U.S. MLM companies face new regulatory uncertainty in 2022. The FTC has adopted a new enforcement strategy utilizing its Penalty Enforcement Authority to target MLM companies. In October 2021, the FTC sent “notice of penalty offense” letters to hundreds of companies. These letters rely on old FTC determinations of what constitutes a deceptive business practice and are a statutory prerequisite to FTC seeking civil penalties of $46K per violation. The notice letters do not identify conduct by a recipient company that the FTC views as illegal. This strategy is problematic because the notice letters fail to give fair notice of alleged violations before subjecting a company to potentially significant civil penalties.
— Brent Kugler, partner, Scheef & Stone, LLP
What was your cause or foundation’s biggest win this year?
This fall, MONAT Gratitude launched an initiative to help narrow the achievement gap in underserved communities around the world by pledging to donate $1 million through grants to eligible nonprofit organizations. We are focused on supporting K-12 programs that provide arts, music, sports or entrepreneurship opportunities to help students grow into knowledgeable, well-rounded adults. We believe that every child should have the opportunity to explore their talents and achieve their full potential. We are proud to expand our efforts through this program and hope these grants open doors to brighter futures for thousands of talented young people around the world.
— Lu Urdaneta, Founder and CEO, MONAT Gratitude
We have learned the power of personalization from our field. We heard very loudly that it helped to have a more personalized approach, around a product or sharing the business model. For example, we spoke to field members who are nurses, to learn they incorporate this into their busy schedule. We then created realistic, personalized assets and shareable opportunities that really help people talk to nurses in their network. This allows them to focus and think, “Hey, who in my network do I know in this area?” We’ve seen pretty big success from that.
-— Amanda A. Thompson, President, Veribella
How do you keep your field energized and engaged?
At AdvoCare, we look at the many different layers of connection and work to stay engaged through several channels. We’ve seen that live conversations through Facebook allow for us to create connections and a feeling of community. We also focus on creating monthly product promotions to give our field something fun to talk about. We engage regularly with our Top Distributor Council, and, most importantly, we empower our regional sales managers to become personal cheerleaders.
-— Marcia Cota, Sr. VP, Global Sales, AdvoCare International
In order to improve inter-team communication among our global offices during the pandemic, we have implemented Google Meet, Google Chat, and Zoom meetings. The pandemic has stepped up our timeline to redesign many of our global websites to keep up with the demand of online shopping and internet searches, and we have made online meetups and social selling a focus that has and will continue to aid us in future growth. We believe these changes will only help us build a stronger foundation in our offices and to our IBOs and customers.
— Sunny C. Beutler, CEO, Sunrider
It all starts with our executive team focusing on transparency and engaging with the broader leadership group to provide all employees a greater understanding of the big picture. In fact, we have dedicated team members whose responsibility it is to bridge the gap between the executive level and the broader business. We also focus on cross-department collaboration. Our leaders are held accountable to create partnerships fostering trust where people are encouraged to speak up, ask questions, and provide solutions. All of these things combined have opened the lines of communication so everyone can move in the same direction.
— Sharron Walsh, CEO, Isagenix International