All posts by TheDSEF

NCPW 2018

In celebration of National Consumer Protection Week’s 20th Anniversary, the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) asks anyone seeking to gain a deeper understanding of their rights as a consumer, so that they can make even better-informed decisions, to download the DSEF Consumer Protection 101 toolkit.

The toolkit – developed in concert with the Direct Selling Association – provides consumers with a one-stop-shop of information to help them avoid fraud and scams in the marketplace.

For more information, visit consumer.ftc.gov to learn more about National Consumer Protection Week 2018 and the Federal Trade Commission. #ConsumerProtection #NCPW2018

DSEF Consumer Protection Tookit 2018

DSEF Welcomes Its Newest Fellows

DSEF Welcomes Its Newest Fellows

DSEF’s academic partnerships serve to inform and educate students – highlighting direct selling as a go-to-market strategy and pathway to entrepreneurship and micro-entrepreneurship.

DSEF warmly welcomes our newest Fellows:

 

Dr. Can “John” Uslay
Associate Professor of Marketing
Director of Special Projects
Co-Director for the Center for Market Advantage
Chair, Entrepreneurial Marketing SIG, AMA
Rutgers Business School at Newark and New Brunswick
Rutgers University

 

 

 

 

Dr. Fabian Eggers
Associate Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship
Menlo College

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Abdul Ali
Associate Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship
Faculty Director, Division of Marketing
Babson College

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. William “Bill” Johnson
Student Success Navigator
Life Design Catalyst Coach and Facilitator
Instructor and Coleman Fellow of Entrepreneurship
School of Health and Human Sciences
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

 

 

 

 

Dr. Olivier Rubel
Associate Professor of Marketing,
Graduate School of Management
University of California – Davis

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Dustin Bluhm
Assistant Professor of Management
College of Business
University of Colorado – Colorado Springs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Mark Peterson
Professor of Marketing
College of Business Department of Management & Marketing
University of Wyoming

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Lisa Spiller
Distinguished Professor of Marketing
Joseph W. Luter, III School of Business
Christopher Newport University

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Chris Hopkins
McLain Family Professor
Raymond J. Harbert College of Business
Auburn University

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Karen Flaherty
William S. Spears Chair in Business Administration
Professor of Marketing
Spears School of Business
Oklahoma State University

 

 

 

 

 

Karen Hopkins
William S. Spears Chair in Business Administration
Professor of Marketing
Spears School of Business
Oklahoma State University

 

 

 

Dr. Theresa Clarke
Professor of Marketing
Wampler-Longacre Eminent Scholar
College of Business
James Madison University

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Rajesh Srivastava
Associate Professor of Marketing
Jennings A. Jones College of Business
Middle Tennessee State University

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Bo Dai
Assistant Professor of Marketing
College of Business
Georgia Southern University

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Lori  Long
Baldwin Wallace University
Associate Professor
Chair, Marketing and Entrepreneurship

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Chen Liu
Assistant Professor of Finance
Assistant Professor of Business
Trinity Western University

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Nathalie Duval-Couetil
Associate Professor of Technology Leadership, and Innovation
Director for Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program
Associate Director, Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship
Purdue University

 

 

 

 

Dr. Sara Cochran
Entrepreneurial Programs Manager  for the University of Missouri System
University of Missouri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Siri Terjesen
Dean’s Research Fellow in Entrepreneurship
Director of the Center for Innovation
American University

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. John Bennett
Assistant Professor of Management
Donald R. Tapia School of Business
Saint Leo University

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Adam Bock
Lecturer in Management
University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Art Sherwood
David Cole Professor of Entrepreneurship
Director of the IDEA Institute
Western Washington University

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ms. Joanne Cao
Assistant Professor of Marketing
The University of Southern Mississippi

 

 

 

   

 

Dr. Mark T. Schenkel
Jack C. Massey College of Business
Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship
Belmont University

Winners of the DSEF-Sponsored USASBE-MWE SIG Best Paper Awards

Winners of the DSEF-Sponsored USASBE-MWE SIG Best Paper Awards

DSEF, in partnership with the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship’s (USASBE’s) Minority and Women Entrepreneurship Special Interest Group (SIG), sponsored a paper competition on the direct selling channel of distribution and micro-entrepreneurship opportunity.

One of DSEF’s key priorities is to fund and develop research and case studies that advance understanding of the direct selling channel. We achieve this goal through our partnerships with Fellows and academic organizations and are gratified that seven out the eight authors of these winning papers are DSEF Fellows.

It is with great honor that we announce the 2018 winners of the DSEF/MWE SIG Best Paper Awards:You can view these working papers through the links below:

BEST EMPIRICAL PAPER

Direct Selling in South Africa: Empowering Women Entrepreneurs

*Dr. Victoria L. Crittenden, Babson College

*Dr. William Crittenden, Northeastern University

*Dr. Haya Ajjan, Elon University

BEST CONCEPTUAL PAPER

Entrepreneurial Environment and Culture in Direct Selling Entry Decisions Of Hispanic Entrepreneurs: An Acculturation Approach

*Dr. SherRhonda R. Gibbs, The University of Southern Mississippi

*Dr. Caroline Glackin, Fayetteville State University

BEST TEACHING CASE

Traci Lynn Jewelry: Maximizing Shining Opportunities

*Dr. Caroline Glackin, Fayetteville State University

BEST DEVELOPMENTAL PAPER

Exploring the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem of Marginalized Direct Sellers: Needs of Military Spouses

*Dr. Tracey Mays, Minot State University

*Dr. Art Sherwood, Western Washington University

Dr. Lyzona Marshall, Seton Hill University

*DSEF Fellow

Incorporating Direct Selling in the Classroom by Dr. Victoria Crittenden

Direct Selling by Crittenden
Incorporating Direct Selling in the Classroom by Dr. Victoria Crittenden

Direct Selling in the Classroom by Dr. Victoria Crittenden:

To me, there is nothing quite so great as leaving class on a high because students really seemed to engage with the class topic. I had such a euphoric feeling after leaving my Marketing Management class in the Master of Science in Entrepreneurial Leadership program at Babson College in mid-September. The topic for the day was “Go-to-Market Strategies.”

The students were to read the Harvard Business School note. “A Note on Direct Selling in Developing Economies,” and prepare the Harvard Business School case, “Designs by Kate: The Power of Direct Sales,” prior to class. I then started class with two DSEF videos: “Micro-entrepreneurship and the Gig Economy” and “Cutting out the Middle Man.”

With approximately three-fourths of the students in this master’s program from outside of the USA, there was considerable interest in the direct selling business model as a go-to-market strategy. Several students remained after the class ended to discuss the pros and cons of direct selling as a go-to-market strategy and how the direct selling business model might be implemented in entrepreneurial endeavors in various parts of the world.

I left class wishing that I had planned in advance for a way to capture the amazing classroom interactions. Since I had not done that. however, I emailed students and asked them to contribute some thoughts that I could include in a blog post. Here are comments from two students (one from each section of the class):

Nomah Javed (MSEL ’18) said: “I feel direct selling is an amazing way to reach your end customer down to the grass roots level. Especially for burgeoning entrepreneurs who don’t have seed money to set up this network on their own or reach customers. Again, it would work best for smaller, fast-moving goods which would benefit from the interpersonal interaction and persuasion involved in the process of direct selling. I think it’s a tremendous resource for third world countries, where women are the more subjugated gender and don’t necessarily have access to the same education and job opportunities. I feel direct selling gives people a chance to create something of their own despite their limiting circumstances. It can be used as an amazing empowerment tool for women. I would definitely think of it as a very strong proponent business model for my future venture.”

Philip Cobbinah (MSEL ’18) offered these comments: (1) Partnering with consumers is the best way of becoming a household name (#cobbyquotes).  (2) It is entrepreneurship at your doorstep (#cobbyquotes).

Given that I taught two sections of the course and both sections were equally great. I think it is fair to say that the topic was well-received by all. The discussions were clearly the best I had with my MSEL students during our seven-week module on marketing management. I found that direct selling as a go-to-market strategy incites interest and engagement among students who have an entrepreneurial orientation and that this is particularly true in a cross-cultural classroom environment.

 

DSEF Welcomes Its Newest Fellows

DSEF Welcomes Its Newest Fellows

DSEF’s academic partnerships serve to inform and educate students – highlighting direct selling as a go-to-market strategy and pathway to entrepreneurship and micro-entrepreneurship. DSEF has partnered with more than 75 professors over the past year, and is making significant process toward mainstreaming the channel on college campuses across the country.

DSEF will continue creating partnerships within the academic community by reaching 200 DSEF Fellows by 2019 and expanding student reach to promote deeper knowledge of direct selling as a legitimate channel of distribution and path to entrepreneurship. We are excited to welcome our newest Fellows:

Dr. Mark Bergen
Associate Dean, James D. Watkins Chair in Marketing
University of Minnesota

Dr. Nawar N. Chaker
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Elon University

Dr. Angeline Close Scheinbaum
Associate Professor
University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Honghui Deng
Professor of Business Administration, IC2 Fellow
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Dr. Ramarao Desuraju
Professor of Marketing
University of Central Florida

Mary Hunt (PhD candidate)
Assistant Professor of Business & Psychology, Internship Coordinator
Ave Maria University

Dr. Kacy Kim
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Elon University

Dr. Annie Liu
Associate Professor of Marketing
Texas State University

Dr. James Lynch
Associate Professor of Management and Law
Brooklyn College

Dr. Ronald Michaels
Professor of Marketing
University of Central Florida

U. N. Umesh
Professor of Marketing
Washington State University Vancouver

Cutting Out the Middle Man: New Video

Cutting Out the Middle Man: New Video

DSEF recently released its newest video teaching tool, The Direct Selling Business Model: Cutting Out the Middle Man.

The new video was filmed live at the University of Texas at Arlington during DSEF’s Business Ethics Forum Campus Event. Al Bala, President and CEO of Mannatech, explains the direct selling business model in a way that business students and entrepreneurs can understand. “Eighty percent of the cost of a product in normal retail channel is in distribution. A large percentage of that is spent on advertising. Direct selling cuts out the middle man by redistributing the costs of advertising and distribution to pay independent contractors.” says Al.

The video was distributed to DSEF Fellows and is designed to be used both by direct selling companies and easily incorporated into a variety of university and community college courses, such as:

  • marketing classes
  • distribution channels courses
  • sales classes
  • entrepreneurship classes
  • management, communications and ethics/reputation courses

DSEF’s growing bank of video content also includes the Ask the Experts series, which may be viewed on our Vimeo channel.

DSEF-Funded Research Wins Best Paper Award

DSEF-Funded Research Wins Best Paper Award

At the 2017 Global Sales Science Institute (GSSI) Conference held in Mauritius in June, Julian Allendorf (Ph.D. Candidate, Institute of Marketing, University of Muenster, Germany) received the GSSI 2017 Best Doctoral Student Paper Award for his paper on “Direct Selling Distributors – Why Do They Stay or Leave!”, developed through a grant and data provided by DSEF. The prize-winning paper is based on Allendorf’s joint work with DSEF Fellows Dr. Anne T. Coughlan, PhD (Northwestern University) and Dr. Manfred Krafft (University of Muenster, Germany), and demonstrates how DSEF ‘s academic partners are producing data-driven research that validates the channel. The award was presented to Manfred Krafft by the President of the island nation of Mauritius, Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim, during a conference reception on June 8.

“Being awarded the GSSI Best Doctoral Student Paper Award for the work we have done so far feels like a great honor to us and provides the motivation for future endeavors,” said Allendorf.

In their joint research, the authors highlight similarities and differences between traditional sales and direct selling, and build on Agency Theory to develop predictions about the ways in which individuals stay in the direct selling distributorship, and what explains their intention to leave.

The authors analyzed a unique dataset of over 13,000 individual direct-selling distributors from 68 firms and asked the the “nature vs. nurture” question: does a “stayer” retain the same motivations as a “joiner,” or do distributors develop and change their motivations over time? Nurture doesn’t refer only to environment. Joiner-Stayers do indeed receive support and training from their companies and uplines, but they also learn about themselves (personal development).

The Stay-Leave decision is represented by the question, “How likely are you to continue representing the company for the next year?” Dr. Coughlan and Dr. Krafft used regression analysis to determine which factors are most likely to have a positive or negative impact on the decision to stay versus the decision to leave.

The drivers of income identified in the study, also called predictor variables, are consistent with those used in academic research and the long history of research on selling. The incremental effect, in dollars, of a change in a predicted variable – either positive or negative – is explained in the study. All effects assume that other drivers are held constant and should be interpreted for changes on the margin.

The results are consistent with the authors’ modified Agency Theory model and suggest academic, managerial and policy implications regarding direct selling investments and assessments.

Twenty-Five DSEF Fellows Attend DSA’s Annual Meeting; Several Present Research on Direct Selling Channel

Twenty-Five DSEF Fellows Attend DSA’s Annual Meeting; Several Present Research on Direct Selling Channel

The 2016 formation of the DSEF Fellows program is an important step in deepening the Foundation’s connection to academic leaders who advance knowledge of the direct selling channel in their field of study. To support and sustain these important partnerships, DSEF created Fellows Learning Journeys – a pathway for exploration and discovery through immersive experiences with executive leadership and staff – for Fellows participating in DSA’s Annual Meeting.

“I appreciated the opportunity to attend the Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting as a DSEF Fellow,” says Dr. Andy Gold, Business Administration and Entrepreneurship Professor, Hillsborough Community College.  “It was a unique opportunity to learn about this complex and growing marketing channel. The insights from the Annual Meeting and keynote speakers will certainly help inform my students about this channel.”

The Fellows Learning Journey began with the Direct Selling Boot Camp, which provided academics with a comprehensive understanding of the business challenges that new direct selling companies face, and continued with a DSEF Fellows Workshop, in which Fellows shared their direct selling white papers and teaching successes with incoming Fellows.

Fellows also participated in networking and education tracks throughout the conference. “Throughout the Boot Camp and Annual Meeting, I saw countless examples of leaders doing the right thing, both for their companies and for their representatives,” says Dr. Bonnie Canziani, Associate Professor, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Hospitality & Tourism Department; Coleman Fellow in Entrepreneurship at University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG).

DSEF invests in dynamic partnerships with leading academics, who bring short-term impact through research and data-driven third-party validation for the channel. Seven Fellows highlighted recent and upcoming research during three business intelligence panels for executive attendees.

“It was wonderful to receive instant validation of our research from people who are living the reality of direct selling and entrepreneurship every day,” says Dr. Canziani, who co-presented with Dr. Dianne Welsh (UNCG) research comparing satisfaction rates among franchisees and direct sellers. “Our findings suggest that being aware of the field’s needs for flexibility and recognition is an important step in keeping sellers interested and motivated to maintain connections with their companies.”

DSEF Presents First Educator of the Year Award to Dr. Brenda Cude of UGA

DSEF Presents First Educator of the Year Award to Dr. Brenda Cude of UGA

To recognize the significant contributions and achievements of its valued academic partners, the Direct Selling Education Foundation created the Educator of the Year award, and presented the inaugural award to Dr. Brenda Cude, University of Georgia (UGA), during the Awards Gala, at the Annual Meeting held in Orlando in June.

“I was incredibly surprised and honored by this recognition,” says Dr. Cude, who serves as Professor and Undergraduate Coordinator at UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences. “Serving as a member of the DSEF Board has been a great experience, and I appreciate DSEF’s support of educational programs to expand students’ knowledge of direct selling.”

Recipients of DSEF’s Educator of the Year Award demonstrate outstanding service to the Foundation through leadership, personal involvement, teaching and research.

“Brenda served two terms on DSEF’s Board of Directors, and has made immeasurable contributions as a strategic and tactical advisor to the Foundation’s Academic Advisory Council.” said Gary Huggins, DSEF Executive Director. “Brenda has also hosted multiple DSEF Campus Events, reaching thousands of students with accurate information about the direct selling channel and the industry’s commitment to ethics.”

People First: Social Entrepreneurship in the Real World

People First: Social Entrepreneurship in the Real World

Social entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility are twin drivers of positive social change. Direct selling companies and the independent salespeople that represent them are a quintessential example of the power of networks as a force for social good. The Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) shared that message with 300 students at the University of San Francisco during the “Putting People First: Changing the Way We Do Business” campus event on March 2.

DSEF’s “Changing the Way We Do Business” event, which also featured business innovation in the classroom, was conceived by DSEF Board Member, Dr. Elizabeth Davis, Dean of the USF School of Management and Dr. Peggy Takahashi, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs. The DSEF event kicked off USF’s Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Conference and Tech4Good Startup Weekend, which brought together business leaders, investors and social entrepreneurs to discuss how socially-conscious action, innovation and education can change the world.

Shaklee Chairman and CEO Roger Barnett and Trades of Hope Founder Chelsie Antos shared their companies’ remarkable stories of service, social entrepreneurship and sustainability on panel moderated by Executive Advisor, Retired President and CEO and USF’s Executive-in-Residence Lori Bush. Many US companies have Corporate Social Responsibility programs in place, but direct selling companies are in a unique position to scale those efforts through their independent salesforce. “Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement and Nobel Peace Prize winner, challenged me to plant one million trees.” says Roger. “At the time, Shaklee had 700,000 direct sellers. I realized that if each person planted one tree, that’s nearly three-quarters of our goal.”

Sales networks can serve as a powerful catalyst for social change.

Trades of Hope’s hand-made jewelry is fairly-traded with women artisans in developing countries, which are then sold through “Compassionate Entrepreneurs” – or direct sellers – in the United States. “When you empower one person out of poverty, they bring three people with them,” says Chelsie. “42,000 people in developing nations are being positively impacted by the work these artisans are doing in their communities,” supported by the sale of these products by direct sellers, who can build businesses of their own.

Social entrepreneurship is also a market disruptor, given the right circumstances.

Ruby Ribbon, a shapewear company that sells products through home parties known as “Trunk Shows,” is using social entrepreneurship and innovative garment technology to disrupt the shapewear market and radically change consumer experience. Market disruption occurs when a smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge an established industry. “Our investors told us there was no way women would try on shapewear in other people’s homes,” says Ruby Ribbon Founder and CEO Anna Zornosa, “but our customers benefit from being professionally fitted by our Stylists,” in a private, rather than public, space.

Exposure to direct selling companies as real-world businesses changes hearts and minds of students and faculty. “I was impressed with the companies that visited USF,” says Dr. Sonya Poole, “DSEF’s program shifted my perception and understanding of the direct selling business model.” Dr. Vanessa Hasse echoed that sentiment, “My students shared their thoughts about the presentations and they all loved it. It was an enriching classroom experience.”