by Craig DeWolf
Co-op and MDF programs are clearly the in their “mature” stage (to say the least). These days, the “trendy” channel programs are tied to social media or opportunity management have relegated the more traditional “promotional allowance” programs to the back seat. But for most manufacturers, the promotional allowance programs represent a majority, if not the majority, of a vendor’s channel marketing budget. Despite all this investment, it’s often neglected and hasn’t been reviewed or updated for several years-after all, if the current program was good enough in 2005, it should be good today-right?
Wrong: your promotional allowance program should be updated no less than annually to assure the program structure is aligned with your current objectives. What’s more, as ROI seems to be the biggest issue expressed by marketers, there are techniques to assure your funds optimized against these objectives. By manipulating any combination of 8 different design variables common to all promotional allowance programs, your promotional allowance program can be both an effective “Carrot” or a “Stick” to:
- Leverage channel budgets to attain corporate objectives
- Maintain and extend existing partner relationships
- Recruit new channel partners with special “jumpstart” allowances
- Penetrate target segments, or geographic markets
- Win channel Mindshare and Share of Voice vs competition
- Leverage partner relationships with their existing customers to promote up-sell or cross sell opportunities
- Improve channel “readiness” by enabling training, certification, and sales incentive programs
Depending on your industry, these promotional allowance programs can fund or encourage WAY more business development activities that simply advertising, including:
- Demo Programs
- Purchase/Sales incentives
- Training and certification
Programs of these types are common to all channel programs today-all of which are core requirements to many channel or vendor businesses to be successful.
So, it’s time to re-evaluate your promotional allowance program to assure it’s aligned with the go to market strategies for your and your channel partners.