Improving or increasing co-op or market development fund program adoption and utilization can be a challenge for some brands and an obstacle to delivering desired channel program outcomes. To address this challenge, Channel Fusion has developed an enhanced support program that provides an additional level of channel partner assistance.
By deploying trusted co-op program advisors that are assigned to specific dealers or distributors on a one-to-one basis, Channel Fusion is able to help brands streamline the co-op program processes, promote increased marketing spend and enhance communications with their channel partners.
At its core, the program and its trusted advisors provide an innovative approach to customer service and success that allows dealers to receive additional assistance with co-op program activities. Each dealer has their own dedicated advisor to assist with their co-op needs. These advisors help dealers who perform all or portions of their own marketing efforts and struggle with the co-op process or the corresponding workload related to marketing and co-op program participation.
Started as a Pilot Program
The program was started in 2021 when Channel Fusion worked with a pilot group of 33 dealers who were new to a client’s co-op program. The objectives for the pilot program were:
- Provide direct support to dealers to support their marketing needs by assigning a dedicated trusted customer support advisor
- Ensure the co-op claim submission and reimbursement process was as smooth and seamless as possible
- Increase co-op fund utilization in a dealer’s local market
- Enhance and increase the frequency of dealer communications related to co-op program spend, updates to program guidelines and proactive outreach regarding updated processes, such as claim submission and reimbursement
Prior to pursuing the pilot program, the Channel Fusion team worked with their client contacts to determine the success criteria for the program and how it would be measured. Ultimately, the decision was made to use budget utilization among the pilot group of dealers as the measurement for success. In other words, did the enhanced level of service increase budget utilization among participating dealers? The answer was a resounding, yes!
With the success of the pilot program in 2021, the program was expanded in 2022 to include dealers at, or above, a specific earned co-op budget level. If a dealer was at or above this level, they were eligible to take advantage of the enhanced service level offered by Channel Fusion. Eighty-three dealers are now participating in the program and, once again, budget utilization has increased when comparing year over year, year-to-date utilization from 2021 to 2022.
To help ensure participating dealers are maximizing their participation in the co-op program and leveraging the funds available to them, trusted advisors regularly communicate with their assigned dealers regarding budget utilization and, more importantly, work with them to ensure their budgets are allocated on time and to the right tactical programs to help increase sales in their dealerships. For example, if a dealer had not used or committed 50 percent of their total co-op budget by the end of May, the assigned trusted advisor worked with the dealer to develop a specific plan that shows how funds will be spent to ensure those funds are not reduced due to lack of participation.
These one-on-one budget reviews between the trusted advisor from Channel Fusion and an assigned dealer have become such an important program touch point for the client that other divisions are looking to utilize the enhanced service program for their dealers.
An additional benefit of the program has been the ability for Channel Fusion’s trusted advisors to capture, firsthand, more than 100 specific pieces of feedback related to the client’s co-op program and use that feedback to inform potential adjustments or enhancements to the program. This information is shared with the client as an additional program reporting feature and includes dealer actual and anticipated spend, feedback, obstacles or pain points, for example.
Based on the success to date in 2022, the program is expected to continue in 2023.
The trusted advisor program developed by Channel Fusion is another example of how the company becomes an extension of a client’s brand(s) and channel marketing programs. By establishing a proactive, one-to-one outreach cadence that provides support and counsel related to co-op program fund utilization and management, the trusted advisor team is able to help drive a client’s channel program outcomes.
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.