Co-Op and MDF Strategies for Eradicating the Obscurity of Indirect Marketing-ROIMoney spent in the channel has never been under such scrutiny as it is today. Channel executives demand the expense of channel marketing investments and activity to be well justified. Without tangible data that clearly defines the ROI-acquired during each marketing campaign, CEOs and CFOs have little to no reasoning for the continuation of channel marketing investments. Hence companies spend a great amount of resources in creating an outline of best Co-op and MDF strategies for their organization and partners.
The following, an outline of best Co-op and MDF strategies, will help channel-driven manufacturers eradicate the obscurity so commonly found in indirect marketing-ROI. This outline will also help bring definitive validation into the importance of joint-marketing incentives.
Best Strategies in Channel Co-op and MDF Development
Visibility and Flexibility
- Marketing fund requests and claim forms should be straightforward to enter for partners. Also, the procedure to review forms and request for approval by channel managers should be straightforward. Therefore, there should be no mystery behind how fund requests are administered.
- Best Co-op and MDF strategies demand that balances should be accessible through a centralized online dashboard. Yet, the administrators should have views into each partner account for effortless analysis.
- Business rules regarding expiration, timeframes for submission, and proof of performance should be designed with flexibility in mind. Simplified rules and programs encourage partner compliance.
- As you outline your Co-op and MDF strategies, it is important to remember that not all channel partners are equal. Depending on the situation, some solution providers will need a higher volume of assistance, enablement, and motivation.
Forecasting and Reporting
- Reseller and distributor data collection and reporting processes should be streamlined with access to real-time information for immediate insight into marketing fund efforts.
- Channel partner POS data comes in many different formats (EDI, text files, Excel spreadsheets, zip files, etc.); it is essential your internal system can handle different sources so it can efficiently pull, cleanse and normalize diverse channel POS data formats.
- While outlining your Co-op and MDF strategies; make sure that channel program and trade promotion ROI are constantly tracked and measured to include channel analytics for partner performance. Provide reporting that supports segmentation by territory, activity type, or product to facilitate decision making for forecasting operations.
Checks and Balances
- The Co-op MDF solution should assist you in substantially reducing your overhead and labor costs with upfront validation checks. To follow the best Co-op and MDF Strategies and to ensure guidelines are followed, submission forms should outline the required information and proof of performance.
- The system should include automated email notifications and predetermined hierarchies for routing fund requests. This reduces confusion and time spent on back and forth reviews between you and your channel partners. Approval hierarchies ensure requests conform to the correct chain of command.
- Online tools that support live data and instant communication expedite the approval processes that older technologies fail to systemize.
- Only use solutions that maintain confidential data security and privacy policies at all times.
- A fully-hosted online solution with service level agreements that guarantee instant and secure 24/7 access provides the best level of service.
Other Tips and Suggestions
- Channel Marketing funds are often accrued based on revenue, but a zero-based discretionary approach is a better approach – where the partners with the most credible plan based on a strict ROI model are allocated funds. The overall pot of MDF stays the same. However, the returns are better as only the best plans get rewarded with the funds
- Your Co-op and MDF strategies should provide the ability to track applicable incentives at the individual sales transaction level. This not only helps avoid process overpayments for duplicate or erroneous claims but also helps significantly reduce partner disputes.
- Channel partners that build a strong ROI-case should be eligible for even more than their imputed “earned/accrued Co-op/MDF”.
- Most importantly, if you can’t define a basic ROI business plan and track the result of the marketing spend then it is likely to be a wasted investment.… See more See less
Be a Resource to your Channel Partner
Like you, your channel partners are busy.
Running a business, especially for non-national, “long-tail” or entrepreneurial dealers is extremely tiresome. The task of running a business may take partners’ focus away from the incentive program you provide.
Ultimately, your Co-op and MDF will become a less priority if your channel partners’ hands are tied. With that in mind, the more you do for your channel partner, the more likely your incentive(s) will seem beneficial and feasibly attainable.
Your Co-op/MDF program should clarify the channel incentive process, not complicate it. By utilizing our state-of-the-art automation technology, you will have the pre-engineered tools to allow you to easily customize program guidelines and navigation features while maximizing efficiency within your channel.