Network Marketing – Is it a Scam?

Every day, thousands of people come online looking for a way to earn money from home. Filtering out what is and is not legitimate can cause incredible frustration as everyone and every ad placed says “we are not a scam.”

Have you ever seen a commercial where the company claims they are the only one who does a certain thing? You know you’ve seen at least three other companies do the exact same thing. Well, the same is true in placing work at home ads. Anyone can say “we’re a legitimate network marketing company,” even if they aren’t.

So the answer to whether or not network marketing is a scam would be no. Network marketing is not a scam. However there are imposters out there calling themselves network marketing companies that are scams.

Now the question changes – instead of asking “Is network marketing a scam?” the question becomes “how do I know if this company is legitimate?”

I believe there are two very large ways to distinguish legitimate network marketing companies from the imposters:

1. What’s being offered? Legitimate network marketing companies have a product. Not just any product, but a true stand alone product that can be purchased without the business opportunity. This product might be jewelry, or it might be nutritional supplements, or it might even be kitchen products. Bottom line, there is a true product that customers can and do buy.

If the “product” being offered is the opportunity, this should cause red flags to go up. The business opportunity is not a true product that can be sold to a customer. So ask yourself what is being sold.

2. What is the company offering commissions on? Commissions should only be offered on the sale of a real product. Commissions should not be offered on introductory kits or on training supplies.

If the company is offering commissions on the sign up, this should cause a red flag to go up. Legitimate companies do not offer sales commissions on sign ups. I’ve also seen companies sell trainings for $300 or so and then give a commission to the upline. This should never happen. If a tape is sold for a dollar, that would be a legitimate training expense and no commissions should be paid.

A More Effective Direct Mail Campaign For Any Business

You get piles of direct mail advertising in the mail, and where does it go after you glance at it? Into a pile of junk mail, in the trash, or on the kitchen counter where it immediately disappears as if it was sucked into the Bermuda Triangle. Unless it is very unique or has a ‘hook,’ it doesn’t receive much attention. I’m not saying that they are useless…they do produce some results…but they can do better. The key is to make the direct mail product different than all the others so people will notice it, and keep it where they can refer to it when needed.

It Takes Time

Studies indicate that people need more than one exposure to a direct mail advertisement before they will act on it. A number that is commonly tossed around in marketing circles is eight. That’s right…it often takes eight viewings before they will pick up the phone to call you or walk through your door. The answer with typical paper direct mail products is to send them out eight times or more. No problem…because you have an unlimited advertising budget. (Yeah…right.)

You Need Something Different

There is a different kind of direct mail product that doesn’t get tossed out seconds after the recipient gets it. It is a postcard mailer that has a quality refrigerator magnet attached to it. It works because people hesitate to throw out a perfectly good magnet that they got for free. The easily peel it from the postcard and look for a place to put it. Most folks open their mail in the kitchen, so it often lands on the refrigerator door. Others find their way to a computer case or a metal cupboard. Some end up at the workplace on a filing cabinet or cash register.

It Keeps On Working

Once the magnet’s home is found, family members or entire workforces see it on a daily basis. Remember that magic number ‘eight?’ Well, people are going to view it many more times than that. When your medical services are needed, they’ll recall seeing your advertisement on the magnet and call you or stop at your office. These things really work. Talk to someone who has employed a direct mail campaign using magnetic products and they’ll tell you the same thing.

How Will the Beijing Olympics Impact Foreign Direct Investment in China?

Since 1978, China has been opening its doors ever wider to the global community. Changes in the willingness of the Chinese political leadership have opened their country to a massive influx from countries across the globe. Though not abandoning the basic concepts of socialistic political control completely, China has made it easier for foreign companies to both establish a presence in China, and thrive in their emerging quasi-capitalist economy.

For decades China has tightly controlled access not only to its people, but also to its wealth of resources and markets. Private ownership of large corporations was unheard of and all markets were closely watched over and protected by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) leadership. Gradually, beginning in 1978, China has slowly opened its borders to foreign direct investment, creating Special Economic Zones (SPEZS) with the limited freedom to conduct international economic relations. This was quickly followed by further expansion in 1986 with the creation of a more beneficial environment for foreign investors, including lower fees for labor and rent, tax rebates for exporters and more favorable capabilities for currency exchange. This was then followed in 1992 by a movement to establish what has been termed a “socialist market economy” , which was designed to further encourage foreign investment not only through joint ventures with local Chinese companies, but also through the establishment of wholly owned foreign enterprises. By 2004 this resulted in foreign direct investments in China of over $50 billion annually.

Despite loosening the belt somewhat, China is still very much a controlled society. The PRC central government still controls ownership of its primary infrastructures supporting industry and commerce. The government still restricts movement of goods within China. Even within its own borders there really is no such thing as free trade with, automobiles made in one part of the country not even being sold freely in other parts of the country.

The information technology industry has been specifically hindered by policies set forth by the Chinese government. While encouraging the development of an internet infrastructure, regulations released in January 2000 prohibiting the on-line transmission of ‘state secrets’ have served as a near equivalent to the ‘Patriot Act’ in the Unidet states and are used as a useful catchall for limiting internet content available to its citizens. Issues related to software piracy and a lack of government diligence in upholding copyright standards has also kept many software companies from entering Chinese markets.

While opening itself to foreign investment, China has not completely thrown the doors wide open, until now. With the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing recently, the world’s eyes have once again fallen upon the Peoples Republic of China. How this will impact the flow of capital investments into China once the games are over will be determined shortly. Most recently the Chinese government has been cautiously allowing outside firms to enter their markets while maintaining both political and cultural control over its population. They seem to want to be able to have the advantages of participating in a global economy, but still want to be able to control just what aspects of it they allow. Will this be possible now that Pandora’s Box has been opened for all of the world to see?

Ad Agencies Urged to Strive For Original and Innovative Advertising and Marketing Solutions

The Bellwether Report contains detailed analysis of the UK’s marketing economy, based on a survey of 250 companies, representing all key business sectors. According to the most recent report, produced on behalf of the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) and published on the IPA’s website the figures show that advertising budgets are being cut at the fastest rate since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. This sounds like a disaster for the advertising industry.

However, according to Campaign India, the report illustrates this situation by saying that 15% of companies reported an increase in total marketing budgets, whilst 27% reported a decrease. So what does that really mean? Translated into real numbers it says that 67 companies reported that their marketing budgets had been cut, whilst 37 had increased their advertising budgets. We can only assume that the remaining 106 didn’t change their budgets. Put another way, 27% of companies cut their budgets and 73% didn’t.

Let’s ask the old question – is the glass half full or half empty? UK reporting of figures such as those published from the Bellwether Report is definitely in the “half empty” category with an apparent desire to drain the half that is still in the glass!

Taking the figures with a positive frame of mind, it actually seems like the glass is almost three quarters full.

Which ever way you look at it, the glass certainly isn’t 100% full so what action should the UK’s advertising industry take? The IPA President, and Chairman Europe M&C Saatchi, Moray MacLennan, said in April 2008 that “It is a good moment to remind advertisers that those who maintain the strongest marketing spend will come out on top.” In an exclusive interview with WARC in February he advised that in times of a downturn, advertisers and agencies who would turn out to be the winners were those who chose to maintain their budget levels partnered with compelling creative content. And in July the word was for agencies to strive for more original and innovative solutions.

In short, think positive and try harder. I couldn’t agree more. The amount of money that is spent on unopened direct marketing is incredible. Direct mail pieces will remain unopened and be deposited in the bin just as long as one item looks exactly the same as another and can be identified even from the look of the envelope as being just another piece of tripe like the 3 or 4 that came yesterday and the day before that and the day before that and so on. Advertisers should search for a piece that cannot be left unopened and cannot easily be ignored.

Do yourselves a big favour – take a look at the innovative marketing products published in the UK by Whitney Woods and get hold of their sample pack. I guarantee that it will deliver a big impact that you can neither ignore or forget.

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