Forces Under 40 2017

by DSN Staff

Click here to order the March 2017 issue in which this article appeared.


DSN is thrilled to showcase the most outstanding young professionals working in direct selling companies today. These honorees represent all aspects of the business—from technology and marketing to finance and field services—and represent the fine talent of tomorrow. We know it is imperative to nurture and encourage the young leaders in our channel in order to secure the brightest future possible for all.

These dynamic young leaders are broadening the scope of the companies they work for as well as our entire channel of distribution. Based upon the enthusiastic nominations of the honorees presented here, the future is bright indeed. The program was open to all full-time professionals working in active direct selling companies who turned 40 years old on or after Jan. 1, 2017. The honorees are presented in alphabetical order with each profile including the thoughts and words of the honoree’s respective company.

We also want to thank our generous sponsors, Avalara and Fossil.


PROFILES:

…. Continue to the Honoree’s profiles.

 

 

Advertisements

Nerium Product Development Summit Unites Western Science, Eastern Medicine

Photo: Nerium South Korea independent sellers, known as Brand Partners


As part of its strategy to offer exclusive anti-aging products and expand in Asia, Nerium International recently hosted a Global Product Development Summit in South Korea.

In attendance were representatives from biotechnology companies, universities and R&D teams, who work with Nerium to develop its skincare and nutrition products. The two-day summit was held at COSMAX, a South Korea-based cosmetics manufacturer and R&D lab that works with Nerium and a number of other luxury skincare brands.

“I believe Nerium to be the best company in the world, and COSMAX will support it with all of our best resources for a great cause, combining Western technologies with Eastern know-how,” said Kyung-Soo Lee, COSMAX Founder and CEO.

Nerium aims to build its core product line while adhering to its strict formulation philosophy and criteria, said Founder and Co-CEO Jeff Olson. Since launching with a single skincare product in 2011, the company has introduced just two additional anti-aging creams, an eye serum, and a supplement intended to boost brain health.

“Looking into the future, we plan to continue this pattern of expanding our product line by watching innovative and global trends in retail and science and creating superior anti-aging products for the face, body and mind,” said Olson.

The company also has plans to expand geographically, with openings in Japan and Hong Kong scheduled for later this year. To serve consumers in the region, Nerium plans to develop Asia-specific offerings that potentially will include anti-aging supplements and luxury beauty oils.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Names Nerium Top Corporate Fundraising Partner

In its fourth year backing Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Nerium International became the organization’s largest corporate fundraising partner. Through its charitable arm, the Nerium Ripple Foundation, the skincare company donated $1.3 million in 2015.

“From top corporate leadership to local partner involvement, Nerium helps further our mission through nearly every facet of their organization,” Pam Iorio, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, said in a statement. “Their financial support and ability to encourage more brand ambassadors mean that we can help match even more children with a strong adult mentor.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters pairs adult volunteers, or Bigs, with children at risk, or Littles, in a one-to-one mentoring relationship. Studies such as the Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Outcomes Survey have proven the effectiveness of the model, which has earned recognition from the federal government for keeping youth in school and out of trouble.

More than 300 of Nerium’s independent Brand Partners have signed on as volunteer mentors through the organization; however, company participation extends all the way to the top. Chief Leadership Officer Renee Olson has been a Big Sister for more than two years, and Co-CEO Jeff Dahl signed on as a Big Brother soon after joining the company in March 2014.

“The missions of Big Brothers Big Sisters and Nerium International are nearly identical,” said Founder and CEO Jeff Olson. “Both organizations work to make lives better with caring individuals gently modeling the way.”

All told, Nerium has donated $3.5 million, in both corporate funds and Brand Partner donations, to further the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters. The nonprofit has honored Nerium’s ongoing contributions with its 2013 Community Spirit Award and 2015 President’s Award, its highest recognition for corporate partners.

Nerium Achieves Sales of $1B in Less Than Four Years

Nerium International today announced it has surpassed $1 billion in cumulative revenue in under four years of business. According to Direct Selling News research, the anti-aging company is one of the industry’s fastest ever to reach the billion-dollar milestone.

The announcement comes on the heels of Nerium’s ranking as the No. 1 consumer products and services company and the No. 12 company overall on this year’s Inc. 500, a list of the fastest-growing private companies in America.

“When we started this company almost four years ago, we knew we had something very special,” Jeff Olson, Nerium Founder and CEO, said in a statement. “That we’ve sold over $1 billion of product in four short years is a testament to the incredible products and opportunities Nerium has to offer. I’m extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished—we’ve changed thousands of lives for the better.”

Dallas-based Nerium launched in August 2011 with just one product in its portfolio. After topping sales of $100 million in its first year, the company began expanding its line of anti-aging products and opening international markets. Nerium now operates in Canada, Mexico and South Korea; however, 95 percent of total sales have come from the U.S.

“Nerium has been on the fast-track for growth since its launch,” said Direct Selling News Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Lauren Lawley Head. “The company is one of the youngest ever to break into the Top 40 of the DSNGlobal 100 list of the world’s largest direct selling companies, was among the fastest-growing of the Global 100 companies last year, with a net sales increase of 84 percent, and was one of only 16 companies to grow by $100 million or more.”

View the full release from Nerium.

Nerium Soars to #12 on Inc. 500|5000 List

Today, Inc. magazine announced its 34th annual Inc. 500|5000 List, and the exclusive ranking once again features several direct selling brands. The Inc. 5000 is a list of America’s fastest-growing private companies, with the Inc. 500 representing a special ranking of companies in the top 10 percent.

Eight direct selling companies are included in this year’s list, and they represent a wide variety of categories: consumer products, health, travel & hospitality and energy. The growth increase spans an even greater range from a very respectable 125 percent (Beachbody) to a whopping 16,617 percent (Nerium). Nerium has only been in business since August 2011, making this percentage growth number even more impressive.

Limited to U.S.-based, privately held companies, the Inc. 5000 measures revenue growth from 2011–2014.

The top 500 companies on the list will be featured in the September issue of Inc.

To view the entire list, please visit www.inc.com/inc5000.

12 Nerium International 16,617% $403M Consumer Products & Services
132 Plexus Worldwide 2,833% $310.4M Health
442  It Works! 1,060% $538M Consumer Products & Services
564 Jeunesse 811% $419.2M Consumer Products & Services
915 WorldVentures 491% $315.5M Travel & Hospitality
2210 Isagnenix 177% $725M Health
2814 Ambit Energy 128% $1.5B Energy
2864 Beachbody 125% $938.9M Health

Are We Winning?

by John Fleming

Click here to order the February 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


It’s hard to keep a scorecard on the direct selling industry! Those who tend to look for a way to criticize can always find something. Those of us who see within the industry and have the opportunity to interact with industry decision makers gain much insight and perspective. And this is a time of year to reflect. The corporate scorecard will be the year-end financial statements that will recap the business of the previous year. Businesses will win or lose depending upon the bottom-line numbers of profit or loss and the top-line number of revenue generated in comparison to the prior measurement period. But the question for those of us affiliated with the direct selling industry might be: What is the industry scorecard? Are we winning or are we losing?

Some scorekeepers like Bill Ackman, the hedge fund manager who has specifically targeted Herbalife with venomous attacks on the company’s method of conducting business (direct sales), completes his scorecard based on a set of very personal criteria that leads to an accusation and attack on, in this case, Herbalife in particular. However, this type of scorecard has implications for the entire industry. Direct selling, as a channel of distribution, is executed in many different ways, from what we often refer to as party plan to network marketing, social entrepreneurship, social selling, and social commerce, or even simply person to person. Today, the actual definition of direct selling is so very broad that direct sellers utilize online methods for delivering messages and transacting business as effectively as any channel of distribution.

In response to a scorekeeper like Bill Ackman and his staff, we remind such scorekeepers of the fact that the industry has a formal code of ethics as well as an informal code of ethics. The industry code and the more stringent company codes of ethics serve to govern the manner in which those who utilize the direct selling channel engage both employees of the company and the independent brand partners representing the company’s products, services and business opportunity. Independent contractors are also consumers as it simply makes sense to be your own best customer.


Today, the actual definition of direct selling is so very broad that direct sellers utilize online methods for delivering messages and transacting business as effectively as any channel of distribution.


The formal Code of Ethics is provided by the U.S. Direct Selling Association, and this code is public information. Members of the U.S. DSA pledge to abide by the U.S. DSA Code of Ethics. Many non-members of the U.S. DSA (direct selling companies) have created their own company codes and often use the DSA Code of Ethics as their benchmark. In either case, the direct selling industry overall has done a good job of policing itself and has grown as a channel of distribution to over $30 billion in U.S. revenue and $150 billion in worldwide revenue, generated by approximately 16 million U.S. independent contractors and 90 million worldwide independent contractors.

Every organization and every business has some type of scorecard for reflection on previous-year results and the planning of the new year. It is part of our nature to desire a scorecard to determine if we are winning or losing. Each winter, the NFL hosts the ultimate scorecard in professional football, the Super Bowl, where thousands will witness the final score that determines the best football team of the year. The same process holds true for all professional sports teams and leagues wherever they are located in the world. Hundreds of millions watch these events on television.

Direct Selling News created a scorecard for the direct selling industry when we first published the Direct Selling News Global 100 listing in 2009. Each year, this enormous research project serves to identify the top 100 direct selling companies in the world who certify their revenue performance by submitting the DSN Revenue Certification Form and complete a profile of their company. This process results in the publishing of perhaps the most important scorecard on the industry issued by anyone.

However, there is more to score on a company-by-company basis, and we offer on this page a potential scorecard profile that we believe tells even more of the story about an industry that shows such diversity in its representation of people from all walks of life. Direct selling as a method of distribution provides people with hope and with training to learn the basic knowledge and skills to be able to build a business. This could be a small part-time effort or a more serious effort that not only develops customers but also provides the opportunity to recruit and train others to do this, resulting in a much larger business opportunity. Because a scorecard is so important, we encourage each direct selling company to submit your Global 100 information and profile, as in so doing you participate in a valid process for scoring an incredible industry.

In going through the scoring process, we remain optimistic that we will have experienced another year of overall growth with respect to the first two categories on the scorecard pictured. Within the growth, there will always be those companies that did not grow, and the reasons for that are many, some of which are mentioned below and are also being researched by Direct Selling News.

Continue to Direct Selling News to see the scorecard and find out if we are winning or not.

 

 

Nerium Mexico Expansion Features Revamped Product Line

Amid expansion into Canada and Mexico this year, Nerium International has tweaked its product offerings with an eye toward future growth. The anti-aging brand promises international consumers the same “real science, real results,” but its signature skincare line has gotten a makeover.

Nerium’s U.S. line consists of NeriumAD Night and Day treatments and a separate body contouring cream. In place of the NeriumAD brand, the company has introduced Optimera skincare to international consumers. The new product shares the same fundamental science as NeriumAD, said Nerium Chief Marketing Officer Amber Olson Rourke, with the added benefit of being globally compliant. According to the company’s website, Optimera Night and Day Creams include an “exclusive, patent-pending SAL-14 extract with a cutting-edge plant cell duplication technology.” The overhaul reflects a deliberate, long-term approach to expansion.

“For Canada and Mexico, we took a lot of the same properties, and the things we’ve found to be effective from an anti-aging perspective, to form a true global product built on the same foundational elements,” Rourke shared.

In Mexico, where Nerium launched in October, the company has hosted thousands at its grand opening events across the country. The connections formed by Latino Brand Partners in the U.S., as well as the groundwork laid by Nerium, created a warm market for the company.

“We didn’t do a soft launch. We spent a lot of time preparing to launch—we had an in-country executive team, in-country logistics and in-country support,” Rourke noted. “We were able to take what we’d done in the past and apply it to Mexico.”

Nerium has found that its values, culture and business model—with a focus on teamwork, home parties and selling to friends and neighbors—resonate with Latino customers and Brand Partners. Another aspect that has made an impression on Rourke is the enthusiasm and dedication of Nerium’s partners in Mexico.

“In the U.S., people kind of dip their toe into the water,” she notes “…There they are all in, excited, grateful and committed to the work it takes for anyone to change their lives and build a business.”

90 Days of Direct Selling – Day 55

DSN_90Days_Email_Signature

Nerium International

2013 Net Sales: $219 million

Country: USA

Nerium International represents breakthrough age-defying products, with a simple vision of making people better.

 

2012 Rank: 86
2012 Net Sales: $100 million
Sales Method: Party plan and group sales
Compensation Structure: Multi-level
Products: Cosmetics, personal care
Markets: 1
Salespeople: 109,000
Employees: 165
Headquarters: Addison, Texas
Executive: Jeff Olson
Year Founded: 2011
Website: www.nerium.com

Nerium Doubles Office Space with New Headquarters

Nerium cultivates a familial culture at its corporate headquarters, and it looks like that family will be growing in the near future. The burgeoning skincare company, which incorporates Friday morning breakfasts for its employees, off-site recognition luncheons and complimentary chair massages at the close of each month, is moving to a new headquarters twice the size of its current space.

The home office will cover 75,912 square feet of a property adjacent to Nerium’s Addison, Texas, headquarters. The company chose to remain in the area where it launched in 2011 from a 5,432-square-foot space.

“As an employee-friendly company, we wanted to stay within three miles of our current location; we were thrilled when we found our new state-of-the-art facility, which will allow us to focus on our field as we continue to grow,” Chief Operating Officer Al Richey told DSN. “With its open floor plan, our new headquarters creates a collaborative environment that supports our ‘loving, caring, sharing’ motto.”

Having achieved annual revenue of $219 million in just two years, Nerium is now gearing up for international expansion. The company will open for business in Mexico next month, looking to build upon record growth in the U.S. and Canada. In its three-year history Nerium has maintained a laser focus on developing products backed by science and proven results. Currently, the company’s skincare line features just three products.

“Since inception we have aspired to create real products and real opportunities for our Brand Partners and our customers, and our focus remains the same as we grow,” shared Co-CEO Jeff Dahl, who joined the company earlier this year with a strong background in international expansion. “We believe launching the Mexico market creates huge opportunities for all Brand Partners to expand their businesses and exposes new prospects to the Nerium experience.”

Marketing an Ever-Evolving Strategy

by Beth Douglass Silcox

Click here to download this issue to your mobile device.

Once the playground for little-understood creatives who whipped up sales collateral and spent the money sales teams earned, marketing departments grow more strategic and sophisticated by the day. In fact, the demand to understand and engage customers is driving an evolution in marketing and moving its role within the company straight into the executive suite—Chief Marketing Officer.

“Today, marketing plays a critical role in strategic planning and brand positioning, overall messaging and, perhaps most importantly for the direct selling industry, creating the lasting relationships every company, every brand and every direct seller desires,” says USANA CMO Doug Braun.

The gamut of responsibilities under the CMO umbrella is ever-expanding. Candace Matthews, Amway’s CMO, says her role, “encompasses all of the branding, positioning, and everything that goes along with establishing those brands at a global level—communications, PR, corporate social responsibilities, Amway’s brand and reputational work, as well as the digital side and market research.” Sheryl Adkins-Green, CMO at Mary Kay Inc., adds, “My goal is to anticipate what women want, and then convert those insights into irresistible beauty products that women love. I’m responsible for leading the development of a product portfolio strategy that generates a sustainable stream of innovative skin care, color and fragrance products.” There’s a lot of work to go around and much to keep track of. Divvying responsibilities differs from company to company. USANA, for instance, separates communications, PR and social media. But one thing is consistent: The marketing group and the individuals who lead the charge, whether they are CMOs or heads of departments, simply can’t be what they were a decade ago and expect to succeed. CMOs today must be a new, eclectic species, able to execute the demands of traditional marketing while stretching into roles of sophisticated strategists, sector specialists, innovative champions, digital experts and business leaders, according to Advertising Age. This isn’t, however, unique to the direct selling industry nor to the U.S. corporate world. In fact, The Guardian in the U.K. declared the traditional CMO role dead last February. Why the epitaph? Companies must drive deeper to develop customer intimacy and lasting consumer engagement. That, they say, is where true growth lies.


Companies must drive deeper to develop customer intimacy and lasting consumer engagement. That, they say, is where true growth lies.


At the Crossroads of Consumer Engagement

Today, a carefully crafted marketing message isn’t the one-way communication it was decades ago. Instead, it’s really a conversation starter between brand and customer—a conversation to be taken very seriously. “Now consumers and the general public have so much power with the Internet. They can say anything. They can create a following. So you need to have brand advocates and ambassadors within the people. It’s that relationship, that bond, and that common framework and common vision for what we’re doing that’s so important,” Matthews says of marketing at Amway. Marketing leaders stand at a crossroads between consumers who yearn for engagement and companies who strive to meet that consumer need. And it’s the work that happens at this juncture that informs the way forward-thinking, direct selling CMOs see their jobs today.


“There’s not one area that doesn’t have some sort of interaction or dependency on the marketing department. I actually feel that it’s the driving force behind the business.” —Alec Clark, CMO, Plexus Worldwide


“We [marketing] are the keepers of the entire, lifelong Nerium experience,” says Amber Olson Rourke, CMO, Nerium International. “How the customers come to know about the product—how they experience the product, how we treat them. We are also the keepers of the whole Brand Partner experience, whether it’s marketing the trials, their check-out process, their training, events they go to, the partnership they enter into with our charities like Big Brothers Big Sisters. It’s really all-encompassing.” Alec Clark, CMO at Plexus Worldwide, adds, “There’s not one area that doesn’t have some sort of interaction or dependency on the marketing department. I actually feel that it’s the driving force behind the business.” Marketing is nothing short of the “soul of the organization,” according to Braun, and deserves a seat at the strategic planning table. Working hand-in-hand with sales is the only way to successfully meet the promises direct selling companies make to their consumers. “I look at the CMO as the connector, the integrator of products and experiences,” Matthews says. “I don’t see marketing and sales as independent functions. I see us fully integrating and putting our minds together to deliver what is the right thing for our IBOs.” It’s a holistic approach, meshing both the marketing and sales contributions that enable Amway’s IBOs to not only receive the company’s message, but also really get it. “It’s succinct, it is simple, and it’s very beautiful, and they can leverage it right away. That can be digitally or physically. It’s a unified thinking.”


The world’s leading information technology research and advisory company, Gartner, believes CMOs will outspend CIOs on IT by 2017.


There’s Power in Perspective

When Arbonne’s Chief Creative Officer Michael D’Arminio and Senior Vice President and Chief Sales Officer Heather Chastain sit down to the strategic planning table, each brings a slightly different perspective. “I want to make sure that everything our consultants feel, taste, smell and see embodies the best Arbonne experience,” D’Arminio says. D’Arminio and Chastain come together, challenge each other, learn from each other and ultimately make the right decisions to formulate a three-year strategic outlook, annualized plan and bimonthly plan they call a cycle meeting. “We have both a long-term and short-term plan in place, knowing that we need to be agile in order to take advantage of key opportunities as they arise,” D’Arminio says. Partnering with Chastain’s sales department, D’Arminio and his creative team get the kind of immediate feedback on products, innovations and ideas that can make slight course corrections for effectiveness more timely and successful. This blend of sales field insights paired with market trends and product innovations makes Arbonne’s ability to evaluate strategy, core initiatives, opportunity, return and risk more effective.

Strategic, Creative Innovators and Brand Stewards

The changing role of CMO is opening the creative floodgates to innovations and solutions for direct selling. The relationship building of the past still takes place at events, but as Clark says, “Masses of people are now contacted with one click. Technology has changed our whole industry and how it works.” In fact, customer engagement is so dependent upon technology that the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company, Gartner, believes CMOs will outspend CIOs on IT by 2017. Just spending the dollars, however, is no guarantee of success, and as the role of marketing expands so, too, does the CMO’s responsibility for strategic planning that balances the best use of technology with traditional brand stewardship and customer acquisition activities. “If the CMO of a company has only one responsibility, it is to keep it relevant. I don’t mean trendy, but relevant,” Braun says. “It’s easy for us to get distracted by a shiny new ball, and every once in a while a shiny new ball is needed, and it’s fun. But as a CMO, I think it’s our responsibility to continue to be true to who we are as a brand, what we can be the best at, and remain relevant to the rest of the world.” Matthews agrees, saying, “We are global and operate in over 100 countries and territories, so it’s important that people understand the position of the brand and of the company. Amway is the overarching brand, but how other brands link to it is equally important. To make it globally relevant, we have to stay within a global framework, and it must all align.” Amway’s leaders are more global and less market-specific as access to information via the Internet continually increases, and it has changed the way they perpetuate their brand. “It’s very important that the brand people see is consistent around the world,” she says. Not only consistency of brand, but also of systems and culture played a huge role in Nerium International’s lead up to global expansion to Canada and beyond this year. “What we’re building from an online perspective is a global digital experience where every country uses the same technology and interface from a website standpoint, for the back office and for mobile applications,” Olson Rourke says. “It’s all tied into one universal platform and message. There are a lot of offshoots, but it will be one experience.” This type of platform simplifies the Brand Partner experience of running a Nerium business anywhere in the world and allows the company to convey its corporate message on a global scale. “Making people better is our mission,” she says. “That’s reflected in the company’s relationships with charities like Big Brothers Big Sisters and Live Happy magazine, as well as the company’s focus on personal development. We’re truly focusing so much of our energy around that message of building people first beyond anything else.” Getting an entire direct selling organization to walk the walk, talk the talk, and live the brand is complicated and depends as much on people as it does on technology. At USANA, Braun says the brand experience manager keeps the corporate office on message and everyone moving in the same direction. “They look at everything we’re doing from a different perspective—a brand perspective,” he says. “They have a seat at the table for those conversations, so that our experience doesn’t become different on the web than it is in our call center.” Plexus’ Clark says, “Our content, our delivery, our message truly matter. We love our brand, and we take that very seriously. Hundreds of thousands of lives are affected if we make a bad decision and we start chasing rabbits down holes. So we need to keep our heads, look around and make sure we are doing the right things for the right reasons for all of our Ambassadors.”

Purveyors of a New Experience

Providing the right tools to inform, educate and support the direct selling field remains a critical responsibility for marketers, but today they also innovate the entire consumer experience. USANA refreshed its brand from top to bottom a few years ago, and it wasn’t just the look and feel that got an upgrade. “It was really properly positioning USANA as a brand to be relevant and be the brand of choice for a wider audience, not just for today but in the future,” Braun says. USANA shifted corporate habits and internal language to reflect the brand refresh and introduced an online and iPad prospecting app called USANA True Health Assessment, which features a 10–15 minute health questionnaire that generates an overall health report, risk report and product recommendations at the end. Braun says, “It changed the introduction to the company. As an Associate, your methodology of bringing someone into the business or in as a customer isn’t through a meeting, a coffee shop or an event. It’s now through a one-on-one communication about health, and it becomes much more personal. You build the relationship. You build trust, and there’s value for the time spent, whether they do anything with USANA or not.” He adds, “We always had Associates who believed in our product, believed in our science and manufacturing, but they weren’t as engaged in the brand. With this change, they are wearing the brand. They are participating in the brand in new ways. Their use of and how they talk on social media has increased significantly. From an activity base and from an engagement base with the brand, there’s been significant change.” At Mary Kay, Adkins-Green oversees a wide variety of digital tools developed to engage customers and create experiences for them that keep them coming back. Their interactive eCatalog, which has generated over 23 million visits globally, has users spending an average of five minutes browsing, and viewing on average 34 pages per session. Adkins-Green says May Kay’s fan base has increased even more quickly than expected by the team’s creation and promotion of product trend updates, fashion news, and how-to tips across multiple social media channels. She says, “According to industry expert L2 (a subscription-based business intelligence service that benchmarks the digital competence of brands), Mary Kay has one of the highest social media engagment ratings in the beauty industry.” Not all marketing innovations are technology based. One of the boldest customer acquisition strategies recently is a free inventory replenishment program from Nerium International called Nerium Gives Back. Only through a successful customer acquisition model, Olson Rourke says, can a company create sustainability. So when a Brand Partner brings a new customer or a new Brand Partner to the company, Nerium gives them free product back to replenish their stock. “It’s really revolutionary and drives the right behavior. We’re able to have higher retention of Brand Partners because of small inventory costs, and we can continue to have very high customer acquisition because Brand Partners are getting the product out there,” she says. Plexus encourages its Associates by augmenting a tried and true tradition—events. By ramping up branding, the company strives to inspire engagement and also show support of the field’s business-building. “Leaders are born at events,” Clark says. “All those people share best practices. They hop across island to island and know they are not the only ones doing this. There are 8,000 people having the same trials and successes.” But to supercharge the synergy Plexus Associates felt, Clark and his marketing staff looked upon their recent annual convention with fresh eyes and new goals. “Whether it was the first person or the 8,000th person to see it, we wanted them to feel appreciated and important.” So Plexus branded Dallas. Every light post hung the Plexus flag. Every bus wore the logo. They wrapped the hotel and even lit up the Dallas skyline with Plexus lights strung outside the Omni. “The CMO’s role is still to enable the success of our IBOs,” Matthews says. “So everything we do has to be looked at through that lens. That may be to bring more consumers to them, provide programs that will engage them, or to engage others and bring them into the Amway business.” Sometimes that means innovating global compliance solutions, like the advent of Amway’s digital Nutrilite Recommender, which asks appropriate questions and enables IBOs to make vitamin and mineral supplement recommendations based only on the product line available to their market. Still for others it calls on global markets to promote a brand repositioning in some of the most relevant yet creative ways. Upscale and recognizable packaging, differentiated product formulations, a global face and consistent image are the pillars of Amway’s repositioning of its premium skincare brand, Artistry. Through sponsorships of artistic events in global markets, like China’s immensely popular figure skating event, “Artistry on Ice,” and Korea’s Busan International Film Festival, there’s a new level of engagement, which aligns the brand locally to the global position. As with any cost-benefit analysis, there are qualitative and quantitative measurements to the value marketing brings. That value will become increasingly evident as more and more marketers are invited into the executive suite and those CMOs sit down at strategic planning tables to weigh in on a broad range of subjects, such as communications, social awareness, emotional touch points and consumer insights. As the world continues to spin faster and faster, technologies mature and change again, and consumers demand something new, it will be the CMO who stays on the cusp of trends and emerging technologies, keeps tabs on what’s happening globally, and understands the cultures of the world. Stewarding that insight into the company may well be one of the most vital aspects of the CMO’s evolving role in direct selling.