If the MLMs' "unlimited" income proposition is only an addictive and hallucinogenic financial drug bought and sold on Main Street at epidemic levels, Wall Street is Walter White. When bothersome concerns about massive consumer losses or illegality come up periodically on Wall Street, they are inevitably swept away, as will likely happen in this Vemma episode, by the fable of MLM "growth", dramatically illustrated at MLM "investor presentations" and appearing to show a vast market that, no matter how many years the MLM has operated or how many other MLMs are involved, has still barely been developed.
Few analysts look any further for customers or any data on the state of the "distribution chain" or the underlying business model or what the MLM enterprises' future might be. Spurts of spectacular revenue increases, volatile share prices and stock buy-backs have made MLMs darlings of Wall Street. History offers reminders of mass delusions about unsustainable enterprises. Bubbles and manias, ranging from tulip bulbs to dotcoms to sub-prime mortgages, have looked in their time like financial miracles. Their duration is often brief but some go on for many years. Think Enron and Madoff.
Analogously, if MLM enterprises are just strip-mining a finite and depleting resource of hope-filled and uninformed consumers with a pie-in-the-sky fairy tale, and if infinite geographic expansion on a finite globe is the requirement for MLM solvency, then MLM "growth" is merely a Ponzi chimera, and a saturation deadline is looming or has already been reached.
Though due diligence would seem to dictate it, Wall Street houses have still not examined the basic questions of MLM that are normally required of fiduciaries:. The full report delves deeply into the root causes of MLM's economic performance and its fate of saturation.
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The fact that saturation is responsible for the prevailing revenue decline, which is already indicated by consumer attrition and loss rates, the MLM business model, documented practices and policies and recruiting mandate built into MLM pay plans and incentives, is established by eliminating other possible market factors that are typical in business decline. Conventional causes of decline would include product or technological obsolescence, loss of brand equity, customer disloyalty, poor management or superior performance, competitively lower pricing or more popular brand appeal by competitors.
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None of these applies in MLM. New companies show nothing new in product types, pricing or marketing. Product pricing is irrelevant since no MLM has ever marketed its goods on a price basis. MLM goods are often double or triple in price to similar goods in stores or online. MLMs do not develop popular consumer brand names that stimulate product demand. MLM products are "pushed" by distributor incentives.
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Yet, even in "distributor marketing" no factors can be discerned to distinguish one MLM from another or to account for recent declines. MLM pay plans are famously complex, but all amount the same thing. All are based on size and structure of "downline" recruiting. The other conventional and common cause of revenue decline is a general economic decline.
But the declines recorded in this study are during a period of economic recovery and growth in sales of the products that MLMs offer.
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For some MLMs, decline has been dramatic and is continuing, though more slowly. Others are just starting their "drop. Yet, the overall pattern, based on numbers is clear. The heydays are over. Continued propagation of the invalid proposition means calculated, knowing deception. Growth is sought but not existentially required for them to deliver value to customers and income to salespeople. Goods and services are still delivered at fair value, often better value.
In a Ponzi, inability to find gullible new investors saturation triggers immediate collapse as existing investors become aware. Unsustainability and illegality are laid bare. But in a pyramid, the tipping point where not enough new investors can be recruited to offset losers does not cause immediate collapse. Recruiter-investors at the top as well as company owners are still able to gain significant rewards but only as long as many new investors are unaware of the saturation condition and can still be recruited.
Scamming becomes just looting. Rapid contraction or bankruptcy of a pyramid that is in saturation would be triggered only if there were broad public awareness, requiring significant media exposure, or by general awareness of investors, resulting in a stock sell off, or, the least likely scenario, by an FTC law enforcement action.
An analysis that cites data cannot avoid accounting for what appears to be one anomaly to the data pattern. Primerica only sells and recruits in the USA and Canada. It is instructive, then, to look more closely at Primerica. In its SEC filings, Primerica documents exactly how many sales reps it enrolls each quarter, how many ultimately become newly licensed and the per capita sales of new life insurance policies by the entire licensed force. General market trends in term-life insurance and IRA accounts, Primerica's main products, cannot account for Primerica's recent growth as a MLM, as there has been no spike in those financial product markets.
Finally, product differentiation also cannot be cited. The specific financial products offered by Primerica are indistinguishable if not inferior to others on the market. Why or how would Primerica be better at recruiting MLM prospects in the last few years? It should first be noted that recruiting itself is a revenue generator for Primerica. All recruits - numbering in the hundreds of thousands annually - are also primo candidates themselves to purchase Primerica's life insurance or IRA products, whether or not they ever get licensed.
You can't sell what you yourself would not also buy, right? However, officially, MLMs claim to be "direct selling" businesses, not pure purveyors of an income scheme.
They claim to be characterized by their various consumer goods. The "direct selling" identity and the legally necessary focus on a commodity product enables Herbalife, for example, to argue that the millions of recruits who earn nothing and drop out were actually just "customers" who never even wanted to gain income. It was all about the "product. Whereas the income propositions of the other MLMs are obscured, Primerica's is highlighted. The training meetings are nothing more than pep talks, inspirational videos, and flashes of dream resort trip videos.
Their products are overpriced and their financial advice is cookie-cutter at best. They try to sell you mutual funds from your upline. The people above you get more commission from the policies you sell. Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
Primerica Selling The Dream And Not The Nightmare
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