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MSP Marketing 101: What is Market Development Funds (MDF) for MSPs

business business funding msp pillar series May 14, 2021

Welcome back to the next post in the MSP Marketing Pillar Series where today, we're talking about one of my favourite things that I didn't do for MOST of my time of running my own MSP. FREE MONEY!


First of all - Hi, my name is Pete and in early 2020 I sold my MSP IT Business which I started in 2011 and grew over the next decade. Now I'm coaching other IT Business owners through my 'Not a Business Coach' tongue in cheek business, working together to help you achieve your goals.

One of the many tools at your disposal, when running an IT Business - is something called MDF Funding.

You know the phone calls you get from your vendor account managers who keep asking 'if there's anything I can do for you let me know'? This - Pay attention to this.

MDF stands for Market Development Funds and in short, it is money sat there, waiting for you to use.

Literally, your vendors and suppliers will GIVE YOU MONEY. What can this be used for?

Firstly, MDF can be used to pay up to 50% of marketing activity, so whilst it is technically free money – you will still need to invest some of your own funds, and those funds are normally paid out after the activity happens.

You could co-run a webinar, workshop, live event, or, when the world starts getting back to normal, you could run in-person events, lunch and learns, beer and backup – all sorts of events – BUT, it’s not just for events. Direct mail, social media campaigns, telemarketing, and even video content creation all could potentially be funded through MDF.

If you are struggling to think of what you could use it for then just ask them. Ask what activities they've seen great results from through their other partners.


Well - a few years ago through my MSP we used MDF to invest in a tonne of AV equipment. Camera gear, audio, live streaming, lighting - everything we needed to get started with our journey.

The MDF Part of that? We planned a series of podcasts, which we also live-streamed onto social media.

It was as simple as that. They contributed towards the equipment - we just sat down for an hour, chatted about their products and services with the purpose of educating our customers, and potentially drumming up some interest.

Now, speaking of experience. Not all vendors will just go - hey you want to buy some gear and live stream an interview? Sure! We'll give you a few thousand pounds...

Some will expect some very detailed documentation, proof of RoI, expected leads generated, conversion rates, the total number of sales and so much more! So be prepared, and actually, this is somewhere that Continuity can help you with as they already know the market, they know what sort of values are out there in terms of MDF.

Speaking of which - a quick word from the sponsor of today's post!

They can also help you complete any applications and in some cases help you get bigger MDF budgets from vendors – so it’s well worth having a chat with them before applying.

I did find some who understand the way I wanted to do things with my marketing. Things that don't return an immediate RoI, but instead provide brand RoI over a longer period of time, which would then result in sales... Actually, let's cover that in another post.


Speak to your suppliers and ask if they have MDF available.

Find out what they found works best from a conversion point of view. Be that a webinar, workshop, or in-person event.

Also, look at more modern ways of using those funds, be it a live stream or perhaps podcast. Then use it.

There is money sat there, in pots, mostly being used by the bigger MSPs out there - because the smaller MSPs either don't know about it, know about it and don't understand it, or know about it and just don't use it.

Most of those MSPs are already doing marketing activity that could be part-funded by MDF funding - so why wouldn't you!?

That is all for this quick MSP Marketing 101 Pillar Series. Following on from this post In the next one I’ll talk more about how you can use events as lead gen for your business, and perhaps snag some of that beautiful MDF funding to do so.

Take a look at my recent YouTube videos in the MSP 101 Pillar series, and while you're there, why not subscribe to the channel and like the videos?! Thanks, bye-bye. 

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