Ditching the Spreadsheets: Why it’s Time to Rethink the Way Your Co-op is Managed - BrandMuscle

Ditching the Spreadsheets: Why it’s Time to Rethink the Way Your Co-op is Managed

By: James Morse

Nearly nine out of 10 spreadsheets contain errors, yet sifting through for the bad data is like trying to find that burned out bulb in your holiday display. It’s frustrating, tedious, and you pretty much feel it would be easier to chuck all your work in the trash and start over.

When it comes to managing co-op dollars for hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of program participants, there’s no room for mistakes. Every dollar counts, as 48% of local business partners reported having less than $500 per month to spend on marketing (2018 State of Local Marketing Report). Your local business partners need the financial support, with 86% of local businesses reporting that co-op/MDF is critical to their ability to execute local marketing.

Yet, keeping track of the varying co-op rules for the different tactics, participants or regions can be daunting. One of the challenges with managing co-op programs is the uneven distribution of funds to every local participant. There are typically different tiers of local business partners where the higher tiers earn more funds than the lower tiers. Tactics are also reimbursed differently. For example, direct mailers often have a higher eligibility than community sponsorships. In today’s world of integrated marketing, running a campaign with multiple tactics of different eligibility mixed together is a recipe for endless hours of management frosted in layers of potential for human error.

That’s why at BrandMuscle, we say it’s time to ditch the spreadsheet. You don’t have time for the complicated processes, and possibility of major errors. You need a platform that automates multiple co-op/MDF programs to apply the current rules based on the partner, their region, the tactics being executed, the products sold, etc. to ensure the correct marketing is executed with the appropriate funding from corporate. Reporting needs to clearly state which tactics are being executed and which funds are being applied to ultimately define what success is at the local level.

Having a platform that carefully keeps track of the complex nature of co-op funds will free up your time, allow your partners to get reimbursed quicker, and create opportunities to more strategically use funds to precisely execute the right tactics to the right audience at the right time.