How Ford Co-Op Changes Will Help Your Dealership Marketing

How Ford Co-Op Changes Will Help Your Dealership Marketing

We’ve long praised Ford for its digital-focused co-op program. And it just keeps getting better. This week, Ford made an announcement that caused quite a celebration around the 9 Clouds office.

Ford doubled the amount of money available in the co-op pool and improved the payoff for dealers that invest in digital marketing efforts.

Read on to find out exactly what’s changing and how it can impact your marketing strategy.

Changes to Ford Co-op in July 2018

We got a chance to review the internal memo sent out to Ford dealers.

Here’s what the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) says regarding what’s changing about the Tier III Ford co-op program, starting on July 1, 2018:

  • Spending guidelines are changing from 50% digital / 50% traditional to 75% digital / 25% traditional. Ford is clearly putting an emphasis on inbound tactics over outbound, which we think make a far superior customer experience.
  • The Search Impression Share guidelines Ford implemented back in 2016 are gone (cue major celebration 🎉). We found this requirement more limiting than encouraging for dealers, and I’m excited to hear Ford’s reason for stepping it back:
    • “As more Dealers adopt and use the FordDirect Websites, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Organic results will improve and dependency on Paid Search will decrease.”
    • …Meaning, the impression share you own on AdWords is no longer the only litmus test Ford will use to determine your success.
  • Magazines, circulars, cinema, and sponsorship events will no longer be co-op eligible. Goodbye, print. 👋
  • Newly eligible mediums include in-store Wi-Fi, chat and text tools, CGI, and website language translation. I’m especially encouraged by the last one, as it shows a move toward inclusivity that other OEMs should adopt as well.

Our favorite part? Third-party providers (like 9 Clouds) are 100% eligible for reimbursement, as long as we follow the co-op rules appropriately. (Which we are really good at.)

What This Means for Your Dealership

If you’re a Ford dealer, this essentially means more free money in your marketing budget.

Ford co-op funding will increase from .25 to .50 point per vehicle. Ford says the average funding amount per vehicle will grow from approximately $90 to $180 per vehicle. This means more money to spend on a well-crafted digital marketing strategy.

For Tier III marketers, you should be focused on telling your dealership’s story. Why buy this Ford at your store? Funneling users through blog posts, email, and corresponding ad campaigns allows you to explain what makes your business remarkable.

With more than 90% of car purchases starting online, digital marketing isn’t an optional expense anymore. Ford’s latest announcement shows it understands the modern buyer’s journey.

How 9 Clouds Can Help

There’s no reason your dealership shouldn’t let the OEM help fund your marketing expenses through co-op programming.

But we get it. The pre-approvals, the reporting, the minutiae of the disclaimers . . . co-op can get confusing!

If you’re overwhelmed with the co-op process, reach out to our team of digital marketing experts. We can review your current marketing and offer recommendations for future improvements — including places to better use your co-op dollars.