Co-Op Claims: A Crash Course

Claim FormIt’s that time again! We are in the middle of the first quarter and it’s time to start getting all of your documentation together and sending in those co-op advertising claims you’ve been holding onto. Claims for each quarter are due the first day of the last month of the following quarter– not confusing at all, right? Basically, you have 2 months after a quarter ends to submit claims for that quarter. For example: on March 1st,  you should have sent us all of your co-op claims for the fourth quarter of last year (that’s any advertising that took place in October, November and December of 2011)– If your claims are postmarked to DOW Electronics after 3/1/2012, unfortunately you will not receive your reimbursements. Here are a few tips for getting it all right  and getting your money as quickly and painlessly as possible:

  1. Don’t wait until the last minute! When your advertising is finished and you have your invoice, submit your claim. Often times, we get from retailers who forget to submit claims and then miss the deadline. DISH is VERY strict when making exceptions and even as your distributor, there is little we can do to help when this happens.
  2. Get it right the first time! It’s very important to send a complete and correct claim to us. This not only saves you the hassle of having to mail us documents multiple times, but it also saves you from missing important emails asking for additional information. You may think a claim has processed, but in reality something was missing and you didn’t provide it to us. Even if you do meet the postmark deadline, if your claim is missing information and you don’t get it to us in a timely manner, you may miss out on your reimbursement. . Generally we’ll need the following, but refer to your co-op advertising guidelines for specifics of what is required for each type of claim:
    1. A co-op claim form. You can find this on our website. Simply fill out your information in the required fields.
    2. An original invoice. You should always have one from your vendor, and remember that original means original. Faxing, emailing, or making a copy of your original invoice and submitting it to us is not sufficient. Make a copy for your own records and send us the original. Think of it this way, DISH is paying the bulk of your bill, so they want original records.
    3. A co-op pre-approval.As DOW Electronics retailers, you should be submitting all of your approvals through our online submission system. As long as you submit your ads to us , we have your approval on file and it is not necessary for you to send it to us.
      1. Just make sure you actually submit your ads for approval before using them in market and that you make any changes that are requested!
    4. Proof of your advertising. For print ads this means a tear sheet, for events, kiosks, and vehicle wraps it means photos, radio and TV ads require a notarized script on station letterhead and a station log– just make sure the script is correct (word-for-word) and approved before having it notarized.
  3. Stay on top of it! This is the most important one. Make sure you are aware of all claims you have pending or that still need to be sent to us. We do our best to inform you when we require additional documentation to process your claims and by what date we need to have this information, but there is a limit to how much guidance we can provide. We process dozens of claims a day and it’s impossible for us to send every retailer multiple reminders about their individual claims. Check your email, watch your bulletin board, call us and ask. Do whatever you have to in order to stay knowledgeable about your claims.  You are the business owner and it is your job to know what is happening with your business. If you don’t, you’re losing money.

And that’s my two cents. I know that the co-op advertising process can sometimes be confusing, but that’s why we in the marketing department are here. Don’t hesitate to call or email us with your questions. We are here for you, at your disposal, 8am – 5pm, 5 days a week. It’s really a simple matter of paying attention and staying apprised of the matters at hand. The other thing that you should all do is read your co-op advertising guidelines, they are located on our website so that you can access them at any time. Many of you would be amazed by how clear the co-op advertising process becomes when you actually read the guidelines! The moment you tune out and stop listening is when you get into trouble. A good habit for everyone is to mark these deadlines on your calendars or set a reminder in your email so you don’t miss a thing!

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  1. Help Us Help You: 3 Simple Ways to Keep Your Business Running Smoothly « Dow Electronics

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