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The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk! Paperback – Illustrated, April 27, 1994
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About the Author
Al Ries and his daughter and business partner Laura Ries are two of the world's best-known marketing consultants, and their firm, Ries & Ries, works with many Fortune 500 companies. They are the authors of The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding and The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, which was a Wall Street Journal and a BusinessWeek bestseller, and, most recently, The Origin of Brands. Al was recently named one of the Top 10 Business Gurus by the Marketing Executives Networking Group. Laura is a frequent television commentator and has appeared on the Fox News and Fox Business Channels, CNN, CNBC, PBS, ABC, CBS, and others. Their Web site (Ries.com) has some simple tests that will help you determine whether you are a left brainer or a right brainer.
Authors Al Ries and Jack Trout are probably the world's best-known marketing strategists. Their books, including Marketing Warfare, Bottom-Up Marketing, Horse Sense, and Positioning have been published in more than fifteen languages and their consulting work has taken them into many of the world's largest corporations in North America, South America, and the Far East.
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1. It was writing about 25 yrs ago, pre-Internet. They products are both sold and marketed has changed, so you'll have to first understand his book within the written time period. Next you can then try to understand the laws as they would be applied today.
Example: Law of Line Extension says that you shouldn't use same brand name as you extend product line. However, Apple is a counter example. Then again Costco has a sub-brand 'Kirkland' that is very successful. I'm not doubting the rule but it seems it may be conditional.
2. The authors give examples and predictions that, with the view we have now in the future, don't play out how they expected. I think they predicted MCI to overtake AT&T as the top long distance phone company.
So, just rely on your judgement as you read through the laws and really try to test (evaluate) them in the current environment.
This book was recommended by many authors and podcasts I follow so that's what brought me to it. However, I now think there may have been a generation positively influenced by it 20 years ago that have since passed it down to the next generation of marketers/entrepreneurs.
Nota bad book though. Read it.
The re-read made me feel like a business strategy time traveler.
This 13-some-year-old book for “Marketing” was written when the Sales, Marketing and Biz Strategy organization was silo'd. The ‘22 Immutable Laws of Marketing’ is once again making its way through academics and biz leaders as common wisdom for the whole modern enterprise. It's a guide book that should be titled "Never Do This!" while hinting at the remarkable strategies that bring us today's top brands.
‘The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing’ is a quick read. The management and strategy job has evolved in interesting ways from this books timeframe. The day of the “Ad Man” fronting your enterprise’s value proposition to customers is over. The “Sale!” is made after a carefully engineered organizational effort. Marketing strategy is a discipline to be trained among everyone that answers an outside phone. Everyone now has a marketing role and here is not a bad place to start spreading the news.
A hugely entertaining element is simply that the reader has been fast forwarded through corporate strategies tried, failed and successful. Lotus 1-2-3, VisiCalc, Amiga, Emery Air vs FedEx, Tandem, Wang ... all without smart phones or vast system networks ... strategy winners and losers make for a forensic business case ... if you've been around awhile, you won't believe the book was written just 15 years ago.
Since I am not a marketing professional, I found some of the content valuable. Especially the ideas that you need to own a single-word concept (not your brand name) in the consumer's mind, that you can't really change perceptions once formed, and that you need to define a category you are first in if the broad category is ruled by someone else.
The book is pre-Internet and somewhat dated as others noticed too. This applies mostly to the corporations and products used as examples. The rules of thumb IMO remain viable. The main reason I did not give more stars is that much of the content is self evident, e.g. law of hype (hype is bad), law of resources (you need money to develop and market), etc.
Marketing veterans Al Ries and Jack Trout give us the benefit of their many learnings from their long 30+ years careers. Al and Jack met while working in the marketing department at GE in the 1960s, and quickly became partners consulting for many top Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies. Their consulting jobs have taken them across the globe to work in new emerging markets, evolving markets and in the ever-changing global market.
Al and Jack propose that the marketing world is governed by 22 laws that they based on their experience. They suggest that these laws can benefit any brand as long as they are honest in their assessment of their current situation and they are willing to let go of their biases and misguided ideas. I believe that by utilizing these rules, any marketing professional and company can maximize their marketing budgets and assist their companies to increase sales.
Top international reviews
By about the 5th law, I got the feeling the book is designed for large organisations and not really useful for smaller businesses. This was confirmed by the last law “The Law of Resources”. It states you will need 5k-20k per month on marketing.
If you work in marketing as part of a large organistion, this book could be very useful but for everyone, I would not recommend this book.
As mentioned in other reviews that the companies used as examples are a little outdated, the concepts within are, I feel, even more relevant to today's marketing strategies that should be being applied, given the rise of marketing becoming more about creating something meaningful rather than trying to bulldoze people in to buying a product just because it is manufactured by an established brand or because we're told it's the next big thing which is dying out as fast as the dinosaurs did.
The face of business and providing what the customer actually wants is a trend that is gathering speed, the consumer has discovered their ability to decide what works for them and put their hard earned cash in to a company that can 'speak' directly to them as individuals rather than as the faceless masses.
People are tired of and also becoming savvy to the fact they are being 'sold' to. A lot of the laws break down these tactics and highlight the ever changing face of marketing and sales.
There has been a revolution in the world of marketing taking place, lead by the likes of Seth Godin and Bernadette Jiwa on how to build brands, no matter how big or small, that consumers are welcoming in to their hearts and homes and this book is a great accompaniment to those authors and their ideas.
The 22 laws is in many ways superb, but it could be criticised on three counts
First, it seems quite opinionated. Who is Ries to say that things are this way and not another way? Interestingly, basic books on marketing will cut the cake both ways, saying 'you can do this, or you can do that...'. Top marketing books, though, written by the gurus that people in the know want to hear from, are much more in agreement. What Ries is saying may not be original, but it fairly represents the balance of opinion at the top table.
Second, the book is quite dated. It was written in 1994, and, in many ways, we're in a different world now. On the other hand, this is no bad thing: you can look at the brands that Ries said would not prosper unless they changed their marketing, and compare them with what did prosper. Eight times out of ten Ries was right. The other two times fit perfectly with his law of unpredictability.
Third, the book is actually pretty much the same as the 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, by the same author. I've got both books, and I don't begrudge Al Ries the money. The emphasis is a little different, and the one reinforces the other.
Ultimately, marketing is about distilling a distinctive promise to the consumer and then promoting it aggressively. This book is mainly about the distinctive promise and its distillation. It talks about the kinds of campaigns that this leads to, but it isn't a how-to book for doing your first city-wide outdoor advertising campaign. There are lots of other books out there that do that -- but, be warned: many of them fall into the frequent traps that Ries warns us about.
For my money, this is a book well worth heeding.
But at least it's well written, it's not too long, and the couple of ideas they have are actually ok.