Al Ries & Jack Trout. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing Al Ries and Jack Trout

  1. The Law of Leadership
    1. It is better to be first than it is to be better. Meaning, be first to push a product, service, brand, or category to your prospects. The reason being is that the first person, place or thing is remembered. People remember whatever you represent first, that image and message will resonate. First impressions are the lasting ones. So pick a category that you want to be first in and push that.
    2. If you are second in the mind of the prospect, it is ok because other laws can help strengthen your positioning in the prospects mind. See other laws.
  2. The Law of the Category
    1. If you can’t be first in a category, set up another category where you can be first in. if you can’t find another category to be first in, create a new category to be first in. when deciding which category to enter ask yourself who the competitor is? And weather your new product is better. In other words, identify the category (niche) you want in on. When you are first in a category, promote that.
  3. The Law of the Mind
    1. It is better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace. The law of the mind follows from the law of perception. Marketing is a battle of perception, not product. The mind takes precedence over the marketplace. The problem is getting the idea or concept in front of the prospect. The conventional solution to the problem is money. Unfortunately money cannot change the mind of the prospect once it is made up. The solution is “blasting your way into the mind” of the prospect. Insert guerilla marketing tactics here. Also, pick a name that will be easiest remembered in the mind of the prospect.
  4. The Law of Perception
    1. Marketing is not a battle of products, it is a battle of perceptions. Many people think the product is the answer. Nope. Many people think that market research, stats, data, trends are the surest predictor of what will stick in the mind of the prospect. Nope. This is an illusion. There is no objective reality. There are no facts. There are no best products. All that exists in marketing are perceptions of the prospects or customers. All truth is relative. Relative to your mind or the mind of another human being. When you say I am right and the other person is wrong, all you are saying is that you are a better perceiver than the other person. YOU ARE FIGHTING A BELIEF ROOTED IN THE MIND OF THE PROSPECT OR CUSTOMER.
    2. Most of peoples’ beliefs are centered on the “every body knows” principle where experts in fields tell their audience what to believe which in turn gives credibility to the subject matter. This is why word of mouth advertising works. Do you believe that? Probably not. Is it true? Does it matter? Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
  5. The Law of Focus
    1. The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospect’s mind. If you can find a way to own a word in the mind of the prospect, then a company be incredibly successful. This is the law of “focus”. You burn your way into the mind of the prospect by narrowing the focus to a single word or concept. It is the ultimate marketing sacrifice. A company must sacrifice a product line for a focused concept or single word that will be etched into the mind of the prospect. Test: you can test the validity of a leadership claim by a word association test. If the given words are computer, chocolate, cola, the four most associated words are IBM, Hershey’s, and Coke. One further step can be taken to solidify your position in the mind of the prospect. Isolate the most important attribute to your product, concept or service, and own that word by emphasizing it in your advertising. For example, Heinz isolated ketchup and its most important attribute, slow. “Slowest ketchup in the West” is how the company preempted the thickness attribute. Owning the word slow helped Heinz maintain a 50 percent market share.
    2. If you are not a leader, then your word has to have a narrow focus. More important though, is that your word has to be available in your category. No one else can have a lock on it.
    3. The most effective words are simple and benefit oriented. Tip: you cant narrow your focus by picking on words that are only self benefitting. Meaning, you cant focus on “quality” to upsell yourself. Why? Because everyone advertises their products and services as being the best “quality”. You have to choose something like “pro-__”.
    4. Once your develop your word or focus, be prepared to fend off lawyers. How? Get everyone to start using it. Once you have your word, you have to go out of your way to protect it in the marketplace. Insert: trademarking word-marks and word-designs.
    5. Tip: go niche or go broke (Tim Ferriss).
  6. The Law of Exclusivity
    1. Two companies cannot own the same word in the prospect’s mind. Once a competitor owns a word in the mind of the prospect it is futile to go after it.
    2. Many companies continue to violate the law of exclusivity. You cant change people’s minds once they are made up. Caution: what leads companies down this booby trapped lane is research. What researchers wont tell you is that the competitor already owns the idea. So proceed with caution when research groups advise you to go after the competitors word because research shows that it is successful; therefore, you should go after what customers already want. Wrong.
    3. Many people have paid the price for violating the law of exclusivity.
  7. The Law of the Ladder
    1. The strategy to use depends on which rung you are in the ladder. Although no. one in the prospects mind ought to be your primary objective. All is not lost if you are no. two or three. There are strategies to use for no. 2 and no. 3 companies.
    2. All products are not created equal. There are hierarchies in the mind that prospect’s use in making decisions.
    3. For each category, there is a product ladder in the mind. On each rung is a brand name. your marketing strategy should depend on how soon you got into the mind and consequently which rung of the ladder you occupy. The higher the better, of course.
    4. If you are number two on the rung, it could help to acknowledge your position on the ladder to your prospects because you can say, for example, “Avis is only no. 2 in rent-a-cars. So why go with us? We try harder.” Here, Avis was successful because it related itself to the position of Hertz in the mind of the public, which knew at the time that Hertz was number one in this category.
    5. The mind is selective. Prospects use their ladders in deciding which information to accept and which information to reject. In general, a mind only accepts new data that is consistent with its product ladder in that category. Everything else is ignored.
    6. To identify where your product fits on the prospect’s conceptual ladder ask yourself how many rungs are in your ladder (category)? And is your product a high-interest or low-interest product? Products you use everyday tend to be high-interest. Think beer, toothpaste, and cereal. Products that purchased infrequently tend to have fewer rungs on the ladder. Think products like furniture, luggage, and lawn mowers.
    7. Products that involve a great deal of personal pride (automobiles, watches, cameras) tend to be high interest products with many rungs on their ladders even though they are purchased infrequently.
    8. Products that are purchased infrequently and have an unpleasant experience usually have very few rungs on their ladders. Think automobile tires, batteries, and life insurance.
    9. The ultimate product that involves the least amount of pleasure and is purchased once in a lifetime has no rungs on its ladder. Ever hear of Batesville caskets? Probably not, although the brand has about 50 percent of the market share.
    10. There’s a relationship between the market share and your position on the ladder in the prospect’s mind. You tend to have twice the market share of the brand below you and half the market share of the brand above you.
  8. The Law of Duality
    1. In the long run, every market becomes a two horse race. Early on a category is a ladder of many rungs. Gradually, the ladder becomes a two rung affair.
    2. When you take the long view of marketing, you find the battle usually ends up being a power struggle between two power house players, usually the old reliable brand and the upstart.
    3. Are these results preordained? Of course not. The other laws of marketing can affect the results. Moreover, your marketing programs can strongly influence your sales, provided they are in tune with the laws of marketing. Think about how you can carve out a profitable niche (law of focus applies here).
    4. Knowing that marketing is a two horse race in the end effects marketing strategy in the short run.
    5. The deciding factors come down to how skillful the contenders are!
    6. Successful marketers target the top two rungs. Customers, however, become educated and as a result the third and fourth positions on the rungs get eliminated. They want the leading brand based on the naïve assumption that the leading brand must be better.
    7. We repeat: customers believer that marketing is a battle of products. It is the kind of thinking that keeps the two brands on top. “they must be the best. They are the leaders.”
  9. The Law of the Opposite
  10. The Law of Division
  11. The Law of Perspective
  12. The Law of Line Extension
  13. The Law of Sacrifice
  14. The Law of Attributes
  15. The Law of Candor
  16. The Law of Singularity
  17. The Law of Unpredictability
  18. The Law of Success
  19. The Law of Failure
  20. The Law of Hype
  21. The Law of Acceleration
  22. The Law of Resources
  23. Warning