Performance & Hotrod Business May '14

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May 2014 n Performance & Hotrod Business n 99 material comes in the form of apparel: baseball cap, T-shirts, sweatshirts and jack- ets. Customers and countermen alike love them. They wear them proudly, spreading the message so boldly displayed on them. Be Co-Op Wise While not directly considered manu- facturers' marketing material by many (but I strongly consider it to be so), co-op funds are usually controlled by the manu- facturer's marketing department, and are meant as a way for you to advertise the manufacturer's items at their expense. To qualify for a manufacturer's co-op plan, you usually have to have a direct account with them. If you buy your prod- ucts mainly through a two-step system, such as a WD, don't expect to qualify for these funds. Most manufacturers will have very strict guidelines that you must meet to qualify for their co-op plan, including a minimum purchase amount over a given timeframe. Don't expect a manufacturer to offer you co-op dollars outright, and don't be afraid to ask for them, either. Sometimes co-op is paid directly as a discount per invoice; other times it is accumulated over a yearly or quarterly time interval. Co-op percentages range anywhere from 1 to 4 percent, with the majority of them coming in at 2 percent of your total purchase. You can imagine how quickly these funds add up, especially on well-moving lines. If you play your cards right, your entire marketing budget could be covered by co-op funds. It used to be that you were given your co-op dollars and were free to spend them in any way you chose (or in many cases, chose not to spend and instead put into your pocket). Manufacturers have started to get wise to this abuse of co-op funds, and are now requiring that your co-op funds be used under strict guidelines and only with their written approval. Examples of some widely accepted (and approved) co-op uses include magazine ads, pages in your catalog, banner and poster printing, show costs, decals, radio and TV ads, website ads, forum ads and sponsorships, and pay-per-click advertis- ing (i.e.; Google Adwords). Regis Finn is a self-taught machin- ist and designer who has been in the automotive performance in- dustry since 1982. He is currently serving a second, two-year elected term on SEMA's Emerging Trends & Technology Network. Although you need to promote their products, you can also promote your shop at the same time, and at their expense. There are a number of different ways to display the manufacturer's market- ing material to your walk-in customers. Sometimes having the marketing mate- rial right next to the product works best. Other times, placing the marketing mate- rial near a companion sale item will work better. Sometimes a product is more on an impulse buy, and in these cases the mar- keting material should be placed on your counter or near the cash register. Don't be afraid to ask your supplier to provide you with marketing material. I can't tell you how many times I have walked through a WD's warehouse, only to see stacks of promotional material just sitting on the shelves going to waste. I'm sure they would be happy to share it with you. All you need to do is ask. It is pretty obvious that you must mar- ket your shop, and the products you sell, if you expect your business to flourish. We've established the fact that marketing can eat up a major portion of your budget. We've given you plenty of examples and ways you can use manufacturers' marketing material to help market your shop, and sell more product. Here's to using manufacturers' market- ing materials to increase your bottom line. Flyers are an effective way to promote the features of a given product. They should be placed within reach of the product in your showroom. (Above) A well laid-out catalog shows a company's full line and should be left out where customers can flip through it. (Courtesy ACCel Performance Group) (left) Manufacturer brochures and product guides are a great source of technical informa- tion that customers will pick up and read. (Courtesy CoMP Performance Group) PHBMAY.indd 99 4/2/14 2:01 PM

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