Maximize Your Marketing Development Funds (MDFs)
6 minutes

Maximize Your Marketing Development Funds (MDFs)

June 9, 2023

As budgets shrink and deadlines loom, Channel Marketers in the public sector may feel the need to scrap initiatives or end up settling for less effective campaigns. But they don’t have to! There are turnkey solutions to drive successful campaigns and ensure every precious dollar drives results.

In GovExec’s webinar, “Maximize Your Marketing Development Funds,” Lou Anne Brossman, Founder and Strategic Advisor of Government Marketing University, shared her insights from her decades-long career working with large distributors and eventually starting her own agency focusing on effective MDF campaigns. Whether you work with MDFs and want to know how to get more out of your funds, or you’re just starting out and want a leg up above your competitors, Brossman’s tips are sure to give you the edge you need.

What exactly are MDFs?

MDFs are the dollars that Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have set aside every quarter to help fund partner’s sales and marketing campaigns. Budgets are distributed quarterly and shared only three-months before they need to be spent. Channel marketers aren’t just given a handout, they need to present a plan and OEMs either approve or decline it.

What are the best ways to request MDFs?

Everyone likes a marketer with a plan. Take the time to come up with a detailed strategy beyond simply stating what your activity will be. Give specific dates in the execution of your plan. This is important for MDF regulations and audit requirements. State your objectives and expectations for ROI, like your anticipated number of leads, how you’ll follow up, and what you’ll do with them (it’s important to get sales and business development involved for a comprehensive strategy). If you’re not sure where to begin, you can utilize a marketing campaign brief template to get started.

Make sure your plan isn’t a one-hit wonder. For example, instead of stating that you’ll execute a webinar, give details on how you’ll promote it, what the topic of your webinar will be, who will be involved, how it will play out, and how you’ll follow it up. Then, make sure you utilize content in various forms beyond the activity. In the case of the webinar, supplement it with a whitepaper on the topic, share resources, add infographics. OEMs are more willing to give funds if there is more than one component.

You’ll have way more success with a well thought out, multi-quarter strategy. Build an integrated marketing campaign that starts in one quarter, but continues into the next, even though you are not requesting those funds yet. This can be a continuation of your marketing plan, like how you will follow up on your leads or other post-campaign activations. It shows forward thinking and will be easier to get the OEM to buy in when the next quarter comes around.

It all comes down to the dollar. Make sure you’re showing detailed numbers and not one large sum. Be prepared with a breakdown of how you’ll use your requested money to allocated channels, production fees, and other investments. If budgets lack key information those dollars may go out the door to another partner after the multiple rounds of feedback.

What are some MDF best practices?

Relationships are key in this business. Make sure you have strong relationships with both the channel and marketing individuals at the OEM. Connecting with them gives you an opportunity to build trust and show you know what you’re doing. This goes a long way in getting your dollars approved. It also helps to have strong relationships with vendors. If you find yourself in a crunch with extra funds, you want to have vendors who trust you and are willing to help you last minute. The easiest way to build these relationships is to attend events.

Turn in all Proof of Performance (PoP) requirements from past quarter MDF marketing campaigns. Make sure they are spotless. This builds trust, shows responsibility, and saves the OEM from coming back to you for more information.

Think outside the box. Offer ideas for using MDFs that are not being done by all other channel organizations. This is especially important for large OEMs. Unique strategies help you stand apart. In GovExec’s webinar, Brossman shares specific examples from her career of particularly successful campaigns and why they worked. Take just 20 minutes to watch.

Ensure you have a repeatable process. Every quarter, or at least biannually, provide a detailed visual presentation with all the MDF campaigns you’ve completed, including an ROI report, number of leads, cost per leads, and a tracker of lead success as it moved through the sales funnel. Share this internally to sales, BD, leadership, and marketing. Also share it with the OEM. Ask to be included in the OEM and channel team meeting and use it as a time to show your value. This presentation will not be a huge lift as it is coming from your PoP already, and it can go a long way in getting additional funds.

Curious to learn more about how you can maximize your MDFs?

Watch GovExec’s webinar on-demand for all of Brossman’s insights from her successful career working with MDFs.

To help put your plan into action, reach out to GovExec for the marketing solutions you need, and unmatched access to over four million government decision makers.

Contact today.

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