Rabu, 01 Mei 2013

Multi-level Marketing

Multi-level marketing is a business model where salespersons like sales consultants, distributors, and even franchise owners and independent owners work in harmony to increase the sales of the product, on commission basis. This is more like a franchise arrangement where the sales of the product depend on the combined effort of each franchise and regional manager. There are multiple levels of people receiving commission. Usually there are seven or more levels. Multilevel marketing is basically a combination of franchise and direct marketing.

This concept started in 1980s when most of the companies started handling the stocking and distribution issues and started compensating all the individuals involved. This increased the interest of each member in promoting sales due to the chance of earning bonuses and since then the Multilevel Marketing companies have taken the responsibility of taking orders, shipping goods, and paying revenue. Things became easier with the transition to Internet. Product promotion, advertising and sales were made online and hence, the whole process began to be known as online MLM.

There are various MLM compensations plans. According to the uni-level or stairway breakaway plans there are two types of distributors involved managers and non-managers. According to the matrix plans, the width of each level in a distributor's group is regulated. In binary plans, the limit of each level's width has two legs. Commission was paid when both the legs reached a specific target. In elevator scheme, the distributors pay splits after a certain number of units have been paid.   

The commissions are paid in two ways, the first says that the commission is paid only if the product is sold and the second one involves paying commission even if the customer just signed-up, it doesn't require the customer to buy anything. Because of the second method illegitimate MLM or illegal pyramid started to arise. The intermediate members used to make proxy customer sign-ups to receive commission and they used to tempt the participant to buy more products than they can be sold. But as most of these businesses present themselves as legal, precautions must be taken. It is better to approach businesses that follow the first method of commission, where it's compulsory to make a sale and not just recruiting a customer. Here money isn't paid for customer sign-up at all. MLM marketing is being practiced all over the United States and in hundreds of other countries.   

In 1979, Amway Corporation was accused of price fixing. They exaggerated sales claims, while their distributors sold the products at a minimum price. After that, FTC warned all multi-level companies whose commission was based on recruiting and not sales. In 2006, all the business sellers including MLM organizations were asked to provide customers with thorough information, according to the Business Opportunity Rule introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, so as to save them from deception. Before that many motivating programs were started which hid the truth. Such programs were known as cult programs.   

Laws have been made stronger. As a measure, pyramid scheme is banned in most of the countries. All the newly hired salespeople have to bare the cost of initial training and material. They even have to buy a big amount of inventory. To test the legality of MLM marketing, the 70% rule is being implemented. The members are stopped from over-loading so as to increase their commission. Only when seventy percent of the inventory is sold, order can be made for new material. 



Marketing Strategies

Marketing strategy helps organizations to focus their attention to complete resource utilization to increase sales and win over their competitors. Every company applies some kind of marketing strategies to maintain existing customers, attract potential customers and also to maintain and enhance their reputation in the market.

When designing a marketing plan, first a marketing strategy is taken into consideration. The marketing plan consists of steps to be taken so as to attain success in the implementation of the marketing strategy chosen. Big projects involve selection of different strategies at different levels. Usually a strategy consists of well-sketched tactics. They are meant to meet the needs and finally reach marketing objectives. Each of the strategies has pre-calculated results because when a particular strategy is chosen at a particular level, its outcome becomes the goal of that particular level. If there is an absence of a well thought strategy in a marketing plan means it is supposedly lacking a good foundation. A reasonable marketing strategy should not only facilitate marketing goals, but also the action sequence of a campaign.

At regular time intervals the firm should analyze the marketing decision. This is done with the help of strategic models and the 3C's model is considered for this purpose. To calculate the company's strategic position, Ansoff matrix is used. The 3C's model determines the factors, which leads to the success of a marketing campaign. There are three key parties involved in this model the corporation, the customer and the competitors. The involvement of all the three key parties leads to positive results and this involvement is known as the 3C's or strategic triangle.

The role of the corporation is to increase the strength of the company in the success critical areas, when compared to that of the competitor. The customer and his interest form the basis of any strategy. The competitor also plays a vital part. The competitor-based strategies are based on the functioning of business competitors like design and engineering, sales and servicing, and purchasing.

When making a marketing plan depending on some particular strategies known as mix strategies are used. 4P's model is used to calculate whether the plan is sticking to the strategies or not. The four Ps stand for product, price, place and promotion. Products are goods produced by the company on a huge scale for the purpose of selling them and earning profit. Price is the money paid for a product by the customer. The price is based on many factors like competition, market share, customer perception and product identity. Place where the product is sold can be either physical store or store on the Internet. It is also known as distribution channel. To make the customer knowledgeable about a product, the marketer does promotion. It involves advertising, public relation and point of sale. 

There are different types of marketing strategies based on some criteria.  Challenger, Leader and Follower are types of market dominance strategies. Market dominance strategies are used to dominate the market. Cost leadership, Market segmentation and Product differentiation are types of porter generic strategies. Porter generic strategies are built on strategic strength or competing abilities and strategic scope or market penetration. Close followers, late follower and Pioneers are types of innovation strategies. Innovation strategies are meant to trigger the rate of product development and model innovation. It helps the firm to incorporate latest technologies. Intensification, Diversification, Vertical integration and Horizontal integration are types of growth strategies. Growth strategies facilitate the growth of the organization. Marketing warfare strategies are conjunction of marketing strategies and military strategies.

A marketing strategy or a mix of them is chosen only after thorough market research. A marketer should always be ready to face any kind of situations like if the strategy is changed in the middle, he should be able to perform another market research so as to choose the proper strategy, within a short period of time. This can be done easily if you have experience.