Monday, September 23, 2019

Network Marketing--Get over it!

Network Marketing--Get over it!

For a long time (seemingly forever), the idea of Network Marketing has been considered a negative model. And, frankly, it was. Or at least nothing to be taken seriously. When I think of this business model, it conjures thoughts of the old Tupperware parties from the 70's. Kinda harmless; more like hobbies that pay for what used to be called a housewife. So 1970's!

Moving forward a bit, it also makes me think of organizations like Amway. I have nothing against that company, but I don't have a glowing opinion either. (Honestly, I just had to Google it to see if they are still in operation. $8.8 Billion says that they are...).

But still, I always had this negative connotation from the model. Go sell some stuff but mainly try to recruit people to sell under you. Ye Olde Pyramid. 

Recently, though, I've done a mental 180 on this. Why? The primary catalyst has been my wife, who has recently gotten into the game by selling CBD. On the surface, it can be perceived as two scammy worlds colliding. But with only a small amount of research shows that I (and many others) have been wrong.

I won't spend much effort on the CBD part. What I will say on the subject is: do a little research. There are all kinds of misleading (in my opinion deliberately misleading) information on the substance. Is it the magical cure-all that it's often made out to be? Of course not! Mick Jones could have been talking about CBD back in the 80s! 

What I can say is, if you are interested, just make sure you know what you are taking. From completely fraudulent products (a friend was taking a product that clearly says in its description "Zero CBD AND THC") to confusing language to convoluted ingredients (saw some at our local grocery store that was full of additives and oils), it's simply a mess in that world. 

No, this post is more about the sales mechanism, now commonly called Network Marketing. Multi-Level Marketing is the same thing but with changing perceptions come changing identities. 

Are there still the basics? Levels of Associates who are selling the product and recruiting other people to sell? Sure, but I now look at the distribution system as it compares to traditional distribution. To put that same product on a retail shelf, the manufacturer would engage a sales rep (layer), distributor (layer), perhaps a local wholesaler (layer) before finding the retailer (layer). And that doesn't account for the rules of retail (markdowns, payment terms, etc.). It's simply using individuals who actually believe in the product to just talk about their own experiences. It's testimonials on a personal level. 

I'm not advocating that this is the perfect distribution system for ALL products. What I am saying is, this system, when paired with the right product, is utilizing modern communication tools of social media to have amazing reach. And I, for one, am changing my view along with the times.