Co-op funds can be a welcome addition to a marketing budget, although they can be tricky for dealerships to take full advantage of, depending on the stipulations manufacturers attach.

While all the Top 100 dealerships strive to use every penny they are allotted, a handful have elected to have dealership personnel monitor co-op usage. To make sure it uses all the co-op dollars it has available, Park Boat Company Powersports (Ranked 38) pays an employee a percentage of the co-op acquired.

The majority of co-op funds the Top 100 dealers received were spent on boat shows, but they also helped fund everything from the usual print ads to customer gifts (Tri-State Marine, Ranked 79) and a lounge, complete with boatbuilder-logoed furniture (Gordy’s Lakefront Marine, Inc., Ranked 15).

Dealers have found that creative marketing ideas can sometimes lead to additional funds from some manufacturers, particularly for brand-specific events. Thunder Marine, Inc. (Ranked 40) has partnered with its manufacturers to promote complementary products and services, including an electronics seminar put on by an electronics installer and a yacht care seminar presented by a cleaning detailer.

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