Do you or someone you know struggle with co-op every December? Is it a mad dash of collecting tear-sheets, invoices and proper forms before deadlines? If so, you might want to read further.
Yes, I know the above paragraph reads more like a cheesy ambulance-chasing lawyer commercial than the start of a professional blog. But the truth is many retailers struggle this time of year with forming a solid co-op strategy. Our Marketing Directors are constantly asked:
1.) How can I maximize co-op dollars?
2.) How can I make sure my creative qualifies?
3.) How can I eliminate the end of year stress of submissions?
The answer to all of these questions is simple: Develop a strong strategy in January and carry it out throughout the year. It’s like a New Year’s resolution for your co-op stress.
Here’s how to develop a co-op strategy now and skip the drama next December:
Step 1) Know how much co-op credit you have available each quarter. This will allow you to budget the right amount of media dollars each month to maximize return.
Step 2) Work a solid co-op strategy into your existing media budget. Don’t try to overspend just to hit thresholds. This leads to overspending as a whole and increases the chances of negative ROI.
Instead of spending an extra $2,000 TV buy for Beautyrest, just weave and layer a Beautyrest spot in your current buy. Our media department has done a great job of negotiating value-added products for each buy that makes including co-op easy without spending the extra dollars. The objective is to be EFFICIENT with media dollars to ensure the best ROI for the spend and meet the qualifications to receive money back.
Step 3) Don’t forget about digital. Most of the time we find that digital collateral is one of the easiest plans to be approved for co-op. Which brings me to Step 4…
Step 4) ALWAYS GET PRE-APPROVAL FOR ALL CREATIVE. There is nothing worse than banking on a large co-op rebate only to have it denied due to the creative not meeting manufacturer’s specs. It’s always good to double-check with your rep before submitting the creative to the media.
Step 5) Make a monthly excel sheet to track spend. Why wait until the end of the quarter (or worse… year) to submit co-op? Your team should know how much each manufacture requires you to spend and be gathering creative and invoices throughout the year. By breaking up each submission monthly, the task of co-op becomes a routine, not a nightmare.