The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

Marketing practice is subject to the laws of marketing

Many of these laws fly in the face of corporate culture. Benchmarking and beating the competition on price, service and features is a traditional focus and it's deeply ingrained. But violating the Immutable Laws of Marketing and Branding will run the risk of failure (further illustrated in War in the Boardroom - right side menu »» ).

  • The law of leadership - it's better to be first than it is to be better. Marketing is the battle of perception, not products.
  • The law of the category - Promote the category. If you can't be first in a category just create your own new category. (Examples: multimedia computer, magazine for mature women, clothes for tall people, etc).
  • The law of the mind - Being first in the mind is most important when possible. Apple got off the ground with very little money. They had a simple, easy to remember name and a focused, creative ad plan and publicity.
  • The law of perception - It's not a battle of products. Do not focus on "the facts", "the truth" and " the features". This is all good, but marketers need to sell the product around what people want and perceive. Your name, slogan, image, message, etc. all need to factor into this. Many have focused on quality, so focus on quality gets lost in perception.
  • The law of focus - Own a word in the mind of your prospect. Simpler words or concepts are the best. If you're not first or a current leader, you need to reduce the scope of your operations and focus. Protect your word and continue to brand and focus on the law of the mind. Focus on a single, powerful word if possible.
  • The law of exclusivity - It's hard for two competing companies to own the same word in the mind of the consumer. Safe, fast, affordable, etc.
  • The law of the ladder - Trying to get into the customer's mind first is best but there are strategies to use to play off your competitors if you're behind. " They're big and we're small and better", " They're more successful in the market but we try harder , Sometimes it's better to be 3rd on a big ladder than first on a small ladder.
  • The law of duality - Gradually over time the battle becomes a two rung affair.
  • The law of the opposite - Wherever the leader is strong, there is an opportunity. Turn the strength into the weakness. Don't try to be better, be different. There are people that want to buy from the leader and there are people that absolutely don't want to buy from the leader. You are the alternative. A second rung company must go for these people. (Example: " Broiled not fried " etc).
  • The law of division - The market is an ever dividing sea of categories. The automobile industry is a perfect example. Find or create a new category and stick with it. Do not try to get into other categories after having success - history has shown this is a mistake.
  • The law of perspective - Most of time what works in the short term usually doesn't work in the long term. Line extension is a major concern. Instant results might give you trouble years down the road. Focus on your core goals.
  • The law of line extension - Do not spread yourself too thin and try to be everything for everybody. Development, marketing budget, support, "staff perception" are all affected. Be strong somewhere instead of weak everywhere. Less is more. Narrow your focus.
  • The law of sacrifice - Rule 1 - Minimize product line (don't be a department store without focus). Rule 2 - Limit your target market. Rule 3 - Be consistent. Have a brilliant narrow position and stick with it. DO NOT become all things to all people.
  • The law of attributes - Do not emulate the leader. Play off against the leader and offer something similar but opposite to differentiate. It doesn't even have to be different, just a needed niche.
  • The law of candor - Consider being honest and admit a negative but twist it into a positive. "With a name like Smucker's it has to be good". Or, "Marmite - You either love it or hate it". "We're smaller and younger but more focused on you". "Listerine tastes bad but something so strong has to kill a lot of germs".
  • The law of singularity - Focus on several good marketing avenues. Don't dabble a little in everything. Trying harder does not get you to success. Make a single bold stroke that is least expected by the competition. Find out where the competitor is vulnerable.
  • The law of unpredictability - Do not assume the future. Get a handle on trends not fads. If 'something can go bad' it will always go bad so prepare for it. Try to build an enormous amount of flexibility into your organization so when things change in your industry you're ready to deal with it - and deal with it quickly. Always keep innovating.
  • The law of success - Lose your ego and be more objective. DO NOT substitute your own judgment for what the market truly wants. Do not blind yourself by success, focus. Always think like a prospect thinks and try to base that on trends and real data. Don't try to read your prospect's mind. Do not oppose your view of the world on the customer. Never lose touch with the front lines.
  • The law of failure - Do not try to fix things. Recognize a failure early and change fast. The " ready, fire, aim " approach. Try new ideas but nobody succeeds every time. Reward new ideas and the resulting success. Do not be afraid to take risks.
  • The law of hype - When your company needs " hype " it usually means you're in trouble or your plan is not strong or failing. New products that are going to " revolutionise the industry " are popular candidates for hype. Real revolutions don't come down the main street with a marching band. They sneak up on your in the middle of the night.
  • The law of acceleration - Do not focus on fads. Focus on trends.
  • The law of resources - Even the best idea in the world will not go far without proper funding. Ideas without money are worthless.

Further References

We develop perceptive and practical marketing objectives for growing companies, including technology and IT. Every company has its own individual character, not unlike the characteristics of an individual person. We are specialists in establishing this uniqueness - without silly slogans - which will assist in isolating a true "differentness" for you among competitors.

If you are interested in learning about basic marketing principles we would like to recommend The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout. Above is just a summary of some of the points that the authors cover in the book. We thought it might be a good resource to scan over if you need a refresher from time to time. Perhaps you will gain a little nugget of information that will help you expand your marketing ideas and techniques, including your online marketing.

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