The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing [book], via @davidmerzel’s BLOG


Here-below, you will find a summary of ideas from the book The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout.

This is just a short summary. Nothing beats reading the real thing.

Click here for a mind map summary of the ideas in the book.

Some videos explaining these 22 laws

The book is short, buy and read it.

Here-below, you will also find a very good.

Law 1 (law of leadership)

Being first in the market is better than having a better product than a competition. Examples: Heineken was the first imported beer in USA and still is No. 1 imported beer.

It’s better to say that being first gives one extremely big advantage over competition but doesn’t guarantee the success. E.g : the  first spreadsheet isn’t the dominant spreadsheet.

Law 2 (law of category)

Given that it’s very hard to gain leadership in a category where competition already exists, it’s better to create a product in new category than trying to attack existing categories. Category doesn’t have to be radically different, e.g. if there’s dominant player in imported beer, one can become the first to import light beer.

Law 3 (law of mind)

It’s not important to be the first in the market but the first in the mind of consumers.

Law 4 (law of perception)

Marketing is not about products (their features or quality) but about perceptions (how people perceive products). Reality doesn’t exists, what we call “reality” is just a perception of reality that we create in our minds. Honda is a leading Japanese car manufacturer in US but only third in Japan (after Toyota and Nissan). If the quality of the car was the most important thing it should have the same position in all markets. In Japan, however, people perceive Honda as a manufacturer of motorcycles.

Law 5 (law of focus)

“The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospect’s mind”. Owning in this context means that if people hear or see this word they usually connect it with a company that “owns” this word. IBM owns “computer”. FedEx owns “overnight”. You can’t take somebody else’s word

Law 6 (law of exclusivity)

It’s fruitless to try to take over a word that is already owned by a competitor. Burger King tried to own word “fast” which was already owned by McDonald; and failed miserably. FedEx tried to take over “worldwide” from DHL.

Law 7 (law of the ladder)

Marketing strategy depends on your position in the market. If you’re No. 2 you use different strategy than when you’re No. 1 or 3. Avis was No. 2 in car rental and when they advertised as “finest in rent-a-cars” the had losses because their marketing wasn’t credible (you can’t be “finest” being No. 2). That had profit when they switched to “Avis is only No. 2 in rent-a-cars. So why go with us? We try harder”. Then they had another disastrous campaign when they started claiming “Avis is going to be No. 1”.

Law 8 (law of duality)

In the long run, every market becomes a two-horse race. McDonald & Burger King. Coca-Cola & Pepsi. Nike & Reebok. Crest & Colgate.

Law 9 (law of opposite)

If you’re shooting for second place, your strategy is determined by the leader. Leverage the leader’s strength into a weakness. Don’t try to be better than the leader, try to be different. E.g. Pepsi marketed itself as a “choice for the new generation” when faced with Coca-cola’s “old and established” brand.

Sounds correct although doesn’t apply to those who do have ambitions to overtake the leader in exactly the same category (which happens e.g. Excel took over Lotus 1-2-3 by being a better spreadsheet, not a different spreadsheet).

Law 10 (law of division)

Over time a category will divide and become two or more categories. E.g. computers started as a single category but broke up into mainframes, workstations, personal computers, laptops etc. Cars started as a single category but divided into luxury cars, sport cars, RVs, minivans etc. Companies often don’t understand that and instead think that categories are combining, believe in synergy. Leader can maintain dominance by addressing emerging categories with new brand names instead of using brand name successful in one category in a new category. E.g. when Honda wanted to go up-market it created a new brand, Acura.

Law 11 (law of perspective)

Marketing effects take place over an extended period of time. It’s a mistake to sacrifice long-term planning with actions to improve short-term balance sheet. E.g. sales increase short-term profits but in long-term educates people not to buy for regular price, therefore decreasing long-term profits.

Law 12 (law of extension)

There’s an irresistible pressure to extend the equity of the brand and it’s a mistake. Instead one should create new brands to address new markets/products.

Law 13 (law of sacrifice)

You have to give up something in order to get something. There are three things to sacrifice:

product line

target market

constant change

Law 14 (law of attributes)

For every attribute, there is an opposite, effective attribute. You can own the same word as the competition. You have to find another word to own, another attribute.

Law 15 (law of candor)

When you admit a negative, the prospect will give you a positive. Candor is disarming. It’s ok to admit, as Avis did, that “Avis is only No. 2 in rent-a-cars”.

Law 16 (law of singularity)

In each situation, only one move will produce substantial results. People tend to think that success is the result of a lot of small efforts well executed, that working harder is a way to success. In marketing only thing that works is a single, bold stroke.

Law 17 (law of predictability)

Unless you rite your competitors’ plans, you can’t predict the future. You don’t know the future, you don’t know what your competition will do so you have to build your company and marketing strategies to be flexible, to be able to quickly respond to changing situation.

Law 18 (law of success)

Success often leads to arrogance, and arrogance to failure. Don’t be arrogant, drop the ego, be objective.

Law 19 (law of failure)

Failure is to be expected and accepted. Drop things that don’t work instead of trying to fix them. Don’t punish for failures (if you do people will stop taking risks).

Law 20 (law of hype)

The situation is often the opposite of the way it appears in the press. The amount of hype isn’t proportional to success, often failed products are heavily hyped.

Law 21 (law of acceleration)

Successful programs are not built on fads but on trends.

Law 22 (law of resources)

Without adequate funding an idea won’t get off the ground. You need a lot of money to market your ideas.

Source : http://blog.kowalczyk.info/articles/22-marketing-laws.html

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