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The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Development Funds

Need help getting the most out of partner Marketing Development Funds (MDFs)? Learn about marketing development funds in our ultimate guide.
Marketing Development Funds: The Ultimate Guide
Published on
January 12, 2023

Here are two major myths about marketing campaigns:

  1. They cost an arm and leg to execute.
  2. They need to be implemented alone.

As Justin Zimmerman, founder of Partner Playbooks, recently stated in a LinkedIn post, "The future of marketing, especially product marketing, is probably going to be partner marketing."

Justin Zimmerman post

Why? Because companies need to communicate and animate the solutions their partnership offers to end users.

**Enter Marketing Development Funds.**

Marketing Development Funds (MDFs) are becoming popular among businesses of all sizes as a cutting-edge method of marketing to ensure that any partner-led projects or services get the recognition and promotion they need.

Both you and your partners have respective audiences that trust you. The ability to leverage those audiences by co-marketing together can be seriously appealing to potential partners, as well as help your company meet major objectives.

In this article, we will go over all fundamental concepts of Marketing Development Funds, such as how they work, what they are, and how to use them most effectively.

Marketing Development Funds Definition

MDFs provide a pool of funds for partners to co-market with that are often included in the benefits of a partner program. These can be used to market new products, services, or campaigns through advertising, education, public relations, and market research.

But, when deciding how to use MDFs, the most crucial factor to consider is the Return on Investment (ROI).

It means that businesses must ensure that their financial investments produce more profit than they cost.

Let's take a deeper look at some of the benefits of marketing development funds.

What are the Benefits of Marketing Development Funds?

Like a rocket, Marketing Development Funds can give businesses an extra boost to get to greater heights and succeed in their objectives. This can be a reward or benefit in your program, with amounts varying on the type or tier of partner, or it can be a separate program partner applied for. MDFs motivate partners to meet and/or exceed the goals set in the program.

TechTarget shares the steps that should be taken for using an MDF with partners.

But that is not all; here are a few more benefits of MDFs.

Increase Partner Experience

Marketing Development Funds can significantly improve the partner experience by providing partners with the resources they need to create and implement more effective campaigns that drive sales and attract more customers and partners, such as channel partner marketing.

This is achieved through a carefully crafted Marketing Development Fund program intended to increase profitability for all parties involved while improving visibility into the success or failure of a campaign.

Increase Brand Awareness

Everyone wants to effectively promote their brand without having to spend a lot of money, right?

Well, as a result of increased exposure within target markets, Marketing Development Funds also have the potential to increase your brand recognition, which frequently results in higher customer conversion rates and higher overall business revenues.

Companies can now test out various marketing strategies using MDFs while maintaining a stable budget, allowing them to determine which ones are most effective at boosting their visibility and developing relationships with customers.

Stay Ahead of the Competition

With the right investment in Marketing Development Funds, the program can give channel partners a competitive advantage by allowing them to create more comprehensive marketing campaigns that reach new customers while also retaining existing ones.

This means that partners' co-marketing efforts can ensure that their products or services reach the right people at the right time, strengthening their market position for both partners and vendors.

How to Get More from Your MDF Program

Getting the best use of Marketing Development Funds is important in any marketing spending plan. MDFs give a path to invest in the growth and longevity of your business while fostering relationships with partners and consumers.

Here are some best practices to consider for your MDF program:

Consider Whether You Need an MDF Program

First and foremost, it's crucial to determine whether your company needs a Marketing Development Fund before investing in one.

Because they can be a powerful tool for empowering sales teams, increasing brand awareness, and accelerating revenue growth, but managing them can be costly and time-consuming.

So, companies should carefully consider their marketing strategies, financial investments, and success prospects before committing.

But the good news is, despite the requirements involved in managing it, the benefits usually outweigh any negatives associated with having a program in place.

Keep it Organized

Think of a big puzzle. To finish it, you'll need several pieces, an eye for detail, and the right strategy.

That is how designing an MDF program feels.

When working with partners, it is critical to consider each partner's skills and goals because established partners may require more funding, whereas newer partners may require less.

It includes tiering partners and allocating funds accordingly to ensure that the partner receives support while maximizing your ROI.

When designing the program, ask yourself these questions:

  • What operations will be prioritized and rewarded?
  • What type of campaigns will we offer? For example, articles, podcasts, webinars, etc.
  • How much will each partner type and tier get?
  • How often will the funds be distributed?
  • How will the funds be paid out?
  • How will you keep track of partners who earn MDFs?
  • How will we keep track of the effectiveness of MDF campaigns?

Remember to think about how each budget allocation will help both your program and the partner succeed.

Develop Clear Objectives

When you're working with funds, having clearly defined objectives is essential.

This is why it's crucial to establish trackable KPIs and measurable goals before beginning any campaigns or initiatives supported by your marketing development funds.

Use Business Plans in Kiflo to track the progress of set goals with partners.

By doing this beforehand, it is possible to monitor progress later on and make adjustments as needed to improve outcomes.

Prioritize Investment Channels

Prioritizing investment channels is critical for Marketing Development Funds. It entails determining which channels will yield the greatest ROI.

For instance, let's say you've seen a high ROI in your email marketing. Allocate resources effectively and efficiently by diversifying MDF budgets across different email marketing channels, perhaps by creating specific templates and establishing separate goals for each to meet partner marketing's objectives.

Get Feedback from Your Partners

When it comes to Marketing Development Funds, it’s crucial to get feedback from your partners. It will help you determine if the MDFs are bringing them value and if they’re worth the investment.

MDF feedback can be gathered in a variety of ways, including by directly asking partners what they think, examining data to determine the impact of the MDFs, and conducting surveys or focus groups.

If you’re not seeing any positive results, it may be time to rethink your strategy.

Leverage Tech

Partner technology has altered how businesses manage their marketing activities, and leveraging technology can be a valuable tool in better managing Marketing Development Funds.

For example, you can leverage the power of technology with Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software that helps track and automate partner performance, communication, payouts, and content sharing.

It will help to streamline and optimize resources for maximal efficiency.


Finally, it’s important to remember that MDFs are not a one-size-fits-all solution, and companies should take time to understand their goals before investing in one. Clear objectives paired with the right technology will maximize the funds invested in an MDF program.

Never stop looking for ways by which you can continually improve upon and adapt existing strategies as new goals become available.

The trick here is not only understanding what works but also why a certain strategy works best—something analytics data can often illuminate very quickly over time.

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