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The first time I read this title I was fascinated by the concept of laws to describe the nature of marketing as a science.

Brought to you by two of the greats in the world of marketing: Al Ries and Jack Trout, pioneers among other things in developing the concept of brand positioning in their book Positioning: The battle for your mind.

This book explains to us in the simplest way, what are the laws that govern market behavior, the nature of brands, and some tips that more than some of us will find revealing in our current activity, whatever it may be.

But without further ado let’s go directly to briefly review his book in question and its 22 laws.

1. Law of leadership

“It’s better to be the first than to be the best”.

This is because for a product to be successful it needs to occupy a place in the mind of the consumer, therefore when it is the first to innovate in something it becomes the reference and many times the common name of a product despite the fact that this is already handled by different brands. Let’s take the example of our mothers when they told us to leave the “nintendos” for a while … while we played on the playstation or xbox.

2. Law of the category

“If you can’t be the first in a category, then create one where you can be.”

Every category in the market always has a leader, be it a product, or a company. This happens when a product begins to diversify to better identify with a certain segment of the market. If, for example, there is already a first brand of coffee machines, we can create the first brand of portable coffee machines, which would be great for us lovers of our own coffee.

3. Law of the mind

“It is better to be first in the mind of the consumer, than at the point of sale.”

This tells us about the advantage of a product that people actually know something about, despite not being physically available, compared to one present in stores, but of which they do not have an idea of how it can turn out. As a general rule, consumers prefer to buy something known with which they already have a certain level of identification.

4. Law of perception

“Marketing is not a battle of products, it is a battle of perceptions.”

This tells us that one product will not always be better than another, since this will depend directly on the perception of the consumer, whose criteria will be superimposed at the time of purchases according to what they believe about a product. In many cases, the principle of absolute perception is applied, which deals with the generalized belief within the social environment about this or that product.

5. Law of concentration

“The most powerful concept in marketing is to own a word in the minds of prospects.”

Through this law, a company can appropriate a phrase or a word in the consumer’s mind to identify its product and its brand, so that when the consumer hears that word, they will automatically think of the brand. “Remind me, just do it, you can’t eat just one.”

6. Law of exclusivity

“Two companies cannot have the same word in the minds of customers.”

When a company gets hold of a word inside the minds of its customers, it is useless to try to use it. If we try, we will only be helping our competitor to spread that word already related to its brand.

7. Law of the ladder

“Which strategy you are going to use depends on the rung you occupy on the ladder.”

This means understanding the place we occupy in the mind of the consumer, that is, if we are their first option, or the second, or the third, and based on this, design the appropriate strategy if we want to influence the customer’s decision.

8. Law of duality

“In the long run, each market becomes a two-participant race.”

We have such clear examples as Apple and Samsung, Coca Cola and Pepsi, AMD and Intel, among others. In the marketing struggle there will always be two brands left to contend for first place, commonly between a trusted brand and an aspiring brand.

9. Law of the opposite

“If you opt for second place, your strategy is determined by the leader.”

A company that is known in a second place must focus its strategy on the strengths of its competitor, the leader, and present instead the opposite as our own strength, that is, the weakness of the competition.

Does our competition sell the latest cars? Very good, because we sell the toughest cars, with proven technology over many years.

10. Law of division

“Over time, a category will divide to become two or more categories.”

This is used to generate different categories of the same product for different segments of our market. For example, we have high, medium and low-end phones in practically all the well-known brands of cell phone manufacturers.

11. Law of perspective.

“The effects of marketing are long-term.”

Marketing in a way is like planting a seed. Continual improvement, attention, and many other efforts may show certain short- or medium-term effects, but it is in the long term that the real and most lasting effects are generated. This law highlights the importance of not losing sight of what is built through other laws, since at a certain point they will begin to have an effect by themselves depending on our forecasts, for or against.

12. Line extension law.

“There is irresistible pressure to extend the value of the brand.”

This happens in situations in which a brand has a profitable product, well identified by the consumer and tries to diversify its range of products beyond the limits of its market, which usually results in losses. We have in the present the case of LTH, leaders in the manufacture of automotive batteries, not so leaders trying to sell transmission and motor oils.

13. Law of sacrifice.

“You have to give up something to get something.”

This sacrifice can be summarized in three points:

  1. Product line. Sometimes it is preferable to reduce the varieties of a product so as not to cannibalize its sales and to be able to offer a better boost to your leading product.
  2. Target market. It is important to define our target market specifically. Many times it is a better option to focus on one niche and forgo another part of the market.
  3. Constant change. If a strategy works, it is better to keep it that way. The constant changes end up consuming the consumer about the identity of our brand.

14. Law of attributes.

“For every attribute, there is another equally effective opposite.”

This is a law about differentiation from the competition, looking for a different attribute to them and promoting it in order to increase their participation.

15. Law of sincerity.

“When you admit something negative, the prospect will acknowledge something positive.”

Accepting that we made a mistake and doing what we can to resolve it has an immensely positive perceptual effect on the minds of our consumers, as by doing so we demonstrate how important their trust and offering true quality products is to us.

A clear example of this practice is the Japanese car manufacturers, who on more than one occasion have admitted failures in some of their systems, have publicly apologized and called for a review of the units to guarantee the safety of the drivers.

16. Law of singularity.

“In each situation only one play will produce substantial results.”

After a situation, especially if it is problematic, the company must make a decision and decide on a unified strategy on which to apply all its activity instead of different small separate efforts.

17. Law of the unpredictable.

“Unless you write down your competitors’ plans, you cannot predict the future.”

The key word in this law is flexibility. Here it is important in the long, but also in the medium and short term the marketing direction and to be prepared, at least pathologically, for possible eventualities in the strategy of the competition and the behavior of the market.

18. Law of success.

“Success often leads to arrogance and arrogance to failure.”

One of the main reasons for the failure of a successful company is the ego, thinking that everything is already solved. We must keep the ground at all times and not make decisions based on our pride or our own perception of our company, but on carefully studied information, whether to decide an expansion, product ranges or the approach that our strategy will have, as well as the don’t underestimate the competition.

It has happened to young and old, if you don’t ask Excite or Yahoo, when they refused to buy from Google for 1 million dollars.

19. Law of failure.

“Failure is part of our life and we must accept it.”

If a product doesn’t work, don’t be obsessed with making it work. In marketing, as in life itself, sometimes we have to accept that we have failed, which is positive in a way, and that it allows us to move towards new projects. So if you see that yours does not work, minimize losses and give it a twist.

20. Law of the tabloid note.

“On many occasions the situation is the opposite of what appears in the press.”

Sensationalism almost by definition tells us about something not quite real. It is more of a game of imagination to reach a client than of reality itself. The most likely thing when a company makes use of them is that it is in big trouble and tries to divert attention. True revolutions are found in small efforts and daily stories.

21. Law of acceleration.

“Programs that succeed are not built on whims but on trends.”

Whims are a short-term concept, a need that, when satisfied, totally loses its value and therefore is a low-stability bet for a company. The trends are built in the long term, they become something stable that usually does not decrease over time.

22. Law of resources.

“Without the right funds, an idea won’t get off the ground.”

As simple as that. It is not enough to have a good idea to achieve success, it also requires a lot of dedication and investing the necessary resources to introduce it into the minds of consumers through good advertising.

Cuauhtémoc Fonseca

Cuauhtémoc Fonseca

Soy un profesional de marketing con años de experiencia y habilidades en muchas de las diferentes áreas que conforman la mercadotecnia actual. Trabajo directamente en el desarrollo de estrategias efectivas & soluciones integrales de marketing.

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