Making Co-Op Marketing Work Across Distributed Sales Channels
Let’s be honest – how many national and global brands really think their co-op marketing dollars get used appropriately by their channel partners?
That’s even if such programs are getting used at all. It’s amazing how often we talk to companies with distributed sales channels that know their co-op marketing systems and programs are failing. Millions of dollars are spent with the creative agencies or marketing consultants to develop these programs, but adoption usually remains poor or the appropriations of co-op marketing spend aren’t used in the best interest of the disbursing entity.
Co-op program adoption is usually poor due to the following reasons:
The co-op advertising program reimburses the local marketer rather than fronting the co-op money, thus requiring a much smaller business entity to be out-of-pocket of precious cash
The guidelines and rules to qualify for co-op reimbursement resembles a legal document rather than a partner support initiative
Manual processes mean slow turn-times in requesting, registering, receiving approval and/or disbursement
The list goes on and on. Its unfortunate that even when the intent of both parties participating in the co-op lifecycle have good intentions, sometimes the process can result in contentious outcomes. The result may be that a channel partner ends up walking away disgruntled, OR the brand acquiesces their position in order to avoid the former. Even in the absence of a fix, brands choose to continue to offer the same co-op programs year after year to their distributed sales channels. The justification I guess is the cost of not doing anything is worse than doing something incorrectly. However, there IS an alternative – and that alternative greatly improves the success of these programs. The first step is tying the Content and marketing execution of these programs into the same technology and/or process that disburses the funds.