Channel partner dynamics are more volatile than ever. More and more manufacturers are now focused on increasing their channel partners’ uptake. There is an imperative need for manufacturers to provide their partners with a simple yet effective Co-op MDF program that is configured to accommodate the most common incentives.
There are four steps to molding an effective Co-op MDF program:
1- Tap into the partner insight to craft optimal marketing plays
Collect survey information from partners to determine the target audience for specific marketing campaigns. Then create a menu that partners can use as guidance to launch their marketing initiatives. The menu should be tiered based on the capabilities of the partner and the market.
2- maintain and innovate your menu to include digital marketing expenditures
An effective Co-op MDF program needs to constantly adapt to the ever-changing landscape of marketing channels. Educated consumer refers to the web for product information. By the time an ad hits, your customer may have already made up their mind on basic decisions, including the brand.
Your partners should be there to capture interests at the top of the funnel. 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.
3- Encourage long-term marketing behaviors from channel partners
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 an effective Co-op MDF program, gamification is an excellent resource to promote long-term marketing behaviors from channel partners. The benefits of gamification are numerous. Gamification not only serves 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.
4- Ensure that your program is automated
Going digital will assist in measuring the performance of the dispersed funds. Automation can also provide an audit trail to track progress.
Set specific time frames for each step of the approval and claim process. Make it 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. Automation will also reduce 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.