Back to Blog
Making Market Development Funds Work For You

Tapping Into The Marketing Development Fund

blog Jul 24, 2016

Have you ever wanted to put on a small event to showcase or show off your product or services but just don't have the budget? Then you should know about what is called the Marketing Development Fund or MDF for short. It is the term used for funds available from vendors and partners of products and services for the purpose of helping you market their products and services. Why would they do this? Pretty simple - if they can help you sell more of their products and services and gain themselves more exposure and recognition, well that has value.

How does it work? Depending on the vendor or partner, the options can be anything from co-branding and even a lunch and learn or co-branding an email campaign or even a postcard campaign. They will host or co-host webinars and other online events. Some vendors have sponsored business or office makeovers where they supply the parts and you supply the talent but both of you get the write-up and exposure. You can pretty much bet that all options will involve co-branding, but surprisingly the company that gets the bigger logo and space is not always the vendor or partner. Often, they just want you to use their logo in the corner and be sure their name is the only other vendor mentioned. If it's a lunch and learn, they may even show up to present the whole thing for you. Most of the time, you will find they already have the materials, wording, presentation, etc. All you have to do is let them know you want to put on an event and they will hand you a kit.

A great example of free kits and free exposure is Microsoft's Community Connections program. See for details. They will give you everything you need, all you need to do is pick a venue and get butts in seats. How much exposure you get will be directly related to your partner level, so if you're not a real big company, don't plan on them filling the seats. Which brings us to the part where people actually show up for an event, whether in person or online. If you're doing an event like a lunch and learn, the deal is usually that you secure the venue and the people while the vendor supplies the lunch and the swag or giveaways. If it's an email campaign you're running, it usually involves the links in the email pointing to their site or at least allowing them to scour data like who opens and clicks through the email. If it's their email campaign, they will give you the open and clickthrough list. If it's an online event like a webinar, they will also give you the contact information for all participants.

To get started, you just need to get in touch with the marketing department for the vendor or partner to find out what programs they have and how to tap into them. Then, you select your participation level and get to planning. You may be surprised what vendors and partners are willing to do to tap into markets and sell their wares. Think creatively and use these resources wisely. If you have a couple of events and no one shows up, you're not likely going to be able to continue to tap into a particular vendor's funds. If it's on you to get the butts in seats or the eyes on the webinar, then don't attempt this until you have a good solid lead list. I've seen a 1% to 2% signup rate on interesting events. So if you're after 20 seats filled, you better have thousands of names. I believe that tapping into the MDF is wise marketing when done right. Find out what's available and get to it. :)

Don't miss a beat!

Sign up for my Success Newsletter an you'll receive periodic emails to update you when there is a new posts to the "Hot Cup of F#@K All That", “Pages From The Coach’s Playbook”

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.