Your Marketing Development Fund (MDF) is often vital to the success of your third-party ventures. Without it, marketing specific products or services would be more problematic and costly. But how should you be maximising your MDF, to not only achieve ROI but secure future funding? Here are our top tips for making the most of your fund.
1. Get to know the terms of your MDF
Every MDF is different, so make sure you take some time and explore the small-print before you start planning. What marketing activities are eligible under the terms of the MDF? Is it funded with a monthly budget, or are you simply provided with free access to certain materials and platforms? Make sure you and your team know exactly what your MDF enables you to do upfront, and don’t be afraid to query any points with your partner if you’re unsure.
2. Agree on your goals
Upfront goal-setting is a must-do precursor to planning and executing your marketing activities. Start by identifying what you're trying to achieve with your MDF. What does ROI really mean to your business? Set out your goals, and open a dialogue with your partner to make sure your definition of ‘success’ is aligned.
3. Set up mechanisms for tracking
Once you understand how and why your MDF will be used, you need to have a means of tracking success. Establish a system that enables you and your partner to access MDF goal tracking in real-time, and check regularly to make sure you’re on course to achieve your objectives. When your partner asks how the program is progressing, you’ll be providing them with hard facts instead of a gut feeling estimate.
4. Make sure data is accessible
It’s all well and good tracking the progress of your MDF program, but if the data isn’t easy to access, it’s as good as useless. Make sure data is not only at your fingertips, but readily accessible by your partner too. They need to be confident that you are worth investing in, so the more detail you’re able to provide, the better, especially when it comes to securing future funding.
5. Review, review, review
If you’ve used an MDF in the past, make sure you review what did and didn’t work. If this is your first experience with a co-op fund, schedule time for a lessons-learned session at the end of the funding cycle. Ask:
Were objectives clearly defined?
Were they the right objectives?
Were the metrics reliable?
How well did we communicate internally, and with our partners?
Where did we fail, and how can we learn from the experience?
Better yet, ask your partner to rate your performance across all areas of the program. With their feedback, you can not only learn valuable lessons for the future, but impress your partner with a willingness to adapt and refine. After all, no matter what stage you’re at, the ability to improve and maximise your MDF really can be a game-changer for everyone involved.