I was recently asked a very common question by someone I had just met. The question: What is my one good reason for looking seriously at the direct selling industry at this moment in time? My response: Who are you? My follow-up questions: Are you a potential investor or a potential independent business owner, or are you looking for a job? Needless to say, we continued into what was a very interesting conversation.
As I thought about that question, I found myself responding in a spontaneous but thoughtful manner. If this person is interested in investing, I could name many companies that are growing so very well, as we found in our research of the top direct selling companies in the world (the DSN Global 100—to be published in our June issue). Many are privately held but there are also those that are publicly held, and their track record speaks volumes for what the direct selling channel of distribution is accomplishing in what most still describe as very challenging times. I also knew rather quickly that I was not going to allow myself to be engaged in a conversation about someone’s desire to find a job, so I immediately thought about my response if this person is really interested in a business opportunity. Immediately, I was of the thought—whether investor or potential business owner at the independent contractor level—the direct selling business model is all about “taking control.” These thoughts came to me in a nanosecond.
For the investor, it is about being in control of the marketing and the positioning message and utilizing independent contractors to take that message directly to consumers with the support of the most up-to-date technology and communication innovation, which large and mature businesses are finding difficult to grasp. Neiman Marcus is touting a personalized app that recognizes a customer when they enter the store, but direct sellers have taken it further. The independent contractor, in so many of the industry’s companies, is now equipped with the finest in technology that allows for the most personalized communication utilizing all mediums delivered through web-based technology. Perhaps this is one of the industry’s big secrets that still need to be exposed. This is also why we recently published our second USA Today insert that is available in bulk quantity for you and your organizations to use to enhance public understanding and awareness of how your companies are actually doing business in a new world shaped by a new definition of “person-to-person.” As we have watched and observed what might very well be the beginning of the end for traditional retail—how many stores have closed in your community?—we are also living witnesses to the emerging dominance of the consumer as being “king and queen” in the decision-making process regarding the purchase of goods and services.
No longer do we “go out” to shop. We simply go to the computer to acquire all of the information we need to help with the decisions we make and—guess what—no one makes it more personal than a direct seller/network marketer!
Decisions are no longer made on who was the most advertised but more so on who I know is telling me more of what I would like to know. Brand advertising is no longer king or queen. It is now about friends sharing their experiences. Great new brands have capitalized on this new phenomenon. Amazon, Zappos, Groupon have all captivated us! However, guess who is doing it better?
I purposely wrote the first half of this month’s publisher note prior to our DSN Global 100 Banquet—held April 16—in which we announced the 2011 top direct selling companies in the world. We were personally honored to be hosts to over 350 special guests at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas. We rolled out the finest of what we could offer, brought in the lights and glitz, and enjoyed a most special evening of camaraderie, exchange of kudos and appreciation for each other as well as a great meal. It was a most enjoyable evening that was kicked off with a keynote from Doug DeVos, President of Amway Global.
Our ranking this year was based on factual information submitted by and attested to by the primary officers of the companies we ranked. Those companies that we believe are achieving in excess of $100 million in annual net revenues—but did not submit the information we requested—will be recognized, but not ranked, in our June publication of Direct Selling News and the insert we will publish in The Wall Street Journal.
That night was very special! It was indeed our pleasure to be a part of honoring those who make possible a very unique business model to the people of free economies throughout the world. As Paul Zane Pilzer, noted economist and advisor to several presidents of the United States of America, recently said, “The direct selling industry is that industry that makes entrepreneurship both duplicable and scalable!”
You can find the 2011 DSN Global Ranking at dsnsite.wpengine.com. Our final ranking with our story about the 2011 DSN Global 100 will be in our June publication.
Until next month, enjoy the issue and the website!
Publisher and Editor in Chief