If you advertise in any way, the following information could show you
how to find and utilize untold advertising dollars you may not be
In the mid 80’s I was an account executive for a radio station
located in Santa Rosa, California. During that time I became very
familiar with what is referred to as co-op advertising.
Co-op advertising is a great source of advertising dollars. And there
is so much of it available to people, yet most people know very
little, if anything, about co-op dollars.
Interestingly, I was one of the only reps at the station who made
sure my clients knew about this benefit. The reason was simple, there
was more work involved in getting my clients set up, and yet, there
was financial gain for both my client and myself by taking time to
help them stretch their marketing dollars.
Co-oping is where you put in money for advertising and the
manufacturer of a product you sell also puts in money. Often it is as
much as 50% of the campaign. It is a great way to stretch your
advertising campaign and to beef up your campaign.
Unfortunately, even though the money is available if conditions are
right, many people either aren’t aware of this or if they are
they think it’s too much work to meet the criteria. Granted, in some
cases it is, but often utilizing co-op money is a great way to stretch your
There are many co-op-advertising opportunities available if you plan
to do advertising on the Internet. Not all are good investments
though. Check opportunities out very carefully before making a final
Using co-op dollars is an excellent way to build a stronger
relationship with your retail suppliers and to generate a lot more
traffic in your store or on to your web site. If the overflow of
business is handled correctly you will increase your sales and
The great thing about using co-op dollars when you are dealing with
standard media is that your account rep can handle the paperwork for
you. Many retailers hesitate using the “hidden” dollars due
to feeling intimidated by the paperwork, the unknown.
Not only can the rep help you with the paperwork, they can also help
you to build the campaign. However, before you trust them completely,
find out what their experience is, what successful campaigns they
have spearheaded and get some references. Take the time to do some
research upfront to save money over the long run.
The reality is, if they are professionals in the truest sense of the
word, they will be more than willing to take much of the paperwork
burden off of you by handling it. After all, the more value an
account rep creates for their clients the greater chance for an
Co-op dollars are not limited to retail businesses. Often, there are
hidden dollars for non-profits. There are city and state funds that
are set aside to help various organizations increase their visibility
One nice thing about using co-op dollars from a large manufacturer is
that brand names do attract customers to your business—that’s why
you offer them. Advertising specific well known brands will increase your foot traffic. Harley Davidson has an amazing co-op program they offer to their retailers. It is a primary reason they have done so well. They encourage advertising based on specific guidelines.
It is to the advantage of an advertiser to utilize these dollars.
Manufacturers in virtually every industry want to help with
advertising costs. They are very aware that when you correctly
advertise their brand name product you will probably sell more of it,
thus increasing your orders.
The disadvantage of co-op advertising can be the restrictions set by
the manufacturer. Often, they have such rigid guidelines about how to
design the ad that you may lose all control of creative expression.
For example, their logo may have to be positioned in an exact
location in order for them to co-op the campaign.
If you are working with someone who claims to be an expert at
advertising and they know nothing about co-op dollars they are not
the expert they claim to be. Be aware.
Areas that you need to be educated on are program terms and
reimbursement schedules. In some cases it can take months to receive
reimbursement for a co-op campaign. In other cases, the company you
are cooping with will send the money directly to the media source. Be
sure to check this information out in order not to run into a cash
Advantages of co-op advertising
– Extra money to advertise
– Account executive can do the paperwork
– More frequency
Disadvantages of co-op advertising
– Restrictions by manufacturer
– No guarantee it will work
– Limited creativity in ad copy
Before making a final decision, research your options on co-op
advertising. You may be pleasantly surprised with what you discover.