Manufacturers, distributors and retailers team up with co-op advertising.
Wouldn't it be nice if a manufacturer or distributor were to help you pay for your local advertising? The fact is, a few of them are willing to, through a practice known as co-op advertising. Though only a few companies in the outdoor industry have co-op programs, it's quite common in other industries.
Randy Schoek, marketing director for Easton Aluminum, says co-op advertising allows manufacturers to help their dealers and/or distributors advertise and promote not only a particular product, but the individual's business as well.
"For example, when you see a Chevrolet car ad, and at the end it says, 'Available at your local dealer,' and then shows a listing of dealers, that in a sense is a co-op ad," Schoek says. "Most likely Chevrolet supplied the film and also paid for a percentage of the air time. All the dealer had to do was arrange the space, buy part of the time, and be sure the right names were on the end."
That's one view of how co-op ads work. You'd get another one if you went into a shoe store and saw a Nike banner and a big photo of Michael Jordan.
Those visual components had to come from somewhere, and it's a pretty good bet that the shoe store didn't create them. More likely Nike created them, and sent them into the store by way of a co-op program.
"The store is probably a good performer," Schoek said. "They built up an allowance that Nike gives the dealer."
The same thing is true of billboards and other ads where a major national product is shown juxtaposed with a local merchant: the manufacturer or a distributor is paying for a portion of the ad.
As previously mentioned, this practice is less common in the outdoor industry than it is elsewhere. Only a few manufacturers have any kind of a co-op program. This short list includes Easton, Hoyt, Browning, Dart and perhaps one or two others. To give you an idea of how such programs work, we'll take a look at two of them, Easton's and Hoyt's.
Easton: A Two-Step Approach
Easton does not sell its products directly to retailers; instead, the company works through distributors. So when Schoek began Easton's co-op program he chose an approach that would help distributors first.
"I wanted to expose archery dealers around the country to who our distributors are, by way of print advertising," he says. He and the distributors placed ads in Shooting Industry and several other trade magazines, ads that tied Easton's name to distributors such as Norman Archery and Kinsey's Archery Products. Then he helped the distributors pay for those ads.
Second, he gives the distributors the tools to help create their own ads, and to supply ads to their dealers.
"People who don't have any advertising background need basic tools," he says. "That's one of the big benefits of our co-op program. It helps expose retailers to our distributors, and also helps them sell products."
To help distributors, Easton produces a full line-art kit that contains shaft drawings, arrow shaft selection charts, component weights and specifications and everything else the distributor needs to create ads.
Easton also uses the co-op program to help new dealers who are not yet connected with a distributor. Because Easton does not sell directly to retailers, there often is some confusion on the part of dealers about where they can purchase Easton arrow components.
Part of the purpose of the co-op program was to give distributors the ability to communicate with dealers the goods and services they offer. This might include a 24-hour turn around on orders, an in-house pro shooter to answer questions, or other special services offered their dealers.
"Now I'm trying to develop a packet of advertising materials for the dealers to use," Schoek says. "These are what I call traffic-building ads, and they're designed for the newspaper. 'Introduce your buddy to bowhunting,' or 'It's just around the corner.' Headlines like that help remind consumers that there's a cool game in town called 3-D archery, a neat sport called bowhunting. They'll help the retailer sell more products and promote the individual store."
Easton will not work directly with the retailers; rather, the company will help distributors work with them.
Hoyt: Dealer Direct
Kris Facer, marketing assistant at Hoyt, has administered the co-op program at Hoyt for the past six years. Since Hoyt sells directly to dealers, the program is quite different from the one at Easton.
"Ours is a program to help authorized Hoyt dealers sell more of our products," Facer says. "It's for the retailer who buys straight from us, not the retailer who buys our products from a distributor."
Facer says the program includes radio, television, newspaper and billboard advertising.
"Our program is based on their prior year's sales," she says. "We take a certain percentage of that and set it aside for the dealer to use for his advertising budget." Rather than send the dealer a direct payment, Facer issues a credit memo.
Then, the retailer writes his or her ad and submits it to Facer for approval. If the ad meets the criteria Hoyt has established for co-op ads, Facer authorizes the ad to be paid through the co-op program.
For newspaper ads, for example, the ad must be for Hoyt products only. It must show the Hoyt logo in the illustration and be a minimum of seven column inches in size. Radio ads also must be exclusively for Hoyt products and must mention Hoyt three times in a 30-second ad or six times in a 60-second ad.
"We leave it up to the dealer to be creative for their own territories," she says.
Facer does have black and white photos of Hoyt products available for use by dealers.
"We have so many products that it would be hard to provide art on all of them," she says. "So I ask the dealers to let me know what they want."
Facer feels that co-op advertising offers both Hoyt and the dealers several advantages.
"First, it's better brand recognition," she says. "And we hope it creates more traffic in their stores. It gives back some of the dollars the retailer is spending on our product to help them advertise and promote their shops, so it's a benefit to them to sell Hoyt."
The Bottom Line
So what does all this mean for the shooting industry?
"I'm a firm believer in advertising," Schoek says. "I believe that if you repeat a message enough, with some benefits to that message, it helps promote the sport. And that's really the whole point. It's not only to preserve our market share, it's to bring new participants to the sport of archery."
For information on these co-op programs, contact:
Randy Schoek Marketing Director Easton Aluminum 5040 W. Harold Gatty Dr. Salt Lake City, UT 84116 (801) 539-1400
Kris Facer Marketing Assistant Hoyt USA Archery 475 N. Neil Armstrong Rd. Salt Lake City, UT 84116 (801) 363-2990
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|Title Annotation:||cooperative advertising|
|Date:||Aug 1, 1994|
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