We have stated what we consider to be the immutable laws of marketing. They
apply specifically to new and growing businesses that need plain, common sense
and no-nonsense marketing help. They appear here in no particular order.
These laws are adapted from Ries and Trout's 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing; our
laws focus specifically on the marketing needs of the growing business.
A Definition of Modern Marketing: Modern Marketing is the high level and
low level involvement of every employee in achieving excellent customer value,
very efficiently, for high profit.
1 The Law Of Perception
Marketing is a battle of perceptions and not simply a battle of products.
Most people seem to assume that in the battle for customers that it is the best
product that wins. This is clearly not the case. The winner is the product that
customers believe to be the best as proven by whether they buy or not.
While the product's quality or features may play an important part in the buying
decision, there are many forms of persuasion which will have influenced their
thinking - brand image, company reputation, or competitor comparisons to name
but a few, and all of these are perceived.
2 The Law Of Questions
Questions lead to answers; answers lead to relationships; relationships lead to
One of the easiest ways to put the customer first is to ask questions
continually (and to respect the customer's answers!) The more you ask, the more
competitive advantage you gain, and the stronger your customer relationships
become. And nothing succeeds in cementing customer relations like advice heeded
- just watch their reaction to a new product feature that they suggested!
3 The Law of Precision
The ability to accurately define your precise market segments dramatically
affects your profitability. So segment carefully!
Divide your markets into slices that are distinctive, profitable and which suit
your strengths. Ditch the rest and really concentrate on just those segments.
It'll save you money on promotion and production/operations and will strengthen
your sales messages.
4 The Law Of Different Missions For Different
Your strategies depend upon your position.
If you fail to be Number One in the prospect's mind then you have to adopt
different strategies. In Number Two position, you must differentiate yourself
from the Number One, otherwise you just look like a pale imitation. The best way
to separate yourself is to focus on the differences, the opposites. E.g. 'We are
professional and thorough so sometimes things will take a little longer - its
worth the wait', 'If you don't want to be treated like a number….', 'Fixed price
packages' and so on.
5 The Law Of Time
Marketing returns exist in the long term.
Be aware that short-term gains (sales today) may be at the cost of the
longer-term game. Your 'offer' must be consistent and it must be consistently
consistent. A sale price may imply that you are over-charging at other times -
the result is reduced future sales at the premium rates as punters wait for the
next sale offer. Be aware of the relationship between the long-term and the
short-term. Short-term gains but at what cost? Decide your goals and be prepared
to pay the price (probably in advance)!
6 The Integration Law
Marketing is nothing if it is not company wide.
If the marketing or sales people are the only ones carrying the marketing flag,
you're in trouble! Customers will read your marketing messages as loose promises
and hot air if the reality isn't as glittering as the claims. Plan and relate
the marketing aspects of every business activity for the whole company. Educate
your production or operations people, your office manager and your receptionist
so that they understand their role in putting the customer first. At the very
least, that means convenience, speed, hospitality, choice, pro-activity, manners
7 The Law Of The Driving Seat
The management team is the centre for improvement.
You won't pull off miraculous improvements from anywhere else! Drive all your
marketing programmes from the management team. Sure, get everybody involved -
but make it your priority to drive the programme from the top. Otherwise other
priorities will take over, practical hurdles will get in the way and your
marketing development will sink in a swamp of mediocrity.
8 The Law of Measurement
Don't just measure - Interpret.
Sure, measure all you can - an objective isn't worth the paper it's written on
if you can't track your progress towards it. But don't be a bean-counter.
Analyse the results - interpret them for meaningful trends or comparisons. "48%
increase in demand for after-sales care" may be interpreted as "the product
needs tweaking, and clients want stronger relationships".
9 The First Law
If you aren't Number One in your existing category then create your own
category, or be the first in their minds.
People love to buy from Number One in the category; they believe that Number One
is better than the rest (otherwise why would they be Number One?). So you can
always be 'Best in the West', 'The first Mexican Takeaway', the 'Original
one-stop shop', the 'only printers with a money-back guarantee' and so forth.
If customers love the leader then find a way to lead. But all is not lost if you
can't be first in category. A simpler name to remember or a new product (i.e.
better, quicker, cheaper, faster, nicer) and suddenly you've taken poll position
in their minds. Its amazing how the mind only allows two or three names to be
associated with a product or service - that's why new names suddenly become
household names e.g. Dyson cleaners.
If the new kid on the block can make a lasting impression then they may be able
to steal a march on the so-called 'old and trusted'. We live in a changing world
and you cannot afford to rest on your laurels, especially if you've been at the
top of the league for some time.
10 The Law Of Tricky Extensions
The irresistible urge to extend product lines or move into new markets may be
self-defeating in the long-run - 'brand equity' when stretched usually gets
spread more thinly.
A good brand and reputation for one product or service doesn't necessarily
extend to a new range or market. Some brands can do it, and others can not, and
at what price? Be aware of just how difficult it is to do something you are not
really expert in and don't kid yourself otherwise. A café by day thinks it can
do outside catering or posh evening meals; a delicatessen thinks it can run a
sandwich round. When you go into a new market or product area you just 'don't
know what you don't know' - always assess the opportunity rationally.
11 Pareto's Law
The 80/20 rule is everywhere - to be effective, cut back on the ineffective and
focus on the effective efforts.
Pareto's 80/20 Principle is everywhere we look: 80% of profits come from 20% of
customers; 80% of sales come from 20% of the sales force; and, conversely 20% of
profits would come from 80% of customers. If you want to work smarter, focus on
the highly effective and ignore the rest! Draw a line below your Top 20% of
clients and inform the rest of new prices to give you margins similar to those
with the profitable clients. Some will 'play the game' which is fine and some
will not which is fine also because you don't want their business in the first
place. Who wants to be a busy fool? So find out the characteristics of your Top
20% and find some more customers like them.
12 The Laws Of Success And Failure
Success and failure go hand in hand - it's OK to make mistakes but you must
learn from your mistakes; and.... remember, nothing succeeds like success.
Failure is part of learning; if you didn't fail occasionally then you wouldn't
be taking enough risks. Recognise a failure and cut your losses before disaster
ensues. It is only the 'English way' that is so unforgiving of business failure;
how else do you find out if an idea can work if you don't experiment - the
question is the price that you might have to pay. Success can be as damaging as
failure. Healthy bank balances and being Number One in league tables make
organisations arrogant, big-headed and sluggish; they start to believe in myths
and when the Emperor's new clothes are seen for what they are by the customers
then the competition move in and steal the action. You are at your most
vulnerable when you are Number One; everyone wants to knock you off your perch
and will be able to undercut your prices to win some work away from you.
Customers start to use you as a reference point but might be able to buy a
similar-looking product at a lower price.
13 The Law Of Reversibility
Start with the end in mind, and accept responsibility for the results.
If you start with your end in mind then you are able to picture the stepping
stones to getting there; looking back from the visualised scenario you can see
what will need to be done. This is a far more productive way of planning the
future as it points out all the potential hurdles along the way. It also focuses
the mind on cause and effect. Remember, there are reasons why customers will buy
or refuse your products and services. Understand that you can determine the
effects that you want but that this requires dedication and planning.
14 The 'P-FAB-P' Law
Customers buy benefits and proofs - show them the advantages and features but
make sure the benefits and proofs address their problem.
See things through the customers' eyes. As the saying goes, if you want to
understand a red Indian spend a day walking in his moccasins. When looking
through the customers' eyes always think 'What's in it for me?' (WIIFM?). 'P-FAB-P'
refers to Problem, Features, Advantages, Benefits and Proofs. As producers we
get pre-occupied with what we put into the product (i.e. the features).
Customers are much more interested in what is in it for them (they focus on
benefits) and how we can demonstrate these benefits (the proofs). Every sales
pitch should paraphrase the words 'Which means that….' to ensure that you are
explaining how your product will solve your customer's problem.
15 The Law Of PLC
The Product Life Cycle will haunt you in all your work.
Just about every product in the long run will go through a series of stages of
growth (conception, birth, growing pains, development, adolescence, maturity,
and death). You can try to extend or re-invigorate any particular phase but the
law will not go away. Understanding that the law does exist enables you to
design your strategy to reflect or resist the current stage that you are in.
Remember also the difference between a fad and a trend - fads tend to be
short-lived (although the Law of PLC suggests that a fad can return, albeit in a
reincarnated state, in a cyclical fashion).
16 The Law Of The
Keep It Simple Stupid
Marketing can be hugely effective as long as you don't make it too clever or
sophisticated - complexity does not help the customer.