Five Important Co-op Marketing Program Deadlines that Reseller, Distributor, or Retailer Need to Be Aware of in Order to Prevent Funds from Expiring
In 2017, a study by Borrell Associates revealed that an estimated $70 billion cooperative advertising money (Co-op) was made available by vendors to their channel partners. Only half of this $70 billion was used by channel partners. The study outlines many reasons as to why this money was untapped by channel partners. One of the reasons is the partners’ forfeit and inability to meet the Co-op marketing program deadlines.
Every step in a Co-op program has its own requirements and a timeline for fulfilling these requirements. If you want to take advantage of Co-op funds, you need to be aware of the following 5 deadlines outlined in your vendors’ Co-op program guidelines.
1- Deadline for Submitting POS Reports
Channel Partner: When do I need to submit my POS Reports so that I can accrue funds
This step applies primarily to distributors involved with point-of-sale (POS) reporting. Let’s say you, as a partner, wants to start accruing Co-op funds. First, you will need to know when your vendor expects to have POS reports in hand.
It’s important for all channel partners to know how often their funds accrue. Funds can accrue quarterly, annually, or on a schedule pre-determined by the vendor.
2- Deadline for Submitting a Prior Approval
Channel Partner: How long do I have to submit a prior approval on available funds?
So you have accrued some funds, next comes a prior approval request(s). A significant amount of Co-op money is left on the table during this stage of the marketing program. It’s crucial for you to get the ball rolling on the claim process. Your first step is to become aware of how long you have to make a prior approval request.
It’s common for a vendor’s Co-op program to stipulate and place an expiration period on unused Co-op accruals. Whether it be a quarter, two quarters, or a year, partners need to always keep track of this period of time.
In addition to having a hard expiration date, most vendors have other criteria regarding the timelines on prior approval requests. Make sure you have closely studied your vendors’ guidelines and note all critical deadlines.
3- Deadline for Completing the Approved Marketing Activity
Channel Partner: How long do I have to complete the marketing activity?
At this point, you have already invested some time to submit a prior approval and planning a marketing activity. The last thing you would want is to do to waste your company’s time by not completing the activity on time.
In your vendors’ Co-op guideline you can find the deadline that specifies when partners need to complete the approved marketing activity.
The time period for this activity differs from vendor to vendor. To complete a marketing activity some vendors give their partners two quarters and some allow only one quarter. Exceptions for certain circumstances are also not unusual.
4- Deadline for Submitting a Claim
Channel Partner: How long do I have to submit a claim?
Almost done! The payment is in sight.
Out of all the Co-op marketing program deadlines, this stage is the most important one. You need to stay organized and not let this deadline pass by without issuing a claim.
Once vendor approves the marketing activity, you will have a certain amount of time to submit a claim form. Depending on the vendor, this number can vary (typically in days – e.g. 90 days).
If you do not meet the claim deadlines, your company will forfeit the corresponding Co-op accruals. The costs associated with all the marketing activity becomes your company’s responsibility.
5- Deadline for Receiving Payment
Channel Partner: When should I see my money?
Once your vendor approves your claim, it’s time for you to see some money. Completion of this deadline falls on the shoulders of your vendor. It’s important for you to keep track of when to expect payment.
Vendors need to disclose the maximum number of days it will take for their partners to receive payment. This is a practical way to avoid discrepancies and payments to slip through the cracks.
I know, the tough part is keeping on top of all these Co-op marketing program deadlines!
Whether you’re in the process of choosing vendors or already have vendors set in place, study their Co-op guidelines. It’s the job of your vendors to define these deadlines, it’s your job to keep track of them. Being on the same page will ensure that there are no gray areas. It will also help prevent your Co-op funds from going to waste.
Computer Market Research provides a web-based solution for channel partners that allows them to better manage their Co-op funds. This solution organizes funds and has internal processes to make sure that you get the most from your vendors’ programs.