The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

10/10 - The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout

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The Law of Leadership

  • It’s better to be first than it is to be better (2)
  • Many people believe that the basic issue in marketing is convincing prospects that you have a better product or service. Not true… (3)
  • The basic issue in marketing is creating a category you can be first in… It’s much easier to get into the mind first than to try to convince someone you have a better product than the one that did get there first (3)
  • Marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products (8)


The Law of Category

  • If you can’t be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in (10)
  • This is counter to classic marketing thinking, which is brand oriented: How do I get people to prefer my brand? Forget the brand. Think categories. (13)
  • When you’re the first in a new category, promote the category. In essence, you have no competition (13)


The Law of the Mind

  • It’s better to be first in the mind, than first in the marketplace (14)
  • The law of the mind follows from the law of perception. If marketing is a battle of perception, not product, then the mind takes precedence over the marketplace. (15)
  • Thousands of would-be entrepreneurs are tripped up every year by this law. Someone has an idea or concept he or she believes will revolutionize an industry, as well it may. The problem is getting the idea or concept into the prospects’ mind (15)
  • You can’t change a mind once a mind is made up. (16)


The Law of Perception

  • Marketing is not a battle of products, it’s a battle of perceptions (18)
  • There is no objective reality. There are no facts. There are no best products. All that exists in the world of marketing are perceptions in the minds of the customer or prospect. The perception is the reality. Everything else is an illusion.(19)


The Law of Focus

  • The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospect’s mind (26)
  • The essence of marketing is narrowing the focus. You become stronger when you reduce the scope of your operations. You can’t stand for something if you chase after everything. (31)
  • You can’t narrow the focus with quality or any other idea that doesn’t have proponents for the opposite point of view. You can’t position yourself as an honest politician, because nobody is willing to take the opposite position. (32)


The Law of Exclusivity

  • Two companies cannot own the same word in the prospect’s mind (34)


The Law of the Ladder

  • The strategy to use depends on which rung you occupy on the ladder (38)


The Law of Duality

  • In the long run, every market becomes a two-horse race (44)


The Law of the Opposite

  • If you’re shooting for second place, your strategy is determined by the leader (50)
  • Too many potential No. 2 brands try to emulate the leader. This usually is an error. You must present yourself as the alternative. (52)


The Law of Division

  • Over time, a category will divide and become two or more categories (56)
  • Instead of understanding this concept of division, many corporate leaders hold the naive belief that categories are combining. Synergy and its kissing cousin corporate alliance are the buzzwords in the boardrooms of America. (58)
  • Categories are dividing, not combining. (59)


The Law of Perspective

  • Marketing effects take place over an extended period of time (62)


The Law of Line Extension

  • There’s an irresistible pressure to extend the equity of the brand (68)
  • One day a company is tightly focused on a single product that is highly profitable. The next day the same company is spread thin over many products and is losing money. (69)
  • Invariably, the leader in any category is the brand that is not line extended (72)
  • Less is more. If you want to be successful today, you have to narrow the focus in order to build a position in the prospect’s mind. (74)


The Law of Sacrifice

  • You have to give up something in order to get something. (76)
  • There are three things to sacrifice: product line, target market, and constant change (77)
  • Marketing is a game of mental warfare. It’s a battle of perceptions, not products or services. (78)


The Law of Attributes

  • For every attribute, there is an opposite, effective attribute. (84)
  • Since Crest owned cavities, other toothpastes avoided cavities and jumped on other attributes like taste, whitening, breath protection (85)
  • Marketing is a battle of ideas. So if you are to succeed, you must have an idea or attribute of your own to focus your efforts around. (85)


The Law of Candor

  • When you admit a negative, the prospect will give you a positive (88)
  • When a company starts a message by admitting a problem, people tend to, almost instinctively, open their minds (90)
  • Now with that mind open, you’re in a position to drive in the positive, which is your selling idea (90)
  • The law of candor must be used carefully and with great skill. First, your “negative” must be widely perceived as a negative. It has to trigger an instant agreement with your prospect’s mind. If the negative doesn’t register quickly, your prospect will be confused and will wonder, “What’s this all about?” Next, you have to shift quickly to the positive. The purpose of candor is to set up a benefit that will convince your prospect. (91)


The Law of Singularity

  • In each situation, only one move will produce substantial results (92)
  • Most often there is only one place where a competitor is vulnerable. And that place should be the focus of the entire invading force (94)


The Law of Unpredictability

  • Unless you write your competitors’ plans, you can’t predict the future. (98)
  • While you can’t predict the future, you can get a handle on trends, which is a good way to take advantage of change (101)
  • The danger in working with trends is extrapolation (101)
  • A company must be flexible enough to attack itself with a new idea (103)


The Law of Success

  • Success often leads to arrogance, and arrogance to failure (104)
  • Ego is the enemy of effective marketing (105)
  • Objectivity is what’s needed (105)
  • When people become successful, they tend to become less objective. They often substitute their own judgement for what the market wants. (105)
  • Brilliant marketers have the ability to think like a prospect thinks. They put themselves in the shoes of their customers. They don’t impose their own view of the world on the situation (106)


The Law of Failure

  • Failure is to be expected and accepted (110)
  • Too many companies try to fix things rather than drop things (111)


The Law of Hype

  • The situation is often the opposite of the way it appears in the press (114)


The Law of Acceleration

  • Successful programs are not built on fads, they’re built on trends. (120)


The Law of Resources

  • Without adequate funding an idea won’t get off the ground (124)
  • Even the best idea in the world won’t go very far without the money to get it off the ground (125)
  • Marketing is a game fought in the mind of the prospect. You need money to get into a mind. And you need money to stay in the mind once you get there. (125)
  • You can’t save your way to success [in marketing] (129)