MLM Education on the E-Frontier - Luke Melia
Move the mouse. Click. Wait. Nothing happens. I can almost hear the web browser admonishing me. "You can't move on until you finish this assignment."
I just tried to skip ahead in the Online NetMarketing class, but the system won't let me move on to "Email Marketing" until I've satisfactorily completed "Weblink Marketing 2." It reminds me of Mrs. Golden from 6th grade-- a stubborn but great teacher.
This web-based course in Network Marketing on the Internet is the brainchild of networkers Daniel Matalon and Terrence McPartland. They are two of the leading-edge Networkers whose opportunity and responsibility it is to teach the rest of us "the new rules of the network economy" -- in other words, how to keep our MLM businesses profitable in the Information Age.
As a Georgetown University professor, McPartland was on the Internet as early as 1983. He watched it develop from a military research project into the incredible phenomenon it has become today. McPartland met Matalon, whose background is less tech, more marketing, at a personal development seminar in 1994 and they decided to get involved in Network Marketing together.
Instinctively, they combined their marketing and technical skills and used the web to offer downline support and develop new prospects. As their business grew, the pair realized that they had some valuable experience to share, and began a series of weekly conference calls teaching internet marketing to downline and sideline distributors. Their students, who numbered 60 per teleconference, began to spread the word and attract networkers from all sorts of companies to the course. Their training operation has grown into serious business and a sizable revenue source for the duo.
It was on these conference calls and over email and internet chats that a rapid exchange of ideas sparked new ways of looking at the MLM industry's internet initiatives.
So far, most companies have evolved in similar ways. Stage one was a website that was not much more than an electronic brochure. Stage two, where many companies are now, is the automated creation of simple "brochure" websites for each distributor-- so-called "self-replicating" websites.
Matalon describes the flaws in the way these sites are being set up. "The distributor has no way of knowing what marketing sources-- email, search engine, banner ads, etc.-- his traffic is coming from."
"It's a classic marketing issue," notes McPartland. "Half of your marketing works, and you don't know which half."
Like all good teachers, the pair stress the importance of education. "If the distributor doesn't understand marketing concepts like cost per lead and cost per order," says Matalon, "we're not really teaching them well. We're calling duplication `Follow my orders.' Real duplication is empowering them to be true to their title: `independent' distributors."
In many ways, the industry has no choice but to create a well-trained distributor force. In the past, McPartland explains, it was taken for granted that some distributors were going to say stupid things out in the field. "Now," he says, "they can say stupid things in public [on the internet] that can be looked up by the attorneys general. That's a nightmare."
So it's no wonder that education is a trend sweeping the industry. Edward Ludbrook, a British MLM consultant, reports that many MLM companies in the UK are introducing formal training modules into their starter packages. Matalon and McPartland report that over 750 Networkers have now graduated from their training course, which they've moved from conference calls onto their website at www.gostarship.com.
As The Greatest Networker in the World explains, "When you teach people to teach people, you move from creating results to empowering others." McPartland and Matalon are the first generation of teachers. You can be part of the second.
Luke Melia was a darn good sixth grade student. Luke is Upline's Technology Editor and welcomes comments and ideas about this or other columns. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reprinted with permission from Upline, Upline Technology - May 1999, 888-UPLINE-1, http://www.upline.com