Let’s start with the basics. Co-op advertising is when advertisers pay retailers for all or part of the cost of the advertisement. The symbiotic relationship between the retailers and the brands sold within their stores extends to the ads that run aimed at attracting shoppers. The media is typically print, radio or television although some digital media is included. In this way, the media can become far more efficient than if the plan was executed by only one party. This can be a significant benefit to smaller retailers stocking well known products and product-advertisers looking to gain market-share.
More and more, opportunities for co-op advertising comes from unrelated brands. In those cases it’s clear that the benefit of working together comes from the ability to reach a similar or overlapping audience. Special thanks to TrueBlood and Monster.com for the example below.
Benefits to co-op advertising can include:
- A more efficient and farther-reaching media plan at a less expensive budget.
- Extending your media plan into mediums you may not have previously considered.
- Higher quality advertising (should you not be able to afford an agency or high quality independent designers).
- Brand association that goals along with your brand/product showing up with another.
With careful planning, timing that may coincide with larger efforts (e.g. sales, rebates, launches, etc.) co-op advertising can be a viable addition to a media plan.
There are however, a number of pitfalls that novice marketers should be careful to avoid.
- Be sure that you know exactly where your brand will be used, that you have a way of ensuring you’re receiving the exposure you’re paying to receive and that you have the ability to review the ad before it runs.
- Don’t pay to run in circulars that have no readership.
- Don’t pay to run on websites that don’t make sense. Advertising on shopping mall websites has limited value because those websites don’t receive as much traffic as you’d expect.