What are market development funds (MDFs)?
Market development funds, or MDFs, are provided by vendors to their partners to support marketing and sales activities. These can be a vital part of an engaged and active partner program.
Think of MDF as a kind of investment in your channel partners. You provide the resources they need to market your product effectively, and in turn, they help you reach a larger audience and boost sales. For example, if you’re a SaaS company, you might allocate MDF to a partner to run a targeted digital advertising campaign to local searchers.
Market development funds can be used in many ways, but some common examples of activities funded by MDF dollars include:
- Co-branded advertising: Create and run co-branded advertising campaigns, like digital ads, print materials, or even television commercials to promote both you and your partners
- Trade shows and events: Partners participate in industry trade shows, conferences, or events, where they can showcase your products and engage with potential customers
- Content creation: Create marketing content, such as blog posts, email newsletters, research reports, whitepapers, videos, landing pages, or webinars to educate potential customers about products
- Incentive programs: Develop incentive programs for partner’s sales teams, offering bonuses, prizes, or rewards for achieving sales targets
- Product training: Provide product training sessions for partner sales and support teams so they can better understand and sell your products
- Market research: Gain insights into customer preferences, competitive landscapes, and market trends, helping partners refine their marketing strategies
- Merchandising: Improve in-store merchandising of your products, creating eye-catching displays and signage
To create a successful MDF program with your partners, always make sure to provide explicit information about what the funds can be used for, how to request them, and any deadlines or reporting requirements. If possible, automate this process to make it easier for you and your partners.
It’s crucial to track the impact of MDF to ensure that these funds are yielding a good return on investment and helping your company expand its market reach. Managing MDF effectively can lead to a win-win situation where both you and your partners grow and succeed.