3 Co-op Program Questions Channel Marketers Should Consider

James Morse | June 26, 2020

This is part 2 of the Build a Better Co-op series, read Part 1.

For brands executing local marketing, money talks. Offering co-op marketing funds to your channel partners — everyone from dealers and distributors to agents and sales reps — is a fundamental element to getting the word out about your brand’s products and services. However, building and optimizing a channel marketing program across regions, verticals, and sometimes continents, is no easy task. As you reflect on how you can help your channel partners drive awareness and sales, ask yourself these important co-op program questions when building your channel marketing strategy.

1. Is My Channel Marketing Program Driving Campaign Co-op Funds Utilization Across Tactics?

To ensure you’re developing an effective channel marketing program, it’s important to consider the tactics that are most valuable and most utilized by your channel partners. Our State of Local Marketing research found that channel partners’ top marketing priorities are using Social Media Advertising, Website/Landing Pages, Events, Email, and Direct Mail/Flyers. Now that we have the data to be more strategic about targeting buyers at the right time, it’s important that you incentivize your partners to think bigger and beyond simply “one-and-done” tactical execution. Offering your partners access to turnkey, integrated campaigns and co-op dollars to support the effort is a great way to incentivize participation and boost ROI.

2. Does My Co-op Program Provide Channel Partners the Right Tools and Support to Easily Market My Brand?

Many co-op and MDF programs are still being managed with spreadsheets, phone calls, and faxes — no kidding. If your channel partners are calling your marketing team to find out what their available co-op or MDF balances are, odds are you have a significant number of partners who aren’t advertising your brand locally or using your program at all, because they don’t know how much they can spend.

A Through-Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA) solution can change the game for marketers and their channel partners. The best TCMA solutions provide corporate marketers and their channel partners with a one-stop-shop for co-branding marketing collateral, managing co-op and MDF programs, digital asset management (DAM), events, digital and traditional marketing execution, ordering print, signage, and promotional items. A TCMA can seamlessly integrate all of these capabilities, giving your channel partners a single tool to use for all of their co-op marketing activity. When you make it easy for your partners to use your marketing assets, it increases program engagement and partner satisfaction.

3. Is Reporting Defined and Measurable?

There are two types of reporting that will help you monitor and optimize ROI. The insights you offer your channel partners should be meaningful to them, and reflect the core objectives of your full channel marketing program:

(1.) Information and insights that are most meaningful to your channel partners:

  • Used and unused co-op fund balances
  • Claim status updates
  • Co-op fund expiration dates
  • Partner scorecard ranking their utilization across all partners
  • Recommendations to improve their marketing and sales

(2.) Program reporting that enables you to be more strategic by providing insight into funds utilization and risks:

  • Total claims by tactic and/or campaign
  • Total cost by tactic and/or campaign
  • Total requested amount by tactic and/or campaign
  • Top partners by highest total cost, requested amounts, and paid amounts
  • YoY Funds Utilization

By defining these types of KPIs early on, you will gain incredible insights into how channel partners engage with your program and what has the most positive impact on their business and yours. The insights found by asking these co-op marketing questions will be key to evolving your program over time and ensuring that the co-op and MDF funds you make available to channel partners generate the best results.


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