Ignoring Your Co-Op Claims Can Cause a Six-Figure Loss

September 28, 2018 / Automotive Advertising / 0 Comments /

Advertising can get expensive, there’s no arguing that. To offset some of that expense, manufacturers may offer reimbursement for certain marketing and advertising expenses for dealers. Even if you’ve heard of co-op spending before, you may be missing out on the full amount you could receive in reimbursement.

Leaving Money on the Table

Dealerships generally begin with a balance in their co-op account. Based on certain factors, a dealership can accrue more funds. It’s similar to a rewards point system. However, this isn’t just free money. Dealerships must meet certain criteria to file for co-op, and some of the guidelines can be incredibly picky.

For example, you might think that a direct mail piece done in the same style as past pieces would qualify for co-op reimbursement. Yet, if something as minute as the approved disclaimers has changed since the last time you did mail, your reimbursement claim has a good chance of getting denied.

At some dealerships, there simply isn’t the manpower to handle the heavy load of clerical work involved in properly filing co-op. It may seem easier to just spend the money and not worry with reimbursement. If that’s what you’re doing, you could very well be leaving a six-figure check on the table.

What You Gain with Co-Op

To demonstrate the benefits of properly filing co-op, we crunched some numbers and came up with our annual rate of co-op filing. Strong Automotive Merchandising collects co-op for about 95 of our clients monthly, averaging $9,000 in reimbursements per client, per month. Our total monthly claims range from $700,000 to almost $1 million.

For manufacturers, providing co-op reimbursement is a win-win situation. Dealerships are where sales occur, and without those customer sales, the manufacturer can’t stay in business. The big budgets of manufacturers help dealerships afford more advertisements.

At Strong, we have built a process for taking advantage of every co-op dollar available to our clients. In fact, our entire design process is executed with co-op in mind.

Co-Op the Strong Way

First things first, co-op filing is a free service that we provide to our clients. We have a dedicated team that handles our clients’ reimbursement each month. Our team has experience filing with every co-op eligible manufacturer, and to guarantee that our clients receive reimbursement, we pre-approve all advertising with the manufacturer’s compliance team.

We handle co-op a few different ways. First, we offer hands-off filing, in which case Strong handles all filing and management of a dealer’s co-op. Next, we give dealers the option to file co-op themselves if they prefer. We gather all receipts and materials and send to the dealers so that filing is simple and fast.

The last co-op option we offer is specific to GM dealers. We partner with a local turnkey agency, allowing GM dealers to advertise with Strong and still receive reimbursement for eligible expenses. This partnership is a huge advantage to our GM dealers.

If you’re not claiming all of your co-op, then you’re missing out on valuable money that could be used to reach even more customers. Call us today if you would like more information on how Strong does co-op.

About the author

John Paul Strong: For someone who spends an average of 135 days outside of the office meeting with clients, John Paul Strong remains the driving force behind his Birmingham-based advertising agency, Strong Automotive Merchandising. Strong began his career as a fresh-faced account executive at Martin Advertising. Learning much, but never satisfied, he convinced his father to partner with him in reopening their own advertising agency in 2004, catering exclusively to the automotive industry. The company started strong but humble. The original roster of 10 employees and eight clients has exploded today, growing to 100 full-time employees and more than 220 automotive dealers. And it hasn’t gone without notice. Along the way, Strong Automotive Merchandising has been recognized as a perennial winner in Birmingham’s Best Places to Work contest and as a Top 20 Agency among Google’s National Ad Partners. Yet, Strong still finds time to share what he’s learned along the way. As an avid writer, he has published two books in the Next Day Traffic series, along with more than 1,000 automotive-focused blog posts. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his success has been recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 “Top 40 Under 40” feature and the 2017 CEO Awards. The foundation for Strong’s career began at the University of Montevallo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and advanced public speaking. Always staying ahead of the competition, Strong later went on to study in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program. Amid all of his endeavors, Strong always makes time for what matters most – his family. He is a proud husband to Amy, and father to Lilly Grace, Anne Charlotte, Hudson, and Ford.


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