The following by The Associated Press appeared in numerous publications, including The Reading Eagle on November 22, 2009. Marketing Professor Daniel Howard of SMU's Cox School of Business provided expertise for this story.
November 23, 2009
By The Associated Press
It's like "The Apprentice" meets Amway. Donald Trump is synonymous with luxury high-rises, his TV show and his distinctive hairstyle. Now he's putting his name on a vitamin and health products business whose salespeople make money by recruiting more salespeople.
The ubiquitous Trump is partnering with Ideal Health, a 12-year-old Massachusetts-based nutritional products company, and renaming it The Trump Network, though the partners won't specify what their financial relationship is.
The products will be sold via multilevel marketing - a method of selling products through a network of distributors. Marketers receive commissions for the products they sell, along with a cut from products sold by other salespeople they've recruited. . .
That star power might mask how hard such businesses can be, said Daniel Howard, a professor of marketing at Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business.
"People are more easily persuaded when they want to believe in something," said Howard, who has studied multilevel marketing. "Someone comes along with a big name like Donald Trump and pitches riches, it captures peoples' attention and interest. If he made so much money, they think, 'I'm glad I'm on board.'"
"Multilevel marketing is a tough business, and most people don't make much money," he said.
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