What’s Up With This Hype About Network Marketing Anyway!?

MLM, Split Second Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Online Marketing, it’s all the same – just Network Marketing. More and more people are becoming interested in Multilevel Marketing “Make Life Meaningful”, MLM in short. Even though Network Marketing has existed since the beginning of time, most people are still unsure of what it actually is and how it works. There have also been many rotten apples that have tainted MLM’s existence with negative outlook and gave Network Marketing a bad name. As people tend to remember negative experiences rather than positive. You may have gone to the same restaurant 100 times, but if the food or service was awful once… what did you do? Probably remembered ‘that’ particular instance over the hundred great times that you’ve been there. With schools all over the world from Harvard to Oxford teaching Multilevel Marketing/Network Marketing; it’s a no brainer that MLM is one of the best ways to build residual income.

Studies by the Direct Selling Association (DSA) indicate that:

  • Direct selling accounts for annual sales of more than $190 billion world-wide.
  • The US contributes nearly $53 billion.
  • 19 million Americans derive independent contractor income from direct selling.
  • One in every 10 households has someone involved in network marketing or direct sales.

What is Multilevel Marketing and how does it work? MLM works because people prefer to use products listed by a friend or an acquaintance. It works because the products offered are good and cost fair value. It works because people feel satisfied with the product and indicate to acquaintances who are satisfied with the product and so forth on a scale of exponential growth.

Anyone can be a network marketer, but usually dedicated individuals and entrepreneurs that know they can make money with alternative income, also known as residual income tend to be involved in MLM. We normally sign up for an MLM company that consists of working to promote the products and the opportunity offered. With the main advantage of being able to start without initial investment that a normal business would accommodate. Taking into an account of high cost needed to start any company.

If I lost everything and had to start again, I would find myself a great network marketing company and get to work!” – Donald Trump

Who should avoid MLM?

Disbelievers in MLM. Anyone thinking about earning money easily without having to work.

What are advantages of MLM?

Possibility of unlimited gains. Without an expensive initial investment. Ability to work on your own time.

What are the disadvantages of MLM?

Moderate level of rejection by those who do not know. Not only by them, but mainly by those who “think they know.” This rejection is created by millions of people who promise unlimited earnings without any work. People who use MLM companies with particular forms of pyramids just to get more people registered without worrying about the quality of products or showing guidance when sponsoring. All this nonsense turns people off from serious chances of success.

Network Marketing

The Evolution of Network Marketing… Marketing in general context, is the junction of Relationship Marketing. It focuses on the quality of customer relations and direct marketing, which happens to be the direct relationship between vendor and customer. Therefore, Network Marketing allows the direct relationship of the distributor (seller) with the client to maintain a quality of relationship between them, since this system only devotes itself to the permanence of a direct relationship in the long run. Network Marketing is a distribution system or a form of marketing that’s moving legitimate goods and services with high market value, from the manufacturer to the consumer through a network of independent contractors. It’s a way to organize and pay for resellers involved in direct sales. It has a compensation plan for direct sales in which resellers can receive earnings with the following common two ways. First, marketers may receive compensation for their personal resale of products and services to consumers. Second, marketers may be paid for their purchases or resales of people recruited and sponsored. Individuals may also be paid from the resale of the group or network that recruited and sponsored them previously. At the end, it is an opportunity for marketers to set up their own business by reselling goods and services and developing and training an organization or a network of resellers they sponsor to do the same. A multilevel distribution company means any person, firm, corporation, or other business entity that sells or distributes goods or services through independent marketers, reps, agents, contractors, distributors, and varied participants may recruit other participants. Commissions, bonuses, refunds, discounts, dividends, and other considerations of the program are or should be paid as a result of the sale of a service, product, recruitment, performance shares, or additional participants.

I would rather earn 1% of 100 people’s efforts than 100% of my own efforts” – John Paul Getty (American Billionaire)

How can you succeed?

Short answer:

Work diligently, work consistently, and don’t give up.

Long answer:

All companies are different, and what works in one company might not work in another. You should learn from your upline – ask them what works and what you should do to succeed. Draw on them for help. They’ve found out from experience what works and what doesn’t and they’re interested in your success. The fundamental ideas, though, are the same in any company. Do what a distributor/associate/whatever is supposed to do in your company – retail products, sell services, consume products, whatever… and find others to do the same. Teach them to do what you do. *Duplication* is the key to success. Wherever there is a McDonalds – there is a Burger King. You’re not supposed to go out and enroll the world, or sell something to everybody on the planet. You’re supposed to find a few people who want to build a business, and help them do it. More importantly, teach them to do what a distributor does and go out and find a few people to work with and teach those new people. Until you have “taught your people to teach their people to teach,” you have not really duplicated yourself. Keep plugging away. Unless you’re incredibly good at this, it will take time to build a group. It takes time to find good people and teach them what they need to know. Sometimes your best people will give up and drop out. Sometimes it can be very discouraging. Sometimes you may be tempted to give up. If your company isn’t working very well, maybe you should. But if the company’s working well, and others are succeeding, you need to take a look at what you’re doing that isn’t working. It may be that you wouldn’t do any better in another company, even if the grass looks greener, because you’re doing the wrong things.

It is a sad fact that a very small percentage of people who enroll in any particular MLM will succeed big. This is not, however, a fatal flaw of MLM; it’s a reflection of real life. 90%+ of small businesses fail within 1-5 years… and the owners lose a whole lot more than the few hundred dollars an MLM person typically invests. 98%+ of corporate employees will never achieve executive levels. 95% of 65-year-old retirees in the US (according to Insurance & Social Security statistics) are dead or broke.

The sad fact is, very few people succeed big in any endeavor. Most people simply will not do what it takes to succeed. MLM is no different in this regard. However, many people get into an MLM with the idea that it’s some kind of “easy road to riches”. It’s not. It takes work. It takes time and dedication. But most people don’t see that, either because their sponsor misled them with rosy predictions of instant wealth, or because they chose to hear the easy story. People like this enroll and don’t do anything, or give it a try but give up after a few months. This is where the vast majority of “MLM failures” comes from.

The biggest problem with MLM is that it’s “too easy” to get into (usually no more than a few hundred dollars), so it’s “too easy” to get out. With only a few hundred bucks committed, it’s easy for someone to say “Ah, heck, I talked to 5 people and none of them were interested. This doesn’t work! Guess I wasted $200.” You should approach your business as if it was a “real” business, one that you had invested your life savings into. If you had sunk $200,000 into your MLM business, would you let 5 “no”s stop you? Hell no!! You’d get back out there and keep working until you made it work, because you had too damn much money in it to give up! Well, guess what? That’s what makes MLM work too – that dedication to keep working until you make it work. If you work consistently, and effectively and build your group faster than the faint-hearted people drop out, your group will slowly but steadily build. And if you’ve taught your people the correct ideas of “work consistently, work effectively, and teach your people how to duplicate your efforts”, you should see a consistent rate of growth. It will probably take longer than you’d like (hey, that’s the way life works), but as long as you keep working at it, your income will eventually build to the level you want.

The problem is, most people don’t do this. Most people who get into MLM give it a half-hearted try, then give up the first time they get a “no” and complain that “It doesn’t work.” Only the people who determine to put in the effort, and actually DO what it takes to succeed, will stick it out and end up on top.

Some questions to ask yourself before entering MLM/Network Marketing Opportunity

Is there a legitimate product involved?

What do you get in return for your start up investment, other than the potential to earn good money? If you’re not getting a product or service or if the training tools appear to be overpriced you could have discovered a scam.

Do you get commissions based on product distribution or on recruitment? If they are paying commissions based purely on recruitment, walk away now.

Consider the following factors that might influence long term success. Does the company have a proven track record?

If the company has been around for a few years then there is a fair chance that governing bodies that police pyramid schemes have already pulled the business model apart and given them the OK.

Is this a get rich quick scheme?

Although there is a lot of potential to earn very good money in network marketing very few have made it quick, most make their millions through consistent effort.

Shop around

If you are looking into the industry for the first time don’t be scared to look at other business models and products, particularly if you don’t know which company to join.

What training do they provide?

A good company has a solid training system.

Say hello to MLM and Network Marketing

Thoughts become things. With self development, business, and entrepreneurial mindset and dedication we must teach people to do their due diligence while progressively enhancing their outlook on Multilevel Marketing and Network Marketing because it is a proven system that has created wealth around the world for people like you and me. Anyone can be a network marketer, but usually committed people that know they can make money with alternative income, also known as residual income tend to be involved in MLM.

The 2 Most Deadly Sins of B2B Marketing

There are two major reasons why marketing is failing at your small- or medium-sized B2B firm:

You view marketing as business triage. Your company applies a collection of tactics (often labeled as a “marketing campaign”) only in response to a problem; typically involving the loss of a key client, or decline in revenue. When business is good, little or no time is invested in marketing. When business (inevitably) takes a dip, only then does marketing becomes a priority.

You expect marketing to deliver immediate results. Either because your company always views marketing on a “cause & effect” tactical basis, or because marketing triage must be applied quickly to revive an ailing company, the marketing function is given insufficient time to produce tangible results. It’s no surprise that marketing professionals have the shortest tenure of any corporate function in the asset management business.

The hard truth is that very few B2B business owners either understand the marketing function, or have the discipline to design, implement, measure and adhere to a consistent marketing approach that builds brand equity and market engagement over a sustained period.

To establish the infrastructure and internal culture necessary for the marketing discipline to succeed, we offer the following simple path:

  • Create a Written Marketing Plan. This need not be in a 3-inch binder; a two-page document is often sufficient. Include goals, strategies, responsibilities, timelines, budgets and ways to measure results. Without a Marketing Plan you’ll waste lots of time and money. And unless it’s a written document, you won’t have commitment or accountability.
  • Gain Senior Level Commitment. The honcho in corner office (which might be you) must understand, endorse and support the Marketing Plan. This involves more than lip service. If your Plan isn’t properly staffed and funded at the outset, there’s no real commitment to marketing.
  • Do a Few Things Very Well.Your marketing success will be based on the quality and effectiveness of a limited number of strategies / tactics. Firms sometimes go overboard, thinking there’s a correlation between the size of its marketing investment and business results. But less is usually more, in terms of marketing ROI.
  • Build and Nurture your Database.Direct and easy access to your company’s clients, prospects, referral sources and opinion leaders is essential. Without an email pipeline, the marketing value of the content you create is close to zero. If your firm’s thought leadership simply sits on its website or social media, you’re missing the opportunity to build relationships with people in your target audiences.
  • Create Meaningful Content. Self-serving, long-winded white papers and research reports have very limited appeal. Generate content that validates your company’s intellectual capital, that’s easy to read, and focuses on timely topics that people have a genuine interest in.
  • Drive Top-of-Mind Awareness. To be included on the short list of candidates for an assignment or sale, you need to build awareness with key decision-makers. To accomplish that goal, share your content directly with target audiences on a quarterly basis. (More frequently than that, and you may be viewed as a pest.)

Most importantly – with apologies to Glengarry Glen Ross – B2B firms must commit to:

A… Always

B… Be

M… Marketing

… for the discipline to be effective. Otherwise, the traditional short-term, hair-on-fire approach to business development will keep your company from ever reaching its full potential, regardless of its quality or reputation.

Marketing Public Library Services in Sierra Leone

Introduction

The concept of instituting marketing principles to non-profit institutions such as library and information Services is no longer a controversy. Organisations operate in an environment of change. Today we live in a global market for many goods and services in which technology, purchasing power and many factors change on a regular basis. One of the key functions of marketing is to find out how these changes affect clientele’s wants and needs and to develop organisational strategies and plans that will ensure that the library meets these challenges (Dransfield and Needham, 1995). It is therefore not surprising that public librarians are joining the marketing bandwagon. This article explores the marketing activities in the operations of the Sierra Leone Public Library services.

Public Libraries

A Public Library is funded wholly and partly from public funds and the use of which is not restricted to any class persons in the community but freely available to all. It is a major agency of enlightenment for adults, providing for children the recorded experiences of others which will help them grow into adults.

Usherhood (1981) defined Public Library as an organization established, supported and funded by the community, either through local, regional or national government or through some form of or other community organization. It provides access to knowledge, information and works of imagination through a range of resources and services and equally available to members of the public community regardless of race, nationality, economic and employment status and educational attainment.

The Sierra Leone Library Board (SLLB)

The Sierra Leone Library Board (SLLB) was established by Ordinance in June, 1959. The setting up of the Board was envisaged in the Government’s White Paper on Educational Development in 1958 and its functions outlined therein as follows:

• To provide a national/public library Service;
• To support and reinforce programmes of adult and fundamental education;
• To provide effective services for children and young adults including requisite services to schools;
• To provide much needed information and references services;
• To provide where needed adequate services for special groups, that is women and girls, language groups.

The Central Library is designed to give public services to Freetown and also to function as headquarter of the National/Public Library services and to provide accommodation for a growing collection of book and non-book materials in the country. It does all technical processing of stock for the Regional and Branch Libraries and has an Adult Lending Reference and a Children’s department.

Libraries are charged with responsibility to provide information service to support educational, recreation and personal endeavours of the members of their respective communities and the Sierra Leone Library Board is not an exception to that. The following services are provided at the Sierra Leone Library Board to Clientele:

Children Services

The Sierra Leone Library Board provides information services to children by the provision of books and other materials for children which are often housed in a special section known as the Children’s Library. A special service for children known as child orientated educational programme specially designed for younger library users is included in the children’s library services. They also provide services to children through storytelling, drama/play and reading aloud.

Book Borrowing and Lending Service

The main task of Sierra Leone Library Board is to provide the public with access to books and periodicals. The Sierra Leone Library Board typically offers access to a variety of books which are available for borrowing by anyone with the appropriate library card.

Current Awareness Service

At the Sierra Leone Library Board, current awareness service is aimed at bringing to the notice of potential users, newly available documents and information services. This is done by collating information and producing new secondary sources, circulating current periodicals or other documents acquired and producing and distributing one or more forms of bulletins.

Selective Dissemination of Information

A more personal information service is being run at the Sierra Leone Library Board in which the library constantly notifies library users about particular information/materials matching them in a profile of the information needs and research pre-occupation of their clientele. This is done by either bringing references to relevant items to the notice of their clients and by obtaining copies and then supply the documents themselves to library users.

Outreach Services

The Sierra Leone Library Board provides outreach information services which is committed to developing library outreach programmes for non-users, the undeserved, and people with special needs in the communities in restricted areas.

Computer and Internet Services

In an attempt to bridge the digital divide, information resources and government services are being provided online by the Sierra Leone Library Board. This is done by providing access to the Internet and public computers for users who otherwise would not be able to connect to these services.

Library Marketing

Marketing is often viewed as a set of strategies and techniques that belongs to administrators outside of librarianship. But, librarians are also involved in the marketing process. The essence of marketing involves finding out users needs and want, then setting out to meet these needs.

Marketing according to Weingand (1995) “can be viewed as a process of exchange and a way to foster partnership between the library and its community” (p.296). In order to maintain the relationship between the public library and the community, marketing strategies have to be employed as effective tool.

Marketing in the public library means more than simply promotion or selling. It is more concerned about user needs. Marketing the Public Library is a social and managerial process by which products and services as well as values are exchanged in order to fulfill individuals or group needs. Marketing refers to those instruments through which information, both raw and processed, are transmitted to its members. Promotion or campaigning is but two activities in the broader exercise of marketing

Planning Library Marketing Programmes

The continued existence of libraries, if not their survivals, may well depend upon the use of marketing and planning strategies, communicated through effective public relations, to significantly alter the perceived role and position of the library in society.

In a real sense, Public Relation is the promotion component of a full marketing plan of library programmes. It can be seen as the communicated module which serves the promotion function; conversely, it may be easily depicted as a philosophical relationship between library and community which serves as a guiding light for promotion activities.

Both communication and research skills serve well in the marketing planning process of which Public Relations is an important component. Specific skills and knowledge are also needed in marketing planning programs for libraries. It goes without saying that both ongoing marketing planning and programmes, and in particular, how the needs of different groups of users differ from each other. Library and information services are complex entities, as are the human users and potential users of these services.

Planning, promotion and campaigning are but all activities in the boarder exercise of marketing. User studies therefore, have a very wide range of uses in relation to the planning of library marketing programmes of a service. They contribute in the planning, promotion and development of library services. In their contribution they help in the understanding of different user group behaviour and their needs, and can assist in effective campaigning and planning process.

Three steps to planning library marketing programmes are:

• Knowing what your beliefs are and therefore what you want to achieve;
• Communicating these beliefs as practical objectives to the people with whom you work, in order that these objectives can be fulfilled; and
• Creating a vehicle which allows this to happen. This can only be achieved by defining the basic components and through organization.

Methods of marketing in Sierra Leone Library Board

Book Displays and Exhibitions

Displays and exhibitions are widely used in most public libraries as a marketing strategy to sell their products or items. The SLLB displays jackets of new books which are not yet included in the lending department for easy access by users and to increase usage. It is also a means of drawing the attention of users and non-users to particular aspects of library resources and services.

Printed materials and Publications

In order to make a very good image of the public library and for public librarians to establish better communication between the library and users, publicity programmes are put in place by the management of the Sierra Leone Library Board through news release. The management also considers annual reports and newspapers as basic publicity techniques. Publications such as bibliographies, guides and brochures are used by the library to communicate with the wider public.

Public Relations Office

Public relations according to Usherhood (1981) is concerned with gaining of public support for an activity, cause, movement or institution. It is a process that furthers mental understanding and cooperation between a government; or any organisation and its various publics. The Sierra Leone Library Board has a Public Relations Office charged with the responsibility to enhance a smooth system of communication.

User Education/Readers Advisory Service

This could be described as training a group of users in the effective use of the library and its resources. It is used to stimulate the users to make greater use of the library and introduces library staff to clientele who might be reluctant to seek their assistance. This is the principal means through which library staff can learn about readers’ needs, opinions and habits. Good communication with readers enables staff to inform and influence readers.

The Media

These involve printed and audio-visual forms of communication and any necessary equipment to render them usable. The Press, radio and television are important means of publicising information service, since they offer potential of reaching many people from all walks of life. The media are cultivated so that messages are distributed with regularity. Publicity mechanism such as news releases, special events and brochures can also be employed.

The Social Media Groups (SMG)

The Sierra Leone Library Board makes use of the Social media groups such as ‘Facebook’ and ‘Watsapp’ as an effective way for publicity in order to put their messages across to users of their services.

Challenges of Marketing Library and Information Services at the SLLB

A lot of challenges have militated against the effective planning and implementation of library marketing programs at SLLB. The following are some of the challenges:

• Inadequate Staff: Although staff numbers have been maintained, the ratio of professional staff is very low. The library is manned mostly by paraprofessionals who mostly lack the skills to plan and implement marketing programmes.

• Finance: The library depends heavily on government subsidy. The government has no specific or substantial funds for the running of the library thus the library administration has to foot most of the bills that have to do with marketing. The irregular flow of funds has served as a barrier to the progress of marketing library and information services at the SLLB.

• Lack of standard printed materials and publications: The SLLB lacks most standard printed materials and publications due to poor planning of marketing programmes. This negligence has made the library handicapped of public relations tools in the form of printed materials and publications such as newsletters, questionnaires, diaries and calendars.

• Displays are improper and exhibitions seem almost absent: The library depends mostly on donations and most of the books are acquired without jackets. Therefore displaying book jackets in inconsistent. In fact exhibition programmes are yet to survive as they are only recently introduced. The library lacks relevant display and exhibition materials to mount these activities.

• Inability to organize frequent Radio Programs: The SLLB lacks media communication facilities. The library cannot frequently organise radio programmes on its own because of lack of funds. The absence of radio programmes stands out as an acute problem to the progress of marketing programs in the library.

Conclusively, marketing is the instrument that libraries use to transform their aims and objectives into operational plans of action. In most developing countries’ public libraries such as the SLLB, marketing strategies cannot operate properly due to the existence of bottlenecks in planning programmes. Good marketing programmes actualise the plans and measures necessary for the achievement of goals and objectives.