Jonathan Gilliam is Founder & President of Momentum Factor, a global marketing, reputation management, and digital compliance services firm serving direct selling companies exclusively. Jonathan is a well-regarded industry thought-leader and author of two books for executives, Social Selling: How Direct Selling Companies Can Harness the Power of Connectivity—and Change the World, and Blastoff! Creating Growth in the Modern Direct Selling Company. Jonathan has an extensive background in Internet technologies and interactive marketing and is a regular speaker and presenter at industry conferences and conventions.
For Direct Sellers, Product Strategy is Critical
The product strategy a direct seller chooses is very important. On the party plan side, you’ll need enough products to keep a party interesting. Too few products and conversations wane, and soon enough the party is over before enough sales happen. On the networking side, it’s better to build upon a central product or two and release new products over time to continue the momentum. New products excite people and reinvigorate the field. There’s a right mix, given your comp plan and business model.
A twenty-year-old company needs a wide variety of successive products. Companies will often run out of offshoots. If your product is a one trick pony, it’s likely you won’t be able to keep people interested forever. Excitement diminishes over time.
Product strategy is a major portion of direct selling momentum. Keep in mind, though, what I’m describing is a direct selling product strategy, not a commercial product strategy. They are not the same thing at all. A direct selling product strategy is different from the strategy and product roadmap taught in business school. It’s specific for this industry, and it’s about keeping momentum going, not building a product family where everything is related. It’s always about momentum.
What product can you release to sustain momentum overtime? Most companies are reactive about this rather than proactive. They see product sales diminishing and rush to come up with something else quick. Then they end up introducing a product that’s not so great or that’s unrelated to what they do or doesn’t hold the interest of the field. It’s not a strategic, proactive move. And that costs them credibility—and momentum.
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