1. Does buying from a Mary Kay independent beauty consultant (IBC) offer any advantages to the consumer over visiting a store? If so, what are they?

Mary Kay is one of the largest direct sales companies in the beauty industry, selling women’s skincare, makeup, fragrance, and hair care products worldwide. Mary Kay’s IBCs, independent consultants, make all their income from selling these products. Buying from an IBC offers some advantages to the consumer over visiting a store. IBCs bought Mary Kay products at wholesale cost from the company and sold them to their customers at 100% retail price. IBCs are free to set their prices and to offer discounts, premium pricing, giveaways, or bundling promotions. Many purchased and stored inventory to get products to customers quickly. An IBC can offer more personalized service and advice than a retailer can. IBCs build initial customer bases through their networks and influence others to buy and inspire others to be an IBC.

  • Are the advantages of direct sales particularly relevant to the beauty industry? Why or why not?

Mary Kay is a direct sales company that sell beauty products. The first advantage of buying from an IBC includes no middleman. IBCs are independent contractors which means they can work on their schedule and choose how much time they want to devote to the business. This flexibility allows IBCs to be more responsive to customers’ needs and desires, resulting in a better customer experience. Another advantage is savings. Buying form an IBC gives you access to a wide range of products at prices that may be lower than those found at locations or online retailers. Some women prefer buying new products instead of used ones because they feel they are getting more value for their money. The last advantage is variety. Buying from an IBC allows you to explore different brands and styles of makeup than you would get at a store or website.

4.(a)     In attempting to attract the next generation of consumers and IBCs, would you support a mass media advertising campaign? Why or why not?

(b)        What are some ways, other than a mass media campaign, that Mary Kay could use to attract younger customers and IBCs?

  • I would not be in support of a mass media advertising campaign to reach the next generation of consumers and IBCs. As stated in the case that the best marketing and advertisement force that anyone could have would be the IBCs themselves. Building and maintaining a customer base has solely been the responsibility of the IBC. With the inflated cost of mass media advertisement, this is potential funding that could be returned to the IBCs allowing them to promote the products using their website, social media platform or going back to the home or office parties. Word of mouth still is a very viable and useful tool in the market. People trust what others are using and the brands that they see are working for them. We want to use a product that looks amazing on another person and that is great advertisement.
  • Other than mass media, some options would be for each IBC to use their own website or social media platforms to advertise. Realizing that there could be risk in this method, there could be some strict guidelines put into place for each IBC to follow regarding how the brand is advertised on social media. Using the push marketing strategy in this case by putting discounts on products or offering new customer discounts could prove to be successful in putting Mary Kay products into the hands of customers, whether new or old. Post-Covid, I know that many people are not wanting to go back to home parties or office parties, but if you are already in the office with a group of people, using that same place as an opportunity to advertise or have a small office party after hours or at lunch time would be an option. Individuals are still connecting face-to-face when it is convenient for them, and I would think that we should not miss an opportunity to have a small in-home gathering again. In the case of in-home parties, this would be using the pull marketing strategy. Women are social beings and like to talk about make up, skin care and what others are doing and using. Open the at home parties again, using  caution and common sense but allowing women to share experiences and ideas is still the best way to sell the product.

In my own research about Mary Kay, I searched the social media platform Tic Tok for Mary Kay and found that several comments were that “is Mary Kay still around?” or “I didn’t know Mary Kay still was in business.”  So that means to me that Mary Kay should have its own social media platform and advertise the product from the company standpoint allowing the IBCs to share information about products from the company social media platform. Hiring someone to manage the social media platforms is less expensive than a mass media campaign on television or print.

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