I’ve been spending some time on the local search side of things over the past few weeks. There have been some interesting discussions about the use of Co-op advertising or, as some would suggest, the under utilization of it.
Co-op Advertising also known as Co-op ads or Cooperative programs is defined as ad costs divided between two or more companies. Generally, the programs are born out of incentives offered by manufacturers to distributors or retailers in order to encourage promotion and advertising of particular products.
In discussions with local business owners, their awareness of programs is minimal. While they understand the general concept, they are generally not well informed about the opportunities presented by their suppliers and are therefore, missing out on hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of advertising. In some cases, the manufacturers have not taken advantage of their channels to build their brands online.
Brand advertising at the local level is still in its infancy but the potential is enormous. Currently the largest movement is coming from retail based search engines like Krillion but Local Search sites like YellowPages.ca have understood the value of brand association at the local level for some time and have built their systems accordingly.
Taking advantage of Co-op programs could help to drive SEO programs for local businesses as they broaden their searchable content through the products they may carry.
The win-win of these types of programs is clear. The manufacturers drill down to the local level while the small businesses broaden their search results for minimal cost.
The challenge to date has been the communication barriers to the local businesses as well as the amount of time required to study the programs, follow the guidelines and seek out the proper channels.
In this day and age, it would be prudent to mobilize the local troops to boost brand presence across the local media landscape. There are so many opportunities for publishers as well as small businesses in this space. I’ll be researching this much closer over the next little while. Drop me a line if you have input or are interested in the output…