that information once they have found it.
  3. Confusing audit results
    Audit results for prior approvals and claims should be thorough and succinct. Often that is not the case, and dealers become frustrated trying to decipher the ambiguous reason(s) their ad was denied. If a dealer requires clarification on a denial, the explanation of the denial was not sufficient. Take a look at some of the recent denials in your program and read the audit feedback. If you were a dealer, would it be clear to you what the change(s) needed to be?
  4. Outdated co-op fund management platform
    Does your co-op management site make your brand look technologically advanced or inept? Dealers will notice, especially when their user experience is poor. Your site should be simple and fast—not confusing and slow. In addition, think about how well your site captures and reports useful advertising metrics submitted with dealers’ claims.  Enhanced reporting provides useful insights that can be leveraged to further improve your overall marketing program. Your brand could be losing out on a ton of data due to an outdated platform and aged auditing process. 

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.

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.

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.