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6 important MDF do’s and don’ts to secure your marketing success

Rod Griffith

By Rod Griffith
October 6, 2023

6 important MDF do’s and don’ts to secure your marketing success

If you’re one of the thousands of companies with access to market development funds (MDF) offered by vendor partners to assist your marketing and sales initiatives, you’re probably asking yourself a common question: are we getting the most business impact from our MDF?

Having implemented hundreds of campaigns for companies accessing market development funds, we’ve learned six critical do’s and don’ts that marketers should consider before starting any MDF-supported initiative.


map that pinpoints converging lines


DO map your MDF usage plan to your marketing goals.

If your initiatives don’t help drive more sales, shorten sales cycles, or reduce the cost and effort of selling, are they really worth doing? MDF is best for initiatives that help accelerate the customer’s buying journey. This may include reaching more prospects and making them aware of your offerings, helping them better understand your true differentiation, enticing them to agree to a trial program, or boosting your sales team’s ability to close opportunities (such as through better training or improved incentive promotions).


DON’T use MDF simply to offset marketing costs that were already budgeted.

It's easy to apply your MDF funds to your current marketing plans. But smart marketers realize that doing so will not add anything to their business achievements. Worse, if you don’t spend your internal marketing budget, it may get taken away next quarter. (We’ve seen this happen!) Think of MDF as a chance to do something your current budget wouldn’t allow.


DO understand your vendor’s MDF qualification and approval process—before you launch.

Each MDF program has specific requirements and documentation necessary to gain approval and funding reimbursement. It can be time-consuming to go through the appeals process to gain funding reimbursement if you haven’t done your homework upfront. Or worse, your reimbursement request could be rejected altogether—a costly mistake.


partial image of hourglass at dutch angle

DON’T wait too long to plan and launch your MDF-supported marketing or sales initiative.

Most MDF have a time limit when the funding expires. Busy marketing teams sometimes get in a time crunch and realize that they’ve got to use their MDF soon or lose them. This can lead to a rushed effort with weak planning, poor implementation, and disappointing results. Be aware of the MDF program calendar and timelines—and plan ahead.


DO use metrics that measure real success towards your business goals.

Sure, it’s nice to see that your email campaign was opened 633 times—or that the blog article you promoted via social media reached 11,467 impressions. Those vanity metrics can make you feel like a success. But was your goal to gain impressions? Or to accelerate sales growth? Be sure the metrics for your MDF initiative measure tangible goals that matter.


DON’T treat marketing development funds as an afterthought.

It’s not uncommon to treat MDF as “icing on the cake”—some extra funds to buy promotional tchotchkes, banners, booth signage, and T-shirts—or perhaps to increase the print run on a new brochure. Instead, use the MDF program as an opportunity to come up with creative ideas that haven’t been tried. You may just open a whole new opportunity to boost marketing success.


splash of water to represent maximized impact


Maximize the impact of your MDF.


In summary, market development funds can make a substantial difference in your business outcomes. Align your MDF usage with strategic marketing goals. Understand the nuances of your vendor's MDF qualification process. And select metrics that truly reflect progress toward your objectives. By following these principles, you can unlock the full potential of MDF.



Want to implement MDF initiatives more effectively? MarketReach can help.

Few, if any, marketing services companies have anywhere near MarketReach’s deep experience in implementing effective, successful MDF marketing initiatives. We have been helping B2B technology companies get the most out of their MDF for almost 30 years. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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