How to Use an Advertising Co-Op Program
Many suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors offer cooperative advertising programs (co-op for short) that your business can use. The term cooperative, in this business advertising context, means just what it says: If you spend some money, the manufacturer will also spend some money — the two of you cooperate to get the advertising job done and sell that manufacturer’s product:
Talk with vendors’ sales representatives.
Even though sales reps may not be inclined to offer you information on co-op funds on their own (because of some bonus arrangement they may have with their employers), they can definitely tell you about them if you ask. If you get a positive response from one or more of these sales reps, get the lowdown on how you can go about collecting some of this money.
Talk to the marketing and/or advertising managers of suppliers who offer co-op advertising.
These people control the advertising funds (including co-op money), which means you can get your answer straight from the horse’s mouth.
Get your ads preapproved.
Manufacturers don’t just hand out co-op money as if it were candy. Before you can begin to spend any co-op money (no matter whose idea it was), you must get your ads preapproved by the manufacturer you’re working with.
Obtain proof of performance.
After you make the manufacturer’s requested changes to your ads (if there were any), you need to make sure to get what’s called proof of performance from the media, which is really just verification for your vendors that you ran the ads as you said you would.
Submit your co-op claims package.
After your ads have run and your campaign is attracting customers in droves, you just need to submit your co-op claims package. Your package includes your preapproval form, your proofs of performance, and a written request for reimbursement of the promised percentage of the campaign.