For those companies operating on a calendar year, it’s getting close to that time of year. The time of year when budgets are requested, defended, scrutinized and, ultimately, finalized before the new year begins.
For channel marketers, the budgeting process can be multifaceted, depending on the complexity of their channel program. With everything from rebates, incentives, ad builder, market development and co-op fund programs in play, the ability to demonstrate and articulate the strategic importance, value and return on investment these programs have on a brand’s marketing outcomes is critical.
As channel marketers contemplate their co-op program’s strategy, customer experience and return on investment outcomes as part of their strategic planning and budgeting process, two specific areas should be considered: compliance and effectiveness.
Dimensions of Compliance
The first dimension of compliance channel marketers should consider in terms of their co-op marketing program relates to financial reporting, especially if the company is publicly traded. To successfully ensure financial compliance within a co-op program, it’s important to partner with a technology and service provider who understands the importance of capturing and reporting accurate information.
Twenty years ago, Sarbanes Oxley changed the way companies are required to record and report financial information. Similarly, the Robinson-Patman Act of 1936 was enacted to protect small businesses from larger companies in terms of discriminatory pricing, promotional allowances and advertising.
By working with a co-op marketing technology and service provider, brands can provide their company’s finance department with direct line of site visibility to critical reporting and provide a third-party system of record that eliminates spreadsheets, improves visibility to compliance-related data and helps align divisions or departments regionally and globally, as needed.
Marketing compliance is another dimension channel marketers can use to demonstrate the value of their co-op marketing program. Utilizing a co-op platform supported by specialized support representatives allows brands to ensure their channel partners are following established brand guidelines and claims submission processes while providing comprehensive usage and consumption reporting.
Effectiveness Helps Drive ROI
Having utilization reporting readily available allows channel marketers to demonstrate program effectiveness and, ultimately, ROI, at all times of the year, but especially during annual budgeting. These insights help ensure a company’s co-op program is driving the most value for their brand(s) as well as providing useful data that can be used to maximize the overall benefit of the co-op program. For example, reimbursement percentage adjustments can be made based on data and reporting during the year or from one year to the next as part of the budgeting process.
Being able to measure and report the effectiveness of a co-op program also helps improve customer experience. The best co-op programs are those that are continually looking to maximize the share of mind and corresponding loyalty of the channel partners that ultimately deliver the sales of a company’s products and services.
The annual budgeting process is a perfect time for channel marketers to ensure their co-op fund management program is delivering strategy, customer experience and ROI outcomes, especially as it relates to financial and marketing compliance efforts, as well as program effectiveness.
About Channel Fusion
For 20 years, Channel Fusion has been delivering strategy, customer experience and return on investment outcomes for brands and their channel partners with a wide variety of solutions and industry expertise. We continue to invest in the overall ecosystem of our channel marketing offering to ensure our clients provide their partners with an optimal customer experience. Our core technologies and configurable platforms are supported by a team of customer-centric “Fusers.” Let us know if you’d like to learn more about how we deliver desired outcomes for brands and their channel partners.