22 immutable Laws for successful marketing

by Satyam Dash

Do you want to be successful in marketing but do not know how? Are you worried about adjusting with the ever changing trends in the world of marketing? Then, you have come to the right place as we provide you with 22 immutable laws of marketing from the book ‘The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing’ by Al Ries and Jack Trout.

Law 1: Leadership


Neil Armstrong- The first person to land on the moon.

Its better to be first than it is to be better. Who was the second person to land on the moon? We know Neil Armstrong was the first but no one cares about the second. The leading brand in a category is generally the first in someone’s mind. Apple was the first to launch smartphones and now dominates that category. Likewise coca-cola was the first in the cola category and dominates cola sales.

Law 2: Category


Dell- The first company to sell computers through phones.

If you can’t be first in a category set up a new category in which you can be first. IBM was the first in computers but Dell made its way into the computer market by being the first to sell computers by phone. They became a nine hundred million dollar company.

law 3: The Mind

The single most wasteful thing in marketing is to try to change your mind. That’s why it’s better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace. Xerox was the first in copiers. They tried to get into computers but 25 years and two billion dollars later Xerox is no where in computers.

Law 4: Perception

Marketing is not a battle of products. Its a battle of perception. People don’t care about your product. Its what your product does for them that people care about. People don’t want your weight loss supplement. Instead they want to feel great about having a slim body.

Law 5: Focus

Own a word in the prospects mind. Coke owns cola, Mercedes owns engineering and Dominos owns home delivery. This is the most important law.https://www.google.co.in/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiK65jx_5_VAhXLEbwKHemcCcwQjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.marketingshift.com%2Fcompanies%2Fretail%2Ffood%2Fcoca-cola-company.cfm&psig=AFQjCNHx-bdJlmvdFhYzPkcq4v-YAVLesw&ust=1500919711624818

Law 6: Exclusivity

Two companies cannot earn the same word in a prospects mind.

Law 7: The ladder

The strategy to use depends on which rung you occupy on the ladder. Avis was second in the car rental category. They acknowledged their position on the ladder and came up with the slogan ‘Why go with us? We try harder.’ They started making lots of money as a result. Turn your position into an advantage.https://www.google.co.in/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwid3vOjgKDVAhVKhrwKHVYzCXcQjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fblog.automart.co.za%2F2015%2F01%2F26%2Favis-we-try-harder%2F&psig=AFQjCNFm-IzWSzrYkfl7oCFWZKFHDrviKg&ust=1500919835316030

Law 8: Duality

In the long run every market becomes a two-horse race. Right in the 1980s Nintendo dominated the video games market with 75% of the market share but over a number of years Nintendo and Sega were on par with each other.https://www.google.co.in/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwi58dfxgKDVAhWEerwKHY8VBnAQjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fretrogamesviewer.blogspot.com%2F2013%2F08%2Fnintendo-versus-sega-cold-war-in-video.html&psig=AFQjCNGFv9U3Pta1DYWylSjtTf0ZWaQmVg&ust=1500919991311088

Law 9: The Opposite

If you’re shooting for second place, your strategy is determined by the leader. Much like a wrestler uses his opponent’s strength against him, a business should leverage the leaders strength into a weakness. Burger King for example came up with the slogan ‘The whopper beats the Big Mac’ and it was a great success. Instead of trying to make better Big Macs they opposed it with their whoppers.https://www.google.co.in/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjS9N2ggqDVAhXFfLwKHVfKBiYQjRwIBw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.webpagefx.com%2Fblog%2Fweb-design%2Fsuccessful-logo-design-a-branding-perspective%2F&psig=AFQjCNHC3NL6bymemTIlGU1sJijRROCOxg&ust=1500920331753947

Law 10: Division

Overtime, a category will divide and become two or more categories. For example, beer will divide into imported beer and domestic beer; computers will divide into mainframe computers and personal computers.

Law 11: Perspective

Marketing effects take place over an extended period of time. In 1985 coca-cola introduced their line of clothes to the marketplace. Within two years they hit 250 million dollars but the following year they were making nothing and were left with millions of dollars worth of unwanted clothing

Law 12: Line extension

Okay, so there’s an irresistible pressure to extend the equity of the brand this is the most violated law. Line extensions rarely work in the long term. Soft drink companies like 7up like to extend their line with new flavors to get more market share. This may work in the short term but not the long term.

Law 13: Sacrifice

You have to give up something in order to get something. There are three things you can sacrifice- your product line, target market or constant change. The main idea is to focus on one thing and sacrifice the rest.

Law 14: Attributes

For every attribute there is an opposite effective attribute. Cavity prevention is the most valuable attribute of toothpaste. Once a company owns that in the mind of their prospects and it’s taken and you have to settle for another attribute.

Law 15: Candor


Listerine Mouthwash

When you admit a negative, the prospect will give you a positive. Listerine had a slogan ‘The taste you hate, twice a day’ and ‘Avis is only number two in rent-a-cars’. This law must be used carefully with great skill. The negative has to be bad enough for your prospect to instantly agree.

Law 16: Singularity

In each situation only one move will produce substantial results. This is similar to the 80/20 principle. You could try 10 different marketing strategies but only one is likely to work.

Law 17: Unpredictability

Unless you write your competitors plans you can’t predict the future.

Law 18: Success

Success often leads to arrogance and arrogance to failure. Donald Trump’s ego got the better of him. He slapped his name on everything violating the law of line extension. He also had a 3-foot high brass piece sitting on the floor next to his desk and he continued to deny he had a big ego. Trump lost lots of money.

Law 19: Failure

Failure is to be expected and accepted. Businesses try to fix stuff rather than drop stuff. You must know when to call it quits and move on. The founder of Walmart, Sam Walton encouraged his employees to fail and then learn from those failures.

Law 20: Hype

The situation is often the opposite of the way it appears in the press. In 1985 coca-cola introduces new form of coke. It attracted 1 billion dollars of free publicity but the new coke was a failure. When things are going well a business doesn’t need hype.

Law 21: Acceleration

Successful programs are not built on fads, they’re built on trends. A fad dies young and trends grow old. Examples of recent fads are twerking and the ALS ice bucket challenge. Examples of trends are accessing the internet from mobile devices and taking selfies.

Law 22: Resources

Resources without adequate funding an Idea won’t get off the ground. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak used Mike Markulla‘s $91,000 to put their idea of the Apple computer into a great success.

Image credits– Google Images

Also published on Medium.

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