A Requiem For Hoyos’ Law | Greg Hoyos

Gone are the days when local consumers actually had disposable income to buy extras.



BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday August 24, 2017 – Back in 1981, I published a book – my MBA Thesis – on Caribbean Marketing, and in a footnote I jokingly created Hoyos’ Law (because I claimed it was discovered in my house and to my cost). It was a sly little joke with a kernel of truth.

It went as follows: “The change in the rate of consumption of a product at a given time is a function of the change in the quantity of the product available for consumption at that time, which in turn is a function of the change in price of the product at the time of last purchase.”

So, the more product in the house at any one time, the more is consumed, and price reductions which lead to heavier purchasing also lead inevitably to greater consumption. A slight marketing levity.

Ah, those were the days when local consumers actually had disposable income to buy extras. I recall being astounded in Jamaica to discover that many of the poorest consumers had three cell phones – one for each network.

These days, as we all struggle to get by, my Marketing Law is moribund, if not completely dead. Our wild consumption days (vacations in Vegas, lavish kids’ birthday parties etc.) are decisively over. And look for appliance repair shops to make a comeback, if we can’t simply “mash up and buy back” anymore.

For me, the lesson is: marketing is cyclical, like all commerce. Nothing lasts forever – no market position is secure.

We have to go out and earn our wage every day. And wait for Hoyos’ Law to take effect again in the future.

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Greg Hoyos is founder and chairman at GHA DDB. He started his first regional ad agency in 1970; has won five CLIOs (including the 1979 Worldwide Copywriting statue) and numerous Caribbean ADDYs; and is the author of ‘Marketing and Demand’ and ‘A History of Marketing in 32 Objects’. He can be reached at (246) 234-4110 or greg@greghoyos.com