Billions of dollars of co-op funds go unused every year.  That’s the sad truth.  But why does this occur?  And how can it be prevented?

Managing your co-op program can be a confusing, daunting, and resource-draining task.  Concerns like these often arise: Did I use the correct logo in the correct location?  Is this spend reimbursed 100% or 2 to 1?  Is that an approved vendor?  Additionally, co-op programs are adjusted so frequently that it can be hard to keep up.

But let’s rewind a bit first and talk about what co-op is.  Short for cooperative, co-op is an advertising partnership between a manufacturer and their retail arm.  This partnership is an all-encompassing term that may include brand guidelines, marketing spend reimbursement, a pre-approval process, as well as photos, running footage, or graphics used in ads.

While every co-op program doesn’t operate in the same fashion, those with marketing spend reimbursement can be particularly powerful.  There are certainly a number of reasons why the co-op fund should be utilized.  Who wouldn’t want to maximize the dollars spent or use their resources more efficiently?   Why not reduce your expenses to increase your bottom line?  Although the benefits are undeniable, they’re not always attained.  In order to take advantage of all that’s offered, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Maintain accurate records of all co-op marketing spend.
  • Utilize the pre-approval process, if the manufacturer provides it.  Remember, there’s no sense in running in ad, then finding out after the fact that you didn’t follow the brand guidelines and were denied reimbursement.
  • Partner with an experienced marketing agency that knows your brand, understands your co-op program, and will assist you with staying compliant and receiving reimbursement.
  • Make your name stand out. Because the goal is to send customers to your location, not to the manufacturer, customization is key.
  • Finish the process!  Be sure to get your marketing spend claims submitted.

Motivated Marketing works with clients to manage various co-op programs across multiple industries.  One client that began working with us in September of 2017 had over $70,000 in lost co-op dollars in 2016.  Partnering with this client in Q4 of 2017, the Motivated Marketing co-op team was able to reduce the client’s annual co-op losses by nearly 60%. In 2018, with M2 co-op oversight, this client is looking forward to additional reimbursements and more marketing wins!

If you’d like to minimize your lost co-op dollars or have questions about your co-op program, contact us today at 843-856-7322 or