Pink Pyramid Alert: Mary Kay Cosmetics and its deck of ‘dual marketing’ cards

pink pyramid alert1

Despite the loose lips of one National Sales Director, because the term is so often associated with pyramid schemes, Mary Kay Cosmetics and much of its sales force hate being called a “multi-level-marketing company. Instead, the company prefers the term “dual marketing.”

But, what exactly is “dual marketing?”

Other than Mary Kay Cosmetics’ own definition, there seems to be no legitimate definition for the term “dual marketing.” In fact, it appears the term was made up by Mary Kay Cosmetics itself.


For example, according to a site called MLM Product Launch, the term “dual marketing” is specific to Mary Kay Cosmetics:

Dual marketing: used by Mary Kay Cosmetics to refer to the fact that the corporation itself does not recruiting [sic] for their opportunity.

The website Pink Truth gives, perhaps, the best explanation of dual marketing in the post 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. There are no levels of wholesales between the Company and the consumer through which products pass at varying discounts before sales. Thus everyone, …. purchases all cosmetic products directly from the Company at the same published wholesale prices for resale to consumers of their choice. Everyone has the opportunity to buy at the same discount irrespective of their level within the independent sales force career path.”

Pink Truth goes on to clarify that there are, in fact, different discounts at different levels within the Mary Kay pyramid.

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.

For those family members or spouses who have felt the term “dual marketing company” was something told to you to mask the reality of a “multi-level-marketing company,” you’re right. It is.


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