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The Future of Commerce: How Direct Selling Fits

The Future of Commerce: How Direct Selling Fits

At the Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting in June, newly-inducted Circle of Honor award recipients, Drs. Greg Marshall, Linda Ferrell, and Vicky Crittenden, shared the main stage for a dialogue on how direct selling can shape the future of the marketplace.

“The panel discussion was a meaningful way to provide insights in the way business is changing and the way work is changing,” Linda says. “It also addressed some generational challenges that are being faced within the workplace.”

Vicky told the audience that customer satisfaction is key. “We have to keep customers engaged to deepen the relationship with the company since engaged customers are our advocates in the marketplace,” she say. “Part and parcel in that engagement is personalization. When each and every current customer feels a personal connection to our company, our costs will decline and our profits will be boosted.”

Moderating the panel of experts was DSEF Chair and President & CEO of Team National, Angela Loehr Chrysler. “It was a pleasure to moderate an interesting discussion on the future of direct selling,” Angela says. “The panelists shared insightful information from their research about the viability of direct sales today and in the future.”

How to Engage with Third Parties

How to Engage with Third Parties

Today’s consumers do not want to be sold to: they want to be engaged, educated and even entertained.

In a workshop on how third-party voices can enhance trust and transparency among consumers, Dr. Greg Marshall joined Todd Eliason, Publisher and Editor in Chief, Direct Selling News; John Kloosterman, Manager, Amway Brand, Amway; and Mark Stastny, Chief Marketing Officer, Scentsy; to discuss how companies can maximize the range of third-party voices to demonstrate that they are credible, respected, popular and worthy of consumers’ business.

“The panel session at the DSA Annual Meeting on ‘How to Engage with Third Parties’ afforded a very unique opportunity for attendees to hear different approaches to making the most of external-to-industry endorsers,” Greg says. “For my part, I shared specific strategies on how direct sellers can benefit from the credibility of members of the academic community who are doing research on the field, and especially from those of us who are DSEF Fellows. The DSEF Fellows program boasts over 200 academics from across business fields such as entrepreneurship, ethics, management, marketing, sales and others and aims to foster productive partnerships between the academic community and DSA member firms.”

Academic Insights You Can Use to Grow Your Business

Academic Insights You Can Use to Grow Your Business

At the Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting in June, DSEF Fellows Drs. Victoria Crittenden (Babson College), Caroline Glackin (Fayettesville University), and Sandy Jap (Emory University) presented their latest direct selling insights during a panel discussion led by former DSEF Board Member, Kerry Tassopoulos, Of Counsel—Government Affairs, Sunwest Communication.

“DSA Members learned about the leading edge of research into direct selling and how it can be applied to their businesses,” says Caroline, who shared findings from her research on Hispanic acculturation. “They were given plenty of food for thought. For me, the immediate positive response from key channel leaders, and their offers to collaborate were fantastic and will allow a deeper and more robust understanding of my topic.”

During the panel discussion, Vicky described how her research on women and entrepreneurship helps mainstream direct selling by demonstrating the power of the channel and its ability to empower women personally and professionally. She also highlighted her upcoming monograph, Go-to-Market Strategies for Women, which includes two chapters on direct selling.

Sandy discussed new research on the effectiveness—or lack of effectiveness—of home parties, digital parties, online sales, websites and other channels. She described how top sellers create personas on blogs and social media and, in that space, are not “selling” at all, but creating curiosity to drive people to ask more about the companies they represent.

Using Design Thinking in Decision Making

Using Design Thinking in Decision Making

Dr. Stefanie Boyer, Professor of Marketing at Bryant University, and an expert in design thinking, led a group of CEOs in an exercise to bring creativity to strategic thinking for the problem-solvers of the direct selling industry at the Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting in June.

“What I found most encouraging was the openness of the CEOs to learn and try something new,” Stefanie says. “This gave me so much hope and confidence to know that everyone in that room is going in the right direction.”

The event brought together dozens of industry leaders engaging with one another in a judgment-free brainstorming session designed to promote innovative and flexible thinking in a rapidly-evolving business environment.

“We worked on breaking through ‘controls’ in thinking to co-create interesting ideas to real business challenges of today,” says Connie Tang, President and CEO, Princess House. “Plus, it was fun getting to know one another on a different level.”

Three DSEF Fellows served as table facilitators during the session: Drs. Eric Liguori, Rowan University; Adam Mills, Loyola University, New Orleans; and Mark Groza, Northern Illinois University.

Three Longtime Academic Partners Inducted into DSEF’s Circle of Honor 

Three Longtime Academic Partners Inducted into DSEF’s Circle of Honor 

At the Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, in June, DSEF presented its highest commendation, the 2019 Circle of Honor award, to three longtime academic partners, each with long histories of extraordinary contributions to the work of the Foundation.

Award recipients were Dr. Victoria L. Crittenden, Professor of Marketing and Babson Research Scholar at Babson College; Dr. Linda Ferrell, Marketing Department Chair and Professor of Marketing at Auburn University; and Dr. Greg W. Marshall, The Charles Harwood Professor of Marketing & Strategy at the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College. All three sit on DSEF’s Academic Advisory Council and have held seats on its Board of Directors.

“This was an honor beyond anything I ever could have imagined,” Vicky says. “To be in the company of such an esteemed group is something I will always cherish.”

The three award winners were seated onstage, ready to participate in a panel discussion on The Future of Commerce, when Gary Huggins, DSEF Executive Director, and Dr. Robert Peterson, University of Texas at Austin—and the 1991 Circle of Honor inductee—made an unexpected appearance to make the award presentation.

“The induction into the DSEF Circle of Honor was such an honor and overwhelming surprise,” Linda says. “I am so pleased to be involved with DSEF, and it’s so meaningful to be inducted with great friends and colleagues—Vicky and Greg.”

Greg says that being inducted into the DSEF Circle of Honor is a tremendous privilege. “Some of my long-time academic heroes are prior Circle of Honor inductees including Bob Peterson, Tom Wotruba, Larry Chonko and Buddy LaForge,” he says. “Joining that group, along with the many industry practitioners so-honored, is a really wonderful experience for which I’m very grateful.”

Dr. Deborah Crown, dean of the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College, offered her congratulations to Greg and thanked the Foundation for recognizing his contributions. “Dr. Greg Marshall’s work with students as well as with outstanding organizations such as the DSEF exemplifies our mission at Crummer to produce and foster global, responsible and innovative leaders who impact their organizations and communities,” she says.

For decades Vicky, Linda and Greg have brought significant value to the Foundation and the industry through their expertise, thought partnership and extensive networks, and those efforts have only increased in the last three years.

“In 2016, the DSEF introduced a three-year plan to deepen our relationships with the academic community,” Gary says. “Our three Circle of Honor recipients have worked tirelessly to help us grow our Fellows program, publish direct selling-related research, include direct selling in textbooks, launch a new Doctoral Sales Grant Program, and help shape the vision for the Foundation of the future.”

DSEF Announces 2019 Circle of Honor Inductees

Three Prominent Academics Recipients of the Direct Selling Education Foundation Circle of Honor Award

Dr. Victoria L. Crittenden, Babson College; Dr. Linda Ferrell, Auburn University; and Dr. Greg W. Marshall, Rollins College Recognized for Outstanding Achievement

Washington, DC—June 2019— The 2019 inductees into the DSEF Circle of Honor are Dr. Victoria Crittenden, Professor of Marketing and Babson Research Scholar at Babson College; Dr. Linda Ferrell, Marketing Department Chair and Professor of Marketing at Auburn University; and Dr. Greg W. Marshall, The Charles Harwood Professor of Marketing & Strategy at the Crummer School of Business at Rollins College. All three sit on DSEF’s Academic Advisory Council and have held seats on its Board of Directors.

The Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) announced the recipients of its highest honor at the Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, on June 3, 2019. Created in 1988, the DSEF Circle of Honor recognizes direct selling industry leaders and academics who have made extraordinary contributions to the Foundation through personal efforts, involvement, and commitment to the mission and purpose of DSEF.

“For decades Vicky, Linda and Greg have brought significant value to the Foundation and the industry through their expertise, thought partnership and extensive networks,” said Gary Huggins, DSEF Executive Director. “Since 2016, when DSEF introduced a three-year plan to deepen our relationships with the academic community, the three have worked tirelessly to help us grow our Fellows program, publish direct selling-related research, include direct selling in textbooks, launch a new Doctoral Sales Grant Program, and help shape the vision for the Foundation of the future.”

Dr. Crittenden has published extensively on Strategic Marketing, Business Research, and Personal Selling. She’s currently the Collections Editor for Digital Social Marketing and Advertising; and Editor of the book, Go To Market Strategies for Women.

Dr. Ferrell has published research on the Sharing Economy and Supply Chain Management; Direct Selling: High Touch Embraces, High Tech, and Understanding Business Ethics; CSR, and Brand Attitude.

She also co-authors several leading textbooks, including: Introduction to Business, and Business Ethics; and Business and Society.

Dr. Marshall led the launch of DSEF’s new Doctoral Sales Grant Program, which provides recipients with a valuable research or dissertation opportunity and recognizes the integral role that sales excellence plays in the ongoing success of the direct selling channel. He also co-authors the textbook Marketing: Real People, Real Choices.

Huggins said that Drs. Crittenden, Ferrell and Marshall played an integral role in helping exceed the Foundations’ three-year goals, helping educate more than 70,000 university students about the direct selling channel of distribution and building the DSEF Fellows Program to more than 200 academic leaders across the country.

ABOUT DSEF
For more than 40 years, DSEF has partnered with members of the academic community to support research and education programs. These programs expand the knowledge and understanding of the fundamental principles of direct selling. The Foundation works with more than 200 professors in a variety of disciplines—such as entrepreneurship, marketing, ethics, sales, consumer studies, business and economics—to develop direct selling-related academic research, case studies and teaching content. In 2018, retail sales from direct selling were more than $35.4 billion annually and currently there are more than 6.2 million U.S. entrepreneurs selling in either a part-time or full-time basis, and more than more than 36.6 million people actively buying through the direct sales channel.

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DSEF Announces Doctoral Sales Grant Program

Direct Selling Education Foundation Awards
New
Doctoral Sales Grants

Carissa Harris, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Jen Riley, Kennesaw State University Named Grant Recipients

WASHINGTON, DC—May 15, 2019The Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) is pleased to announce its 2019 Doctoral Sales Grant Program recipients. Carissa Harris from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Jen Riley from Kennesaw State University were each awarded grants that will help Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)-accredited doctoral granting institutions build, recruit and retain the next generation of aspiring sales-focused faculty and scholars. Clarissa is working with Dr. Ravi Sohi and Dr. Blake Runnalls, and Jen is working with Dr. Brian Rutherford.

“All of us at DSEF congratulate Clarissa and Jen,” Gary Huggins, DSEF Executive Director, said. “The Foundation’s Sales Doctoral Student Grants Program not only provides recipients with a valuable research or dissertation opportunity, it recognizes the integral role that sales excellence plays in the ongoing success of the direct selling channel.”

Dr. Fernando Jaramillo, (Associate Dean for Students and Programs, Associate Professor of Marketing, University of Texas at Arlington) and Dr. Greg W. Marshall, (Charles Harwood Professor of Marketing and Strategy, Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College) administered the grant program, along with two members of the DSEF leadership team.

“The number and quality of the submissions on this initial round of the grant program really speaks to the robust nature of sales academic community,” said Marshall. “Fernando and I want to thank DSEF for providing this opportunity for these two doctoral students’ research projects to receive funding, and we’re excited about the potential for their work to enhance the field of direct selling.”

The grant recipients were selected from a pool of applicants who submitted proposals relevant to the direct selling channel, DSEF and Direct Selling Association (DSA) member companies. Over a four-year period, the recipients will receive $4,000 to develop and execute a research project focusing on a topic of relevance for DSEF or one or more DSA member companies.

 

ABOUT DSEF

For more than 40 years, DSEF has partnered with members of the academic community to support research and education programs. These programs expand the knowledge and understanding of the fundamental principles of direct selling. The Foundation works with more than 200 professors in a variety of disciplines—such as entrepreneurship, marketing, ethics, sales, consumer studies, business and economics—to develop direct selling-related academic research, case studies and teaching content. In 2017, retail sales from direct selling were more than $34 billion annually and currently there are more than more than 18 million people involved in direct selling in the United States.

 

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Eric Liguori Appointed To AAC

Rowan University’s Eric Liguori Appointed to the Direct Selling Education Foundation’s Academic Advisory Council

Nina Krey and Renee Watson Named DSEF Fellows

WASHINGTON, DC—May 2019The Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Eric Liguori, William G. Rohrer Professorial Chair in Entrepreneurship and Executive Director, Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Rowan University, to the Foundation’s Academic Advisory Council (AAC), whose mission is to strengthen DSEF’s connection to the academic community and advance the understanding of the direct selling business model, value proposition and the industry’s commitment to ethical entrepreneurship.

“Dr. Liguori will be a valuable addition to the AAC,” DSEF Executive Director Gary Huggins said. “He’s at the national forefront of entrepreneurship education, and his experience in entrepreneurship teaching, research and publishing will bring new insights to the AAC, as the Council advises DSEF leadership on the development of cutting-edge academic initiatives.”

The Foundation is also pleased to announce that two Rowan University faculty members have been named DSEF Fellows. Dr. Nina Krey, Assistant Professor of Marketing, and Ms. Renee Watson, Faculty Lecturer, will join more than 200 academic leaders who work with DSEF and industry executives to gain deeper insights into the direct selling channel of distribution, both as a go-to-market business strategy and pathway to micro-entrepreneurship.

ABOUT DSEF
For more than 40 years, DSEF has partnered with members of the academic community to support research and education programs. These programs expand the knowledge and understanding of the fundamental principles of direct selling. The Foundation works with more than 200 professors in a variety of disciplines—such as entrepreneurship, marketing, ethics, sales, consumer studies, business and economics—to develop direct selling-related academic research, case studies and teaching content. In 2017, retail sales from direct selling were more than $34 annually and currently there are more than more than 18 million people involved in direct selling in the United States.

 

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What DSEF Delivers to You and Your Company

What DSEF Delivers to You and Your Company

The Direct Selling Education Foundation is committed to helping today’s students understand the benefits and business principles of direct selling. We do this by equipping professors and other educators with the knowledge and materials they need to provide students with an accurate understanding of the channel. As more professors produce data and research, and incorporate direct selling content into their courses, today’s policymakers and our next generation of leaders will have a true understanding of what direct selling is about.

In 2019 the Foundation has achieved essential milestones that will change the way direct selling is taught in universities and viewed by future generations. We help you tell your story.:

  • 219 DSEF Fellows representing leading colleges and universities across the US are helping to mainstream the channel through teaching, research and publishing.
  • The Foundation commissioned 23 research projects and case studies to educate the public and key stakeholders about the relevance of the channel.
  • The program’s student reach– delivered through campus events, DSEF Fellow-led data-driven research and an array of classroom teaching content – make direct selling part of the education of more than 70,000 students.
  • More than 50 senior executives from direct selling’s broadest array of companies have led campus-wide events and classroom lectures and will be featured in video content that reaches thousands more students.
  • DSEF developed a library of more than 50 industry-specific videos used by professors to teach direct selling to students and help you counter critics of the channel.
  • DSEF Fellows contributed direct selling-related articles to academic journals and monographs, and included direct selling company case studies in widely-used marketing and entrepreneurship textbooks.
  • Foundation case studies and case videos are featured by the Global Jesuit Case Series, reaching 200 Jesuit colleges and universities globally.

And we’re not done yet. To find out how you can help us maintain our momentum, contact us today.

Students and Direct Selling: Key Takeaways from Our Fellows

DSEF recently asked its Fellows to share their experiences using the Foundation’s teaching content, research and case studies in the classroom. Here are a few highlights:

My students have pointedly benefited from DSEF case materials. The Big Data video is highly insightful and garners substantial discussion. The Cocoa Exchange case, particularly the related video, is wonderful for discussing corporate social responsibility, women’s empowerment and direct selling.

Dr. William F. Crittenden
Professor, International Business and Strategy
Northeastern University

 


 The students relate to selling Cutco because of Vector’s business model of using college students to sell the products. I am thrilled with the opportunities to bring experiential learning into my classroom and students gain real world skill sets which will help them in their careers.

Dr. Wendy Ritz
Assistant Teaching Professor- Marketing
Florida State University Panama City

 


As a DSEF Fellow, I have had amazing opportunities to engage with direct selling industry leaders, and it has really helped shape my research agenda. I was able to develop a teaching case that connected my research interest in effectuation and social entrepreneurship with the founders of Trades of Hope and was awarded a research grant at my university.

As a bonus, many students were introduced to the direct selling distribution channel as an avenue for social entrepreneurship and considered it in the development of their own social enterprise.

Dr. Christine Mollenkopf-Pigsley
Assistant Professor & Program Director- Applied Organizational Studies
Minnesota State University Mankato


The DSEF pedagogical support materials address real-world, timely marketing practices. I am able to leverage the articles and case videos in highly-engaging discussions about the increasing role of disintermediation in marketing channels. I also use the materials to reinforce how direct selling is an inextricable opportunity in the ‘Gig Economy.’ This is important because my students are likely engaged in the Gig Economy.

Dr. Lou Pelton
Associate Professor of Marketing
University of North Texas