An Introduction to Co-op Programs

Co-op programs or cooperative marketing programs are concepts that lots of people use, but only a few know what they really are. It’s not just about a great marketing strategy, it is about a tool that any innovative, serious, competitive company should know about and use.  It has been shown that co-op programs have three times greater sales than companies without them. It has to mean something!

Find out what co-op programs are, what they can do for you and how you can get the best use of them. Want to give you business a BIG BOOST? Keep on reading this post!

Defining co-op programs

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Co-op programs are a cost-sharing arrangement between franchisors and franchisees, manufacturers and retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers, or between any other business models, in order to promote their mutual interests and benefits, regardless of the industry. Co-op funds can be used in purchasing, marketing, advertising or services in order to promote and enhance the company’s overall market position with the primary goal of getting leads.

Benefits co-op programs can bring you

  • Cost effectiveness: By sharing the costs,  a co-op program allows you to reallocate portions of your original budget to other campaigns, or to simply double the investment’s impact.

  • Improve partners’ engagement: Sometimes, partners aren’t able to sign up for marketing initiatives, their budget just doesn’t allow them. Sharing the expenses would lighten their load and contribute to their commitment and confidence in the program.

  • Better tracking: If you are aware of the initiatives your co-op dollars are going to, you are able to track how much each partner is spending on local marketing, which ones are meeting their requirements, and which ones aren’t.

  • Sharing ideas: As all partners are involved in the production, management and overall success of the company, they are able to share their ideas in regards to how the company is running, as well as making the necessary adjustments in order to improve the performance of the company. Remember, two heads think better than one.

How to make the most of Co-ops

More than 50% of the co-op funds go unused, and this is mainly because partners don’t know what to do with them or how to get the most of them. If that’s your case, here are some tips that might be useful while designing your co-op program:

  • Establish clear goals and guidelines: Whichever goals you would like to achieve, specify them in your program. You also have to explain how you’re planning to achieve those goals and what are the rules of the game. This will help you avoid unnecessary and difficult negotiations that may fracture the relationship between partners. Forewarned is forearmed.

  • Keep it simple: Make the program easy to understand. That way it will be easier to sign-up for the program.

  • Present the program to your partners and publicize it: Get them to know it and to know what it is all about.

  • Be fair: If you are getting more from the co-op program, make sure you also invest more, That is the best incentive for all the other partners.

  • Say no to reimbursements: Most of the complaints from co-op partners revolve around co-op payouts. Chasing down receipts, filling out forms, waiting too much before getting reimbursed discourages partners from participating in co-op programs. Make your co-op funds available at the start of a program so that partners only have to pay in their part and forget about the rest.

  • Give your partners a free trial: It is hard to gain people’s approval when it comes to new strategies, but there is an offer no one can refuse, and that is, a free trial. Give your partners a chance to know co-op programs for free. Once they see the results, they will be more than ready to participate.


Now you know the importance of co-op programs. As you can see, they’re much more than just a trendy expression. Well carried co-op programs can represent an important impulse to you and your partners. So what are you waiting for?

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September 17, 2013

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