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 an older version of 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.

It’s all smoke and mirrors. I don’t know if any of Mary Kay’s official documents still provide this definition of dual level. But consultants and directors still use the  phrase and parrot the words above. When they’re trying really, really hard to get you to believe MK is not multi-level marketing, and using all sorts of silly ideas to do so… ask yourself why.


  1. AnonyMouse

    “Dual marketing” is when a brand markets its products through two different channels. Say, a brand has a retail presence with its products and also sells virtually identical products wholesale to other companies who can market the products under their own name. So by definition Mary Kay is not “dual marketing”. Amazing what happens when you start Googling things instead of just believing the pretty words.

  2. SavingThePinkBees

    You know, this is one thing that’s always puzzled me…

    Consultants get 30-40% in the U.K. – yes I know – everyone else gets 50%, the U.K. gets scammed even more and the excuse they give is something to do with VAT /Sales Tax which in th U.K. is no different from other European countries, so why do they get 40-50%? But let’s just go with what I know about the U.K. market… consultants get 30-40% discount/commission/whatever you call it.

    Then when you have a team of a handful of consultants you get 4% commission, you’ve bought into the 40% discount by placing the minimum required to load your wagon, so you now get 40% plus 4% on team sales, so in effect commission goes up to 44% right?
    Next level – oh we’re now showing multiple levels oh yeah MLM – and the team commission goes up to 8%, so total commission is now 48%… the next level team commission is 12% so now we have 52% commission… then as director there’s Unit Volume commission 5-13% – so total 57-65% commission?

    Then at Senior Sales Director level (we’re now level 6 and up to level 9) there’s a Senior Offspring Commission of 2-6% – makes 59-71% commission?

    And at NSD level (there’s only 2 NSDs in the U.K.) it gets more complicated with percentages on different offspring levels plus actual bonuses… the most an NSD can get is 78% sales commission plus £2668 / $3738 1st line offspring SD bonus plus monthly bonuses of £156 / $218 per month in first year, £93 / $130 per month in 2nd & 3rd year, £70 / $98 per month in 4th & 5th year. So the longer you’re holding on to NSD status you get paid less in bonuses- which is weird, but guess they assume your percentage commission goes up as an NSD brainwashes more and more people into their offspring lines?

    Either way it LOOKS on paper as if there are no levels of increased commission, because at all levels it is shown as 30-40% and 4, 8 or 12% and 5-13% or 5-8% it makes it look like everyone gets the same commission and the additional commission is hidden as ‘you get paid to train your unit’ and ‘you get paid by the company for training and managing your offspring directors and their units’.

    It’s very clever as there’s no spreadsheets or graphics with lots of levels and boxes as you see in other MLM compensation plans. Manipulation by kindness and pretty pictures. It’s hidden, it’s not obvious, is such a con!

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