A Guide to Better Co-op and MDF Fund Utilization



In the dynamic landscape of HVAC dealer marketing, the challenge of underutilized co-op and MDF funds often perplexes businesses. Why do these valuable resources often remain untapped at the local level? It’s a pervasive issue, with a significant portion of the allocated $70 billion for co-op advertising programs annually left unspent. For businesses eager to support their local partners, this represents a missed opportunity—nearly $35 billion slipping through the cracks each year.

Uncovering Missed Opportunities

Behind the unspent dollars lies a deeper story of missed connections.

Each potential customer carries a unique Cost of Customer Acquisition (CAC) and a Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV). Unused marketing funds signify more than just unutilized budgets; they represent potential customer losses. The revenue overlooked from the CLTV perspective paints a vivid picture of the growth possibilities slipping away. It’s not just about the funds left unused; it’s about the opportunities left unexplored.

Looking Deeper into Fund Utilization

Through insightful examinations of various fund management programs, several recurring reasons for the underutilization of co-op and MDF funds have come to light:

Lack of Transparency

Many local partners are unaware of the funds available to them. Transparency issues arise when partners are not promptly informed about their fund allocations. Barriers such as complicated tracking methods or reliance on manual spreadsheets hinder partners from fully engaging in fund programs.

Complex Program Rules

Excessive rules imposed by corporate entities often complicate access to funds. Complicated approval processes cause delays, leading to frustrations and potential non-utilization of funds. Ambiguous guidelines, especially concerning vendor choices and reimbursement rates, deter partners from taking full advantage of the available resources.

Insufficient Marketing Support

Many local partners lack the expertise and resources to execute effective, brand-compliant marketing campaigns. Providing access to pre-approved customizable artwork or a list of vetted execution vendors is crucial for partners’ success. Offering educational resources and tools to enhance partners’ marketing skills encourages partners to actively engage with co-op and MDF programs.

How to Empower Local Partners

How to Empower Local Partners


To overcome these challenges and ensure the effective utilization of co-op and MDF funds, a shift in strategy is imperative. This transformation involves:

Transparent Fund Management

Implementing user-friendly platforms that provide real-time visibility into available funds. Simplifying tracking methods to eliminate barriers and encourage active participation from partners.

Streamlined Program Guidelines

Striving for clarity in program rules, ensuring partners understand the requirements without unnecessary complications. Reducing bureaucracy in approval processes to expedite fund allocation and utilization.

Comprehensive Marketing Support

Providing partners with access to pre-designed marketing materials that can be easily customized. Offering training sessions and workshops to enhance partners’ marketing skills, enabling them to execute campaigns effectively.


By addressing these challenges proactively, businesses can revolutionize their fund management strategies. A commitment to transparency, simplicity, and robust marketing support not only fosters active engagement from partners but also amplifies brand awareness and customer growth. It’s time to empower our local partners as true heroes in local marketing, unlocking the full potential of co-op and MDF funds for mutual success.

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