B-to-B Business Owners – Measure Your Marketing For Success

The best way to ensure you get stellar results from your marketing is one that is overlooked surprisingly often: measure! When you first launch a marketing program, you may have to start by measuring activities, but eventually you’ll be able to measure results. Most importantly – and this is where a lot of measurement efforts fail — you can measure progress against your plan.

Here are a few guidelines to help you get started or to assess your current measuring system:

  1. Keep it simple – collect only data you’ll actually act on. With applications such as CRMs and web analytic programs, it’s easy to measure more than you really need to know. Just ask yourself this question: “What will I do with this information?”
  2. Make sure the data is collected in the same way all the time. If you’re trying to spot a trend, consistency is often more important than accuracy.
  3. Look at the findings regularly and share it with others. There’s nothing like a little visibility to make sure things stay on track.
  4. Integrate your marketing measurements with measurements for sales, customer service and any other client-facing groups. This will allow you to see how well the entire process is working.

What should you measure?

While marketing analytics can get very complex, especially for large, multi-national, multi-business firms, you can accomplish a lot by just tracking some combination of the following:

  • In-bound inquiries. How many new inquiries has marketing generated this month (or week) and over the last 12 months (or year-to-date).
  • Qualified Leads. How many of these inquiries are actually real prospects?
  • Sources of leads. How many leads have come from each of your major sources: teleprospecting, direct mail, email campaigns, networking, referrals, online or offline advertising, public relations, search engines, events. At what cost?
  • Qualified opportunities. How many real sales opportunities are currently in the pipeline. How many were generated by marketing? How does this compare to the number and value you expected to have?
  • Progress against your marketing implementation plan. Have you and your marketing people completed the activities you committed to complete?
  • General website traffic. What is the trend for the number of people visiting your site? Where are they coming from? What percentage sign up for your newsletter or to download information?

How often should you review your measurements?

For a high-level strategic view of marketing progress, a monthly review will give you a good picture. To actually manage a marketing effort on a tactical level, a weekly review of the data is better.

Charts and graphs are generally better than words and numbers simply because research shows that people absorb information from the former faster than from the latter.

Two secrets to making measurements work:

Secret #1: Continuously compare what’s really happening to what your marketing plan says should be happening. For example, it’s good to know that you’ve generated 150 qualified leads so far this year. It’s far better to know that, according to your plan, you should have generated 200 leads by now.

Secret #2: When you review the reports – whether monthly or weekly – act on the information! Make decisions. Redeploy resources. Change your approach. Whatever it takes to get and stay on track.

In summary

Those of you who are already well into a good system of measuring and reporting on a complex marketing operation are likely to tell me I’ve oversimplified things here. And maybe you’re right. There are loads of other important bits of information that are good to know and watch. The point I want to make is: you don’t have to do it all in order to get a benefit. As Nike says, Just Do It!

© The Tatum Group 2007

What IS Multi-Level Marketing? And What It’s NOT

No, multi level marketing is not synonymous with pyramid scheme. I think something about the “multi-level” part just conjures up that image of a pyramid and that’s where the association begins. I know it did in my case. More about that later

But on to the answer you’re looking for…

What is multi-level marketing?

Multi-level marketing, also known as network marketing or MLM, really just refers to a business model which is part of the direct selling category. So, rather than appearing in stores, the multi-level marketing product or service is sold directly by the MLM distributor. Some examples of well-known multi-level marketing companies include Avon, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Pampered Chef, Herbalife International, Tupperware, Arbonne International, MonaVie, Shaklee, and Southern Living at Home, just to name a few of literally thousands around the world. Products and services that do well in an MLM model are those that require a little bit of explaining in order to convey their true value. That’s where the network marketer comes in. This person will answer questions, provide demonstrations, host events, etc., in order to explain the full benefits of the MLM products/services they market, and interact directly with the consumer.

The multi-level marketing model works like this. You join, usually for a relatively small fee, and you are then granted commissions on the products/services that you sell, and on the people that you bring in as part of your sales force, and on what they sell. This is where the “multi-level” part comes in…An MLMer has levels of distributors above him, and levels of distributors below him within his or her organization (which, by the way, is no different than the structure of most organizations–what is different is that your pay will be affected by the levels below you).

Each MLM business has a different pay plan or structure and these plans vary widely from MLM to MLM. While you should understand your MLM’s compensation plan, don’t get too caught up in it, because how successful you become really doesn’t depend on how the pay plan works. It has a lot more to do with the products and services you sell, how many you can sell, and how well your MLM business management and you yourself can recruit, motivate, and train your team members.

What multi-level marketing is not

Network marketing is NOT a get-rich scheme. Like any other business, it takes work, dedication, and skills that more often than not must be learned along the way. The truth is that network marketing has the potential to make you a lot of money very quickly, but not if you are just starting out and doing it only part-time, or just a couple of hours a week. Once you do build up your business, you can then work less and still make the same amount, or more, money, but this comes after you’ve put in your due diligence.

Legitimate Multi-level marketing businesses are not pyramid or Ponzi schemes. MLMs and pyramids schemes are often confused, understandably so in some ways. First of all, pyramid schemes cropped up just shortly after the network marketing model was born in the mid-1900s–in fact, they were created by unsuccessful network marketers who decided to make things easier by doing them the illegal way! Before the government caught on, thousands of people had fallen prey to these types of schemes. And that is why the FTC is now very quick to clamp down on pyramid and Ponzi schemes. This is also why multi-level marketing companies are under extreme scrutiny.

Here’s how you can tell a pyramid/Ponzi scheme from a legitimate network marketing, MLM, or multi-level marketing company. The legitimate MLM sells products and services. The scheme does not. So, if you run into a company that is offering you a commission just to recruit other members into the business, then that is a pyramid scheme. Network marketing companies will also offer you bonuses or commissions if you recruit members into your team, but the business is based on products and/or services, not only on recruiting team members.

Multi-level marketing is not for everyone.

Anyone over 18 can join an MLM business and the start-up fees vary from company to company. But while anyone who can invest the start-up fee is able to join an MLM, not everyone is suited for this business. In fact, more than 95% of those who join network marketers end up quitting. there are several reasons for this. One is that, often, new MLMers are lead to believe that the network marketing business is a get-rich quick opportunity and it can be done without putting much effort into it. Also, many people jump into MLM because they are told that anyone can do it. While this is true in a way, to be successful in MLM, you do need to know about sales and marketing. Can you learn it? Of course. Will you do well without having sales and marketing knowledge? Probably not. Finally, while many new network marketers are dedicated and willing to learn, they are not being trained correctly. Luckily, there is a substantial amount of reputable MLM training available both online and offline today, and it is suitable for all network marketers in all MLM companies.

Why Join a multi-level marketing company?

when you join a network marketing company, you are essentially in business for yourself, and you can make of that business what you want. Network marketing is by far the most affordable way to start your own business. You don’t have to come up with a product or service. It is there for you. You don’t have to produce marketing materials. They are also at your fingertips. Most companies also offer you a corporate website that you can send customers and prospects to. And often, you don’t even have to hold inventory.

It is the dream of financial freedom, especially during this economic downturn, that causes people to seek out non-traditional business opportunities. Network Marketing businesses are especially attractive because the initial investment is extremely low and the potential for gain is extremely high.

Residual income is the coveted gem of multi-level marketing–the ability to be paid even when you are not actively working. As a successful network marketer, you leverage the time of others, after you have put in the time training them. Once you have an established downline (the people in your team who you have recruited, or who have been recruited by others under you), they will go on to train others as you have trained them (hopefully), leading to more profits for you without you spending any extra time or effort. It is not a coincidence that the most successful MLM business owners are also the best trainers.

Another great draw of multi-level marketing is that representatives can work from home (or anywhere else) and establish their own schedule, goals, plans, etc., rather than those of their bosses.
Many start out on a part-time basis to substitute a second job–working a “night-shift” from home on your own computer, rather than at a factory, all-night supermarket, etc., is comparatively appealing.

There is an undeniable surge in the market towards entrepreneurship and home-based business. As the current economy is eliminating traditional nine to five jobs, the number of multi-level marketing corporations and those who represent them is also on the rise. Some of the most recognized advocates of the MLM business model are Donald Trump, Robert Kiyosaki, and Bill Clinton.

Do You Know the Difference Between an MLM Scheme and a Legitimate Business Venture?

When considering the different ways you can supplement your income, make money online, or just be in charge of your own finances, do you look into multi-level marketing companies? If you do, then there are some things you need to contemplate when looking into which company you desire to get into. There are many legitimate multi-level marketing companies (that you can make some serious money in), but most of them out there, are nothing but a multi-level marketing scam or in other words, a pyramid scheme. Here is some advice on what to look for to know the difference.

Take a close look at the mission of the business. In a legitimate multi-level marketing company the main focus of the business should be about sales of the product or services, depending on the company. In an multi-level marketing scam the main focus will most likely be recruiting new members and the company will push on you the importance of finding distributors over actual customers. Whatever company you decide to invest in, make sure to check for product sales or service profits over recruitment profits.

How is the amount of earnings decided? Just like above, the most profit should come from sales of the product or the service. In a legitimate business most of your income will come from this, however there should also be bonuses in signing up other distributors as well as a percentage of income coming from the down-line product sales. In a pyramid scheme the biggest percentage of the earnings will come from the fees paid by the new recruits or bonuses paid for getting new recruits into the program.

What kinds of products or services are being offered? If the product is something someone (including yourself) would buy without the desire to make money off the product or service then it can be considered legitimate. Make sure the product or service can stand by itself. If it cannot stand by itself conclude that it is an multi-level marketing scam. In a multi-level marketing scam the product or service is usually useless and the only people using the product or service are distributors trying to sell it. Beware of products that claim to work overnight or “miracle” products.

How much does it cost to start the business? The cost should be low or even nothing, however most legitimate businesses will at least charge a small amount to allow for you to obtain marketing materials or even your own website and tools to grow your business. Mark it as a pyramid scheme if the membership fees are an arm and a leg and the company continues to ask for more money, once you are involved, for marketing materials or tools. This is a red flag.

Can you easily contact the support team or your up-line? If the support team is easily contacted when you have a credit card in hand, but they suddenly disappear and are nowhere to be found when you have a question or concern about the company, your multi-level marketing scam alert system should go off. Legitimate multi-level marketing companies will be ready and willing to answer all questions about anything from the earnings to the specifics of the product or service.

Can you personally talk to people who used the product or service? If the company is excited about providing you with stories of people who had successful results with the product or service and even will give you references as to where these people came from, it most likely is a legitimate multi-level marketing company. Multi-level marketing scam alert if they only provide references of other distributors or will not provide any at all.

Is income guaranteed? A legitimate multi-level marketing company will never guarantee an income and will let it be known that without putting an honest effort into your business, you will not succeed. An multi-level marketing scam will make promises like “everyone and anyone can do this” or “you will become rich quickly.” Look out for these types or comments.

Is the business a lasting one? If the business has lasted a long time and you can see the potential of it growing, trust your instincts and join. However, if it has many people who get in and get out quickly it is destined to fail in the fast coming future, run! Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see how long it has been in business and what the goals of the company are.

If you are deciding to join an multi-level marketing company and do not know which one to join, make sure to go down this list to make sure it is not an multi-level marketing scam. In a legitimate multi-level marketing company profit is based on efforts and time spent on building your company and product/service sales (a GOOD amount of money can be made with real effort). In an multi-level marketing scam you will most likely lose your money you invested (which was probably a BIG amount).