There is a single book that will teach you more about marketing in 134 pages than an MBA will. It’s not just a classic, it’s a must-read. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing is the most valuable marketing book you’ll ever buy.
In fact, I’m betting that you are breaking most of these laws right now. Why? Because nearly every business breaks them. Except for the incredibly successful ones.
These laws are critical to the survival of your business. If you learn nothing else about marketing, it needs to be these 22 laws.
In marketing (and business) there are volumes of best practices, principles, and methods. But there are very few iron-clad laws. Well, here they are.
Since it’ll take some time for the book to arrive at your doorstep, I’m going to get right to the good stuff for you. I’ve compiled a rapid-fire list below with brief explanations on each law.
Don’t just skim this list and think to yourself that you’ve gained an understanding of how they work. You owe it to yourself to completely internalize them. And the best way to do this is by reading the book. Since it weighs in at a speedy 134 pages, you’ll breeze right through it and have all the insight you need to strengthen your business for the long-term.
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
1. It’s better to be first than it is to be better.
The business with the largest market share is usually the business that got there first. Being first in a market is the single greatest advantage you’ll ever have for your business.
2. If you can’t be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in.
Rarely will you have the opportunity to be first. So when you’re not, just create a new category. Instead of trying to beat Facebook as a social media site, be the social media site for moms.
3. It’s better to be first in the mind than it is to be first in the marketplace.
Being first to market is only valuable if it helps you to be first in the prospect’s mind. It doesn’t matter if you’re first if no one knows about you.
4. Marketing is not a battle of products, it’s a battle of perceptions.
Whether or not you have the best product is irrelevant. Your customers need to perceive that you have the best product. This is usually accomplished by being first.
5. The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospects mind.
Pick a single word or phrase to dominate. Google owns search. Fedex owns overnight. Amazon owns online shopping. Focus all of your efforts on a single word and neglect everything else.
6. Two companies cannot own the same word in the prospect’s mind.
You’ll never succeed if you go after the same word as a competitor. They got to it first.
7. The strategy to use depends on which rung you occupy on the ladder.
You’ll need to use different strategies depending on when you enter the market. If you’re second or third, customers will only listen to information that’s consistent with that placement. Dell can’t claim to have “America’s favorite tablet” because Apple already dominates that space.
8. In the long run, every market becomes a two-horse race.
When a new market forms, there’s countless competitors. Over time, those competitors will consolidate into just two companies.
9. If you’re shooting for second place, your strategy is determined by the leader.
To secure second place in a market, figure out the main benefit the market leader provides. Then provide the opposite. If you try to copy the leader, you will fail.
10. Over time, a category will divide and become two or more categories.
As a category evolves, it will break into multiple categories. First there were personal computers. Then desktops, laptops, work stations, tablets, etc. Each fragment will have it’s own market leader. Expect fragmentation. Since being first is exceptionally hard, look for fragmentation and build a new category (the second law).
11. Marketing effects take place over an extended period of time.
Short term profits usually produce long term losses. Run too many discounts and you’ll train your customers to only buy discounted products from you. Be careful when maximizing for the short term.
12. There’s an irresistible pressure to extend the equity of the brand.
You’ll feel constant pressure to expand your brand into new products. This rarely works. Be very careful about expansion and make sure you don’t dilute the focus on your core product.
13. You have to give up something in order to get something.
One of the easiest ways to super-charge your chances of success is doing less. Carry fewer products, narrow your target market, or reduce your service offering to only the most profitable. If you try to do everything, you’ll end up with nothing.
14. For every attribute, there is an opposite, effective attribute.
If a competitor already owns a word, secure second place by going after the opposite word. Instead of building your company on “intense,” build it on “comforting.” This opposite word probably won’t be the most valuable word in the market (the leader already owns it). But you will be able to defend your position in second place.
15. When you admit a negative, the customer will give you a positive.
Negative statements about yourself are immediately accepted as truth. Positive statements are approached with skepticism. So if you start with a negative statement about your product and then turn that attribute into a positive, more people will believe your positive statement.
16. In each situation, only one move will produce substantial results.
Your competitor usually has a single weakness. Focus exclusively on that weakness.
17. Unless you write your competitor’s plans, you can’t predict the future.
Be careful with market research. New products and markets are impossible to predict. Make your business flexible so it can handle unforeseen changes.
18. Success often leads to arrogance and arrogance to failure.
As you become successful, you’ll overstate your capabilities and assume your brand can do any product. This is a mistake. Continue to heed the laws of marketing.
19. Failure is to be expected and accepted.
Recognize your failure early and cut your losses.
20. The situation is often the opposite of the way it appears in the press.
Hype rarely predicts actual market revolutions. Real change sneaks up on you in the middle of the night.
21. Successful programs are not built on fads, they’re built on trends.
Avoid chasing fads, look for long-term trends to build your business on. If demand is explosive early on, it’s probably a fad that will come crashing back down. Trends build slowly over time.
22. Without adequate funding, an idea won’t get off the ground.
To properly test any new idea, you’ll need funding. The fastest, most effective way to sell a new product is to front-load the investment to find out what works.
That’s it, all 22 immutable laws of marketing.
Like I already said, you definitely want to pick up the book and go through them yourself. By reading the book, you’ll understand these concepts at a much deeper level than you do right now. This will improve your ability to build your business within these laws and take your business to the next level.