Top 3 Challenges With Co-op and MDF Funds According to Gleanster

When Gleanster surveyed 1,536 senior level brand and local marketers in 11 industries they asked for feedback concerning the most significant challenges they face in regards to co-op and MDF programs.

The big question asked by both brand and local marketer is actually quite simple: Why does it have to be so hard? Really? Money is made available, but is either wasted or left unspent. If it were easy, your channel partners would be spending every co-op dollar they earned and the MDF that YOU provided them. Yet, according to Gleanster Research’s: The State of Co-op and MDF, 52% of these available funds are used, leaving over $30 Billion on the table. There are many reasons “why” this is happening.

The top #3 challenges recognized  are:

  1. Local marketers don’t find them valuable
  2. Programs are confusing because they focus on emerging channels like digital-  local marketers aren’t comfortable
  3. Difficulty managing brand consistency

Let’s dive in:

Brand marketers believe that local marketers don’t see the value in the programs available to them.

Contrary to this perception, Gleanster discovered that 70% of local marketers using these programs use them at least twice a year. The disconnect with brand marketers likely lies in the lack of feedback received or sought, and not communicating or educating the programs’ value with their channels. Measuring the success of these programs are likely frustrated by the “convoluted metrics around program utilization and cumbersome review/approval processes.”

Brand marketers struggle with emerging channels – particularly digital.

Traditional channels are still viewed as the gold standard and foundation of co-op and MDF programs. This is an issue because local marketers see digital as an emerging channel they should be focusing and spending their money on.

  • Local marketers are confused by the value of digital programs- they believe that digital works but the brand isn’t making  great enough investments there or educating them on the value.
  • Although local marketers are ready for digital programs, brand marketers are slow in adopting them, and making them available.

Maintaining brand consistency remains a challenge between brand and local marketers

With the emergence of easy to use marketing automation and co-op/MDF management platforms, brand marketers are much better situated to provide the necessary tools to encourage their channel partners to participate and use the funds that are provided. Brands have a great opportunity to prove out the efficacy of their programs and socialize the “ease of use” to their partners. Platforms like SproutLoud and others are paving the way to truly make it a win-win situation for the brands and the partners that sell their products and services. It is much easier to execute and get adoption than ever before! Be a leader, not a laggard. Invest in the right tools, and you will increase your revenue numbers through your partners like the brand leaders in this survey.


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