Is MDF Just Signaling?

In this article about Super Bowl ads, GapingVoid points out that it isn’t so much advertising as Signaling. A Super Bowl implies, “It sends consumers the message, even subconsciously, that the brand is a real player for the long haul — so big, successful, and confident that it can throw around this kind of money.”

Isn’t that what MDF is to some degree? Marketing funds are spent at shows and at master agencies & distributors (examples include Ingram, Tech Data, Microcorp, and AppSmart) to signal to partners that they are available in the market. It is a form of Branding, but really it is about throwing out money to get attention.

On a coffee break with the channel today, we again discussed the MDF. A few participants suggested that there will be more accountability this year for MDF. There will be less of and a tighter grip will be held on the checkbook, since most vendors – carriers, service providers, MSPs – did not get their ROI on the funds in 2020. (Some would argue they have never been able to calculate an ROI on MDF, but those folks may be cynical. The calculation is in the sales.)

As one vendor pulls the purse strings another will come along with a check to fill that monetary void. This industry is so me-too that there is certainly another vendor just around the corner who provides something similar. There are 2000 providers of Hosted VoIP/UCaaS. There are how many AT&T resellers? Does the buyer or the partner even know what the difference is (or what value the vendor brings) before utilizing them? Likely not. So pay the MDF and signal to the crowd that you are open for business.
Scroll to Top