“The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” Quotes

I recently read “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk!” by Al Ries and Jack Trout. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

“The basic issue in marketing is creating a category you can be first in. It’s the law of leadership: It’s better to be first than it is to be better. It’s much easier to get into the mind first than to try to convince someone you have a better product than the one that did get there first.” (3)

“Regardless of reality, people perceive the first product in the mind as superior: Marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products.” (8)

“If you can’t be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in.” (10)

“If you didn’t get into the prospect’s mind first, don’t give up hope. Find a new category you can be first in.” (11)

“When you launch a new product, the first question to ask yourself is not “How is this new product better than the competition?” but “First what?” In other words, what category is this new product first in?” (13)

“Forget the brand. Think categories. Prospects are on the defensive when it comes to brands. Everyone talks about why their brand is better. But prospects have an open mind when it comes to categories. Everyone is interested in what’s new. Few people are interested in what’s better.” (13)

“When you’re the first in a new category, promote the category. In essence, you have no competition. DEC told its prospects why they ought to buy a minicomputer; not a DEC minicomputer.” (13)

“It’s better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace.” (14)

“Once a mind is made up, it rarely, if ever, changes. The single most wasteful thing you can do in marketing is try to change a mind.” (16)

“If you want to make a big impression on another person, you cannot worm your way into their mind and then slowly build up a favorable opinion over a period of time. The mind doesn’t work that way. You have to blast your way into the mind. The reason you blast instead of worm is that people don’t like to change their minds. Once they perceive you one way, that’s it. They kind of file you away in their minds as a certain kind of person. You cannot become a different person in their minds.” (17)

“There is no objective reality. There are no facts. There are no best products. All that exists in the world of marketing are perceptions in the minds of the customer or prospect. The perception is the reality. Everything else is an illusion.” (19)

“When you say, “I’m right and the next person is wrong,” all you’re really saying is that you’re a better perceiver than someone else.” (19)

“A company can become incredibly successful if it can find a way to own a word in the mind of the prospect. Not a complicated word. Not an invent one. The simple words are best, words taken right out of the dictionary.” (27)

“The most effective words are simple and benefit oriented. No matter how complicated the product, no matter how complicated the needs of the market, it’s always better to focus on one word or benefit rather than two or three or four.” (28)

“The essence of marketing is narrowing the focus. You become stronger when you reduce the scope of your operations. You can’t stand for something if you chase after everything.” (31)

“You often reinforce your competitor’s position by making its concept more important.” (35)

“You tend to have twice the market share of the brand below you and half the market share of the brand above you.” (41)

“It’s sometimes better to be No. 3 on a big ladder than No. 1 on a small ladder.” (43)

“Before starting any marketing program, ask yourself the following questions: Where are we on the ladder in the prospect’s mind? On the top rung? On the second rung? Or maybe we’re not on the ladder at all. Then make sure your program deals realistically with your position on the ladder.” (43)

“Marketing is often a battle for legitimacy. The first brand that captures the concept is often able to portray its competitors as illegitimate pretenders.” (54)

“Over time, a category will divide and become two or more categories.” (56)

“Any sort of couponing, discounts, or sales tends to educate consumers to buy only when they can get a deal.” (64)

“When you try to be all things to all people, you inevitably wind up in trouble. “I’d rather be strong somewhere,” said one manager, “than weak everywhere.”” (71)

“The full line is a luxury for a loser. If you want to be successful, you have to reduce your product line, not expand it.” (77)

“The target is not the market. That is, the apparent target of your marketing is not the same as the people who will actually buy your product. Even though Pepsi-Cola’s target was the teenager, the market was everybody. The 50-year-old guy who wants to think he’s 29 will drink the Pepsi.” (82)

“One of the most effective ways to get into a prospect’s mind is to first admit a negative and then twist it into a positive.” (89)

“Marketing is often a search for the obvious. Since you can’t change a mind once it’s made up, your marketing efforts have to be devoted to using ideas and concepts already installed in the brain.” (90)

“The law of candor must be used carefully and with great skill. First, your “negative” must be widely perceived as a negative. It has to trigger an instant agreement with your prospect’s mind. If the negative doesn’t register quickly, your prospect will be confused and will wonder, “What’s this all about?” Next, you have to shift quickly to the positive. The purpose of candor isn’t to apologize. The purpose of candor is to set up a benefit that will convince your prospect.” (91)

“History teaches that the only thing that works in marketing is the single, bold stroke.” (93)

“Failure to forecast competitive reaction is a major reason for marketing failures.” (99)

“When people become successful, they tend to become less objective. They often substitute their own judgement for what the market wants.” (105)

“When IBM was successful, the company said very little. Now it throws a lot of press conferences. When things are going well, a company doesn’t need the hype. When you need the hype, it usually means you’re in trouble.” (115)

“But, for the most part, hype is hype. 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.” (119)

“Here’s the paradox. If you were faced with a rapidly rising business, with all the characteristics of a fad, the best thing you could do would be to dampen the fad. By dampening the fad, you stretch the fad out and it becomes more like a trend.” (122)

“The most successful entertainers are the ones who control their appearances. They don’t overextend themselves. They’re not all over the place. They don’t wear out their welcome.” (122)

“One way to maintain a long-term demand for your product is to never totally satisfy the demand.” (123)

“You’ll get no further with a mediocre idea and million dollars than with a great idea alone.” (125)

“An idea without money is worthless. Be prepared to give away a lot for the funding.” (126)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

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