Marketing Planet

"22 immutable laws of marketing" by Al Ries and Jack Trout

Laws … even in marketing

The immutable laws of marketing as listed and explained by Al Ries and Jack Trout have become one of the most popular marketing books in time. According to them, these laws are just as important for marketing as are the science laws for physics. Whereas many companies still continue applying the marketing principles as ever, the 22 marketing laws and the examples in the book, show us that even in marketing some laws are to be applied. The marketing laws are immutable.

Success in marketing not only depends on your strategy as described in the marketing books, but in order to obtain a place and remain successful applying some plain principles can help you very well. Reading the immutable laws of marketing make it all looks so simple and obvious but in reality applying them all is not that simple.

Be number 1

The main rule is to be number one. Many laws described in the book apply to this main rule of being number 1:

  • The law of leadership
  • The law of category
  • The law of the mind
  • The law of perception
  • The law of focus
  • The law of exclusivity

These laws do all aim one and single idea: being the first. Being the first can be with a new product or concept, but also as the first in a new category that you managed to create. When identifying a new segment, you will be logically the first to enter.

If you own a word in the mind of your prospect, manage to apply this to your product or company. As a consequence you will thus be the first in his mind. Be aware that this word does not apply to another product. Anyone that will try to use the same word will fail to obtain a place, anyway for as long as you use it.

When the authors state the importance of being the 1st man to have arrived on the moon, it implies that the second one will not be remembered. Only if another one would arrive on the moon with a special reason, by a special way, he can take the place of the 1st one – but in his category. As a follower there is no place to take.

If you can’t be number 1

Being number 1 is not always possible and certainly not always easy. Number 1 will need to look ahead to continue its strategy but will also have to look back, to verify what the followers will do. It is difficult to stay number 1.

For those who are followers, there are nevertheless multiple options and possible strategies. The company that holds the place of number 2 should try to find the weaknesses in the strategy of number 1 and position accordingly. There is no use to fight against the best, better oppose to its weaknesses.

For the other companies, according to the authors, the best strategy would be to position next to the number 1. Whenever positioning yourself to compare to the best, the weaknesses will appear on your side. Differentiate from your competitors.


Al Ries and Jack Trout inform about the various risks and dangers that are waiting in the marketing war. To avoid the risks, the first lesson is to hit quickly and hard. Don’t approach slowly to stay ahead of your competitors. The future is not written unless, as they state it, «you write the marketing plan of your competitors». Sacrifices are therefore to be made and a company is to be prepared to failure.

Finally, the law of candor teaches to be honest when things go wrong, the consumer appreciates this behavior. Instead of «showing off», a company should rather use the benefits of being humble. A consumer is more likely to listen to a company that proves to be humble and honest. As soon as a consumer is ready to listen, the company has a clear way to enter its mind.

Long term marketing

As arrogance may lead to negligence, it will increase the risk for your company. It is important to stick to its main idea. A company changing its strategy may be regarded as not trustworthy. A long term marketing strategy is even more difficult as the company will want to increase its success.

Success is often very tempting. The immutable laws predict us from any of the traps that success may try to inflict:

  • The law of division
  • The law of extension
  • The law of acceleration
  • The law of resources

A company should avoid differentiation, should not try to expand its brand just because it has a good notoriety and should also avoid riding the waves of fashion. For a short term these strategies will pay and be very profitable, but on the long term it will harm the company.

There are nowadays companies that have based their strategies on these short term strategies. But knowing that they will only be short term makes them hardly a tough player. They use the waves of latest fashion to sell their products for a short period like a summer fashion.

Marketing laws – to apply or not to apply … that is the question

Above all, when choosing a marketing strategy, verify it corresponds to the company’s possibilities and general strategy. There is no marketing strategy that will pay off in a short period. The laws of marketing are immutable and only perseverance will take you to success.

Nevertheless, many companies seem to ignore the Immutable Laws of Marketing. The goals of shareholders don’t make things easier. The book is since longtime a best seller in marketing and very interesting to read. Whether you do belief in them or not, it is useful to read the laws anyway. Besides, being a good marketer doesn’t withhold you from combining both theories and the immutable laws.