3 Co-op Program Questions Channel Marketers Should Consider - BrandMuscle
3 Co-op Program Questions Channel Marketers Should Consider
June 26, 2020
By: James Morse, Senior Director, Solutions Consultant.

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 (i.e. dealers, distributors, agents, sales reps, etc.) is a fundamental element to getting the word out about your brand’s products & 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 additional 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 in 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 (no kidding - tons of them are), phone calls, and faxes. 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, etc. All of these capabilities can be seamlessly integrated into a TCMA platform, 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 are engaging with your program and what is having 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 are making available to channel partners generating the best results.

About the Author

James Morse bridges the gap between business requirements and technical capabilities for both BrandMuscle clients and prospects in his role as Senior Sales Engineer. He has more than 10 years of experience in distributed marketing, project management, new client implementations, and co-op marketing for Fortune 500 brands. With a deep understanding of BrandMuscle’s software and services, James frequently and successfully leads large client onboardings, working directly with client stakeholders to truly understand their business objectives from start to finish. Prior to BrandMuscle, James held positions at Easy2 Technologies and Perceptis LLC. He holds a BS in Management and Economics from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.