What is multi-level marketing exactly? Multi-level marketing (MLM), often known as network marketing, is a type of sales approach where goods are offered directly to customers without passing through a middleman like a retail store.
MLM businesses typically market cosmetics or nutritional supplements. These are consumer goods that can be frequently sold to repeat customers.
How exactly does multilevel marketing operate?
How does multi-level marketing operate exactly, and how is it different from conventional direct selling?
This marketing strategy, often referred to as network marketing, is a unique kind of direct sales strategy in which products are sold to customers through an ever-expanding sales network made up of a small number of paid employees and a large number of independent sales representatives.
To increase their revenue, participants can enlist interested clients as new sales representatives.
The multi-level marketing strategy makes use of independent distributors who are hired full- or part-time, in contrast to conventional direct sales where sales agents are employees of a corporation.
The majority of these new hires are pleased consumers who receive incentives like bonuses, good terms on purchases, and huge commissions.
Multi-level marketing operates under the tenet that “You’re more inclined to believe a friend than an advertising agency,” by utilizing the distributors’ own networks for targeted referral marketing.
The several tiers of the organizational structure that resembles a pyramid are referred to as levels in multi-level marketing.
The sales manager of the business oversees a small group of salaried workers who hire independent distributors, who then hire additional partners.
Only when the number of participants increases significantly does the pyramid scheme business model function.
Instead of stressing the selling of physical goods, these schemes concentrate on enlisting new participants who expand the business by making investments or working.
For instance, businesses that sell tips on how to profit from the plan rather than genuine products are not only unreliable but also against the law.
The same goes for businesses that sell products—often only one—that are so exorbitantly priced that nobody would buy them if they didn’t have a financial incentive to do so.
MLM and network marketing terminologies
You will frequently come across technical phrases in the multi-level marketing or network marketing environment that can have distinct meanings from their equivalents in normal language.
- Sponsor: Someone who brings a person into the business.
- Distributor: Most MLM businesses refer to their participants as distributors rather than sales agents.
- Upline: Anyone who is a distributor above a member’s personal sponsor in the hierarchy. The Head of Sales is at the top of the upline. For sales made by partners in the downline, all distributors in the upline receive a commission.
- Plan: lists every possible revenue stream for salespeople. The plan also shows how pay varies with sales volume and the inclusion of new partners. Reputable companies make the plan as apparent to their employees as they can.
- Recruit or partner: A person that a sponsor recruits to the company. Sales made by the partner are used to pay the sponsor.
- Downline: Everyone who is a distributor’s subordinate, whether they are distributor-recruited members or newly enlisted recruits. Every distributor makes money off the sales of their subordinates.
The following are some of the top US multi-level marketing businesses:
- Avon: Avon is a cosmetics company with about 6 million agents and $5.7 billion in yearly revenue. It ranks as one of the largest MLM enterprises worldwide. In the early 2020s, Natura & Co, a cosmetics firm that also owns The Body Shop, acquired Avon Products, Inc.
- Amway: Amway is the biggest network marketing business in the world, with about $9 billion in annual revenue. It was founded in Michigan in 1959, and today, it has almost 3 million representatives who market health, beauty, and home care products in more than 100 nations.
- Tupperware: One of the most well-known MLM brands worldwide is Tupperware. The business, founded in the US in 1938, has achieved a level of brand recognition for its whole product area. Only companies using conventional distribution channels, like those selling Hoover vacuum cleaners or Scotch tape. And they can compete with the popularity of plastic food storage containers. Around the world, more than 40 Tupperware parties take place every second.
- Herbalife: One of the biggest multi-level marketing firms for dietary supplements is Herbalife. As of the time of this writing, there are over 2.3 million independent distributors worldwide. It was founded in California in 1980.