More than 40% of US small businesses (SMBs) sell brands or branded products that potentially qualify for co-op funding. Local media and marketing sellers have a significant revenue opportunity in helping eligible SMBs access co-op programs. But many media sellers face execution challenges in trying to access co-op funds on behalf of advertisers. According to Greg Sterling, from the Local Search Association (LSA), roughly half of available co-op funds go unused every year.
The top obstacles according to a 2017 LSA survey were: showing a client the specific co-op opportunity for them (42%), handling the paperwork (36%), working with the brand (31%), claiming and proof of advertising (21%). LSA’s co-op database and support services exist help remove friction from the process of finding programs and accessing funds.
Co-op advertising fund users are some of the most optimistic businesses in our annual SAM™ survey. Nearly 70% of co-op fund users are planning to increase their advertising spend in 2019, compared to only 35% of the businesses in the full sample. They use a lot of different ad channels, averaging 16 different ad media channels. What do they plan to increase their spend on? TV ads topped the list of traditional media channels, while search and email were tops for digital media.
Digital is increasing in popularity with co-op fund users as video advertising, particularly YouTube, was high on the list of media they purchase with co-op funds. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – video should be included with every offer.
Don’t forget about businesses that don’t use co-op
There are many barriers to co-op fund usage and the top reasons businesses cite for not using funds are relevance to their business and unfamiliarity with co-op programs. How can a seller change this perspective? businesses said that education and a walkthrough of the process could change their minds. While a majority of businesses do not take advantage of co-op funds, many are interested. Make sure your salespeople know the process and how to find all available co-op dollars.
The SAM™ survey data as well as our local forecast data is available through BIA’s local advertising dashboard, BIA ADVantage and is offered in a searchable, downloadable format. Insights and analytical reports from the survey are also provided. Additional information about BIA’s SAM study can be found here.