Be an Auto Marketing Hero: The Co-op Process from Start to Finish

Be an Auto Marketing Hero: The Co-op Process from Start to Finish

For all the hang-ups and hassle, automotive co-op is super worth it.

The chance to reimburse nearly all of your advertising spending with OEM funding? It’s like a radioactive spider bit your marketing budget.

That said, it’s much more impressive and worthwhile when you can make jumping through all those co-op hoops look easy.

Here’s how to use these auto marketing superpowers to do the most good.

With Great OEM Funding Comes Co-op Responsibility

Again, there’s some real silliness you have to put up with regarding co-op (and most of it wouldn’t even be hard for co-op managers to fix). Sometimes you’ll think everything was worded perfectly — and you still won’t get approval.

Hey, even Batman thinks about hanging up the cape sometimes. But co-op does so much for your digital marketing expenses, that it’d be foolish to pass on that OEM funding.

The trick is to let the rules of co-op guide you from start to finish. Make those OEM branding concerns a mantra that guides your marketing process.

All good heroes have their rules — even auto marketing heroes.

Spider-Man won’t kill. Wolverine will do anything for his friends. You will bend over backwards for those co-op bucks.

1. Guide Your Brainstorms

Handling the confusing world of co-op gets easier when you let OEM offers guide your content ideas, instead of trying to force ideas that don’t match the promotions your OEM is pushing.

If you have a great idea for Ford Focus content, but there are no Focus incentives? Save it for next month.

And instead of just regurgitating the offers, ask yourself what value you can add to the shopper’s knowledge base, whether you’re crafting an email, a Facebook ad, or something else.

Let your ideas complement the OEM promotion, and the next step will be much easier.

2. Create Content with a Co-op Formula

I’ve heard countless people complain about limitations on things they’re creating.

Students writing papers, actors trying to deal with cumbersome props and costumes, auto marketers trying to get OEM funding — all balk at the idea that they have restrictions on what they do.

Stop thinking of limitations as ruining your blank canvas, and stop saying co-op is stifling your marketing creativity! You can be brilliant while you paint within the lines. In fact, it’s easier.

The rules outlined by your OEM should be the skeleton for your content.

When you sit down to create an email about the Chevy Equinox, you don’t have to start from scratch. Grab a successful email that got OEM funding, and strip it down to co-op basics. The disclaimer, promotional logo, and incentive phrasing can serve as your constants.

When you know you have to follow some aspect of that formula every time, things go quicker. Do you think Shakespeare knocked out 37 plays and 154 sonnets by reinventing the wheel each time?

(William Shakespeare may not fit the “superhero” motif in your opinion, but you’re wrong.)

3. Submit for OEM Funding Approval

Now your plan is laid out. But before springing it into action, make sure you follow the rules laid out by the OEM.

After all, these OEMs are offsetting your digital marketing expenses in a big way. Co-op pre-approval makes sure they’ll be happy with your representation of their brand — and that you’ll be happy with the bill!

Remember to submit for pre-approval early enough to get your campaign going. If you want to make a big push for the last ten days of Truck Month, get it to the OEM a few days ahead of time so they can process everything.

When you remember these agencies are reviewing ads, emails, and videos for every dealership in the country, it’s a little easier to cut them some slack on needing one or two days to get back to you.

4. Learn from Approval and Denial

Some days, when my workload is hectic and it seems all hope is lost, getting a green light from an OEM is one of the only things that make me crack a smile. Those approvals are all testament to having a plan and sticking to it.

Maybe you didn’t exactly save the day, but saving your dealership money feels heroic all the same. Remember, this co-op stuff isn’t exactly straightforward.

When things go the other way, and your ad or email is denied, don’t let the wind rush out of your sails. Look over what co-op took issue with, and find the solution.

Learning from each misstep is what takes you from an eccentric wearing tights to a bonafide auto marketing superhero.

And like any good hero, don’t be afraid to call for help! If you don’t know what the violation means or how to work around it, make a quick call to team up with an OEM rep and knock it out.

These folks are often more than willing to walk you through the mistake. Many will even tell you the exact wording to get your next try approved.

Get Your Co-op Senses Tingling

Like any good hero, learn from your failures and your successes, and put the goal first.

Superb co-op marketing content doesn’t compromise the needs of the OEM, your dealership, or even the customers who are going to see it.

Need even more help tackling the wild world of co-op? Have no fear! We have plenty of resources to guide you to that OEM funding.

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