How Should We Use Co-Op Marketing Money Provided By Our Leading Manufacturer?

I recently started working for an integrator that has co-op marketing money available from our leading manufacturer. Being new to this industry, I'm not sure which option(s) to pursue. We have choices from case studies, purchase lead list, webinars, print/online campaigns, public relations, etc. I'm curious to hear from anyone that has experience with co-op marketing and what has or hasn't worked for them.

1, great question!

Did your manufacturer offer any suggestions or preferences? That might help guide you as they might be happier to give you more if you do something they think is a good idea.

What I see happen most often are local events. You get a meeting room in the local golf club or high-end business hotel, invite some prominent person, talk about the future of security, etc., and invite the big security buyers in your area.

Manufacturers tend to like in person events because the local RSM can then go, mingle with people, see you are bringing in sizeable prospects, etc.

As for the other ones, I don't think lead lists, webinars, print/online campaigns, PR etc. do as much for pulling in short term business.

One PR thing that might be worth doing is that if you can spend time / hire a local PR person that can get you / your manufacturer on TV or the local newspaper, that I think the manufacturer would like and could get you validation.

Btw, with or without manufacturer money, I would do a LinkedIn ad campaign targeted at security directors in your local region. Very targeted, very inexpensive. See: LinkedIn's Emergence as a Video Surveillance Marketing Power

Thanks John, I appreciate the feedback. I haven't reached out to the manufacturer yet to get their preferences or ideas. I think both ideas are great. We've been thinking of doing lunch & learns with a mix of customers/prospects and bringing in a RSM would be very beneficial. Thanks for the LinkedIn article.

What are your goals to grow the business? Do you want to expand your territory? Expand into new vertical markets or specialities (eg: find more utility customers, or start offering access control), Do more of exactly what you do now (eg: just scale the business up), or something else?

As a quick overview:

Case Studies are nice, they typically show a powerful customer and help showcase how you solved a problem. But most manufacturers will do these for free. Once you do a case study, you do need to promote it, but that too is usually to your mutual benefit. If you have a prime customer that is willing to do a case study where you can use their name, then YOU have something valuable to the manufacturer most of the time.

Lead Lists are good, where are you purchasing from? The value of this depends on the "what do you want to do?" part. If you can get good targeted leads that fit your goals this could be valuable. I'm assuming by this you're not buying a list from the manufacturer, but instead buying a 3rd party list.

Webinars can be good, if you have the right lead list. If you're going to be offering new services, then your lead list can be your existing customers. If you're branching into new markets or areas, you'll need to get a good set of leads.

Print campaigns are kind of dead unless you can come up with something particularly unique.

PR is a separate thing, usually something done on an ongoing basis. You have a firm on retainer to help line up things like interviews on topics with news/media and so forth.

Thanks Brian,

We're looking to "just scale the business up".

I agree with you regarding the lead lists, 3rd party is the way to go but I doubt this would be covered with co-op marketing money from the manufacturer. Couldn't hurt to ask though.

PR would be a huge benefit but for it to be successful, it really takes commitment (time & money). As you said, better done on an ongoing basis.

Thanks again.

In that case, I might look into having your manufacturer kick in some money for local specialty trade shows, something that is not security focused. I've seen success at things like a home builders show, regional smaller boat shows, scrap metal shows/seminars and so forth. Put together some messaging on your solutions targeted to that market, and get one of the smaller booths/tables.