The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing - Book Summary

After many years of research and practical experience, the author has concluded the basic laws that govern certain business activities. Those are the 22 immutable laws of marketing, they will lead you to success quickly, if you apply them seriously.

Who should read this book:

  • Anyone oriented towards marketing and developing a career in the field of marketing
  • Anyone who wants to learn the basics of marketing

About the author Al Ries: Renowned marketing strategist, bestselling author of marketing books. Leader of Trout & Ries Company, specializing in consulting marketing strategies for famous companies in the world.

Jack Trout: President of Trout & Partner Company, specializing in marketing, used to work for AT&T, IBM, Burger King, etc., author of many famous books.

Rule of vanguard

Being the leader is more effective than being the best.

The basic problem in marketing is to create new product categories in which your company is at the forefront. Came at the right time and the idea wasn't too bad. At that time, it will be easier to get into the customer's mind than to convince them that your product or service is better than the previous one.

In today's competitive environment, a product launched with the "me too" spirit has little hope of becoming a big, profitable brand. If you want to bring the first brand of an entirely new product line to market, you must choose a name that is easy to become popular. As it became popular, many brand names began to be used to refer to the entire product line. Marketing is a battle of ideas, not a battle of quality.

The Law of Species

If you can't be a pioneer in a certain product category, choose a new product in which you can be a pioneer.

If your company's product or service is not the first brand that comes to mind, be patient and find another product or product.

After IBM's resounding success in the computer market, seven other companies rushed into the field but could not compete. DEC launched the minicomputer and has been a leader in the field of computing. Dell entered the field as the first company to sell computers over the phone and already has a strong foothold.

This is in stark contrast to the traditional marketing mindset that is brand-oriented. But now you have to temporarily forget about the brand and think about the product, especially a novel product, not a better product.

The Law of Memorization

It is more effective to be remembered first by customers than to be first in the market

Being first on the market is only important if it allows your brand to be remembered first.

The law of memory arises from the law of perception. You need to gain a foothold in the mind of your customers before you can gain a foothold in the market. Once the mind has formed something, the ability to change the mind is extremely difficult, even almost impossible.

Apple's difficulty in gaining a foothold in the minds of its customers was partly solved by its simple and memorable name, and especially by its massive marketing efforts. You need to have stable and relative financial resources to design and manufacture products, build service systems, hold press conferences, attend exhibitions, run ads, etc. find any way to bring ideas. , brand image into the mind of potential customers.

Cognitive law

Marketing is not a war of products but a battle of perception

All that exists in the world of marketing is perception. Everything else is an illusion. Many marketing mistakes stem from the illusion that we are competing on product quality.

Japanese customers perceive Honda motorcycles as quality, not Honda cars. On the contrary, the perception of American customers is that the quality of Honda cars is very reliable. Customers also often make purchasing decisions based on the perception of the majority of "everyone says so". Therefore, changing customer perception is a problem. The study of the mechanism of customer perception is an important part of the marketing program.

Law of Concentration

The most powerful weapon in marketing is getting a word into the customer's mind

You pave the way into the customer's mind by narrowing the customer's focus to a single point, word or phrase, but must be concise and concise that describes the available features of your product. at the same time focusing on the interests of customers.

The word “Groupware” has given Lotus a long-standing position in the software market just as the word “Overnight” for Federal Express and “Safety” for Volvo. .

Monopoly Law

Two companies cannot share the same impression in the minds of potential customers

Once a company has attached a word or a phrase to its product, capturing a certain position in the customer's mind, it is useless for competitors when they strive to own the word. or that phrase.

Volvo has made a strong impression on customers with its "Safety" attribute. Other companies such as Mercedes-Benz and GM also tried to organize marketing campaigns emphasizing the criterion of "Safety" but without success.

The "fast" attribute belongs to McDonald's. Burger King organized an advertising campaign with the slogan "Best food for fast times".

Doing so violates the law of monopoly and inadvertently strengthens the position of competitors, highlighting their superior properties even more.

Law of ladders

The strategy you use depends on which ladder you are on

All products are "not created equal". For each product category, the customer's mind sets a different product ladder. You must know where your brand is in order to have the right marketing strategy.

Human nature is always picky. They only accept new information data if it fits the quality scale they set.

Avis ranks second only in the car rental market. They try to advertise: “Finest in rent-a-cars” (best car rental service). Customers suspect that, for 13 consecutive years, Avis has spent a lot of money but it is not effective. When ITT acquired Avis, they acknowledged their position on the product ladder and changed the ad: “Avis is about to be number 1.” Avis was successful.

The Law of Twins

In the end, every market becomes a two-horse race.

In the beginning, any new category is a multi-step ladder. Gradually, this ladder is only a competition between the top two steps.

Being aware that marketing will ultimately be a two-horse race can help you plan your short-term growth strategy.

Previously, Royal Crown upgraded to kill Coke and Pepsi, but in the end, the brand that was destroyed was Royal Crown. When in third place, they should have found a suitable niche, focusing on their product to gradually profit from there.

There are currently 130 laptop brands on the market. And the law of tandem predicts that very few of these brands are likely to last long.

Law of opposites

If you want to aim for second place, your strategy will depend on the vanguard

No matter how powerful a pioneering product or service may be, there is always a chance for another product or service to take second place to turn the tables.

You must discover the essence of the pioneering product, then offer the potential customer the opposite of that essence. In other words, don't try to be better than the company that came before you, try to make a difference.

But you are not at the level of simply ending competition. The law of opposites is like a double-edged sword. First, you focus on emphasizing a competitive product's weakness so that the customer acknowledges that weakness. Then quickly flip the blade over.

Burger King's successful years were the years when they were in a position to attack the mass production and fry (rather than grill) McDonald's. But then they ignored the law of opposites, stopped attacking McDonald's, Burger King's profits fell and it was difficult to return to the position they once held.

Law of division

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

The marketplace is seen as an ever-expanding sea of ​​goods. Initially, a category consists of a single product type, but over time, this product will subdivide itself into many other product categories. Each division has its own flagship brand, which rarely coincides with the leader of the original category.

Many companies make the mistake of trying to take the well-known brand name of a product category to use for other products.

You should be quick to tap into a new product category and be willing to put in the time and commitment until that category is strong enough to grow.

The Law of Perspectives

The marketing effect only takes effect after a long time

In many marketing activities, the long-term results are often the exact opposite of the short-term results. A decrease in price will increase revenue in the short term, but a long-term decrease in price will lead to a decrease in revenue. Customers are used to thinking "shouldn't buy at the normal price" or the daily price set by the seller is too high.

Promotions by coupons, scratch cards, lucky lottery will increase revenue in the long term. However, when the promotion stops, the revenue will drop immediately. That means coupons aren't meant to increase sales but to keep sales from falling. Coupons like a drug. What if no coupons, no discounts? In retail, the winners are those companies that practice “low price every day”.

The Law of Expansion

Extending a brand is often an irresistible pressure.

Product expansion is a continuous process that requires almost no conscious effort on the part of companies. But in the long run and in the context of fiercely competitive markets, expanding the number of products almost rarely achieves the desired effect.

Product expansion strategy is like building a big tent that holds everything. IBM has built such a tent, there is no item on the computer market that does not fit into the IBM tent, this is a menu that cooks… disaster.

Sometimes more is less and less means more. Expanding the product too much can eventually lead to recession and oblivion. In today's fiercely competitive market, to succeed you must narrow your focus to build a strong foothold in the mind of your customers.

The Law of Sacrifice

To get something, you have to give up something else.

In today's market economy, to succeed, you must sacrifice one of three things: a new product line, a target market, or constant change.

To be successful, you should not expand but narrow your product line. Federal Express specializes in only one service: the small post office, which delivers overnight. They have succeeded in bringing the concept of “instant” into the mind of the customer. But when FE became an air freight company that operated globally but had no global standing, it lost heavily.

Pepsi-Cola sacrificed everything, except for the teen market, Pepsi closed the revenue gap with Coke. But when Pepsi expanded its “category” tent, they succumbed to this temptation.

The best way to maintain a stable position is to firmly follow the chosen path, sacrificing constant change, because following market moves will knock you out of the way.

The Law of Characteristics

Any product feature has an associated effect and opposite.

To be successful, you must have an idea to give your product a unique feature that you can focus on developing. The importance of this feature is in contrast to that of competitors' products. Each feature depends on each customer.

Burger King unsuccessfully tried to wrest the "fast" feature from McDonald's. But they see another characteristic that McDonald's possesses: children (shown in McDonald's stores). Burger King has the opportunity to position them as "serving for mature customers", which is a large market.

The Law of Truth

When you admit a downside, the prospect gives you an advantage.

Honesty will make the listener less angry and immediately accepted. On the contrary, positive reviews will be viewed with suspicion, especially in advertising.

Be bold enough to admit your weakness and then turn that weakness into an overwhelming strength.

When Scope entered the market with a "scented" toothpaste that hit Listerine's weak point, the "hospital smell" toothpaste. Listerine doesn't justify its taste, but is honest in their ads with the tagline "taste you hate twice a day". This creates a perception in the mind of the customer that “kills a lot of bacteria”. The crisis was over thanks to the intervention of a "honest" medicine.

The Law of the Key Blow

In each situation, a single action will yield significant results.

Some marketers view success as the sum total of single efforts perfectly executed. They always believe that the best way to grow a business is to dip their nose into every field. But lessons learned prove that the only thing that works in marketing is hitting a key hit.

The Japanese beat GM with an extremely popular product line with small cars Toyota, Datsun, and Honda. The Germans beat GM with high-end, expensive products like Mercedes and BMW. And finally Ford struck another blow, hitting GM's midline with the European brands Taurus and Sable. GM was mostly weakened across the front.

Coke has only one blow, applying the law of sacrifice to release New Coke products, repositioning the classic Coca-Cola brand as "the authentic product", creating an impression in the customer's mind. That is the "key blow" to compete with Pepsi.

Unpredictable Laws

If you are not a competitor's planner, you cannot predict what will happen in the future.

Implicit in marketing plans is an assumption about the future. However, these assumptions are often incorrect. So what do we need to do to best handle the “unpredictability?”

Taking advantage of the change in the market, we can control the so-called “trend”. For example, the trend of Americans becoming more and more interested in health care. This trend could pave the way for the introduction of a number of new products.

Following the trend is a powerful tool for dealing with an unpredictable future. You must give your organization great flexibility. As a wave of change comes and goes into your business, you must be ready to change quickly if you want to survive in the long term.

Yesterday, General Motors was slow to react to the small car trend, which costs the company quite a lot today.

The Law of Success

Success often leads to arrogance, and arrogance leads to failure!

Once successful, people tend to be less objective. But in business, objectivity is an extremely important and essential factor. Success is often the deadly reason behind the influx of new brands. Some people think that success comes from the name of the brand. Success has inflated the human ego, they put famous names on other products, consequences: success comes early, failure lasts.

Mistakes happen when the ego is included in the marketing process. Talented marketers must be able to think like a customer, put themselves in the customer's shoes, and not impose their own subjective views on marketing strategies.

In order not to fall into the "success trap", if you are a CEO, you should not completely entrust marketing work to your subordinates, must "behave". You must focus your time, wholeheartedly, fully on marketing.

The Law of Failure

Failure is something to be expected and accepted.

The Japanese seem to have the ability to recognize mistakes early and quickly make the necessary changes. Their type of consensus management tends to be ego-destroying, so it's more comfortable for them to accept what's wrong. At Wal-Mart, no one is punished if an experiment fails, only those who repeat the same mistake.

It's hard to be at the forefront of a new product line if you don't dare to make bold decisions. The ideal environment is that managers judge an idea based on the positive aspects of the idea itself, not on who the idea will benefit. Doing so will create a collective spirit and everyone will know how to forget themselves for the collective.

Law of exaggeration

The actual situation is often the exact opposite of what the media reports.

If things are still going well, no company needs hype, they exaggerate when the company is in a difficult situation.

No soft drink product was hyped by the press like New Coke, but only two months later Coca-Cola had to return to the traditional product (Coca-Cola Classic).

After the war, helicopters were hailed as the ultimate personal vehicle, without the need to build roads, cars would become obsolete.

The hype, by its very nature, is not just the claim that the new product will succeed, but the promise of changing an industry.

There isn't really a shred of truth in the hype, but in general, exaggeration is still exaggeration. The real revolution doesn't come at the height of the market. The real revolution will come unannounced, at the most unexpected times.

Law of acceleration

Successful shows are often not built on fads, but on trends.

Fashion is a wave, trend is a tide. Fashions are made of hype, trends are rarely hyped. The fads are easy to see, up and down very quickly, quickly dissipating. Trends are like tides, seemingly invisible, but intense, fierce and lasting.

The short-term phenomenon may bring immediate profits but not enough to benefit the company in the long term. When the fad disappeared, the company fell into crisis.

Standing in front of a rapidly growing industry, with all its characteristics. The best thing you can do is pour cold water over that fad. That is, try to weaken it. One of the ways to maintain a long-term need is to never completely satisfy that need. Long-term trends are the most profitable and effective in a marketing strategy.

Law of resources

An idea will not become a reality without adequate financial support.

The world's best idea can't come to fruition if it doesn't get adequate funding.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had great ideas. But it was thanks to Mike Markkula's $91,000 that Apple's computer got its name on the world economic map.

Ideas without the financial resources to execute are useless ideas. Be ready to give a lot in exchange for sponsorship.

In marketing, the rich usually get richer because they have the resources to develop their idea into a concept in the customer's mind. Successful marketers are those who know how to advance their investment. It will take them two to three unprofitable years, which is the time to turn all the money around and invest it back into marketing. If you want to be successful, you have to figure out how much money you need to spin those marketing wheels.


Some of the rules mentioned are almost contrary to the criteria, operating principles, practices and identities of some companies. The law of "perception" contradicts the concept of "striving harder" of some people looking for ways to beat the top. Some people don't accept the "first mover" rule because they want to rise to the top by internal strength, not by being first. "Meet all needs of the market" is the concept of many people, not accepting the "sacrifice" rule. The law of “perspective” and the law of “unpredictability” can be frustrating for you.

But you must remember, these 22 laws are immutable, if you break them, you will take the risk. Be patient applying will bring you quickly to success.