MDF/Co-Op programs (often more generally known as “trade promotional allowance programs”) are a large expense for most channel marketers—often the largest single expense line item in channel budgets. Yet, many channel marketers fail to capitalize on their program as a business-building tool, instead treating their program as a cost of doing business. Aggressive marketers who embrace the value of the program view it as a means to achieve sales and marketing objectives, and therefore, regularly review and update their program to ensure the program guidelines contribute to those objectives. This reassessment is particularly important in dynamic industries—such as technology—where products, purchase processes, and even the channel partners themselves change with seemingly increased frequency.
When reviewing each foundational element described here, it is important to consider the go-to-market strategy of your channel partners, as well as the programs offered to them by your competitors in addition to your own sales and marketing goals. Developing a program that meets competition or beats competition must be a conscious decision. A properly designed promotional allowance program can be a strong competitive advantage.
This eBook is written as the foundation for creating a new program or evaluating the current MDF/Co-Op program for optimal performance. All MDF and Co-Op programs are based on eight essential building blocks. When each element is thoroughly considered as an independent tactic, the resulting promotional allowance program is truly greater than the sum of its parts, resulting in a well-engineered sales and marketing program.
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