Many brands struggle to stand out in their marketplace. The 22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing can help you avoid this fate. It covers essential tips for launching and positioning a successful brand.

The book is for marketers, founders, or entrepreneurs interested in marketing strategy.  While many of the examples in the book are dated at this point, the lessons remain applicable today.  It’s a short book that every marketer should read at least once.

1. The Law of Leadership

It’s better to be first than it is to be better.  The basic issue in marketing is creating a category you can be first in.  The leading brand in any category is almost always the first brand into the prospect’s mind. It’s much easier to get into the mind first than to try to convince someone you have a better product.

Not every ‘first’ is going to become successful. Timing is an issue—your first could be too late.  Some firsts are just bad ideas that will never go anywhere.  But if a category appeals to prospects, it’s better to be first than to try to demonstrate that you are better than whoever got there first.

2. The Law of the Category

If you didn’t get into the prospect’s mind first, don’t give up hope. Sometimes you can turn an also-ran into a winner by inventing a new category.  When you launch a new product, the first question to ask yourself is not “How is this product better?” but instead “What category is this product first in?

Think categories.  Prospects are on the defensive when it comes to established brands.  Everyone talks about why their brand is better. But prospects have an open mind when it comes to categories. Everyone is interested in what’s new. Few people are interested in what’s better.

When you’re the first in a new category, promote the category.  In essence, you have no competition.

3. The Law of Focus

The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word.  A company can become incredibly successful if it can find a way to own a word in the mind of the prospect. Not a complicated word. Not an invented one. Simple words are best, words taken right out of the dictionary.

The most effective words are simple and benefit oriented. No matter how complicated the product, no matter how complicated the needs of the market, it’s always better to focus on one word or benefit rather than two or three or four.  You can’t stand for something if you chase after everything.

This is the law of focus. You burn your way into the mind by narrowing the focus to a single word or concept.  It’s the ultimate marketing sacrifice.  What won’t work in marketing is leaving your own word in search of a word owned by a related brand.  Some examples of owned words: McDonalds (fast), Volvo (safety), Domino’s (delivery), Crest (cavities), and Nordstrom (service).

4. The Law of the Opposite

If you’re shooting for second place in an established category, your strategy is determined by the leader.  Wherever the leader is strong, there is an opportunity for a would-be No. 2 to turn the tables.  You must discover the essence of the leader and then present prospects with the opposite.

When you look at customers in a given category, there seem to be two kinds of people. There are those who want to buy from the leader and there are those who don’t want to buy from the leader. A potential No. 2 has to appeal to the latter group.

Too many potential number two brands try to emulate the leader.  This is usually a mistake.  You must present yourself as the alternative.  Don’t try to be better, try to be different.  By positioning yourself against the leader, you take business away from all the other alternatives to the No. 1 brand.

5. The Law of Line Extension

One day a company is tightly focused on a single product that is highly profitable. The next day the same company is spread thin over many products and is losing money.  When a company becomes incredibly successful, it invariably plants the seeds for its future problems.

By far the most violated law in this book is the law of line extension. The process of line extension often takes place continuously, with almost no conscious effort on the part of the corporation.  There’s an irresistible pressure to extend the equity of a brand.  

When you try to be all things to all people, you inevitably wind up in trouble.  In the long run, and in the presence of serious competition, line extensions almost never work.  Invariably, the leader in any category is the brand that avoids line extension.

After The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing Book Summary

The 22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing Book Cover
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries & Jack Trout

This book summary of The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing covered five valuable insights. However, it’s not meant to be a substitute for reading the book. That’s because the original text provides a much richer and more detailed learning experience.

So, if you’re a marketer, founder, or entrepreneur that is interested in marketing strategy, consider picking up a copy of the book. The 22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing is available from Amazon and Apple Books.

Are you looking for another great book? Consider checking out the best digital marketing books or the best social media marketing books to find your next great read.

Rick Kettner

Rick is an avid reader and lifelong entrepreneur. He co-founded popular online music education platforms including Drumeo, Pianote, and Guitareo. He now spends much of his time sharing tips on business strategy, marketing, and entrepreneurship.

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