Radical evolution. This is what I would see if I were to pull out my crystal ball and sum up what is going to happen to network marketing over the next few years.

As social media platforms connect us with more friends, in more places, more often, they will become the primary means of exposure. Those wanting to leverage these efficiencies will learn to become comfortable living in glass houses, and companies will be forced to trade in their desire for control for a sincere intention to build trust with all those interacting with their brand. Transparency and authenticity will trump grandiose promises of riches and new shiny objects.

Today we process more information on a daily basis than ever before. To rise above the noise, marketing messages must be short, sexy, and above all, simple. Once these are defined, consistency in communicating them over time will be key.

The most successful companies will be those that cast a wider net and are focused on attracting the end consumer. Companies will realize that customers (not just distributors) are good for business, and that the majority of revenue they generate will come from satisfied customers enjoying the benefits of their products and services, independent of financial incentive.

Product quality across all channels will be forced to meet or exceed expectations, as the customer has many other options just one Google search away. As quality becomes simply the price of admission, other elements, such as brand, culture, and service, will become more important than ever.

Customers and distributors will align with companies they feel good about being a part of. Companies that attract larger numbers will have more of a mainstream brand and culture than network marketing companies of the past. The website, marketing materials, events, and everything else they do, down to the clothes on their back, will more closely resemble normal social activity than what network marketing has been used to.

In short, everything will look, feel, and be a lot more normal, a lot more social. The actual process of promoting or selling a product will become much more organic as the world not only accepts but learns to rely on word of mouth and social recommendation as a part of day-to-day life.

The pace is fast and getting faster. Therefore, innovation is critical. Companies must be focused on building their business based not on where we came from but on where they believe we are going.

As all this happens, lines will continue to blur between the more traditional network marketing companies, social platforms, and other direct-to-consumer brands. At the end of the day, everyone is chasing the same consumer dollar, and those companies that best understand and adapt to today’s evolving trends will be tomorrow’s leaders.

The bad news is, the rules are changing daily. The good news is, that means, at this point, it’s anyone’s game.

BLAKE MALLEN is founder and chief marketing officer
of one of North America’s fastest growing
weight loss and fitness companies.
Regularly competing in national Jiu Jitsu tournaments
and Olympic distance triathlons,
he lives what he sells:
a next-generation business style
where health, fitness, and entrepreneurship unite.