Co-op marketing, or cooperative marketing, allows multiple different brands as well as individual franchisees and corporate brands to partner on marketing and advertising efforts.
There are advantages to sharing resources through co-op marketing like access to co-op funds, lower advertising costs, and expanded audience reach. However, co-op marketing partnerships can be difficult to manage because there is often no one-size-fits-all solution.
Co-op marketing can take many forms, but there are two common arrangements.
- Corporate brands and their franchise partners use co-op marketing to share advertising costs and maintain brand consistency.
- Multiple different brands may use co-op marketing for the similar reasons, but also to leverage the others’ audience reach. They may share locations, bundle products, run special promotions, and more.
Goodway primarily focuses on the first.
Franchisees and brands need to consider global, national, regional, and local audiences in their marketing. Some marketing may work well on the national level, but not in a local market and vice versa. How can franchises stay true to the brand for corporate partners and connect with local audiences more effectively?
At Goodway, we help large brands and franchise partners manage many co-op marketing programs. If you are considering co-op marketing for your business, here’s how programs work and tips for managing them effectively.
How do co-op marketing programs work?
Brand owners often rely on affiliates or franchises to drive awareness and sales at the local level. At the same time, local partners may not have the resources, desire, or time to create and execute a marketing strategy. To solve this, local partners can access marketing materials and funds of their corporate partners through cooperative marketing programs.
There are set rules for each partner. Many programs establish how a brand’s assets should appear in marketing. Although the rules vary with the co-op program, the brand funds can be used for promotional materials and products, digital ad creative, and even rent. Franchise partners usually do not participate in creating the marketing strategy, but may implement marketing tactics, creating a mutual benefit.
What is an example of cooperative marketing?
In the automotive industry, co-op marketing is often set up through manufacturers for local dealers. Large car manufacturers including Audi, Toyota, Ford, Honda, Jeep, Volkswagen, and more all have a co-op advertising program.
Co-op marketing allows local car dealerships to share advertising expenses. It minimizes overall ad costs while increasing audience reach and ROI.
Quick service restaurants also use co-op marketing. A group of franchise stores with nearby locations may pool their money together to combine regional marketing and advertising efforts.
What are the benefits of co-op marketing?
While setting up cooperative marketing programs requires a lot of investment, their benefits are unmatched and worthwhile.
Lower marketing and advertising costs
A brand’s expenses reduce through sharing of marketing and advertising assets. Besides, the rules set in a co-op program enable the local partners to utilize funds and materials in the most effective way possible. For instance, people-based marketing is a known cost-effective advertising strategy, which reduces the overall cost of marketing and advertising.
Hyper-local brand awareness
Another significant benefit of cooperative marketing is increased awareness of a manufacturer or corporation’s products at the local level. Since the local partners concentrate on the marketing efforts, their message reaches a more targeted customer base.
Campaign performance analytics
An advanced cooperative marketing program like Goodway’s provides insights and analytics at the local level. Brands are able to tell how the partners spend the funds and the overall performance of the investments. Those using outdated technology or spreadsheets may have difficulty assessing this performance and keeping track of their co-op fund management.
An effective co-op marketing program helps both the brand and the partners grow by driving brand awareness and sales.
Co-op marketing tips
In co-op marketing, choosing the right partner is critical. Sometimes, a partnership with your competitor might harm your business more than it helps. These four practical tips will help you design a successful and mutually beneficial cooperative marketing program.
Build a sustainable partnership
When developing a cooperative marketing program, establish a partnership with sustainable and feasible expectations. Brands and independent partners like franchisees and retailers commit to such relationships due to the ease of collaboration on market solutions.
Therefore, provide a simple marketing process for all involved parties. Offering extensive media packages with creative materials could ease the retailer’s implementation process. It also decreases the need for a brand to establish a long pre-approval process.
Co-branding refers to when two or more different brands contribute resources or funds to a joint marketing program. There are three major basic categories of co-branding; cooperative branding, ingredient branding, complementary branding. Cooperative branding and complementary branding are best for retail businesses.
Non-retail businesses often adopt the ingredient branding strategy. Here, an ingredient or a component of a product is pulled into the spotlight. For instance, a bread manufacturer can advertise that its flour is from a famous brand. Chances are that consumers will be attracted just by mentioning the name.
To use this strategy, you need to get consent from the brand to use their name on your products. A co-op marketing program should outline specific requirements.
Promote the benefits of your co-op marketing program
Brand marketers understand the significance of co-op marketing in franchisee marketing and local partnerships. However, some of these brands fail to convey all benefits to their partners. If you fail to let your partners know the benefits they receive from a cooperative marketing program, they won’t pay attention. The aim of local affiliates is to generate sales and make payroll, and they may not think about the co-op as much as you do. It is therefore vital to spread the word.
The following practices are essential in promoting the value of your co-op program.
- Design the program details in simple packages that the local affiliates can easily interpret
- Add digital offering into the program and make the partners understand the benefits of going digital
- Examine the performance of your best cooperative marketers and utilize their success to promote your program.
It is worth noting that your partners must see the full benefit of your co-op program, including how it will attract customers. As a marketer, you should help your local partners understand that an effective cooperative marketing program delivers exponential results at the local level.
Establish and monitor KPIs
KPIs, also known as Key Performance Indicators, are objective, practical measurements of progress towards a predetermined goal. Think of it as an instrument like the speedometer in a car, which helps the owner maintain a certain velocity. In our case, establishing KPIs and monitoring them will help you understand the progress of your co-op program and its effectiveness. That way, you will know where to make adjustments and what should not change.
Do you want to learn more about developing a successful co-op marketing strategy for your business? Goodway Group can help. We collaborate with ambitious marketers to conquer even the most unique and complex challenges. Let’s talk!