The Sphere 1 Women’s Executive Group (WEG) has discussed some best practices on how to use co-op dollars! This is a great opportunity to collaborate marketing efforts and strengthen partnerships throughout the year, but you need to start now. Get the benefit of pairing your own brand with a larger, well-known brand, and use the money you earned to do it! And once you get your co-op process in place, it just gets easier every year.
Some of you may ask, what is co-op? Simply put, co-op stands for cooperative marketing dollars, where Members and Suppliers share the cost of advertising to increase business. These could come in the form of flyers, event booth sponsors, digital assets, spiffs, co-branded swag etc. This is a great way to stretch your marketing budget and maximize your efforts.
Not every co-op program is created equal. Not all vendors offer co-op, and but more than 70% of Sphere 1 Suppliers do. Each Suppliers’ policies are different, so please check your Sphere 1 programs for more details.
Since there is always a level of scrambling involved, here are few tips to help ease that process for both Members and Suppliers.
Suppliers – Don’t ignore the smaller distributors. Co-op can help drive product and ultimately grow your accounts.
- How do I find out which Sphere 1 Suppliers offer co-op?
- Go on the Sphere 1 website and download the Agreement Summary on the Supplier Listing page. This will give you a quick glance at the Suppliers that do offer co-op. If you are looking for more information, you can refer to the Supplier’s Rebate Program.
- If you need a co-op report that shows the Suppliers that you have done business with, please contact Sphere 1, and we can easily create that report for you.
- Reach out to your Sales Rep or Supplier Primary Contact to talk about their co-op program.
- When is the best time to discuss or redeem co-op?
- Don’t wait – discuss co-op with your Sales Rep now for the year.
- Or you can mark your calendars for the beginning of the year (January / February), June AND October. Some Suppliers have it for current year purchases rather than previous year. You might have more co-op than you think!
- Have it as a checklist item when you talk about GFG or in your quarterly conversations, so you don’t miss it!
- As soon as you use your co-op, submit a claim immediately to get reimbursed. Some vendors have a deadline to submit within 60 days.
- In many cases, you do need pre-approval before you use the co-op and submit a claim.
- How do Suppliers communicate their co-op policy and co-op balance throughout the year?
- You would need to reach out to your Sales Rep each quarter for an update. It’s not an automatic update to Members.
- The best way is to let your Rep know what you need for the year. That way, they can update you on your balance ahead of time.
- Even if co-op is only $250, how do Members not waste co-op?
- The key is to start the conversation at the start of the year, so there are no surprises at the end of the year. Don’t let your co-op bucket go empty when you need it most!
- The easiest items to plan for would be your annual events and promotions, as those things can easily come off the top of your co-op funds. After you know what you can set off to the side, you can then figure out what you have left to spend with your Rep.
- How do you transition from the traditional co-op ads (radio, newspaper, flyers) to digital ads (pay per clicks, Google, social media)?
- Online advertising could be a little daunting for newcomers, but it’s a great way to grow your business.
- Discuss with your Sales Rep the following items:
- Who is the right person to contact for digital advertising?
- What digital platforms you would like to use? Google? Facebook? Website?
- What specific items you would like to do? Social media ads? Pay Per Click?
- To avoid going back and forth, know what the requirements are ahead of time, so you can submit your internet claims properly.
- What can I use co-op for?
- The goal for co-op is to drive mutual business. Our Sphere 1 Suppliers are flexible and will do what they can to support you, but they want to be included in the initial conversation.
- Here are some ideas for co-op:
- Traditional Advertising
- Newspapers, Magazine Ads, Flyers, Mailings, Billboards
- Radio and TV Commercials
- Branded Apparel
- Displays, Demo Units
- Open Houses, Customer Drawings, Local Events, Sales Spiffs
- Wraps / Multiple Logos on Shared Space – Call Supplier ahead of time and let them know you would like to use your co-op dollars on “xyz.” Please give the Supplier an opportunity to help promote their product if you’re going to put their logo in it.
- Holidays, flash promos
- End of year push
- Digital Advertising
- Paid Search or Social Media Ads (i.e. Pay Per Clicks, Facebook Ads)
- Email Campaigns
- Who should I contact about co-op funds?
- Suppliers – Please contact the Member-Owner or Sphere 1 Primary Contact as your first touch.
- Members – Please reach out to your Sales Rep or your Sphere 1 Supplier Primary Contact for the initial conversation on co-op.
Even though co-op might not be the top item on your “wish I can get to” list, don’t make it a missed opportunity to successfully promote your business. Since our vendors are picking up some of the costs, spend some time to align your marketing efforts and take advantage of those funds to help you dominate your local market with the products or services our Sphere 1 Suppliers can provide you.
And don’t forget – planning is key! It’s a win/win for you and our Sphere 1 Suppliers!