Categorized as Channel Marketing, Co-op Funds, Digital Fusion, Local Marketing

Unlocking Untapped Potential: Exploring Dealers’ Hesitations Towards Co-op Programs and Channel Marketing

Local Dealer

In the second article about Channel Fusion’s recent channel marketing research project, we take a look at the responses from channel partners related to co-op programs and channel marketing.

As part of our comprehensive channel marketing research, our research partner, the University of Iowa Marketing Institute, spoke with dealers of various industries who all shared a common sentiment: a hesitancy to embrace co-op programs and channel marketing partnerships due to a perceived mismatch between cost and benefits. To understand the underlying reasons behind this sentiment, we unearthed a landscape where misconceptions and lack of awareness prevail, hindering dealers from reaping the full rewards that a well-executed channel marketing strategy offers.


A series of in-person surveys revealed a consistent pattern. Dealers articulated their reluctance to participate in co-op programs, with a major sticking point being the perceived exorbitant costs associated with channel marketing platforms, even though a brand’s co-op program was subsidizing some of the costs. One dealer aptly summed up the prevailing sentiment, stating, “Channel marketing platforms are ridiculously expensive.” This resonated with others who shared the belief that the investment required for these programs does not align with the anticipated returns.

Low Cost, High Touch

Yet, upon closer examination of the information collected from these dealers, an interesting paradox emerges. Dealers express a desire for a partner who offers low-cost solutions while shouldering a substantial portion of the workload. One dealer noted, “I like when a partner is low-cost but can do a lot of the work for you.” This desire for efficiency is indicative of a potential bridge between dealers and channel marketing agencies. Addressing this misconception head-on, by showcasing how a strategic partnership can alleviate the operational burden, could help dispel the notion that such collaborations are financially untenable.


Digital Fusion, the local marketing service offering from Channel Fusion, provides channel partners with a simplified offering that’s easy to understand, cost-effective and measures return on investment.


Another recurrent concern voiced by dealers is the feeling of being trapped in a cycle of exorbitant consultation fees without clear actionable guidance. A dealer lamented, “They [channel marketing companies] want me to pay them $5,000 for them to tell me I need to spend $1,000 on click ads.” This frustration underscores the need for a transparent approach that emphasizes value-driven insights over arbitrary charges. Channel marketing agencies must pivot towards providing comprehensive, data-driven recommendations that not only justify expenses but also contribute to a measurable return on investment.


Again, Digital Fusion’s packaged pricing includes all fees for providing a channel partner’s local marketing program, eliminating potential surprises and frustrations.

Education + Strategy = Value

At the crux of dealers’ apprehension lies a plea for guidance at a reasonable cost. The sentiment of, “I want guidance at a low cost,” echoes throughout the input received during the research project. This articulates a fundamental desire for education and strategic direction without the prohibitive financial implications. To overcome this hurdle, channel marketing agencies should position themselves as partners committed to empowering dealers with insights and expertise, fostering an environment where knowledge is accessible and affordable.


Digging deeper, dealers are also questioning the integrity of the cost-benefit ratio. “How much does it cost to get the job done right?” raises a valid concern about the quality of services offered in exchange for the investment made. This skepticism calls for channel marketing providers to not only demonstrate the worth of their offerings but also tailor their solutions to align with the unique needs and goals of each dealer. Customization and a results-oriented approach could be the keys to unlocking dealers’ trust and willingness to invest.

Establish Credibility

Intriguingly, the sentiment that “Local companies use funds more responsibly” reflects a preference for local expertise and accountability. Dealers value partners who are embedded in their community and can empathize with their challenges. Channel marketing companies need to leverage this sentiment by highlighting their understanding of the local market dynamics, coupled with a commitment to responsible resource allocation.


It is evident that dealers’ lack of awareness regarding the potential benefits of co-op programs and channel marketing partnerships is a significant stumbling block. The onus falls upon channel marketing companies, like Channel Fusion, to bridge this knowledge gap. Demonstrating expertise in the channel marketing industry and articulating how their strategies directly address dealers’ pain points will likely be the catalyst needed to reshape dealers’ perceptions.


The hesitancy of dealers to embrace co-op programs and channel marketing partnerships is a multifaceted issue with deep-rooted misconceptions. The disconnect between perceived costs and tangible benefits, compounded by a lack of clear guidance and skepticism about value, has created an environment where dealers are hesitant to invest in external channel marketing companies to support their local advertising efforts. However, this challenge presents an opportunity for forward-thinking local channel marketing companies like Digital Fusion, a key part of the Channel Fusion ecosystem of solutions.


By unveiling a new paradigm, where cost-effectiveness, expertise, transparency, and local insights converge, Digital Fusion has the potential to revolutionize dealers’ perceptions. Addressing the concerns voiced by dealers through comprehensive, customized, and actionable solutions can lay the foundation for a mutually beneficial partnership. As the bridge between dealers and channel marketing companies is built on trust and tangible results, the potential for growth and success is boundless.


About Channel Fusion

For more than 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 can provide their channel partners with an optimal customer experience to drive results. Our core technologies and connected platform 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.

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