There have never been as many startups and upcoming companies as there are today. Taking a spot in the public’s eye and putting your brand in the limelight has become tougher due to the competition.
Many brands align themselves with successful, highly collaborative channel partners to increase their visibility and presence in various markets. When these partnerships often share the same goals and ideals, brands and partners can grow and expand together.
Co-op marketing has become a popular method of achieving this sort of success. Partners and resellers can gain advantageous marketing resources from brands, while brands can improve their ability to establish themselves in critical locations that help them grow.
How does co-op marketing and its programs work?
In essence, co-op marketing is a unique strategy that revolves around spreading and growing a company’s marketing program across numerous locations. This is done by sharing important brand assets and dividing marketing costs with channel partners.
Successful co-op marketing strategies exchange various resources that are mutually beneficial to the independent channel partners and the corporate brand. Channel partners can be dealers, franchisees, retailers, or other small businesses.
There used to be a small conundrum related to the relationship between brands and channel partners. Brands need channel partners to execute growth and drive brand awareness & sales at the local level; however, channel partners generally lack the knowledge, resources, and time to fulfill an effective advertising strategy by themselves.
Nowadays, co-op marketing platforms are used to create co-op marketing programs with their own set of rules, available co-op funds, and shared assets in the form of advertising materials that the partners can use to execute the marketing strategy.
This method also prevents channel partners from ‘going out of bounds’ with how they represent the partnered brand. Since the assets they’ll use are shared by the brand itself, all marketing campaigns will represent the brand the way it’s intended to be presented.
Because channel partners often do not create marketing strategies themselves, nor do they use the majority of their funds to support marketing campaigns, they’re more likely to participate in the brand’s marketing efforts. But what other benefits to co-op marketing are there?
The benefits of co-op marketing programs
Setting up co-op marketing programs isn’t easy and requires both resources and time; with that said, the benefits that through-channel marketing programs bring make it worthwhile. The most important benefits are:
Localization of brand awareness
Brand awareness hyper-localization is the main reason why companies and their partners opt for through-channel or co-op marketing programs. The more channel partners are active in marketing participation, the higher the brand’s presence at the local level.
This is invaluable for companies because it makes it easier for them to reach certain places that would otherwise be difficult to access. Sharing brand-approved assets with channel partners ensures that the customers go through a consistent and legit brand experience, regardless of their location in the world.
Lowered costs of advertising
Sharing advertising and marketing assets such as media or marketing campaigns can efficiently reduce overall advertising costs and creative expenses. On top of that, using pre-approved printing providers for PoS (Point-of-Sale) advertising materials streamlines the entire process, reducing the expenses and time required to create, produce, store, and ship advertisements in the physical form.
A successful co-op marketing program will have a set of rules that the channel partners will respect, knowing where to spend their co-op funds and on which marketing strategies.
A brand needs to grow to propel the company to new heights and achievements, with the ultimate aim to cement its position in the eye of the public. Co-op marketing programs help drive brand awareness and sales, providing growth to the brand and its channel partners.
Analysis of campaign performance
A powerful co-op marketing program can be used for analytical purposes down to the local level. Compared to outdated technology or the use of basic platforms such as Spreadsheets, co-op fund management platforms enable brands to properly understand how their partners are using co-op funds and whether or not their investments are successful.
The best practices for successful co-op marketing
Each co-op marketing program is unique in its own way, which can make it confusing for partners. There are numerous cases of brands underutilizing (or overutilizing) their available funds, having a lackluster return on investment (ROI), and frustrating their partners.
The most successful brands use these couple of practices to achieve the most efficiency and the best results.
Avoid using complicated co-op program rules
Simplicity is the mother of success when it comes to co-op program rules. Setting complicated or numerous rules can derail the streamlined co-op marketing process, ultimately affecting every aspect of the partnership.
Co-op program rules must be simple and effective to keep channel partners satisfied and at the highest level. A simple sign-up and onboarding process enable channel partners to get reimbursement fast and know which brand tactics and assets to use in which situations.
Be fully transparent about available funds
If the brand’s channel partners can’t see the available co-op funds, they most likely won’t even use them. Instead of doing that manually, co-op marketing platforms are used to automatically notify the partner’s about fund and resource availability while also sending email notifications for channel partners to engage with the marketing program and strategy.
Provide consistent marketing support to channel partners
Education and training can only go so high in marketing. In most cases, channel partners do not have the workforce nor the knowledge to properly utilize modern advertising tactics, which is why it’s crucial that they are offered support by the brand they’re partnered with.
There are a couple of methods with which support can be given:
- Regular training sessions
- Using an agency partner to handle content creation for social media or demographic targeting for ads
- Giving partners access to pre-approved, customizable assets and artwork that they can easily modify for their respective audiences and locations.
Interested in finding out if co-op marketing is a good choice for your brand?
Contact us at OneAffiniti to find out more about building an efficient and successful co-op marketing strategy.