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RE: The Free Marketing Money You’re Not Using
Whether you’re an up-and-coming MSP that works with small businesses or a large technology firm that services enterprise-level accounts, you have one major thing in common – you need to capture more and more market share to grow. But, while some businesses have the budget and marketing knowhow to drive demand and brow brand awareness, others struggle to just get their name out there. Fortunately, most vendors provide money and resources to help you overcome these hurdles, even if you don’t have a marketing team at your disposal.
MDFs – market development funds – are essentially free marketing monies offered by vendors to their channel affiliates to aid in boosting local recognition of a national brand and support partner marketing campaigns. It’s estimated that $50 billion in MDFs is put out there each year, but depending on which study you read, anywhere from 30 to 60 percent goes unused. That’s a lot of dough left sitting on the table.
Partners and affiliates can use MDFs (sometimes called Co-Op Funds) for things like social media management and SEO assistance, copy/blog/marketing writing, press releases and even as a financial incentive to put on your next webinar or panel discussion.
Free marketing money? How do I get it?
It takes a bit of initial effort to track them down, but MDFs are out there waiting for you. Start by reaching out to vendors through your account manager. Some channel vendors even use ‘marketing stores’ – essentially a one-stop-shop where MSPs and VARs can pick and choose through which services and resources they can redeem with their MDFs. Those funds can fall under different categories, giving you plenty of choices to utilize them:
Stipends – A fixed quantity of money (usually paid monthly) that affiliates can use to opt into channel vendor programs.
Fixed Quantity – Brands will often give access to a specific number of items instead of a dollar amount at no cost.
Discount – This is when MDF is used as a partial subsidy for local affiliate marketing spending.
Rebate – Some channel vendors will reimburse their local brand affiliates for money spent on approved advertising.
So why is so much MDF going unspent?
Like everything in business funding, there are challenges. Channel vendors that dole out those MDFs want to make certain you – as the affiliate or channel partner – are using the money exactly according to plan. And, you must lay out that plan for them in detail before you are approved to participate.
Challenge #1: Accountability
Channel vendors want administrative control over their MDF and are not simply going to write huge checks to affiliates without cause. If you want a brand’s money for marketing assistance, you need to provide a clear strategy for its use. And then also give them solid proof that the funds went to exactly that.
Challenge #2: Empty pockets
You may meet the channel vendor’s criteria for MDF deployment, but if they are using a reimbursement-type method for their program, you may not have the cash flow up front to participate.
Challenge #3: Lack of marketing resources or knowhow
This is the biggest hurdle. Even if you meet the vendor’s admin requirements for MDF distribution and have the cash flow up front to participate in the program, you may not have the internal resources (i.e., a marketing expert) to design a plan and then carry out that plan for using the funds. You have no idea where to begin.
How Marketopia can help.
If you’re looking to take advantage of MDFs to get more leads, more sales and more profit, Marketopia is here to help. Our team of channel marketing experts can help you clear these hurdles and start growing your business. We provide you with the expert advice you need to cut through red tape and secure MDFs for your business. Then, our team gets to work on designing amazing marketing materials and strategic multi-touch campaigns that grow brand awareness, drive demand and deliver a great ROI. Contact us today to start taking full advantage of MDF solutions that put you closer to your goals while minimizing the work and expense.
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