The days when you were toying with the internet while your “real” ad spends were in the traditional media of newspaper, Yellow Pages, radio and television are long gone and likely never to return. Email marketing and other forms of online advertising are swiftly becoming the primary choice of most automotive dealerships as the unparalleled return on investment is just too overwhelming to ignore. Surprisingly, some dealers accustomed to the older media formats are missing out on co-op benefits on their online promotions because they may not be aware that they’re eligible for them!

Co-op Is the Basis for Most Dealership Advertising

Cooperative advertising has been a cornerstone of automotive marketing for nearly a century. In a co-op structure, the OEM will share the costs for advertising that is placed by the dealer within their territory. Most OEMs have an annual allocated budget set aside for cooperative advertising, and any dealer that adheres to the specified compliance programs and marketing requirements can avail themselves of the cost-sharing advantages of the co-op plan. In many cases co-op advertising can reduce the cost per sale by 50 percent or more!

Most Dealers Are Not Aware that Their OEM Co-op Covers Email Marketing

It may come as a shock to some dealers but the vast majority of OEM cooperative programs offer contextual and email marketing advertising reimbursement to their participating retailers. This factor may be one of the primary reasons why the majority of the available co-op funds that are made available by OEMs go unspent. Few dealers actually take full advantage of the co-op agreements they already have, and fewer dealers know that email marketing is just as encompassed by their OEM co-op program as taking out a newspaper ad or placing an ad on radio rotation.

Automotive Online Marketing Will Account for $3.24 Billion This Year

The amount of money involved in OEM co-op eligible email marketing and other forms of online advertising is staggering. According to a study conducted by eMarketer Research, $3.24 billion will be spent by the automotive industry for online advertising, a 14% increase over 2010. By 2015, the research firm estimates that the total amount spent online by the industry will reach $5.8 billion per year. The study shows that all automotive categories, including vehicle sales, maintenance and parts this year will account for 11.4% of the total for online ad spending in the United States and will continue to burgeon to a tremendous 13% of the total by 2015.

OEM Co-ops Can Also Assist in Email Campaign Design & Production

Each OEM co-op program is different, so you should consult with your rep as to the guidelines applied in the case of your specific dealership. You will likely find that the regulations provide you with considerable assistance by the provision of various OEM branding, images and messaging elements. The application of these factors will not only ensure that you remain in compliance with the co-op guidelines, but you’ll also be able to save on the design and production of your email marketing campaign!

A co-op email marketing strategy can be crafted to suit the common goal of OEMs and dealers alike: to sell cars, accessories and parts. If we are to assume that half of this year’s total online automotive advertising can be subsidized by your OEM, then the dealerships ignoring these incentives are leaving $1.62 billion on the table!