Cooperative advertising can work wonders for businesses on a limited budget. It entails two similar and complementary businesses joining forces in the advertising arena. Large and small, local and national businesses alike can benefit from employing cooperative advertising techniques in all advertising forms, including newsletters, print ads, and social media communication.

In this post, we’ll go over what co-op advertising is; explain how to use it; and offer examples of how best to maximize this advertising technique. By the end of the post, you should have a good idea of what the technique is and how to go about working out a cooperative advertising partnership with another advertiser/ business or manufacturer.

What Is Cooperative Advertising?

Cooperative advertising is a simple concept. According to, a business or a manufacturer participates in cooperative advertising when it works with another complementary company to share advertising costs. All types of businesses, including service businesses and manufacturers can use co-op advertising.

Here’s how it works. One company might specialize in selling winter coats, while another one might feature raincoats. These are complementary items because they are used at different times of the year even though they are in the broadest sense the same type of item.

Savvy advertisers will cut their yearly advertising costs by partnering up with a similar business.

Who Would Use Cooperative Advertising

In reality, almost any business can benefit from this type of advertising. However, there are a couple of different types of business that benefit (aside from the type in the example above).

A national retailer may partner with a local retailer to carry products that would do well in that market. Or a small business that carries the product of a national chain store – for example, a local shoe store that carries the Nike brand – may also benefit from this type of partnership. says that these two entities would partner up to share ad costs.

Inc. points out that national manufacturers often pony up as much as 50% to 100% of ad cost. Having this kind of financial clout can help local advertisers feature bigger promotions, promos which wouldn’t happen without the help of the bigger advertiser.

advertising concept on a mac screen

How You Can Implement Cooperative Advertising

The key to cooperative advertising lies in finding other business or businesses that fit with yours. You aren’t limited to just two businesses: You’ve already seen some of this type of advertising at work if you’ve ever booked a hotel, rental car, and plane flight on the same site. Many of these advertisers work together to offset business costs.

However, co-op advertising encompasses so much more than that. Perhaps you own a local hardware store and sell small hand tools. Partnering with a bigger advertiser like John Deere can be of benefit. Other examples include massage therapists who partner with chiropractors, vets who co-op with dog groomers or pet food suppliers, or party rental companies that advertise with caterers.

While much of cooperative advertising involves a larger advertiser and a small one partnering together, that doesn’t always have to be the case. The most important aspect of this type of advertising is how complementary the products and/ or services are.

Online Suggestions

If you’d like to approach another business about doing some co-op advertising, suggests a couple of things. Talk to the sales rep for that company if you are a local store interested in partnering with a national company. These people really know the company they represent and can give you a good idea about sales and competition in the area. They also can serve as a point-of-contact.

Almost all types of businesses benefit from cooperative advertising. For example, if you run a local vet clinic, it would benefit you to share a company newsletter with a national pet food company. You could also share a drive-time radio spot with another advertiser; this works especially well for a national advertiser who wants to get into a more local market. You can also share space in the phone book, share costs in a door-hanger campaign, or share a social media promotion.

Ways in Which Cooperative Advertising Can Help Your Business

  • It gives your small brand/ store legitimacy if you partner with a big brand.
  • This type of partnership allows you to expand your advertising reach and dollars.
  • A bigger advertiser may be able to mentor you, meaning he/ she can show you the best ways to spend your advertising dollars.
  • A larger advertisers can benefit from cooperative advertising by gaining inroads into a niche market that might not be open to them otherwise.
  • A seasonal business can extend the life of its business by co-op advertising.
  • The large advertiser may benefit from the foot traffic that the local business gets – something that the big advertiser can’t do on its own.
  • Cooperative advertising allows the vendors to split costs at trade shows or even have representation at a trade show they may otherwise have to miss due to geographic constraints.

advertising concept in a magazine


As you can see, cooperative advertising offers both big and small businesses a number of advantages. Business owners who are interested in partnering up with a complementary business can offset business costs and get into new markets. As well, these businesses increase their pull with consumers due to gaining legitimacy from the cooperative partnership. Finally, it’s the businesses that plan their advertising campaigns together that will see the most benefit from this type of advertising.

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