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What are the 22 immutable laws of marketing?

“The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” was published in April 27, 1994 and I must say it is a classic in the field of marketing/branding. Anyone interested in promotion their business or ideas should definitely start with this piece. This is great book for entrepreneurs and corporate marketing specialists. Warning: please do not be fooled by the word “laws”. The authors: Al Ries and Jack Trout describe in about 134 pages concepts rather than rules.

The gold nugget from this book that I live by: it is not the strategy it is the execution.


So here are 22 immutable laws of marketing:

  1. The law of leadership – It is better to be first than it is to be better.
  2. The law of the category – If you cannot be first in a category just create your own category.
  3. The law of the mind – Be first in your customer mind rather than first in the market.
  4. The law of perception – Brand name or image is more important than “dry” facts.
  5. The law of focus – Create association of a single word that “represents” your business.
  6. The law of exclusivity – Do not take “the representing word” from direct competition.
  7. The law of the ladder – Do not make “falls” claims. Just try different strategy.
  8. The law of duality – In a long run it will be a battle between only 2 competitors.
  9. The law of the opposite – Change strength of your competitors into weakness – be different.
  10. The law of division – After initial success do not differentiate/pivot, just stay in your category.
  11. The law of perspective – Do not sacrifice long-term strategy with short-term balance sheet.
  12. The law of line extension – Be the best somewhere instead of good everywhere.
  13. The law of sacrifice – Less is more so narrow down. Minimize product line or target market.
  14. The law of attributes – Do not copy – be niche and offer something similar but opposite.
  15. The law of candor – People respect honesty, admit a negative and change it into a positive.
  16.  The law of singularity – Trying more does not bring the success – one bold move does.
  17. The law of unpredictability – Accept the failure and keep innovating.
  18. The law of success – Lose your ego; only market will tell you what it really wants.
  19. The law of failure – Take risks and if your idea does not work just drop it instead of fixing it.
  20. The law of hype – Often failed businesses are heavily exaggerated with too much hype.
  21. The law of acceleration – Focus on long lasting and steady trends instead of fashion sparks.
  22. The law of resources – You need money. Ideas without large investment will eventually fail.



My experience vs. this marketing book:

It is a bit dated piece of marketing wisdom so take it with a grain of salt. Some of those business “laws” might contradict each other. I imagine you can find plenty of real life examples where it is better to be first e.g. who was the first man on the moon and who was the second? Or what was the first spreadsheet software and who owns this market now?
I tried starting a product business in trending category … ahh those wantrepreneurs. Smart concept with great design and features – burned because of low capital. Months of hard work, research and brain storming finished with great story to tell that nobody wants to listen. On the other hand, during my corporate endeavors, in most cases it is too hard to convince management about the decision that can be easily counter with opposite (also successful) example. So pick your battles wisely.

I hope this short article inspired you and gave you good starting point.
Read smart, think crazy and apply!