Each January, as we set into motion our own resolutions for the year before us, direct selling executives across the country pause to assess what the future holds for the industry. Although no one can express with certainty what 2013 will bring, we at DSA recently invited a number of executives from a variety of direct selling companies—including those that provided their predictions last year—to share with us their insights, concerns and hopes for 2013.
While DSA members had the opportunity to read the full responses from those executives mentioned below in a previous edition of our InTouch publication, some of their insights deserve further exposure.
A New Demographic of Direct Sellers
Richard Wright, President & CEO, AdvoCare: As we have already seen, Gen Y represents a demographic with great potential to impact the direct sales channel. Studies show the average Gen Y-er is entrepreneurial minded—a great thing for our sales channel. I anticipate many people in this generation will look to direct sales as a career path, rather than a traditional 9-to-5 office job. With that said, social media has never been a more important tool through which we can reach this generation. After all, we’ve already seen how social media has transformed the way our distributors interact and communicate, and it will only continue to do so at greater lengths in 2013.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
Lori Bush, President & CEO, Rodan + Fields Dermatologists: The onus is on us to motivate our salesforce members to communicate the breadth of values that direct selling brings to the marketplace, including product innovation and support, personal and professional development, community connections and part-time supplemental income opportunities.
Greater Inclusion in High-Level Discussions, Statistics
AJ Deeds, President, Loving Works, LLC: Direct selling will gain greater influence in the national discussion on ways to grow the U.S. economy when we have a seat at the media table. Inclusion in employment statistics thus is an indicator that direct selling is part of the conversation. Direct selling companies are uniquely poised to join that conversation when we extend our expertise at building relationships with key media reporters and personalities. We are incredible story-tellers and the media loves a story. Nevertheless, the direct selling story and the opportunity it represents will see greater national influence when we make media relationships—far more than press releases or advertising—an important priority on our leaders’ personal timelines.
Cindy Juncaj, President, Demarle at Home: When we think about the key challenges the direct sales channel faces in 2013, we have to reflect on the changing behavior of the everyday consumer. Some challenges are industry-specific, though many are no different than the challenges that every business faces in 2013. Meeting the constantly changing needs of consumers is our top priority in 2013.
The consumer today prefers and enjoys short, simple messages through a constant flow of up-to-the-minute information and communication that must be entertaining, authentic and filled with value. Also, with the change in the consumer’s perception of company advertisements, we must acknowledge that user-generated content is more valuable than any message the company can prepare and promote; therefore, you must give the people something to talk about.
Expectation meets reality as interest in entrepreneurship continues to rise, creating the greatest opportunity for direct sales in 2013. The rise in the entrepreneurial education programs will benefit our industry greatly by helping those interested in direct selling learn the skills needed to turn their direct sales businesses into successful, fulfilling, lifelong careers.