Letter from John Fleming, January 2014

Click here to order the January 2014 issue in which this article appeared.

Happy New Year! A great year is behind us, and a promising year lies before us. Much was accomplished during 2013. Independent direct sellers throughout the world—approximately 15 million in the U.S. alone and approximately 90 million throughout the world—continued to be the defining force for what can be accomplished through a business model that engages people from all walks of life to represent its products and services. And here at Direct Selling News, we celebrate 10 years of bringing you their stories and sharing the important news of our industry. We’ll be celebrating this achievement by adding our 10th Anniversary seal to the cover of the magazine each month in 2014.

John FlemingThose who choose a direct selling company do so because of motivations that are as diverse as their socio-economic profiles. The opportunities they choose satisfy personal interest in products or services as well as help them to build businesses based upon reasonable investments in time, capital and education. This is true for free people all over the world, and it is the strength upon which direct selling businesses are built. As a result of this strength, many companies have experienced a very good and growth-filled year! The growth is global in nature, and once again we now look forward to the compilation of the Direct Selling News Global 100 list for 2013.

We wrote many stories during the past year, and some will repeat with frequency in the new year. Technology remains a hot topic and is featured in our cover story this month. The possibilities continue to yield greater and greater opportunities at a rate of change unlike any other in history. Whereas a few short years ago, there seemed to be some concern about the impact technology would have on the industry overall, last year represents a quantum leap for direct selling companies. New technology has enabled sophisticated enhancements to back office systems, introducing simplicity and convenience associated with customer acquisition and retention, along with the expanded use of social media platforms to support a new communication style. All of the preceding becomes new competitive advantages for direct sellers. They are well positioned to capture more market share because not only are they equipped with the best of tools in many cases, but also they bring the added value of caring, compassion, advice, education and the very appreciated asset of a relationship.

Our company spotlight this month takes us to European company Oriflame. In 2012, Oriflame was ranked No. 9 on the DSN Global 100 list at $2.2 billion (U.S.) in annual revenues. Oriflame is not currently conducting business in the United States, but their global presence is notable, especially when reviewing how they are effectively using social media to expose the brand. We think you will enjoy the insight we gained from the conversations held with Oriflame executives about their strategy to expand through effective utilization of technology.

We welcome the contribution from Anthony Johndrow in his article, “The Reputation Imperative for the Direct Selling Industry,” in addition to our recent White Paper on “The Evolution of Direct Selling.” This is the first of a series that will continue during the year. Thanks also to Mannatech’s CEO, Dr. Robert A. Sinnott, for his thoughtful insight in our Top Desk article, “The Science of Business.”

Save the date, April 23, 2014! We look forward to hosting the fifth DSN Global 100 banquet and recognizing the top 100 direct selling companies in the world. The event has grown each year, with over 500 industry executives attending last year. A classy evening of dinner and programming will also include recognition of special achievements during 2013.

Submission forms can be accessed at dsnglobal100.com, as well as ticket and table reservations for the banquet on April 23. Our keynote speaker this year truly defines the word leadership. He has led his company to record levels of success inclusive of extraordinary corporate and humanitarian accomplishments. Truman Hunt has been President and CEO at Nu Skin since January 2003. During his tenure the company has grown exponentially. Indeed, the growth during 2013 led all publicly held direct selling companies. We look forward to this special day in the year for Direct Selling News, as we recognize the industry-leading companies and honor those who have achieved in an extraordinary manner.

When we first decided to take on the project of identifying the top 100 direct selling companies in the world, we settled on a basic objective: Serve the industry by recognizing those companies that lead the way for the close to 100 million independent direct sellers around the world who found an opportunity to satisfy personal motivations.

We hope to see you on April 23! On behalf of all of us affiliated with Direct Selling News, we wish for you a Happy New Year and… we hope you enjoy the issue!

John Fleming
Publisher and Editor in Chief

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