Manufacturer / Integrator Cooperative Advertising?

For years in the CCTV Surveillance industry a few companies (the larger ones admittedly) had cooperative advertising agreements. For those new to the concept, they would pay for a portion of your advertising, you, the integrator would pay the remaining portion. Does anyone know of a manufacturer still offering this? What happened to that plan; if any manufacturers are reading I would appreciate your input.


Mark, what type of advertising do you mean?

Obviously manufacturers spend a lot of money doing 'cooperative advertising' / marketing with their distributors but part of that is because distributors publish and send out advertising to lots of people.

As for an integrator, this is less clear to me so can you give a few examples of advertising that you have in mind?

Sure. Panasonic was always good for it, and so was Vicon (back in the day). You could place an add in the local Yellow Pages and the Manufacturer would foot a portion of the bill. It was not an elaborate add, but I always thought it meaningful to have a Panasonic header with your corporate name just underneath. Simple one color, but it helped identify you with the brand. I believe RCA also offered it. They would also, under limited circumstances, participate in other print advertising.

I do understand why it has slowly faded, but it has not been replaced with anything. There are certainly other programs (lunch and learns are one) but nothing that directly identified you as a certified vendor.

There are fewer and fewer, in my opinion, that list integrators directly from their website. It would seem to me that if we get certification from a manufacturer, that should be worth at least a mention.

That makes sense. What's the equivalent today? An integrator's website? An integrator Google ad?

I have not heard about manufacturers sponsoring that, but if I was a manufacturer I could see value in ensuring that my company's name / brand was prominently featured on an integrator's website.

When I was at BOSCH it was a feature of the BCSD program. Up to $10,000.00 in cooperative marketing funds earned based on previous years purchases.

Money could be spent in almost any effort where the BOSCH approved logo was also a part.

Dealers would use it for truck marking, shirts, yellow pages.

i think it ended a few years back as it was a hard program to manage.

For those new to the concept, they would pay for a portion of your advertising, you, the integrator would pay the remaining portion.

Well, technically the integrator would pay both portions. That advertising money doesn't come for free, it typically comes from profits, which are driven by margins. Sure, in some startups the money initially comes from investors, but you still need to maintain respectable product margins.

These kinds of arrangements are mush less common today, as you noted. I think that as some product categories have commoditized and prices have dropped, there is less room left to do this.

At VideoIQ I had one customer in particular who was a big Honeywell dealer at the time. Honeywell would give him 60% off MSRP, while I would only give him 30 off. Honeywell would give him a $10,000 sponsorship for a tradeshow booth while I would only give him $1000. For a while he thought Honeywell was doing him a favor until he really started to look at what things *should* cost, and not just the discounts off inflated MSRP (related: Legal Attack on MSRP - Impact on Hikvision, Sony, Pelco, More).

Many of the larger manufacturers will still offer some kind of co-marketing dollars or help with local/specialized trade shows, but it's lower numbers and less common than it was at one time. Account managers are often measured on gross margins of their accounts. They can give you extra steep discounts, or lots of marketing dollars, but typically not both.

IMO, getting lots of marketing money is "bad" in the same way getting a tax refund is bad. If you're a larger account and you're getting lots of marketing sponsorship, you're probably not getting the best discount on your regular orders. You didn't do a good enough job managing things up front.

There are exceptions, newer dealers may find it easier to get a little bit of sponsorship money for a show or a customer-focused lunch-n-learn because the manufacturer wants to help get things off the ground. Integrators that had a banner year might get a bit of a kickback as an appreciation. If you're historically done a lot of business with me, and I (as the account manager) sense that you might be shifting your interest to a rival then I might also be able to make a case to give you some extra support to keep you loyal.

Personally, I like the new way better. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

If you really want to get sponsorship help from a manufacturer you should be prepared to push hard. Analyze your sales over the last year, look at the number of special discounts you received (if any). Look at the number of deals you originated or closed without needing a visit from the local RSM, SE, etc. If you're generating a good amount of revenue, not asking for a "1 time" discount with every deal, and not taking up the RSM's time on every order you're in a better place to ask for some co-marketing dollars.

There is more to marketing than dollars. Why, in this day and age, not have a list of integrators available on your website? I see far less of this than I did just a few years ago.

It becomes a minefield.

If you list integrators on your website it becomes an endorsement of them.

Some integrators you (as a manufacturer) would absolutely endorse. others, not so much. Some will be 180 days out on 30 day terms and you really don't want to drive any new business their way. Others know all about installing systems for school systems but will totally flub a critical infrastructure job.

Manufacturers often prefer to play matchmaker, and to also be aware of all new leads coming in instead of someone going to their website and contacting an integrator directly.

And there is the concern that rivals will use that as prospect list.

That said, there are a handful of manufacturers who have such public lists.

Loyalty is a two way street.