The speed of change is impacting every aspect of your dealership and the inability to keep up is costing dealers money at every level. Take Co-Op. Co-Op compliance policies used to be updated every couple of years, but now we see updates on an almost monthly basis. Similarly, reimbursement opportunities and timelines are emerging and going away on a quarterly basis.

Too many dealers are struggling to keep up and are leaving Co-Op dollars on the table. Big dollars. With many OEMs offering 100% reimbursement, a dealer with a $50,000 budget available to spend on Co-Op eligible marketing, could increase their budget to $100,000. However, if you aren’t up to date on these changes, you would miss out on thousands of dollars in the previous example.

The burden doesn’t have to be carried by you if you are partnering with vendors who have their finger on the Co-Op pulse. Your vendors should want your people resources to be having conversations that sell cars and not trying to keep up with OEM policies and eligibility for extra funds.

Here are 5 crucial questions to ask your vendors to keep pace with Co-Op changes and to ensure you’re not leaving Co-Op dollars on the table.

The speed of change is impacting every aspect of your dealership and the inability to keep up is costing dealers money at every level. Take Co-Op. Co-Op compliance policies used to be updated every couple of years, but now we see updates on an almost monthly basis. Similarly, reimbursement opportunities and timelines are emerging and going away on a quarterly basis.

Too many dealers are struggling to keep up and are leaving Co-Op dollars on the table. Big dollars. With many OEMs offering 100% reimbursement, a dealer with a $50,000 budget available to spend on Co-Op eligible marketing, could increase their budget to $100,000. However, if you aren’t up to date on these changes, you would miss out on thousands of dollars in the previous example.

The burden doesn’t have to be carried by you if you are partnering with vendors who have their finger on the Co-Op pulse. Your vendors should want your people resources to be having conversations that sell cars and not trying to keep up with OEM policies and eligibility for extra funds.

Here are 5 crucial questions to ask your vendors to keep pace with Co-Op changes and to ensure you’re not leaving Co-Op dollars on the table.

1

What are the most up-to-date Co-Op policies and submission guidelines? 

Checking in weekly is a best practice to stay compliant and verify submission deadlines. Steps like adhering to logo and whitespace requirements, obtaining pre-approval, and submitting frame-by-frame screenshots of artwork vary by OEM and must be rigorously followed. These requirements are also changing at incredible speed. For example, many OEMS have switched from updating annually to quarterly and some even monthly.

Your vendors should also be keeping an eye on paperwork deadlines. Most OEMs require Co-Op paperwork be submitted within 60 days of campaign launch. Miss the deadline and all the time and money spent to accrue Co-Op dollars goes right out the window.

Application: Ask your vendors how frequently they are monitoring OEM policy changes. Settle on nothing less than monthly.

1 What are the most up-to-date Co-Op policies and submission guidelines? 

Checking in weekly is a best practice to stay compliant and verify submission deadlines. Steps like adhering to logo and whitespace requirements, obtaining pre-approval, and submitting frame-by-frame screenshots of artwork vary by OEM and must be rigorously followed. These requirements are also changing at incredible speed. For example, many OEMS have switched from updating annually to quarterly and some even monthly.

Your vendors should also be keeping an eye on paperwork deadlines. Most OEMs require Co-Op paperwork be submitted within 60 days of campaign launch. Miss the deadline and all the time and money spent to accrue Co-Op dollars goes right out the window.

Application: Ask your vendors how frequently they are monitoring OEM policy changes. Settle on nothing less than monthly.

2

Are there any special discounts or upcoming opportunities for additional Co-Op dollars?

TThroughout the year, most OEMs offer additional Co-Op dollars based on sales forecasts, which is a great way to get more bang for your buck – especially in years like 2020. Many OEMs offer seasonal promotions when they add more Co-Op contributions to your advertising. Similarly, OEMs have certain available windows where a dealer must use those valuable accruals of Co-Op funds.

Most dealers do not have enough time during a week to analyze Co-Op funds to understand what is available and if any funds are dangerously near expiration. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Client Command® Co-Op team helped identify deadline extensions resulting from the Q2 economic shutdown. Your partners must be active participants in an open dialogue to stay on top of these changes and help make sure the funds accrued do not get washed down the drain. Which leads into the next question…

Application: If you haven’t analyzed your Co-Op spend in the past 60 days, do it now. Partner with your vendors to be proactive about special events, programs and meeting accrual deadlines.

2 Are there any special discounts or upcoming opportunities for additional Co-Op dollars?

Throughout the year, most OEMs offer additional Co-Op dollars based on sales forecasts, which is a great way to get more bang for your buck – especially in years like 2020. Many OEMs offer seasonal promotions when they add more Co-Op contributions to your advertising. Similarly, OEMs have certain available windows where a dealer must use those valuable accruals of Co-Op funds.

Most dealers do not have enough time during a week to analyze Co-Op funds to understand what is available and if any funds are dangerously near expiration. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Client Command® Co-Op team helped identify deadline extensions resulting from the Q2 economic shutdown. Your partners must be active participants in an open dialogue to stay on top of these changes and help make sure the funds accrued do not get washed down the drain. Which leads into the next question…

Application: If you haven’t analyzed your Co-Op spend in the past 60 days, do it now. Partner with your vendors to be proactive about special events, programs and meeting accrual deadlines.

3

What lesser known opportunities are available beyond typical new car advertising?

Many dealers equate Co-Op compliance and reimbursement with new car advertising. Yes, Co-Op is a joint advertising venture with the OEM that can be used to promote model launches and move specific vehicles. But the goal is to convert more shoppers into buyers and as consumer expectations and journeys change, new opportunities are emerging.

Two opportunities should be on your radar : 1) Service and 2) Certified Pre-Owned.

1) Certified Pre-Owned (CPO): Most OEMs offer Co-Op reimbursement for CPO advertising in some form. For example, when CPO is positioned with new inventory, advertising is 100% reimbursable for Chevrolet. BMW has entirely separate funds available for CPO.

2) Service: Nearly half of the vehicle manufacturers, including all of the big three, offer Co-Op reimbursement for service advertising. For some, these claims can be 100% reimbursable. News to you? That’s because these programs are run completely separate and outside of the standard Co-Op submission process.

Application: Understand what is available in CPO and Service. Then, look at your dealership strategy and align available Co-Op funds to help fuel your goals.

3 What lesser known opportunities are available beyond typical new car advertising?

Many dealers equate Co-Op compliance and reimbursement with new car advertising. Yes, Co-Op is a joint advertising venture with the OEM that can be used to promote model launches and move specific vehicles. But the goal is to convert more shoppers into buyers and as consumer expectations and journeys change, new opportunities are emerging.

Two opportunities should be on your radar : 1) Service and 2) Certified Pre-Owned.

1) Certified Pre-Owned (CPO): Most OEMs offer Co-Op reimbursement for CPO advertising in some form. For example, when CPO is positioned with new inventory, advertising is 100% reimbursable for Chevrolet. BMW has entirely separate funds available for CPO.

2) Service: Nearly half of the vehicle manufacturers, including all of the big three, offer Co-Op reimbursement for service advertising. For some, these claims can be 100% reimbursable. News to you? That’s because these programs are run completely separate and outside of the standard Co-Op submission process.

Application: Understand what is available in CPO and Service. Then, look at your dealership strategy and align available Co-Op funds to help fuel your goals.

4

How much of my Co-Op money is available for digital?

As more and more of the car buying process moves online, offering at least some Co-Op reimbursement for compliant digital and email marketing is the norm. And for some, like Kia and Ford, they have % of ad buy requirements for digital media. Ford’s program requires 75% ad spend on digital for all but the highest volume Ford dealers. You must know the digital specifications in order to build marketing campaigns that earn you money back. It pays to stay on top of changing requirements. Dealers who do it successfully could get 100% of marketing reimbursed.

Application: Strategize with your partners to evaluate if the marketing solutions offered maximize your digital spend. Your best option is to leverage your Co-Op dollars with partners who have omni-channel solutions that work across all devices and channels.

4 How much of my Co-Op money is available for digital?

As more and more of the car buying process moves online, offering at least some Co-Op reimbursement for compliant digital and email marketing is the norm. And for some, like Kia and Ford, they have % of ad buy requirements for digital media. Ford’s program requires 75% ad spend on digital for all but the highest volume Ford dealers. You must know the digital specifications in order to build marketing campaigns that earn you money back. It pays to stay on top of changing requirements. Dealers who do it successfully could get 100% of marketing reimbursed.

Application: Strategize with your partners to evaluate if the marketing solutions offered maximize your digital spend. Your best option is to leverage your Co-Op dollars with partners who have omni-channel solutions that work across all devices and channels.

5

What tracking do you provide and how do you measure ROI for Co-Op dollars?

As the digital requirement in Co-Op continues to grow, so does the necessity for 100% transparency in ad spend and performance for your marketing dollars. The opportunity for digital waste and fraud has been well-documented. Don’t be a victim of waste. This requires you be diligent in holding your partners accountable in how they are investing these digital ad dollars.

Application: Make sure the partners you choose can track the dollars spent, create visual graphics of campaign performance, and provide meaningful reports detailing Co-Op reimbursements.

5 What tracking do you provide and how do you measure ROI for Co-Op dollars?

As the digital requirement in Co-Op continues to grow, so does the necessity for 100% transparency in ad spend and performance for your marketing dollars. The opportunity for digital waste and fraud has been well-documented. Don’t be a victim of waste. This requires you be diligent in holding your partners accountable in how they are investing these digital ad dollars.

Application: Make sure the partners you choose can track the dollars spent, create visual graphics of campaign performance, and provide meaningful reports detailing Co-Op reimbursements.

It’s estimated that only about 20% of dealers maximize Co-Op opportunities. You don’t have to fall into the 80% who leave money on the table. If you haven’t evaluated Co-Op at the rate policies are changing, that has to be top of mind. Take inventory and challenge your vendor partners to do their due diligence to be experts and turnkey providers on your behalf. As the industry becomes more and more competitive, staying up-to-date on the frequently changing Co-Op landscape will put much needed marketing dollars back in your pocket.

It’s estimated that only about 20% of dealers maximize Co-Op opportunities. You don’t have to fall into the 80% who leave money on the table. If you haven’t evaluated Co-Op at the rate policies are changing, that has to be top of mind. Take inventory and challenge your vendor partners to do their due diligence to be experts and turnkey providers on your behalf. As the industry becomes more and more competitive, staying up-to-date on the frequently changing Co-Op landscape will put much needed marketing dollars back in your pocket.

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