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5 Nov 2013

No Wonder It's Either iPhone or Samsung Galaxy: What I Learnt from 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

‘THE 22 IMMUTABLE LAWS OF MARKETING’ book written by Al Ries and Jack Trout is a wonderful book. I just re-read it (after 10 years) and find that if you just use 3 ideas, your business will explode. 

1.     Law of Leadership – it’s better to be the first than it is to be better.  People tend to stick with what they’ve got and reluctant to change. Eg iPhone or Android phone. 

2.     Law of Category – if you can’t be first in a category set up a new category you can be first in.   Prospects are defensive when it comes to brands – but they have open minds when it comes to categories because everyone is interested in what’s new and not what’s better.

3.     Law of Mindit’s better to be the first in the mind than to be the first in the marketplace.  Being first in the marketplace is important only to the extend that it allows you to get in the mind first.  Once a mind is made up, it rarely changes.  If you want to make a big impression on another person, you have to blast your way into the mind. 

4.     Law of Perception – marketing is not a battle of products but a battle of perceptions.  All truth is relative.   The only reality you can sure about is in your own perceptions.  If the universe exists, it exists inside your own mind and the minds of others.  Marketing is a manipulation of perceptions.   What makes the marketing battle more difficult is that buying decisions are based on second-hand perceptions – the ‘everybody knows’ principle.

5.     Law of Focus – the most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospect’s mind.  You ‘burn’ your way into the mind by narrowing the focus to a single word or concept – the ultimate marketing sacrifice.  Eg IBM is computers.

6.     Law of Exclusivity – 2 companies cannot own the same word in the prospect’s mind.  If Apple stands for user friendliness, Samsung has to stand for large screen. 

7.     Law of Ladder – the strategy to use depends on which rung you occupy on the ladder.   There are strategies to use for no. 2 and no. 3 brands because not all products are not created equal.  The maximum no. of rungs on a ladder is 7.  Before starting any marketing program, ask: Where are we on the ladder in the prospect’s mind?   

8.     Law of Duality – in the long run, every market becomes a two-horse race.  Successful marketers concentrate on the top 2 rungs – eg GE only businesses are no. 1 or 2 in the markets.

9.     Law of Opposite – if you’re shooting for second place, your strategy is determined by the leader.  If you want to establish a firm foothold on the second rung of the ladder, study the firm above you – how do you turn their strength into a weakness?  Eg Pepsi turned Coke’s century old product into ‘choice of a new generation’.    Always present yourself as the alternative and don’t be timid – attack the no. 1.

10.  Law of Division – overtime, a category will divide and become 2 or more categories.  Each segment has its own leader – use different brand names for different segments.  What keeps leaders from launching a different brand to cover a new category is the fear of what will happen to their existing brands. 

11.  Law of Perspective – marketing effects take place over an extended period of time.  The long term effects are often the exact opposite of the short-term effects.  Having a sale decreases business in the long term by educating customers not to buy at ‘regular’ prices.  The same goes for line extension – they increase sales in the short term but decreases sales in the long termLess is more – narrow the focus in order to build a position in the prospect’s mind. 

12.  Law of Line Extension – there’s an irresistible pressure to extend the equity of the brand.  Extending lines increases sales in the short term only.

13.  Law of Sacrifice – you have to give up something in order to get something.  This is the opposite of line extension.  There are 3 things to sacrifice – product line, target market and constant change.  The target market is not the whole market, i.e. the apparent target of your marketing is not the same as the people who will actually buy your product. 

14.  Law of Attributes – for every attribute, there is an opposite, effective attribute.  With the law of exclusivity, you can’t own the same word as your competitor owns – you must seek out another attribute.  It is better to go against the leader’s attribute. 

15.  Law of Candor – when you admit a negative, the prospect will give you a positive.  This is because no proof is needed for a negative statement.  First admit a negative and then twist it into a positive. 

16.  Law of Singularity – in each situation, only one move will produce substantial results.  Marketers have to know what’s working and only work on that.

17.  Law of Unpredictability – unless you can write your competitors’ plans, you can’t predict the future.  Good short term planning is coming up with that word or perception that differentiates your product or company.  Using extrapolation to predict a trend is dangerous.  There is a difference in predicting a future vs taking a chance on the future. 

18.  Law of Success – success often leads to arrogance, and arrogance leads to failure.  Success often leads to less objectivity. 

19.  Law of Failure – failure is to be expected and accepted.  Cut your losses early.  Marketing decisions are often made first with the decision maker’s career in mind and second with the impact on the competition in mind – a suicide path. 

20.  Law of Hype – the situation is often the opposite of the way it appears in the press.  History is filled with marketing failure that was successful in the press or advertisements. 

21.  Law of Acceleration – successful programs are not build on fads but on trends.  Eg smartphone trends and trend of large screens. 

22.  Law of Resources – without adequate funding an idea won’t get off the ground.  First get the idea and then go get the money to exploit it.   

By Andy Ng of Asia Trainers, details of his courses, including Sales Power, Selling Ice to the Eskimos and Sales Success System are found here. Related articles:  The 7 Secrets by Sun Tzu to win in any situation and The 9 things that all sales training must cover

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