Why Mary Kay Is Not “Dual Marketing”

Long ago, someone at Mary Kay Inc. came up with this silly idea of calling Mary Kay a “dual-level marketing” program. Apparently, they didn’t like the fact that the system the company uses is multi-level marketing (MLM) so they made up a new name that they try to differentiate from MLM.

What, you ask, is dual-level marketing?

From Mary Kay’s Legalease:

“There is one wholesale sale (Company to Independent Beauty Consultant) and one retail sale (from Beauty Consultant to customer) of Mary Kay products. Thus everyone, whether Independent Beauty Consultant or Independent Sales Director purchases all products directly from the Company at the same published wholesale prices specifically for resale to retail customers. Each member of the independent sales force has the opportunity to buy at the same discount irrespective of their place within the independent sales force career path.”

So this idea that there are 2 sales of the product (company to consultant and consultant to customer) somehow means it’s this made-up term of “dual level.” Whatever. Dual. Multi. It’s all the same thing to me. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.

What I find really interesting is that the company always mentions that everyone buys from the company at the same wholesale price. There are no different discounts for people at different levels of the pyramid. THAT’S NOT TRUE!

Horrors, you say? Yes, horrors! Sales directors DO buy at a different discount from everyone else. Each and every sales director receives a commission of 9% to 13% on HER OWN PURCHASES of product from Mary Kay. That means she, in effect, buys at a greater discount than consultants.

I’m sure the Kaybots have a logical excuse for this, but I say if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck!

Oh, and one more thing. If we’re looking at the majority of the sales in the company to determine whether it’s “dual-level”, then we really ought to call Mary Kay SINGLE LEVEL. We all know that most products are sold from the company to the consultant and then they never sell it to a customer. Single sale. Single level.


  1. Lazy Gardens

    True “dual marketing” is when two independent companies join in a marketing campaign for their different but complementary products, each paying

    Hot dogs and soft drinks
    Pickups and camping gear
    Baby shampoo and towels
    Cat food and cat litter

    What Mary Kay calls “dual marketing” is just another MLM, with the purchases of the bottom tier used for paying commissions to all the upline.

    And the cleverly hidden kickback to the directors – they pay the same price but get a kickback of part of what they paid as a commission – lets them claim “you all pay the same amount”.

  2. Char

    MLM checklist:

    1. Can you recruit everyone and anyone endlessly especially your own customers?
    2. Are you encouraged to recruit?
    3. Are there no territories?
    4. Can anyone join?
    5. Are you expected to buy and use product?
    6. Encouraged to go to meetings?
    7. Is recruiting the focus at those meetings?
    8. Do you have to pay corporate for the “privilege” to supposedly sell?
    9. Are products easily available at or close to consultant price on eBay?

    10. Do people run away fast, not show up, roll their eyes, avoid you, most of your friends are only up and downline; and do you think you are the only one “who gets it” even though anyone can do it?

    Oh YES to all. Do be honest with yourself at least.

  3. Denvergirl

    I’ve only been in Mary kay the past couple of years. I’ve never heard the company say they are dual marketing. In fact we are not allowed to say we are network marketing or any thing like that. The company describes itself as direct sales. And we are to say direct sales because of our relationship with the DSA.

    Now I have heard other mkers say dual marketing — and I think its stupid.

    1. TRACY

      Yes, you are allowed to say network marketing. MK recommends against it, but you’re allowed to say it.

      MK Inc. no longer uses the dual marketing line, but they used to. And the sales force uses it regularly.

    2. Char

      Multi-level marketing, network marketing, internet marketing, dual marketing, direct sales = MLM (See checklist)

      They keep changing the name because MLM is so bad for you. Only the founders and top scammers/liars acquire significant money. Pity so many are under the delusion to the contrary.

      The DSA is made up of MLMers protecting their scamming way of life. They advocated for the pyramid scheme Herbalife, and we know how that turned out.

    3. MLM Radar


      You believe you’re not allowed to say the words “network marketing.” But everything you’re told to do is PRECISELY network marketing. Calling MK tactics something else doesn’t change their nature.

      MK is very good at throwing up a smoke screen and dancing behind it to avoid responsibility. Just think about how they re-define the word “sales.” They say you’re rewarded for sales, but MK doesn’t track sales. You’re really rewarded for buying inventory. Want another? “Tax savings” really means that you’re taking big losses. Do the math, or have your tax preparer show you.

      There’s a reason why your MK dorector doesn’t want you to say “network marketing.” It’s because most of the people in the country already know the truth: “network marketing” means high pressure con game. She’s hoping that if you don’t say the secret words you’ll be able to recruit a few unsuspecting women who haven’t discovered the internet.

      1. Char

        When you think about it,

        “Direct selling” realistically only applies to corporate. “Direct buyer” is actually more appropriate for consultants.

        Corporate doesn’t give a rat’s ass if you are able hawk product at double retail to others – as there is no added benefit to them. In fact, they’d much prefer you find them another direct buyer. (Think recruitment)

        The business opportunity double talk just keeps “direct buyers” loyal as they are the biggest spenders. These people are less discerning about product and price when they “hear” supposed dollar signs in their future.

  4. Denvergirl

    Perhaps I wasn’t clear.

    I think it’s stupid that mkers call it dual marketing.

    Its network marketing imo.

    But no director I’ve has ever cared if someone calls it NM — its corporate who is the one that cares.

    I am quite clear on what is what. Thanks.

Comments are closed.