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Has Your Co-Op Advertising Program Gone Digital?

BrandMuscle Marketing Written by: BrandMuscle Marketing

A majority of consumers now turn to the web for researching and shopping goods and services, but not all channel partners use these tactics to promote your brand at the local level. In fact, our 2014 State of Local Marketing report found that despite high awareness of social and digital media tactics, adoption rates were growing at a much slower pace than expected. The reasons most commonly cited by re-sellers: "it is too complicated" or "it is too time consuming."

From a marketer's viewpoint, a well-designed digital campaign is both cost effective and easier to measure compared with traditional media. So one would think that brands would emphasize these digital tactics at the local level. Equipping local channel partners with  content, support and incentives for using digital tactics pushes them in the right direction and does so in a way that's most advantageous for your national brand as well as the local affiliate:

3 ways co-op programs can support digital marketing

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1. Provide Support for local partners to place their ads. Many local affiliates need advice and assistance with media planning – especially in the newer and ever-changing digital arena. Targeting, placing and optimizing local media spend on paid search, display ads, social media and email are vastly different than traditional media, so even marketing veterans can use sound advice from the right digital marketing expert. Even the best creative is render useless if it doesn't reach the right audience with enough frequency.

2. Provide Content. Make sure local channel partners have easy access to your brand's creative elements. Use ad templates that allow local partners to make the message their own and organize it in a simple, searchable library so they can find the right digital assets for their markets that drive the offer you want. For instance, branded banner ads for retargeting, landing pages or e-brochures might work for a business-to-business partner, while email templates, microsites and social media advertising might be more appropriate for a consumer audience. Make sure what you offer is sized correctly and can deliver the best call-to-action to drive your local results.

3. Lastly – but most importantly for your local partner – provide a financial Incentive for your local partners to invest in your brand with a digital campaign using your co-op advertising funds or other local program funds. From our experience, offering to share the expense of marketing, reimburse placement costs or reward marketing success is a crucial element to the local marketing puzzle. The easier it is for your local partners to claim marketing funds from corporate, the more funds they will use to advertise your products. Since digital marketing is ordered online, it only make sense for co-op funds and reimbursement to be handled via online order systems with automatic fund deductions. Cash-flow challenged partners who cannot afford to wait out the traditional claim reimbursement method will appreciate this convenience and the investment in creative templates and media support will benefit.

Digital marketing is complex and continuously changing. It’s not easy for marketing managers to keep up, let alone local partners. Spread across a distributed network of independent partners, the complexity of digital marketing can lead to confusion and inaction -- both weaknesses your competitors will feed from as they reach your customers in these new and often more efficient channels.

So what’s the best way to take advantage of these complicate new channels?

Survey says "Keep it Simple." By supporting these three key areas, your local partners will have what they need to be successful with local digital marketing. That’s what we do for our clients and that’s what's working. Want to learn more? Send us a note.

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