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No Doesnt Mean No



Many radio account executives let themselves get cut off at the pass by manufacturers published co-op plans. But that need not happen!
When you begin to think of the published co-op plans as "guidelines" rather than rules that cant be broken, you can often open a floodgate of advertising opportunities for your clients and revenue opportunities for you and your stations.
The key is to think about the objectives of the suppliers and manufacturers who have co-op plans:

1. They want to sell more product.
2. They want to foster stronger customer relationships with the advertiser.
3. They want to get preferential merchandising space and promotion over their competitors.

When you understand their objectives, its a simple matter to persuade suppliers to bend their "rules" and to tap into "extraordinary marketing funds" for you.
Weve been able to help stations we consult to break beyond the meager co-op percentages prescribed by some manufacturers and actually get 50-100 percent of a campaign paid for by the manufacturer.
In one case, we helped sell a high-volume multiple-brand tire dealer by creating a huge spring tire event. We were able to persuade one manufacturer to cover the entire cost of a remote broadcast promoting the event by featuring their brand exclusively and naming the event after their brand. The manufacturer paid for 100 percent of the campaign and sold a ton of tires!

Its not too difficult to persuade a local advertiser to use your station when you get that kind of funding from their suppliers.
In another case, we worked with a station to sell an appliance store on sponsoring a stations traffic reports with 15-second tags. He carried three competing brands of dishwashers but none of them had 15-second scripts in their co-op manualsonly 30s and 60s.
We simply made a presentation to one of the manufacturers outlining all of the merits of sponsoring the traffic reports, and suggested that if they didnt approve the use of our 15-second script, one of the competing brands would.
For the sake of winning favour with the retailer, getting preferential showroom display space, and advertising their brand versus the competitors, the manufacturer gladly approved our 15-second script for co-op funding. 
Many co-op plans allow for print ads only, or will only reimburse advertisers who use manufacturers' scripts. Often the local advertiser doesnt want to use those scripts because they focus on the manufacturer, with only name mentions for the advertiser. Dont let those "rules" deter you.

1. Become a resource. Often your clients just dont have the time to create a marketing plan or presentation for their suppliers and to do the paperwork necessary to capture more vendor support. Doing the work for them can strengthen your relationship and help you generate more revenue.

2. Think beyond existing co-op plans. Virtually all manufacturers and suppliers can access extraordinary marketing budgets for building stronger customer relationships, for sampling campaigns, merchandising, and extraordinary campaigns to help them sell more product.

3. Tender your next ad campaign. Present a written proposal for submissions, to all of your clients suppliers, outlining your proposed advertising schedule and investment, along with any special displays, promotions, demonstrations, or other exposure the winning bidder will receive. Have a deadline for submissions and be prepared to make a commitment to buy from the winning supplier.

4. Think beyond cash. Your advertisers suppliers have more to offer than cash, credits, or discounts. They often have branded advertising specialties or prizes they can offer for your campaign. They might also offer their vehicle presence for "truckload sales," or arrange factory demos at your place of business.

5. Leverage suppliers expertise. Many suppliers are happy to provide the manpower and expertise to facilitate demonstrations, sampling, or contesting for your next promotion if you only ask.

The bottom line? The rules for generating more sales and stronger customer relationships are meant to be broken! Break em and make some money for you and your clients.

Wayne Ens is president of ENS Media Inc, a pro-active media consulting and training company that specializes in increasing local-direct radio revenues. You can reach Wayne at

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