Ways to improve your marketing strategy

The 22 Inmutable Laws of Marketing.

This book, by Al Ries and Jack Trout, summarises succesful marketing strategies in 22 laws you will have to follow to prosperously launch and mantain a product or service up there in the leadership ladder. These laws, which I will summarise below, are all escorted by a few examples of contemporary businesses who where affected, badly or favouraly, by them. These examples help you view how the law affects strategies and understand them much better. I will proceed to list the laws and the way I understood them.

The Law of Leadership, because “it’s better to be first than it is to be better.” As the authours repeat a few times throughout the book, “ marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products.” People tend to stick with what they´ve got, so get there first.

The Law of the Category. “If you can’t be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in”, it´s as simple as that. “Forget the brand. Think categories.” A wardrobe always has more than one drawer to put your stuff in, find the drawer, instead of trying to change the wardrobe, and don´t try and fit into other people´s drawers, they nearly always have already filled them.

The Law of the Mind; “it’s better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace.” They´ll be waiting for you if you are already there. An idea counts more than the physical thing, “the law of the mind follows from the law of perception. If marketing is a battle of perception, not product, then the mind takes precedence over the marketplace.”

The Law of Perception “Marketing is not a battle of products, it’s a battle of perceptions,” they repeat. All truth is relative. Relative to your mind or the mind of another human being. People tend to believe that the reality is the world outside and the individual just adds his grain to it. In reality it´s the opposite. The universe is completly inside our own minds, the exterior just adds its grain to the conceptual barriers we have build up, called opinions and preferences. “Marketing is a manipulation of those perceptions.”

The Law of Focus, because “the most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospect’s mind.” This is the essence of branding. finding your own word and introducing it into the customers mind. “You can’t take somebody else’s word, but you can look for a new word in the category, focusing yout product.”

The Law of Exclusivity. “Two companies cannot own the same word in the prospect’s mind.”

The Law of the Ladder. “The marketing strategy to use depends on which rung you occupy on the ladder.” The more infrequently your product is purchased, the less rungs you will have in your ladder. Products that involve a great deal of personal pride (automobiles, watches, cameras) are also high-interest products with many rungs on their ladders even though they are purchased infrequently.

The Law of Duality. “In the long run, every market becomes a two-horse race.” If you aren´t part of the two first horses you aren’t going to make much progress by trying to attack them. What you must do is create a  profitable niche for yourselves.

The Law of the Opposite. “If you are shooting for second place, your strategy is determined by the leader.” So if you want to be strong on the rungs below the leaders, study from the firms above you.”Where is it strong? And how do we turn that strength into a weakness?” When you find this strenght you musn´t try to do something similar, but go for the other way. Don’t try to be better, try to be different.

The Law of Division “Over time, a category will divide and become two or more categories.” Each segment exists for a reason and has it´s own leader. These categories don´t usually have the same leaders. As the segments focus, the leaders are usually more and more focused companies too. The greater the segment the bigger are the proportions on the benefit too usually, but not all the companies need the same money. They advice companies to change their well´known brand names when using them in other categories.

The Law of Perspective “Marketing effects take place over an extended period of time.”

Many marketing moves exhibit the same phenomenon. The long-term effects are often the exact opposite of the short-term ones.

The Law of Line Extension “There’s an irresistible pressure to extend the equity of the brand.”

When a company spreads a little of themselves over many products instead of being a lot in one it will probably lose money. “I’d rather be strong somewhere,” said one manager, “than weak everywhere.” You have to narrow the focus in order to build a stronger position in the customer´s mind.

The Law of Sacrifice “You have to give up something in order to get something.” There are three things to sacrifice: product line, target market, and constant change. The smaller the product line, the better. You wont sell more just because you have more to sell. A narrow focus with in-depth stock is much more profitable. “Good things come to those who sacrifice.”

The Law of Attributes “For every attribute, there is an opposite, effective attribute.” As said earlier, don´t be similar to the leader, confront him by being opposite, and better. “Marketing is a battle of ideas. So if you are to succeed, you must have an idea or attribute of your own to

focus your efforts around.” Without one, you had better have a low price. But a good product doesnt revolve around price, but arounf the idea.You shouldn´t sell because you have a good price, but a good product.

The Law of Candor “When you admit a negative, the prospect will give you a positive.” Admit

your negatives and then twist them into positives. When a company starts a message by admitting a prob- lem, people tend to, almost instinctively, open their minds. Next, you must shift quickly to the positive.

The Law of Singularity “In each situation, only one move will produce substantial results.” Bold strikes are usually what work in marketing. Moreover, in any given situation there is only one move that will produce the best result possible.What works in marketing is the same as what works in the military: the unexpected.”

The Law of Unpredictability. “Unless you write your competitor’s plans, you can’t predict the future.” Marketing plans that try to forecast what will happen in the future are usually wrong. You should base them on your competitors reactions and directions, because they are the external factor that will determine your future. You can get a handle on trends( or growing orientations), which is a way to take advantage of change. But remember, new ideas are very difficult to

measure. No one has a frame of reference. People don’t know what they will do until they face an actual decision.

The Law of Success, because “success often leads to arrogance, and arrogance, to failure.” When people become successful, they tend to become less objective. They start believing their own judgement is what the market wants, because blinded by succes it´s difficult to focus when investigating. But the only thing that really counts in marketing is the customer´s perception, that will determine you and your competitor´s actions. And it can always change, be prepared.

The Law of Failure. “Failure is to be expected and accepted.” Because too many companies try to fix things rather than drop things, they become obsolete. The Japanese seem to be able to admit a mistake early and then make the necessary changes, because they eliminate the ego. This way, they will never find themselves in a big enough crisis that might end up with their businesses.

The Law of Hype. “The situation is often the opposite of the way it appears in the press.” Because almost everytime people start shouting is because they don´t have anything more to say. “Real revolutions don’t arrive at high noon with marching bands and coverage on the 6:00 P.M. news. Real revolutions arrive unannounced, in the middle of the night, and kind of sneak up on you.Listen to those who don´t speak, and look for those who haven´t shown their faces yet, because working quietly means that when they do show, it is stronger than those who try to build in the spotlight.

The Law of Acceleration. “Successful programs are not built on fads, they’re built on trends.”

A fad is a wave in the ocean, and a trend is the tide that really determines to which shores the things will float to. “A fad gets a lot of hype, and a trend gets very little.” The first is a short-term phenomenon that might be profitable, but a fad doesn’t last long enough to do a company much good, at least it shouldn´t change a lot for it. Most companies, though, end un spending a lot of money and time in changing for them, not realising it will change again just as fast. Instead of stretching themselves, they should try and stretch the fad, and convert it into a a trend.

“The most successful entertainers are the ones who control their appearances. They don’t overextend themselves.”. Make them think you are or can dissappear so that when you appear it impacts more.

The Law of Resources. “Without adequate funding an idea won’t get off the ground.” It´s as simple and sad as that, but it´s the hard truth. “You need money to get into a mind. And you need money to stay in the mind once you get there.” You’ll get further with a mediocre idea and a million dollars than with a great idea alone, and we should accept it now. Spend enough, because it is necessary. A good idea will find the money, not the marketing help it might find. Get the idea, then go get the money to exploit it. Some ways are:

1.You can marry the money.

2.You can divorce the money.

3.You can find the money at home.

4.You can “share” your idea by franchising it.

In conclusion, this book is a necessary manual to take into account every time you are trying to plan a marketing strategy, or when you are thinking to introduce a new product or service. This book will give you the ways to do it succesfuly. A thing to highlight too is the fact that providing so many real examples while explainning each law, makes us collect a better and wider knowledge about how to do or not to do things, and understand why each thing will or won´t work.

 I don´t think I´m able to list all the lessons I have learned throughout the book but I will analyse some of the most important things every good marketeer should take into account when designing strategies.

Firstly, you have to be sure that you will never be able to predict the size of and new attribute´s share. Never laugh, but try to think of the widest possible way it might affect the current market. Think optimisticaly, but with a little bit of intelligent fear, that always motivates us to be brave. If you are always pessimistic and with egothentric, decisions to approachs will never turn out good. Think about the attributes your competitors have, mostly look at the leaders. Once you have studied their attributes, look for your own in the complete opposite direction. Every way you go you will find a charasteristic that sells, if you know how to do so, which is twisting perspectives, the essence of marketing and what we should learn to do. When Burguer King tried to reinforce the “fast”, they didn´t have any possibilities. To drive the concept into the customers´ minds, to gain market share, they should have tried to differentiate themselves. If Mc Donalds goes for “children”, Burger King would need a term like “grown up”, and then think of the way to sell it.

To find that singular idea or concept, marketing managers have to know what’s happening in the marketplace. They have to be down at the front in the mud of the battle. They have to know what’s working and what isn’t. They have to be involved. The second lesson is just that, be involved. “I´d rather see it once, than hear about it a hundered times.” Your vision won´t change however much times you look at it, what you hear will change as the eyes that are watching change too. If CocaCola had bothered to investigate profoundly the share of Pepsi, which is youngsters, or people who want to look young, they could´ve come up with a slogan like, “All right kids, we’re not going to push you. When you’re ready for the Real Thing, we’ve got it for you.” This is also why you should investigate with eyes that are opened to new perspectives, objective eyes are the most difficult but the only way to collect real facts and data.

So, to be succesful in the market share: think about heavy attributes that differentiate you from the competition, not one´s to make you similar, because the customer already thinks that the what they have (the law of leadership), or who was first, is already the best. They don´t want to feel stupid by changing when something better comes up, they want what they have, if not they wouldn´t have bought it in the first place. If it is already succesful, think why, and try to make it a weakness. You won´t find the best attribute if you don´t know what is going on. To have the best information on what is going on, be involved, be in the front line and study by getting dirty. And lastly, accept change. It isn’t easy, but it’s the only way to cope with an unpredictable future. Also, try to pivot fast, because, if not, all of that time you are not doing anything, is time you are letting other people to use and take it´s fruits from you. Nobody is born special, that is why you have to become a specialist. As succesful companies use being differnt to become leaders, exploit the differences that you are passionate about to lead your life into the best possible future.

Every time we are looking for a new idea, new way of selling it, or simply a new way of focusing who or how we are, I will return to this essay, and read once again all the things we must take into account when doing so.

Arancha Covián – Kippit


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