Uncovering new marketing funds in 2020

The power of partner marketing

As 2019 draws to a close, we’re looking back at the year and reflecting on client initiatives and thinking about key wins and takeaways to refine our strategies for next year. One of the client programs that stands out to us is partner marketing. We’ve found that these programs drive positive results and revenue for our clients, yet they are generally underutilized by large enterprises. 

We support partner marketing programs for several large enterprises and have seen the type of results you can generate. The combined power and budgets of two or more companies serve as a key differentiator. For our clients, who are often faced with growing demands and tighter budgets, partner marketing is enticing because many hardware and software businesses offer Market Development Funds (MDF) to their partners. These funds are allocated to market joint solutions/services. With this in mind, you would think partners line up to get MDF—but by some estimates, as much as 50% of all potential funds go unused.

In the US, nearly 60 percent of software and hardware manufacturers report they spend at least five percent of their channel marketing budget – well over $1 million annually – on providing MDF and co-op marketing sales support. Yet industry estimates suggest that for every dollar of MDF available, at least 50 cents goes unused. Why? Many partners do not utilize these funds because they simply are unaware that they are available. Other partners feel that the burden of complying with program terms and conditions outweighs the benefits of co-marketing funding subsidies. There are lots of other reasons, but the fact is, a lot of marketing dollars went unused this year.

Here are five tips for making good use of MDF in 2020:

    1. Start planning now – the best way to tap into and utilize MDF is by building programs and momentum throughout the year. Not just one tactic or for just one quarter. 
    2. Focus on results – the best way to ensure future MDF is to generate tangible results. Establish key metrics with the funding partner, continuously track, and improve results.
    3. Build a powerful story – before jumping into campaigns and tactics, it’s critical to articulate why the combination of the two partners is so powerful. Ensure messaging consistency across programs and content.
    4. Ensure alignment with your goals – it’s great that a partner is funding or partially funding a campaign, but be sure that your mutual objectives also help meet your business goals.
    5. Move with speed and iterate – while you’ll be tempted to make everything perfect, your funding partner will want to see execution in the market. Strike the right balance.

If you’re ready to learn more about navigating the world of partnership marketing and gaining those valuable MDF dollars, let’s talk! Contact us