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Book Club – Chapter 1 – The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

In this installment of the book club, you don’t have to go to we review Chapter 1, The Law of Leadership, from The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing.

book cover design of the 22 immutable laws of marketing
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing is available on for purchase.

The general idea of this chapter is that it’s better to be first in a prospect’s mind to offer a better product or service. Generally, the first company to grab hold of a prospect’s mind in a category is the one that outlasts the competition. If you can’t be first in a particular class, make one of your own. 

One would read this to learn about marketing, practices, and psychology. As well as find ways to better apply those tactics and techniques.

Summary of the current chapter

  • Marketing is not convincing people you’re products/services are better
  • The Law of Leadership: better to be first than better
  • Being first in a category is the key to successful marketing tactics
  • Leading brands in categories are typically the first in the prospect’s mind
  • Not all firsts are good ideas and fall short of success
  • The Law of Leadership applies to any product or service
  • If you can’t be first in an existing category, make one

Chapter 1: In Chapter 1, The Law of Leadership, from The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, discusses that marketing isn’t the act of convincing consumers that our products or services are better. Marketing is convincing them that we are the best in a specific category. 

In the opening pages, the authors discuss that most people can tell you the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean, but more often than not, they don’t know the second. The first was Charles Lindbergh, the second Bert Hinkler. Statistically, Bert was a better pilot since he got there faster and used less fuel, but because he didn’t cross the line first, he was last, Ricky Bobby.

The leading brand in any category will be the one that sticks in the mind of a prospect. This can be said for any product or service. Think about the companies that you know off the top of your head. Which ones do you resonate with? Examples given in the book refer to Hertz in rental car sales, IBM in computing, and Coca-Cola in cola.

After World War 2, Heinekin beer wanted to make a name for itself. They did so by becoming the first imported beer to hit the shelves in America. Not because of the taste. Simply because they got to market before the other 425 brands could. A pretty massive feat considering that they still hold a predominant market share. 

Being first isn’t the only guarantee to success; timing plays a huge part in everything but being first is one of the main drivers. Firsts often stick in mind for the long-term too. Think about when you need to make a copy. You probably say you need to make a Xerox. Or what about if you need to ship something overnight? FedEx it, right? That’s a general idea. Get there first and stay there.

Now you might be thinking it’s nearly impossible to succeed then since there are plenty of companies that already exist. Well, the truth is you just need to be the first in any category…meaning you can make your own.

Since IBM, Coca-Cola, Heineken, Hertz, FedEx, and Xerox were born, many competitors have come to the market. Not too many, if any, knocked them off their high horses. That’s because those particular companies made their marks straightaway. The competitors that came after that created a name for themselves but made a category that didn’t exist.

In the case of imported beer, Heinekin became and remained the leading import. When you look at companies that came after them, none have taken the stage for that particular term, but many have built their own theaters by capturing others as Miller Lite did as the largest-selling light beer. Companies in all industries of all shapes and sizes do this. IBM took computing which gave Dell the chance to be the leader in personal computing.

Therefore, the real key to marketing success is to be first and be first in a category you can be the best in. And if it doesn’t exist, create it.

You can find more chapter reviews of this book and others on my blog under Books.

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