This strategy Is highly cost effective as it uses personal relation and word of mouth as its main marketing communication method. Thus a lot of third world country Is applying this strategy in the local market, though most of the developed country has banned this strategy from their country. Recently It was banned by the Bangladesh government from Bangladesh. After the banning; most of the people of Bangladesh has developed a negative perception against multi-level marketing strategy. But as a third world country this strategy can be proved to be very much useful Bangladesh economy and business sectors if applied correctly.
So this study is conducted with a view to find out people's perception about multi-level marketing. It will also identify the prospects and problems of this strategy for Bangladesh. Ultimately it will analyze the usefulness of this strategy and the likelihood of applying this strategy successfully in Bangladesh. 1. Introduction Marketing Is one of the basic business actively, the only division of a business that earns the money for the company. Over the time marketing has evolved a lot. In the beginning there was not any marketing concept.
But later In the early stage of sass, equines concept was evolved into selling concept and the marketing concept came technique, Multi-Level Marketing is one of them. Multi-level marketing uses personal relationship and social network as its marketing tools. As in recent years social networking via internet and telecommunication has increased drastically. Social networks was active for a long time but recently with the introduction of internet web-based form of social networking like Faceable, twitter it became much more easier to spread ML and acquire its investors (Meek and others, 2011).
Multi-level marketing was introduced in last sass. But it was not applied in Bangladesh before 2000. But recently 45 Multi-level marketing companies operating in Bangladesh were banned by the government (The New Age, 2013). In this banning issue the Bangladesh people is divided into two parts. One supports this decision while the other portion protests this decision. This study will try to find out why people are behaving against and for of this strategy. Before banning there were a huge investors segment of this country, who claimed that they were gaining profit from these companies.
To understand people's reaction about this banning, pros and cons of ML companies must be studied first. This research will help us to apply ML strategy in Bangladesh in future by analyzing people's behavior toward ML. 2. Statement of the problem Recently Bangladesh government has banded most of the ML companies operation domestically. So it is only reasonable to identify the problems of ML in Bangladesh economy and also why this strategy cannot offer its full potential in Bangladesh. Over the time people has develop some certain perception towards ML.
This perception could affect the success of this strategy in this country. This study is tending to identify people's observation about this strategy. Than ultimately it is very important to comparing between the problems and promises and finding out whether it is a valid marketing strategy in Bangladesh economy. 3. Review of literature 3. 1 Marketing: According to American marketing Association, "Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. From a societal point of view, marketing is the link between a society's material requirements and its economic patterns of response. Marketing satisfies these needs and wants through exchange processes and building long term relationships. It is the process of communicating the value of a product or service through positioning to customers. Marketing is a social and managerial activity by which individuals and organization obtain what they need or want form others through creating and exchanging goods or services or values (Kettle and Armstrong, 2003).
Marketing can be looked at as an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, delivering and communicating value to customers, and managing customer relationships in ways hat also benefit the organization and its shareholders. Marketing is the science of choosing target markets through market analysis and market segmentation, as well as understanding consumer buying behavior and providing superior customer value. Multi-level marketing or ML is a marketing approach that motivates its participants to promote a certain product among their friends.
The popularity of this approach increases due to the accessibility of modern social networks. However, it existed in one form or the other long before the Internet age began which is the pyramid scheme. The basic of ML is relationship marketing. Relationship marketing is defined as building, developing and maintaining strong relationships with customers and other stakeholders in order to obtain a high profitability (Berry, 1983, GarГ¶moron, 1989, 1994, 1996, Hunt, 1994, 1997, Mattson, 1997).
Most commonly ML, the salespeople are expected to sell products directly to consumers by means of relationship referrals and word of mouth marketing. Some refer ML as direct selling. But in reality ML is Just one type of direct selling. Without (1996) define direct selling as "face-to-face selling away from a fixed retail location" (p. 6). The main lucrative part of ML is that the sales force are compensated for their personal sales volume and also for the sales volume made by the sales person recruited by them (Wisped, 2013).
In ML companies effective recruiting of investors is very essential for the very existence of the majority of direct selling companies including multilevel marketing organizations because the survival of these organizations depend on the ability to make more and more new recruits to replace those who have discontinued. ML distributors can have a relationship with both their "uplink" sponsor and their downlink" recruits. They also often work cooperatively by holding common recruitment meetings and sales training sessions.
Distributors of multilevel marketing companies foster a combination of friendship and instrumentality in developing networks. 4. 3 Pyramid Scheme: The pyramid scheme is structured like a pyramid. It starts with one person or company, who is the initial recruiter (who is on top, at the apex of the pyramid). This person or company recruits investor A, who is required to invest" say $100, which is paid to the company. In order to make his or her money back, the new recruit must circuit investor B and other investors, each of whom will also have to invest $100.
Investor A earns a commission on each investment he brings in, and, as long as the pyramid continues to grow, he will make his money back and a handsome profit. The problem is that the pyramid scheme cannot go on forever because there are a finite number of people who can Join the scheme. It is the most non-sustainable business model that involves promising participants payment or services, primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, rather than supplying any real investment or sale of products or services to the public.
Various forms of pyramid schemes are illegal in many countries including Albania, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sir Lankan, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States (Wisped, 2013).
In multi-level marketing, organizations do not use any traditional medium for promotion or advertising. Rather it uses direct selling technique and personal relation of the salesperson. ML companies operate like regular organizations. The only difference is that it uses personal relation and direct selling. But in light of Bangladesh practice of ML strategy, these salesperson are referred as investors. In Bangladesh, when a person buys a product of any ML organization s/he become a part of the organization.
As s/he sales more to other persons they become linked up in his/her downlink and the person from whom s/he bought the product that person is linked up in his/her uplink. So the diagram looks a lot like pyramid (Wisped, 2013). Fig: multi-level marketing structure. 3. 5 History of Multi-level marketing: Nobody does not know when started the World famous ML business. Some are saying it started before the 2nd world war. And the first ML Company was "Underweight". It started its products marketing through ML system in 1940 - 41 and the founder was a chemist DRP.
Carl Rein Borough of California. In 1949 there are two young named Rich Devon and Jay Van Ended Join to the "Underweight" as distributor and they created a new trend for ML after 10 years. At US parliament ML win by 10 votes to started its business with franchise as parallel in 1958. After that ML got the renewed system in marketing and sprayed its business all over the world. In 1959 Rich Devon and Jay Van Ended founded a new ML company named Anyway Corporation. After some years they bought the Company "Underweight" and merged it with Anyway Corporation.
Now a day, more than 135 countries and more than 12000 company operation their business for selling products and services in ML system (Hake, 2009). 3. 6 Operation of Multi-level marketing: ML works in the following manner: Company X will recruit Vender A to sell its products. For each unit that Vender A sells, he gets a commission. To encourage the growth of the distribution network, however, Company X tells Vender A that he can earn a lot more money if he recruits other vendors to sell products. So Vender A recruits Vender B and five other friends to sell products.
Now, rather than spend as much time selling products directly to consumers, Vender A becomes Distributor A and supplies products to Vender B and others, earning a commission for everything sold. After gaining some experience, Vender B might recruit and sell to Vender C and five other friends. If he does, Distributor A will earn commissions from what both B and C sell. As long as the rewards are based on selling products to consumers, ML is a legitimate business model, particularly if Company X buys back unsold goods from its vendors.
The problem occurs when the product gets lost and the commissions become based solely on recruiting new members. Then ML becomes what is known as a pyramid scheme (African and Saber, 2012). Multilevel marketing is a huge, global industry. Estimates of worldwide sales are as high as ninety billion dollars (Dyer 2001). Estimates of the number of people who purchase products and services from multilevel marketing organizations are high, tit one study finding that over half of the respondents had purchased at least one item from a multilevel marketing company.
The industry appears to be growing. In 2011, the total sales figure from major multilevel marketing companies by around 16 million distributors' generated sales of almost $30 billion in America. Worldwide, some 92 million distributors grossed $1 54 billion, according to the Direct Selling Association (The economist, 2013). Unfortunately with the growth of the industry has been the growth of questionable companies and practices (like pyramid scheme). Currently there are over sass of Multi-level companies are operation around the world.
Among them there are 60 companies, who name popped up every time someone wants to know about multi-level marketing. But still these are the top ten ML companies around the world (Ensure, 2012). 1 . 2. Anyway 3. Menelaus 4. ASANA 5. Nu Skin 6. Assassin 7. Forever Living 8. Legal Shield 9. CAN 10. Herbalist 11. Life After all this success still multi-level marketing is being criticized around the world especially in developed county. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a decision, regarding Anyway Corp.. In 1979 in which it indicated that multi-level arresting was not illegal per SE in the United States. However, Anyway was found guilty of price fixing (by requiring "independent" distributors to sell at the low price) and making exaggerated income claims. ML organizations have been described by some as cults, pyramid schemes, or organizations rife with misleading, deceptive, and unethical behavior, such as the questionable use of evangelical discourse to promote the business, and the exploitation of personal relationships for financial gain (Wisped, 2013).
Fraudulent ML schemes can usually be identified by high entrance fees or requirements to purchase expensive inventories. They often collapse quickly when the merchandise cannot be resold, leaving all but those at the top of the pyramid with financial losses. The real problem with ML is not ML itself, but some of the people it attracts. Multi-level marketing is Just a business model, and it really amounts to "micro-franchising". Its upside is that it has a very low cost of entry, with the potential for exceptional revenue, and there are those who achieve that.
Many multi-level marketers over-sell the opportunities, inappropriately discuss business in social environments and programs, over-focus on new recruits and information and talk in a deceptive way. 3. Current condition of Multi-level marketing in Bangladesh: Multilevel Marketing (ML) is a recent activities and trend added to the business of Bangladesh. It is a concept used by many countries around the world with USA, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, and India almost 55 years. And it entered the Bangladesh in 1998 through GANG (Global Guardian Network).
ML not only operates as direct marketing channel but also it is being practiced by Multi-Level Marketing, Network Marketing, and Direct Selling etc. On that line of selling so many companies operates in Bangladesh. Now a day there are 65 companies are operating their business through ML system. Most of these 62 companies operates via pyramid Schemes in disguise of legitimate ML businesses. Because there is no government monitoring of the activities of the ML companies in Bangladesh, no one really knows how much money any ML company is collecting from the people and how much they are either investing or simply spending in bad projects.
Destiny-2000 Limited one the greatest and biggest company which operation its business through ML system. But recently government has banned this company with 45 other companies. Bangladesh Bank has halted the bank accounts of Destiny; it allegedly transferred a to of money from those accounts. Reportedly, its directors, hold a total number of 443 bank accounts where funds worth only TX. 1. 77 billion could be traced. Among the total number of bank accounts, 225 were found closed. (The Financial Express, June 10, 2012).
It has recently been reported that at least two other companies have defrauded public by billions: Nippy-2 and Kobo. The government is already moving towards greater regulation. The commerce ministry has recently sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission and other stakeholder agencies, asking for their pinion on an ML act "Direct Sales Law-2011" in a bid to increase accountability of the ML business. The ministry has assured that the ML (Control) Act 2011 will soon be enacted.
A draft law on the marketing strategy has already been formulated with provisions of prison, fines and cancellation of licenses if the ML companies are found engaged in 21 types of businesses. 4. Objectives of the research The main objective of the study is to find out the viability of applying multi-level marketing strategy in Bangladesh economy and the finding out the perception of investors toward ML strategy. This objective will be achieved through completing these four objectives. 1. Identifying the promises of Multi-level marketing. 2. Finding out the problems of Multi-level marketing. . Finding out the general people's view about ML. 4. Comparing the problems and promises of ML and identifying whether this strategy can successfully implemented in Bangladesh. 5. Research Questions 1 . What are the promises of multi-level marketing? 2. What are the problems of multi-level marketing in Bangladesh? 3. What are the implantable and profitable for the consumers in Bangladesh? 6. Research Methodology 6. Research Instrument A questionnaire will be developed with the help of secondary data analysis, which will be used for first objective.
For first three objectives open ended question and depth interview is appropriate. 6. 2 Data Collection Data will be collected from Dacha and Chula city. Respondents will be people who were involved with ML business in Bangladesh, as they will be able to provide insights about the promises and problems about ML. Also people who was not involved with ML but hold a considerable knowledge about this strategy will help to achieve the third objective. 6. 3 Sample Selection Sampling units will be Destiny 2000 Ltd, MIX Modern Herbal Ltd, Unpaid Ltd, Tolerance Outsourcing Ltd.
These four companies cover most of the segments of the customers, which will be helpful for sampling and the sample will represent the population easily. Total numbers of investors in these four companies are around 200,000 to 300,000. But the precise number is difficult to find out. So it is safe to consider the sample size 200. 6. 4 Sampling Technique Sampling technique will be snowball and Quota sampling. Snowball sampling will be used because there no precise list of investors of this companies which can be accessed directly. Sample size will be 200 where 50 will from each of the four companies.
Each of these 50 respondents will be categorized in the following way: Occupation I Number of respondents I Government service holder | 10 | Non-Government service holder | 10 | Students | 10 | Business people | 10 | Unemployed | 10 | 6. 5 Statistical Tools The research will be conducted mainly in exploratory and descriptive way. The main focus of this strategy is to find out the viability of multi-level marketing in Bangladesh economy. This study will mainly use secondary data. For first and third objectives of finding the promises or advantages of ML and people's perception about these, open ended questionnaire will be used.
With the collected responses I will try to identify the main advantages of ML from investor's point of view. And from the responses for the third objective, it will be identified why people are depth interview of investors, secondary data and expert interview. From the information I will try to analysis the factors which are main obstacle for flourishing and applying the ML strategy in Bangladesh. The last objective will be completed y analyzing collected secondary data from published literature, Journals, books etc. And also by expert interview on this matter.
The data will analyzed with statistical tools like percentage analysis ranking problems from the investors points of view. Same tool will be used for promises as well. Result will be graphically presented using pie charts and histograms. 7. Significance of the research A number of studies have been conducted on Multi-level marketing strategy. But there is no research on multi-level marketing's problems and advantages based on Bangladesh. As Bangladesh has a booming economy with increasing GAP, there are efferent companies are starting their operations in Bangladesh in different sectors.
Multi-level marketing has proven to be a valid marketing strategy in some third world countries though this strategy in banned in most of the first world countries. The future prospect of multi-level marketing is tremendous in Bangladesh if it is being applied properly. So this research will evaluate it pros and cons in Bangladesh economy and investor's intention for such strategy. It will add value to the companies who are interested to apply this strategy and those future investors who will be interested to invest in such companies. Limitations of the study: 8. I.
The study will be limited only in Dacha and Chula city. IL. Finding proper respondents will be very difficult, as it will be difficult to locate investors as two of the companies are shut down by the government. But still these two has the highest number of investors in the industry. Iii. Samples are drawn from four companies with different product segments. But as there are total 65 companies, so result may vary from company to company. 'v. The sample is drawn on non-probability sampling basis. Because there is no precise list of investors. It may not represent the entire population.