There are four steps to molding an effective Co-op MDF program. First, tap into the partner insight to craft optimal marketing plays. Survey information collected from partners to determine the target audience for specific marketing campaigns, and then create a menu that partners can use as guidance to launch their marketing initiatives. This can be tiered based on the capabilities of the partner and the market.
Secondly, maintain and innovate your menu to include digital marketing expenditures to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of marketing channels. The educated consumer refers to the web for product information, and by the time an ad hits, your customer may have already made his/her mind up on basic decisions, including brand. If your partners aren’t there to capture interest at the top of the funnel, then the ROI is going to be a mere trickle instead of a stream. Make your Co-op/MDF program forward-thinking by revising the POP model to accommodate online and social advertising. To take it one step further, empower channel partners by providing a reserve of digital content that they can take advantage of. A focused direction of co-branded online marketing content will only serve to benefit both parties and extend the reach of campaign efforts.
Some industry estimates suggest that for every dollar of MDF available, at least 50 cents goes unused.
As I mentioned earlier in the article, money cannot be solely relied upon as the end-all be-all means of motivation for channel partners. To supplement and foster marketing initiatives, gamification is an excellent resource to encourage long-term marketing behaviors from channel partners. The benefits of gamification are numerous: not only does it serve as a competitive platform for partners to view their progress, but positive reinforcement of marketing activities also allows partners to target and re-align themselves with company objectives.
40 percent of Co-op advertising programs require retailers to receive manufacturer pre-approval for online ad campaigns, an “extra step” that can be a barrier to time and resource-strapped businesses.
– Advertising Checking Bureau
Last of all, ensure that your program is automated. Going digital will assist in measuring the performance of the dispersed funds and also provides an audit trail to track progress. Set specific timeframes for each step of the approval and claim process and make clear to your partners how long it will take for a claim to be fulfilled. Speeding up the process through automation provides real-time updates and visibility into the channel, reducing the wait time for channel partners to receive their marketing funds. By taking a prescriptive stance when dealing with partners, vendors can provide that insight that will drive participation.Take a glance at our whitepaper “Best Practices to Optimize Co-op/MDF ROI” for more explanation.