In their book The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, Al Ries and Jack Trout have collected and described 22 laws of marketing that, in their opinion, should be followed.

22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

Let’s look at these laws.

The Law of Leadership

It’s better to be first than it is to be better. There is an opinion that the main goal of marketing is to show prospects that your product/service is better than the competition. Al Ries and Jack Trout believe this is a myth. As proof, they cite the first law of marketing – the law of leadership, which sounds like It’s better to be first than it is to be better. 

It is easier to get into the mind first than later to try to convince everyone that your product is better than the one who is already the first. One of the reasons why the first brand most often retains leadership is that its name becomes generic. 

The Law of the Category 

If you can’t be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in. When you introduce a new product to the market, you should ask yourself the question What category is this new product first in?

The authors recommend thinking in categories, rather than focusing on the brand, as prospects are not interested in which brand is better since they already have their idea about it. 

But when it comes to categories, potential customers become more open to offers. Everyone is interested in what’s new. If you are the first in a new category, promote this category.

The Law of the Mind

It’s better to be first in the mind than it is to be first in the marketplace. 

The law of the Mind complements the Law of Leadership. Being first in the market is important only in so far as it allows you to be the first to enter the minds of prospects. The problem is to put a concept or idea into the minds of potential customers. You can’t change your mind when it’s already formed. 

The Law of Perception

Marketing is not a battle of products, it’s a battle of perception. 

Objectivity is a relative concept. There is no better product or service, there is only the customer’s perception. Some people think this product/service is the best, while others don’t. Most people think that they perceive the surrounding reality more correctly than others. But this is not the case. 

Consumer consciousness is very difficult to change. Even though the consumer is very poorly versed in the issue, he is sure that he is always right. The perception that exists in the mind is most often interpreted as an immutable truth. Therefore, marketing should be based on the customer’s perception, not on the product/service.

There is a concept of second-hand perception when a consumer bases their purchase decision on someone else’s perception. This makes marketing even more difficult.

The Law of Focus

The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospect’s mind. To achieve success, you need to master the word in the mind of a prospect. This is the law of focus. The word should be simple and focus on the advantage. The word that the leader owns is almost imperceptible. 

The leader has a word that means category. The essence of marketing is to narrow the focus. You will become stronger when you narrow the limits of your efforts, but you will not achieve anything if you do everything at the same time.

The Law of Exclusivity 

Two companies cannot own the same word in the prospect’s mind.  

You can’t use words that other companies own in marketing. You should choose a unique word for your product/service so that in the future consumers will associate you with this word and not confuse you with other brands. 

The Law of Exclusivity

If a competitor owns a word or position in the mind of a prospect, it is useless to try to get hold of the same word. In fact, you will only strengthen the position of your competitors, as you prove the importance of their concept.

The Law of the Ladder

The strategy to use depends on which rung you occupy on the ladder. 

Becoming the first in the mind of a prospect should be your main goal. But some strategies can be used for brands number two and number three. Not all products are the same. 

For each category, there is a ladder of products in people’s minds, with the brand name on each rung. Your marketing strategy should depend on which step you have taken. Rule: the higher the better. Before launching any marketing campaign, ask yourself the following question: Where are we on the ladder in the prospect’s mind? Then make sure that your campaign is built based on what rung you are on.

The Law of the Duality 

In the long run, every market becomes a two-horse race. In the beginning, any category is a ladder with many rungs. Over time, only two steps remain on it. Often there is no obvious second leader in the market. Therefore, there is a chance to compete for this stage. 

You need to do this because according to the law of perception, the consumer believes that the two leading brands that are at the top are the best in their field. Whether you take the second step or not will depend on your efforts and what kind of competitors you have.

The Law of the Opposite

If you’re shooting for second place, your strategy is determined by the leader. Study carefully the firm that occupies the first place in the minds of consumers and offer them the exact opposite. Don’t try to be better than a leader but try to be different. Many contenders for second place are trying to surpass the leader. Al Ries and Jack Trout believe this is a mistake. They advise you to position your brand as an alternative.

The Law of Division

Over time, a category will divide and become two or more categories.

At first, there is one category, but over time it is divided into several segments. Each segment is a separate market where there may be a leader other than the original category. Categories are divided, not combined. You won’t be able to enter a prospect’s mind first if you aren’t prepared for the category to evolve.

The Law of Perspective 

Marketing effects take place over an extended period of time. 

The long-term effects often do not coincide with the short-term effects. Therefore, it is always necessary to remember that actions aimed at short-term effects can produce quick results, but in the long run, they will only do more harm than good. The authors in their book The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing advise you to focus on long-term effects, as they will be able to support and develop your company.

The Law of Line Extension

There’s an irresistible pressure to extend the equity of a brand. Companies are very tempted to expand their product line when their brand has achieved some success. But Al Ries and Jack Trout believe that trying to become everything and for everyone is a strategy that will not bring results. Expanding the product line will only give your company a short-term effect (leadership in its field, increasing profits), because in the future, the more products, more markets, more alliances the company makes, the less money it earns.

The Law of Sacrifice

You have to give up something to get something. The law of sacrifice is the opposite of the law of line extension. If you want to be successful today, you must give up something. Three things can be sacrificed: the product line, the target market, and constant change. According to this law: if you are willing to make sacrifices, it will bring you success. 

The Law of Attributes

For every attribute, there is an opposite, effective attribute. The mistake of many companies is that they want to exceed the strengths of the leader. This is a difficult path that usually fails. It is much better to look for the opposite attribute, which will give you the opportunity to play against the leader. Therefore, to be successful, you need to have a specific idea or attribute around which you will focus your marketing efforts. 

The Law of Candor

When you admit a negative, the prospect will give a positive.

One of the most effective ways to introduce a prospect into the mind is to first recognize the negative aspects, and only then turn them into positive ones. When a company begins its message by acknowledging a problem, people begin instinctively to open their minds. The goal of candor is to establish an advantage that will convince your prospect.

The Law of Singularity

In each situation, only one move will produce substantial results.

Many marketers see success as the sum of many small steps in the right direction. But, as a rule, only one bold action works in marketing. There is only one place where a competitor is vulnerable. And this is the place that should be your goal. To find a single idea or concept, marketers need to know what is happening in the market. They need to be up to date. 

The Law of Unpredictability

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

We can’t predict the future, so our marketing plans based on what will happen in the future are usually incorrect. Instead of making predictions, the authors recommend tracking trends. But do not conclude how far the trend will go. Otherwise, you run the risk of making a mistake. 

While tracking trends can be a useful tool, market research is more likely to add to your problems than help you. Research only helps in assessing the past. The way out of this situation is to create a very agile organization. As soon as changes come to your category, you need to be prepared for changes and change as quickly as possible in order to survive in the future.

The Law of Success

Success often leads to arrogance, and arrogance to failure. When people are successful, they become less objective. They often substitute their own judgment for what the market really needs. Success often leads to a comprehensive expansion of the product line. Companies think that the main reason for brand success is the name. So it immediately starts looking for other products that could have the same name on them.

The Law of Success

Based on the law of line extension, we already know what results this strategy can bring. Keep in mind that the name doesn’t make the brand famous. The brand is getting famous since you made the right marketing moves. You were the first to enter the prospect’s mind, you narrowed the focus, you got the right attribute.

The Law of Failure

Failure is to be expected and accepted. You need to admit your mistakes and failures, this will allow you to quickly respond to the situation and thus try to fix everything. Al Ries and Jack Trout suggest openly reviewing the organization’s plans, this will reduce the arrogance of leaders and make the right decision.

The Law of Hype

The situation is often the opposite of the way it appears in the press. 

As a rule, information that is posted on the first pages in the media does not accurately reflect the current situation. If you want to know what will happen, look at the other pages for small articles. There is some truth in the hype, but for the most part, the hype is the hype.

The Law of Acceleration

Successful programs are not built on fads, they’re built on trends.

A fad is accompanied by hype, the trend is not widely covered in the press. The trend is almost imperceptible, but it is very strong in the long run. A fad is a short-term phenomenon that can make a profit but does not exist long enough to bring the company long-term success. A company often relies on the fads in its development, not realizing that they are short-term. 

As a result, the company is burdened with overly expanded staff, expensive production equipment, and distribution networks. When the fads pass, the company often finds itself in deep financial shock. The most profitable position in marketing belongs to those who choose a long-term trend.

The Law of Resources

Without adequate funding, an idea won’t get off the ground. Marketing is a game that takes place in the mind of a prospect. To get into the mind, you need money. And you need money to stay conscious after you’ve penetrated it. You will go further and faster with a weak idea and a lot of money than with a brilliant idea without money. Ideas without money are useless. But you have to use your idea to find the money, not the marketing help. Marketing will be added later.

The authors recommend the following sequence: first create an idea, then raise money to exploit it. At the end of the book The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, Al Ries and Jack Trout warn that many of the laws listed above challenge the established way of life, so you will face difficulties in implementing them, but if you manage to do this, then you will succeed.

If you enjoyed reading The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing book review I recommend another great work of these auhors – Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. You can also read more marketing, management and sales Book Reviews in the special section of the website.