Monday, March 19, 2007

The 22 "Immutable" Laws of Marketing

As I continue to study current texts on sales and marketing, particularly as they've changed with the arrival of the Internet, I ran across a book on tape by Reis and Trout. They did a good job with their Positioning book, and this is no different.

However, there are inherent flaws with their approach. I've gone over this in Go Thunk Yourself Again, but this book again brings that data to front. These guys base their logic on the "fact" that people assume they have to be market leaders to make any income - that first is always best. They also succumb to requiring everything to fit into a dichotomy - which is a lie in this Universe, since (as I cover in my book) most of the universe can consist of four-valued, interlocked logic, which dissolves any situation or problem their two-valued logic presents.

Their book was also before the Long-Tail economics was discovered. So my contents after their laws seek some update to their "immutable laws".

Reis & Trout - The 22 "Immutable" Laws of Marketing

1. It is better to be first than it is to be better.

2. If you can't be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in.

3. It is better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace.

4. Marketing is not a battle of products, it's a battle of perceptions.

5. The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospect's mind.

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

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

8. In the long run, every market becomes a two horse race.

9. If you are shooting for second place, your strategy is determined by the leader.

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

11. Marketing effects take place over an extended period of time.

12. There is an irresistible pressure to extend the equity of the brand.

13. You have to give up something to get something.

14. For every attribute, there is an opposite, effective attribute.

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

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

17. Unless you write your competitor's plans, you can't predict the future.

18. Success often leads to arrogance, and arrogance to failure.

19. Failure is to be expected and accepted.

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

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

22. Without adequate funding, an idea won't get off the ground.


This set of "laws" boils down to many fewer -

a. First in the market (niche) category gives you the positioning and name. You are first, second, or also-ran (everyone else in the last category).

1. It is better to be first than it is to be better.

2. If you can't be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in.

3. It is better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace.

4. Marketing is not a battle of products, it's a battle of perceptions.

5. The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospect's mind.

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

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

8. In the long run, every market becomes a two horse race.

9. If you are shooting for second place, your strategy is determined by the leader.


b. Categories will subdivide - providing more niches and opportunities. The Long-Tail theory predicts more niches opening up, rather than fewer.

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


c. Keep real in your marketing plans - realize you and your corporation are in it for the long run.

11. Marketing effects take place over an extended period of time.

12. There is an irresistible pressure to extend the equity of the brand.

13. You have to give up something to get something.

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

17. Unless you write your competitor's plans, you can't predict the future.

18. Success often leads to arrogance, and arrogance to failure.

19. Failure is to be expected and accepted.

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

22. Without adequate funding, an idea won't get off the ground.


d. Taking an (apparent) opposite position to the market leader creates a new niche - but don't believe your (or their) hype.

14. For every attribute, there is an opposite, effective attribute.

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

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


In actuality, these are not laws, but corollaries.

The actual laws:

I. Marketing is a conversation - you must engender trust in order to maintain the conversation.

II. Valuable service is what brings in the income.

III. Capture a niche and then expand that niche - or capture similar niches with an additional product. This is how you move up the Long-Tail.

As well, this book is based on proverbial "conventional knowledge", which is that everyone competes for a limited marketshare and that marketing is a game of either winning or losing. Those two patently false datums ensure that a lot of money is spent on PR agencies.

Another derived datum is that it is best to be top of the ladder. Long-Tail studies show that completely adequate living and personal income can be made from simply capturing a niche and holding it - as well as expanding versions of that product over into neighboring niches. There is an infinite supply of niches. As people improve their quality of living, they can afford to invest their energies into more niches. Choice is king of every heap, great and small. The person who figures out how to deliver valuable service to the greatest number of niches will recieve the greatest inflow of value.

Oh - and the idea of dichotomies is easy to understand, but easier to disprove. If you provide more categories which redefine that pair, then the whole thing dissolves. Economics isn't Demand and Supply, it is also Information (PR/Marketing) and Service. Economics itself is better defined as Exchange - your valuable product for their valuable product (yes, money is a produced commodity, not an end. Exchange is only a measure of energy flows).

Time for them to "Go Thunk Yourself, Again!"
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