December 31, 2015 | Debbi A. Ballard | Comments 2
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2016 Wish List for the Network Marketing Industry

copyright, 2015, Debbi A. Ballard All rights reserved worldwide.

My 2016 wish list for the network marketing industry includes the following:

More Scrutiny by Networkers

Before joining a network marketing opportunity, I hope that 2016 marks the year that there is more scrutiny conducted by prospects. Taking the time to analyze the products, management, the mlm compensation, the adherence to critical legal issues, policies and procedures, and the support products and services, will help to increase the retention and success rates of networkers and those firms that carefully plan and implement their programs.

(When you subscribe to MyNetBrief(tm), our complimentary e-newsletter, you’ll receive a special report that helps you understand some of the key issues you must examine before joining a network marketing company.)

Greater Loyalty Garnered

Instead of impulsively joining a network marketing company, more careful scrutiny before joining can lead to greater loyalty. Once a networker has confidence in his/her decision to join, that person can then have a level of patience and commitment that can lead to a greater chance of success.

Do you really think that an individual who makes a decision with little to no forethought is typically going to have any degree of commitment or patience to build the business?

Greater loyalty shown to the networkers themselves by corporate is exhibited when management illustrates that it understands its responsibility to do its best to run a profitable business that also allows for its networkers to prosper. Conducting business within ethical and legal parameters must also be done to provide for a sustainable opportunity for those networkers.

Another way, among many, that corporate shows loyalty to its networkers is by recognizing and rewarding not just the leaders but those who are continually progressing towards their goals. Corporate management team members who are careful to get feedback on an ongoing basis from those at various ranks interacting face-to-face and/or in an online meeting platform* can do wonders in moving the company forward in the right direction.

Listening only to the “leaders” can have disastrous results and diminishes the loyalty among the majority of networkers. As I have stressed for decades to my clients, the needs and wants of people at various ranks are not the same.

Continuing Education by Both Networkers and Management

The internet has made for a far more competitive environment for anyone seeking to recruit others into a network marketing business. Home-based businesses are not just relegated to our industry. With people making money as affiliates (also sometimes called “associates”) for companies like Amazon and other merchants, or having eBay businesses or their own unique e-commerce sites, there are a vast array of home-based businesses available for individuals to start.

Hence there is an even greater demand for knowledge by networkers and corporate managers to be able to understand how the home-based business market has changed and continues to change. It is only by keeping abreast of those changes that the network marketing industry can stay competitive and relevant.

The strengths of the industry must be communicated in comparing home-based business opportunities. When these are properly communicated in an honest, forthright manner, most people quickly grasp how their time, effort and monies can often be better leveraged in the network marketing industry.

I also love affiliate marketing and have been friends with many great people in that industry for years. However, because of the nature of the mlm compensation plan (paying on individual and team sales), there is more leverage available to those in network marketing who wish to build substantive incomes. (I spoke at Affiliate Summit East in New York on the convergence of affiliate marketing and network marketing and will be attending again in January of 2016 in Las Vegas as part of the media covering Affiliate Summit West.)

A Better Understanding as to How Social Media is Impacting Network Marketing

Networkers from companies based around the world are engaged with one another online via Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. This is having a tremendous impact on the industry. For example, if a network marketing firm is hit by a regulatory agency with an investigation, the news goes viral. Discussions ensue online and offline at industry events. People look at the issues involved and many follow that news to see what the final ruling/conclusion might be.

Do you think that those networkers are also examining their respective opportunities in regards to the regulatory challenge? You bet they are.

If management of an mlm firm does not keep abreast of these challenges, do you think they are going to elicit confidence from their networkers, some of whom know a lot more about the dangers of the legal challenges?
So it is important for the management team to understand these challenges and conduct audits of their programs and speak with their network marketing attorneys to see if any changes would be required. And, again, the communication with the field concerning these issues is important since then the networkers will know that corporate is doing their best to stay within changing legal guidelines.

As an mlm corporate manager, you should be on the lookout for where your networkers are congregating online and offline to discuss industry issues. Are they being taught valuable strategies and tactics that are ethical and within legal guidelines OR are they being taught strategies and tactics that could jeopardize their businesses and the company itself? If the latter is true, then it is imperative that you take action to warn them about such imprudent advice reminding them that they need to operate in compliance with your company’s policies and procedures.

This year there has been some very high profile cases and controversies regarding different network marketing companies. Heated discussions online and offline have taken place. I have received inquiries about doing expert witness work on some of these cases. (Many of you know that I have done work as an expert witness.) So seeing both networkers and management getting better educated in 2016 about current legal issues impacting our industry is a wish near and dear to me.

More Network Marketing Professionals Helping to Protect the Industry and Consumers

As many of you know, I have spent decades doing volunteer work to assist the industry in working with regulators and industry participants to protect our rights and the rights of consumers. I established the first government-industry liaison group, spoke at the National Association of Attorneys General conference on consumer protection regarding industry issues, and have spoken and written extensively as an advocate for high ethical standards.

So in 2016 another wish I hope to see realized is that more industry professionals take action on protecting and advancing the industry, particularly through education. Some will choose to do this through active participation in industry associations. Others will choose to do this individually or within their own networking groups.

Educating the public and regulatory agencies about the benefits to participants is important. Explaining the typically generous refund policies for both consumers and networkers, along with other consumer protections built into the policies and procedures of reputable companies with the addition of enforcement actions, can go a long way to help secure the future of the industry.

When doing so, it is important, however, not to neglect mentioning that yes, there have been companies and/or networkers who have not conducted themselves within ethical and legal guidelines. Any reasonable person will acknowledge that this is true of any industry, whether it be the banking industry, real estate industry, franchise industry or various other types of organizations or institutions, including the government itself.

Refusing to acknowledge any problems within the industry, however, is illogical and dishonest. Doing this only serves to diminish any credibility in what you have to say about the many positives offered by the industry.

So there is my 2016 wish list for the network marketing industry. I hope you enjoyed it. Have a fantastic 2016, both personally and professionally! Feel free to share your comments on what you wish for in 2016.

P.S. If you haven’t read my previous post on the 5 marketing trends you must not ignore in 2016, read it now. You’ll be glad you did.)

* is an online meeting platform specifically designed to address the needs of the network marketing industry.

(Disclosures: INLC has provided consulting to INLC is an affiliate for the Affiliate Summit because we feel the Summit is so beneficial for both networkers and affiliates. As an affiliate, INLC could receive remuneration should you decide to register via a link on our site.)

Debbi A. Ballard introduced the world’s first comprehensive marketing and management consulting services for start-ups and established multinational firms in the mlm (network marketing) industry. A consultant, speaker, author and expert witness, she is considered a trusted authority and visionary in that industry. She is also recognized for her innovation and leadership relating to the convergence issues that impact network marketing and affiliate marketing. Thousands of corporate owners, managers, networkers, and affiliates subscribe to her firm’s newsletter, MyNetBrief(tm), for news, research and valuable tips.

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Filed Under: MLM ArticlesMLM News


About the Author: MLM Consultant, Expert Witness, Author, Blogger, Speaker and CEO of International Network Liaison Corporation...but more importantly, wife, mother, daughter, aunt, cousin and friend.

RSSComments: 2  |  Post a Comment  |  Trackback URL

  1. Debbi,

    What a great article and great insights!

  2. Thank you so much for the kind words. Glad you found it helpful.

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