I’m guessing that about 50 percent of you don’t know what co-op advertising is, and that’s a shame. Free money and benefits are slipping through your fingers, and you didn’t even know it! Now is the time to jump on the bandwagon and get all you can.
When you’re selling products that you didn’t manufacture yourself, co-op advertising can be an effective and cost-saving tool. Many large and well-known product manufacturers are willing to provide cost-sharing or reimbursement programs for promoting their brands. Such programs are used in most media, such as print ads, radio, TV, and even phonebooks. In some cases, the supplier will even help with the production costs of the ads if they know you’ll use them more than once. Each supplier has its own set of rules and restrictions you must follow to collect the funds or credits.
The co-op funds or refunds can be returned to you in several ways, such as a check rebate, a credit to your account, or additional products added to your orders. If you’re selling different brands of the same item, let the manufacturers know that you will feature only the one that offers the best co-op plan. The manufacturer or supplier becomes your partner because they have a vested interest in seeing you do well. They are investing their money, products, or efforts to help you achieve more sales of their products or services.
It’s best to get any agreement you make on paper so there are no arguments later about what was promised. In most cases, you’ll need to ask your suppliers whether they have a co-op plan and how it works. Even if your suppliers haven’t done it before, there might be some interest from their marketing department to start by working with you. It never hurts to ask, and it could stretch your advertising dollars, which will result in more sales for both your company and the manufacturer or supplier.
If you’re working with an advertising agency, they can do most of the routine paperwork for you and make sure you get the most out of co-op advertising that you can.