Co-Branding: How You Can Work Together with Suppliers and Vendors at the End of the Year

The end of the year brings about unique opportunities for retail businesses to partner with suppliers and media vendors. It’s the last push of the year to make, hit or exceed revenue goals. We have some suggestions as you think about making the most of your marketing dollars at the end of the year.

co branding is a win win

Be willing to ask. Many times suppliers find that they have extra advertising funds still on the table that weren’t utilized in previous months, and they may not always let you know these funds are available. It’s worth the extra time and effort to have a discussion with your supply reps about advertising opportunities. You may be surprised at how quickly and easily they loosen the purse strings to back your company’s promotional efforts.

Have a plan before you ask for money. Most suppliers won’t just hand out money unless they know how the funds will be spent. At this time of year, most media vendors are willing to cut deals to help meet their end of year quotas. Advertisements that may have cost you $10,000 at the first of the year now magically drop to 80% or less of the normal cost. Vendors are more likely to throw in extras and to negotiate added incentives in the final push for sales.

Make it a win-win. Think about promotions that you would like to run that are in the best interest of your company and your supplier. Who is the target customer for those products? What are the best media buys to reach that target? Does your supplier have a history or brand guideline that makes certain media sources preferred over others? Keep your answers to these questions in mind when deciding how to approach a supplier. Be smart when devising your promotion plan so that it makes sense for both of you.

Reach out to your media vendors. Tell them what you want to achieve, an estimate on what you would like to spend, and your goals for the advertising, but don’t get too detailed. Give them the basics, and let them come back to you with a proposal. Many times if you don’t box the sales rep in, they will go above and beyond your initial desires to get your business. If you get too specific with them, you may lose out on add-ons they would’ve thrown in for the same price.

A Winning Proposal

Now it’s time to put together your proposal. When writing your proposal, follow these steps:

  1. Make a good first impression with a brand specific plan. Show them you are serious about partnering with them and promoting their brand correctly.
  2. Intro and outline your plan by telling them your goals for their products or brand. Give a brief summary of what you want to do, how you wish to do it, and the anticipated outcome.
  3. Detail out the components and have a price for each. If you make it seem like they have to agree to all or nothing, you may get a quick no. If you break down the different components and show the costs for each, there is a better chance of getting a yes. For example, if you want television commercials, you need to explain the vision for the creative, show the proposed advertising run calendar with networks, times, frequency, and reach, total number of spots and the total cost associated with television commercials.
  4. Give deadlines on the components. All of your media buys will have different deadlines. Work back from the date you must have everything to the media vendor, how long it will take you to create or get the assets together for the creative, time needed to make the creative, and proofing and revision time. In most cases you will need a month or more to pull everything off by the vendor’s deadline. Make sure you put your commitment deadline for the supplier so they know how long they have to decide. This can even be used to push them to make a faster decision.
  5. Include a sign off sheet that has a deadline for final agreement and a place for authorized signatures.

Don’t Give Up

If you get rejected, be persistent. Ask them why they rejected your proposal. Maybe they don’t have the funds. Maybe it’s the wrong time, wrong media, or wrong product push. Uncover the objections and offer solutions. This is a great way for you to learn how to improve your plans in the future.

Most importantly keep thinking of opportunities throughout the year and presenting plans to your suppliers. A “no” today can be a “yes” tomorrow. Also the more you present partnering opportunities to them, the more likely they will be to work with you in the future. In the future, they may reach out to you more with available funds and ask you to give them a plan on how you want to spend them. It’s a wonderful thing when they think of you first because you’ve proven you can plan and execute professionally.

If this process sounds too daunting for you to attempt on your own, contact Riley & You. We frequently create and complete co-branded plans for our clients and even present the plans to suppliers. Riley & You has a history of strengthening partnerships and creating additional funding for our clients. Let’s end this year with a bang and get a jumpstart on making the next year even better than this one!

co-branding success