Overlaying co-op attributes on your customer file is a common multichannel marketing best practice.
Maybe you have a housefile segment that is expected to spend $1.50 per catalog. The cataloger matches the names in the segment to their favorite co-op subsegment, dividing the list into matches and non-matches. In theory, matches will perform at $1.75 (mail these names), non-matches will perform at $1.25 (do not mail these names).
Co-op information is typically used for targeting purposes.
Co-op information is seldom used for strategic purposes. That's a shame, folks.
See if your co-op will do this for you.
Have your co-op determine a "competitive set", a group of a half-dozen companies that directly compete with your brand. Have your co-op determine a "non-competitive set" of a half-dozen companies that indirectly compete with your brand --- these companies are not your competitors, but your customers love to shop with these companies.
Now that this has been done, have your co-op perform a three channel Multichannel Forensics analysis for 2007 and 2008, projecting future sales for 2009 - 2013 given the trends of 2008.
Why do this?
You'll get to see how changes in competitive and non-competitive brands are directly influencing the future trajectory of your brand. You'll get to see if your customers are defecting to the competition, and if so, you'll get to see what impact defection has on your future sales trajectory.
If your co-op won't perform the analysis for you, see if they will put together a dataset with anonymous information that they'll send to me, so that I can do the analysis for you --- or so that you can perform the analysis yourself.
Partner with the co-ops to obtain strategic insights into how your competition impacts your business!
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