Multi-Level Marketing Vs Direct Selling

4 min readFeb 24, 2022

The concepts of Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) and Direct Selling Company (DSC) can be perplexing. Every business can create its own plans to maximize its profits. A strategy that works for one company may not work for another. Direct selling is preferred by some businesses, whereas Multi-Level Marketing is preferred by others. The difference between them and their marketing methods will be the subject of discussion in this blog.

What is Multi-Level Marketing?

Multi-Level Marketing is the marketing strategy used by companies in which the company sells products or services through its distributors spread far and wide. These distributors motivate those around them to join as distributors in the company as well. In this way, the agents or distributors of an MLM company not only earn by making sales but also earn by recruiting members to the MLM company.

What is Direct selling?

Direct selling or direct sales is a retail channel used by Top worldwide brands and smaller, entrepreneurial companies to offer products and services to consumers.

In a direct selling industry, sales are made through a network of distributors or agents who are scattered far and wide. To sell the goods, distributors employ a variety of marketing strategies. Direct selling marketing strategies are used by enterprises that are large and small. This marketing strategy allows direct selling enterprises to reach more markets make better sales.

What is the difference between Multi-Level Marketing and Direct selling?

Multi-Level marketing and direct selling, both have almost similar strategies when it comes to marketing but there is still a difference that differentiates them both. In both multi-level marketing and direct selling agents or distributors are appointed to enhance their sales. But Multi-Level Marketing helps its distributors to earn more by compensating them for recruiting more distributors to the MLM.

To make things clear, distributors in direct selling business get commission on the sales they make while distributors in Multi-Level Marketing get compensated for sales as well as for making more distributors join their business.


In a direct selling business, the distributors do not have to pay anything to join the direct selling business network. All they have to do is market the direct selling product and they will earn a commission. On the other hand, most MLM companies ask the new joiner to either buy some products of the MLM or pay a certain amount. But even when such initial charges can arise in joining an MLM, such cost is very minimal as compared to the cost of starting a business of your own.

Work From Home opportunity in Direct Selling and MLM

Direct Selling and MLM offer a wealth of work-at-home opportunities. Direct selling and multilevel marketing both allow you to work from home. When the pandemic created numerous hurdles and difficulties in getting employment, many people turned to network marketing businesses for help. There is no strong bond and commitment that is strongly bound on employees as in other jobs and businesses. It allows you to identify consumers and recruit more distributors from the comfort of your own home. There would be no worry of job loss or instability.


Which is the more profitable of the two to join? Is it better to sell through a multilevel marketing company or through direct sales?

How profitable MLM or direct selling business strategy can be for a company or its distributor is highly relative to the business competence and their product. In direct selling, there will only be a payout as commission for the business to its distributors. However, an MLM organization must compensate distributors both for sales made and for recruiting new distributors. MLM companies, on the other hand, have an advantage over direct selling organizations in that they can easily attract more agents by incentivizing existing distributors to bring more members into the company through encouraging compensation plans.

Organizational Structure

The organizational structure of MLMs is more complex than Direct Selling businesses. Since more compensation policies encourage distributor recruitment in MLM companies, their networks grow faster and wider. This makes MLM organizations more complex in their structure as compared to direct selling businesses. Having efficient MLM software can contribute a lot in automating its operations and better simplifying and summarizing its structure.


Most people think Direct Selling and Multi-Level Marketing are the same. But it is not the same. They are very much different in respect of their organizational structure as well as compensation plans. While most multi-level marketing stress on and encourage recruiting distributors among its existing agents, direct selling businesses direct their agents only to make sales and nothing more. Both Direct selling business and Multi-Level Marketing have their merits and demerits. Whether a person should implement a direct selling strategy or Multi-Level Marketing strategy to its business depends on their business environment. Marketing a business by properly developing robust business plans and implementing such strategies properly can definitely bring a good market to your business