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How can tech help you make the most of your co-op program?

How can tech help you make the most of your co-op program?

Updated August 31, 2022

NEW co-op blog image


More than 70% of partners operating in today’s channel marketing environment report that the mounting pressures of rising customer expectations are driving up their operational costs, and 68% report that, as expectations continue to rise, the cost of doing business will become unsustainable 

It's clear why co-op funds programs have become table stakes in channel relationships—especially for vendors attempting to expand their networks. Yet, channel partners are reportedly still using only a fraction of the funds available to them and losing out on billions in ‘free’ marketing budget.  

There are many reasons for this lack of co-op adoption. Research suggests that co-ops fail to recognize the changing requirements of partners, especially in digital media. 

The opportunity is huge for manufacturers and distributed sales forces.

Where have the missing billions gone? Let’s look at a few research insights: 

  • Only one in ten brands said mobile tech was significant in their co-op marketing strategy. 
  • About two out of every five marketers wished their channel partners would spend more on mobile search. 
  • Nearly 40 percent of small retailers weren't looking at mobile services in a serious way.  

Manufacturers, distributors, and store owners aren’t getting the most they can from their co-op program offerings, due in some part to slowness in tech adoption. Although a significant problem, this predicament also presents a considerable opportunity. 

Co-ops need real co-operation.

Digital services and tech aren’t the only reasons causing billions of dollars in co-op marketing to go to waste every year in the U.S. 

For example, adding more brains into the marketing storm causes creative differences to arise. Increased input causes more delays. Soon you’re pressed for time, the red tape gets in the way and co-op gets dropped. 

A little support from tech could remove these obstacles. Relationship issues can be managed better by creating a more transparent platform. Field requests can be answered through automated workflows.  

It only takes a few tech enhancements to make a difference. Some of the main “problems” with co-ops have the potential to become opportunities. 

Why do co-ops fail?


Stacks of incomplete paperwork due to misaligned communication channels


To turn a problem into an opportunity, you must first recognize the problem. Some of the most common causes of co-op program failure include, 

  1. Not enough resources. Bringing an extra partner into your network is one more cost to bear. If your budget is tight as it is, or time is short, you won’t have time to negotiate with another person on sales strategy. A successful co-op strategy usually equates to a higher overall marketing budget.
    Tech solution: A turn-key, fully integrated co-op funds management system offers you more control over and visibility of where your budget is heading. 
  2. Rules or restrictions between participants. Whether you’re coaching a team, participating in group work, or building a successful marriage, compromise is everything. Unfortunately, without the proper guidelines or environment for sharing of ideas, conflict occur.
    Tech Solution: Align the co-op program to your organizational goals and create better integration within your organization to reduce associated costs up to 50 percent. 
  3. Substantial paperwork requirements. More people involved simply equals more emails, reports, and invoices. If you don’t have proper, aligned communication channels to facilitate and streamline this influx, gridlock can make a co-op unbearable.
    Tech solution: Make sure your resources are scalable. If your marketing team is awash with approvals, proofing, and mundane tasks they will spend less time and effort on more strategic goals. 
  4. Sellers being unaware of what co-op funds are available. Often vendors won’t divulge their co-op budgets. Larger companies with big budgets may be able to afford to lose sight of co-op dollars that go unspent, but that isn’t always the case.

    Tech solution: Increase transparency. Hoarding all the data, insights, and content can be tempting, but sharing across a frictionless tech platform is a necessary solution.
  5. Communication breakdowns between co-op members. Your partner on the shop floor is already occupied with the many day-to-day duties of running a business. If communication is not simple, direct, and purposeful, then it becomes easy to turn away.

    Tech solution: With new tools emerging every day in business communication, there is no excuse for “crossed wires” anymore. 

What’s the right tech for your co-op?

Finding the right tech solutions for your business usually takes time, expertise, consultation, and a customized variety of software. It’s tempting to think of the task as insurmountable. 

Some fundamental features to look for in a co-op management platform: 

  • On-demand and customized—automation is vital. 
  • Scalable and resourceful. Eliminate repetitive and mundane busywork. Get it together from print to mobile. 
  • Integration with your organizations. From legal compliance to finances, make sure the tech is in step with your companies’ targets and future ambitions. 

Getting your content from idea to execution has come a long way from tiresome content management portals and web-to-print systems. As more and more co-op dollars in the U.S. move toward the digital sphere, make sure your company is keeping pace through a technology solution that has the best intelligence possible. Triptych is here to help. Click the button below to view our Feature Series Webinar on Triptych’s Co-Op Management Module.

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