How Can 9 Clouds Help Clean Up the Messy World of Co-op Funds?

How Can 9 Clouds Help Clean Up the Messy World of Co-op Funds?

The world of automotive co-op can be pretty confusing.

Co-op funds are the bread and butter of a dealership’s budget. Not only does co-op account for nearly a third of dealership ad budgets, it also helps maintain new-car inventories (since manufacturers typically reimburse in store credit).

Despite the importance of automotive co-op, two-thirds of dealers call the co-op process “complex.” Two out of five even consider it “frustrating.”

Do you agree?

Why Automotive Co-op Is So Confusing

Let’s face it: relationships are messy. When you throw money into the mix, they get even messier.

The relationship between auto dealerships and their original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) is complicated enough without the headache blessing of co-op.

Co-op programs are meant to connect the sales and marketing efforts of the local dealership and national OEM. By offering reimbursement to dealers who comply with their co-op rules, the OEM seeks to create cohesive advertising campaigns.

The problem? Those co-op rules are often way too restrictive.

Obstacles to Dealer Participation in Co-op

According to research sponsored by Netsertive and Borrell, the number-one obstacle to participation in automotive co-op was “too many rules/restrictions.”

Close behind were “too much paperwork” and “program rules changed too often.”

Obstacles to Participation in Co-op

If your dealership is like many of our clients, you spend a lot of energy on co-op approval. Sometimes, it seems like it takes more time to get an ad or email approved by co-op than it takes to actually create the content.

We get that the messaging between dealers and OEMs needs to stay consistent — but all that back-and-forth can get extremely tedious. Can we get an amen?

Dealers’ Attitude Toward Dealing with OEMs

Although dealers certainly have their gripes about co-op, they’re still grateful for the funding.

In the same study by Netsertive and Borrell, most dealers found their relationship with OEMs to be “cooperative” and “rewarding,” while few found it “insignificant.”

Dealers' View of Relationship with OEMs for Co-Op Funds

Clearly, co-op is important. But it’s not without drawbacks.

How to Deal with Your Co-op Frustration

So what can dealers do to bridge the gap between the benefits and frustrations of automotive co-op?

Our best advice is to link your co-op funds to a complete inbound auto marketing strategy. 

Go All In with Digital Marketing

Between dealerships and OEMs, more than half of automotive advertising dollars are now spent on digital media.

That trend will only continue as car buyers increasingly look to the Internet as their most-trusted resource. According to research by Google, Millard Brown Digital, and Polk, 19 of the 24 actions that shoppers take before buying a vehicle are digital.

To succeed in the new digital landscape, dealers need to focus their co-op efforts on paid digital ads, email marketing, and other inbound strategies.

Digital advertising + paid search for auto dealers

Get Co-op Help from 9 Clouds

When it comes to co-op funds, don’t just take a shot in the dark. Enlist the help of someone who can help you turn on the lights.

At 9 Clouds, we specialize in digital advertising for auto dealers. Not only do we know how to create effective, splash-making ads for both search engine marketing (SEM) and social media display (SMD), we know how to get those ads approved by co-op — often on the first try.

To see how we can help your dealership, start with our free digital audit, where we’ll review your online presence for possible areas of improvement. Even if you decide not to work with us, we’ll offer you some free digital marketing tips for your store.

If you want to take the relationship further, know that we’re willing to go to bat for you in the game of automotive co-op.

Let us deal with co-op for you. That way, you can get back to the important business of selling cars.