Is the MLM duplication business model dead?

The other day, you responded to a four-question survey about the kind of network marketing organization you are in:

1. Top down command (do the business like they tell you because they know “what works” or have a “system” that works), OR

2. Creative sorts who encourage you to invent your own ways of selling and recruiting.

And second, what kind of person are you?

Are you more happy in a top-down command situation, or more happy in a creative situation?

The results are most interesting. With about 120 respondents, from 30+ different companies, the results show that nearly 40% report they’re in organizations where “they pretty much tell me how they do it and that I should do that too” (Q 2).

However, over 70% say they “prefer being creative and trying tnew ways of selling and recruiting.” (Q 4)

And what do they think it takes to be a successful network marketer? Command and control or creative environment?

The large majority – 65% say “a creative environment” so they can experiment with new says of recruiting and selling.

Creative is the opposite of “duplication” isn’t it? Duplication has been the MLM business model for 50 years. Command and control was the rule. Still is in most places.

But is it what we need today?

Take the one question survey here and see…

Is duplication as the MLM business model, dead?

I’ll post the results in a few days, or when we get 100+ responses, whichever comes first.

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • I understand both sides of the issue since I have been on both sides of the issue myself. A good upline leader's main concern is the success of their team members so if they have found a successful system then they naturally would want their team members to use it to achieve the same success. On the other hand, if it is a system that the team member does not like or want to use, they will not be successful anyway. For example, if the team uses a computerized system and someone does not own a computer, or want to own one, that can be a challenge. If you look at the top leaders of a company, you will usually find that they each have their own system so there is more than one way to achieve success. So a smart upline leader will have several system options available for their team to achieve success. The bottom line is, if they don't love doing what they do, they won't do it!

    Follow Your Passion,
    Michelle Sanchez
    Health & Business Consultant/Speaker/Trainer/Bestselling Author
    Certified Network Marketing Coach/Certified Dream Coach®
    Heart~2~Heart Coaching/Networking/Marketing/Leadership

  • Duplication itself isn’t dead, but I like to look at it as providing a framework from which people to work with. Give people guidance and tools and techniques and let them be creative.

  • Duplication is great, just not the way most networkers us it. Something is duplicatable if someone else will use it. If someone doesn’t want to follow or use a particular approach, then for them it is not duplicatable. That is why the best system is to have multiple systems that people have been successful with and let the person choose how they want to build their business.

    My company used to have a motto “one time – one dream”. I have altered that motto for my crew “one team – your dream” and I will help build their dream in the way they think is best.

  • This doesn’t have to be an either or situation. Having a method of duplication can be great for getting someone started in the business until they find their own way. In addition, good methods of duplication can have some creativity in them as well, such as how someone finds prospects. Once the prospect is found, the method of how to work with that prospect can be what is duplicated.

    I teach my distributors to follow the plan for the first 90 days and teach their new distributors the same. After 90 days, they have a better understanding of how the company works to create their own model. However, even with their own model, I share that it is important to get their new distributors started in the same way they did, using the existing system.

  • I think they should do whatever gets them the results they are looking for. If they have done everything their upline has suggested. Fine! They can do their own thing. But, I recommend that they don’t give up on the current system that is in place because, they have found something that fits within a comfort zone and they refuse to stretch alittle.
    Other times people feel that their leaders aren’t open to new ideas and they have little creativity or control in their own bussiness (Systems wise) every thing else they know it’s up to them.

  • Why duplicate something that has such a high rate of failure?

    From my experience, network marketing does not allow for flexibility or creativity.

    When I was in college, I was involved in the largest network marketing business in the world. My sponsor was self employed, owning a successful business outside of his MLM business.

    Several times, using his own money, he came up with creative ideas to make things better and easier. Yet he was always shot down and told to duplicate upline.

    Consequently, he and his wife are no longer in network marketing, and he has since sold his successful business and is essentially semiretired.

    What an unfortunate waste of talent.


    Eat Well. Live Well.

  • duplication is very important, and so is creativity.

    You can be the most creative person on the planet when it comes to network marketing, but if your team can’t duplicate your creativity (and most can’t or simply won’t) than you need to have a system in place for them to follow.

    That would be like me saying “I should start up a different version of mickyd’s”…why do that when I can just copy what’s already working and duplicate the success?

  • “Duplication” has been the mantra used by network marketers since the inception of the industry itself, and there seems to be varying definitions and assumptions made about it.

    Some NM organizations are “hard-liners,” demanding strict adherence to the exact tools and methods dictated by the “leaders” of that particular organization, and anyone who deviates from that dictum will essentially be ostracized from the organization altogether.

    But to me, the word “duplication” means to replicate ideas and methods that have been proven to work effectively for the greatest number of people, with the widest possible diversity of personality types.

    The internet poses a unique situation for most NMers, because tools and methodologies are still being developed and refined due to the constantly-evolving environment online.

    Thus far, the only real common thread that has proven “universally” successful for online network marketers is the use of a lead-generating system, consisting of squeeze pages linked to email autoresponders. This is essentially the same type of system employed by most non-NM internet businesses, and it has been proven effective in the NM niche as well.

    In fact, if you’re a subscriber to this blog, you’re proof that such a system is effective, because it was what was used to bring you here in the first place.

    Fortunately, video lead-generating systems are becoming available, and readers here can get one without charge by visiting the site my name is linked to on this comment.

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