Your Guide to The Complicated World of Product & Co-op Marketing

The 3 main aspects of product and co-marketing to help you navigate this jungle

Working as a partner or reseller with big software companies such as Microsoft, Oracle and IBM or big Lo-Tech companies like Dorot Control Valves can be daunting, especially when each company has completely different rules and guidelines regarding the marketing of their products.

This type of marketing calls for a wider set of marketing skills and marketers often need to act more like managers and sales people than content and brand creators. In this post we will look at the 3 main aspects of product and co-marketing to help you navigate this jungle.

Writing and submitting your co-op marketing plan:

In developing a plan for a co-op marketing campaign you need to think about strategy and management. Both are important, but together they will enable you to drive sales and execute successful marketing efforts. A good marketing plan will also ensure that you get your rebate from the manufacturer. Here are some of the points you need to think about:

  • The manufacturer’s co-op marketing guidelines: Find out what they are and make sure you   adhere to them.
  • Define your marketing channels: media, telemarketing, sales, social marketing. What will work best for the products you plan to sell?
  • Define your budget: You know what needs to be done; it’s time to look at the costs. Take into account not only the funds you have available but also the funds offered by the manufacturer according to the terms of your partnership. This will ensure that you maximize your budget to support a more robust marketing strategy.
  • Set your targets and projections: have a clear but realistic idea of financial targets you can achieve. It’s important to remember –  you absolutely must reach your targets in order to claim your rebate! Set your targets after careful planning and research; it’s crucial to the future of your relationship with the manufacturer.
  • Process manufacturer paperwork: from submitting your plan to claiming your rebate, make sure you have the resources to deal with the “red tape”. It’s important for your relationship with the manufacturer and for the future of your business as a partner and distributor. It’s important to have a thorough knowledge of the manufacturers’ regulations so that you do not include any marketing activities that will not be approved.

Marketing methods to help you reach your financial targets:

So, your plan has been approved, that’s great! Now it’s time to do the heavy lifting. Develop the right message, creative or sales pitch for each channel and keep your finger on the pulse. Always measure your results; maybe even carry out some tests before launching more widely. Do more of what works and get rid of anything that’s slowing you down.

It’s also important to know the current market climate, do people have money to spare or do they want to get a bang for their buck? Taking everything into account, be clear on how you want to position yourself in the market. The manufacturer might also have some guidelines regarding market positioning as well as information from previous campaigns in other territories that might help you in yours.

Navigating rebate programs:

Rebate programs are put in place by the manufacturer in order to reward partners who have succeeded in reaching their targets.  As a reseller, you can get back some of the funds you’ve put up for your marketing campaign, if it was a successful campaign that reached its targets. These funds can only be used for further marketing activities, giving you a great opportunity to grow and expand your business.

Often, resellers don’t claim the money they’ve worked so hard to earn, due to the complicated nature of filling in the paperwork and making the claim. It is essential to ensure you have the resources to deal with this “red tape”, it will strengthen your relationship with the manufacturer and it will enable your business to grow. If you don’t have the resources or the “know how” to do this, get help from a marketing agency that already has a standing relationship with the manufacturer and can help you expedite this process.

Generally, co-op marketing is all about building a good relationship with the manufacturer. Make sure to be completely transparent in your activity and notify the manufacturer of your efforts, their results and whether or not you are reaching your targets. Let the company know which products are more successful, which products are going to market and what strategies work best.

It can also be extremely helpful to develop strong relationships with the manufacturer’s in house marketing team and sales team. This will boost your credibility and show your customers that your campaign is endorsed and encouraged by the manufacturer directly.

That’s it for now! We hope the overview has been a good introduction to the complexities of this type of marketing and that it will help you get started in the best possible way.

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