Despite the brilliant business opportunities that MDF can provide, many vendors and resellers are still mystified by how to get the program right. Interestingly (and perhaps not surprisingly), MDF programs that fail often do so for several common reasons—mistakes made by vendors and resellers alike.
Overly restrictive deadlines, for example, are a common culprit. Some vendors institute deadlines of 60 or 90 days, by which time the reseller is only beginning to get a marketing campaign off the ground. Vendors should be realistic about how long it takes to launch and, of course, measure a successful marketing campaign. By the same token, resellers need to take care not to ask for last-minute extensions when they have been given a reasonable time to carry out a campaign. A 12-month deadline, for example, is perfectly fair, and there is often no excuse for requesting flexibility on the final month. Resellers should also be aware that deadlines aren’t always in the vendor’s control. Both parties, however, need to communicate and agree, in no uncertain terms, on a satisfactory deadline.
Communication is key throughout the development and implementation of any MDF program. Often, programs fail because vendors are too “relaxed”—or, in other words, lax in their efforts to support and inform resellers. Channel managers and MDF program managers should communicate regularly with resellers to gauge the efficacy of the program and ensure that resellers are not in the dark. On the other hand, resellers need to ask vendors for support when needed rather than simply rely on them to automatically provide it.
Successful MDF programs always demand collaboration between vendors and resellers. If your program is not achieving the desired results, it might behoove you to pick up the phone and ask why.