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Shotguns and Sniper Rifles: The Maneuvers of Co-op Advertising

by Maronda Dowdy on August 31st, 2011

When you’re a single store owner or franchisee in an advertising co-op with other franchisees, pooling your ad dollars can sometimes be a tough pill to swallow. After all, it may feel like you’re spending your hard-earned money to benefit other stores when you need to make a bigger impact locally.

Yet, at the same time, you know that building your company’s brand requires some major ammunition. Achieving top-of-mind awareness and making a positive connection with your target audience takes more ad dollars than one store typically has at its disposal. In short, to win the marketing war against your competition, you need both shotguns and sniper rifles.

Deciding how much “ammo” to allocate to each type of weapon is important. Although there are no hard and fast rules to determine the appropriate ad contribution levels from each member of a “co-op fund,” we have found that there are several important questions to consider:

1)      What are the primary “mass media” vehicles that reach a large percentage of the markets where stores are located?

2)      What is your current share of voice in your designated markets compared to that of the competition?

3)      Can a fair system of comparing market coverages to determine respective ad contributions to a “co-op fund” be developed?

4)      How can you maximize impact of “local ad dollars” allocated to individual store markets? Are there appropriate local partnerships (schools, sports, teams, etc.), highly visible community events, or other logical tie-ins with your client’s business that make the most sense to explore?

Once a system has been developed for determining appropriate co-op contributions from each store, it also may be helpful to establish a set of guidelines governing the use of ad dollars, maintaining consistent use of the company logo/tagline, and defining what will be considered “approved” or “measurable” advertising expenditures.

By taking a look at each store’s budget, fairly assessing their appropriate contributions to the co-op fund and, finally, doing the homework it takes to research individual markets and recommend appropriate advertising strategies in each, it’s possible to develop an ad plan with all guns firing – one that achieves results for the company as a whole and for each individual store owner or franchisee as well.

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