In the last post of this category, I did 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing Pt. 1. This week, I am completing that post with the last 11 Laws of Marketing. This is a book I recently read to help me develop my marketing skills. I’ll definitely need to modify some of the applications as my marketing is specific to writing and publishing. Below is the synopsis of laws 12-22. Enjoy!
Law 12: Law of Line Extension
What is line extension? It is taking an existing product or product name and extending it to another product. The example they give in the book is A-1 Steak sauce. A-1 is the #1 steak sauce in America. It easily beats out other steak sauces in the market share. There was a time when A-1 wanted to branch into sauces for poultry (Chicken). They came out with an A-1 Poultry sauce and it bombed, despite an $18 million budget. Why? They Line extended.
The marketers had forgotten that A-1 wasn’t just the name of a steak sauce in the consumers’ eyes. A-1 = steak sauce. For A-1 to be anything other than steak sauce was to try to change the mind of a consumer who already made a decision about A-1. The marketers were trying to piggy back on the successful name of A-1 and it flopped.
The rough idea is that once a product name is established and associated with a particular product, it is destructive to tack on a different product. Line extensions rarely, if ever succeed in the long term. Sure there may be initial sales spikes, but eventually it will drag the product and company down. It is a detrimental long-term effect.
Law 13: Law of Sacrifice
As companies grow, they tend to expand their product/services. The authors use FedEx as an example. They started out with the image “small packages anywhere, overnight.” They beat out other delivery companies because they had a narrow marketing focus. The key to excelling in a marketing area is narrowing the focus. If a company has too many facets to the marketing (what they’re known for), then they won’t be as successful. In essence, they get mired in the multiplicity of marketing concepts.
The basic rule is 1 primary focus that drives the marketing in the consumers’ minds. Removing the line extensions will be the best bet to regaining a concentrated focus.
Law 14: Law of Attributes
McDonald’s has cornered the fast-food market for children. Since they are # 1 in the consumers’ minds about children eating in the fast food industry, it is destructive for another company to try to take that spot away. If another fast food chain wanted to gain a greater market share, they would want to create a #1 spot in the consumers’ mind for something different. Burger King or Wendy’s could play off of McDonald’s attribute that markets to children by creating an attribute that markets to those who don’t want to be perceived as children. If the #1 spot as a strong attribute, play against it with a different attribute.
Law 15: Law of Candor
If you have deficiencies in your product and others are able to capitalize against your successful attribute, then you can use the law of candor. You can make a light-hearted jab at yourself, acknowledging your issue. But acknowledge it early and quick in your marketing so you can spend more energy building up the positives of your product.
For example: Listerine tastes terrible as a mouthwash, but was 1st in the market. Scope came along and played against Listerine’s terrible taste by saying Scope is a better tasting mouthwash. Listerine then enacted the Law of Candor by marketing along the lines of “The worst taste 2xs a day” and “That’s how you know it’s working.” Listerine admitted the product drawback, but then reasserted the benefit of the product either because of or in spite of the drawback.
Law 16: Law of Singularity
In the Law of Singularity, we are to devote our marketing to a singular bold move. If our competitor has a weak spot, then we focus all our marketing power to attack that weak spot. The challenge of this is our marketers need to have their finger on the pulse of the current market. They need to do their research, then plan a single, concentrated, powerful marketing campaign. The need one powerful brush stroke, not a series of piddly marketing campaigns that try to whittle away your competition.
Law 17: Law of Unpredictability
The market is never predictable. When companies have short-term financial goals, their marketing department tends to exhaust themselves trying to adapt to the flow of an unpredictable market. They are essentially draining their best energy trying to catch a small upswing in sales that is destined to dissipate. The best thing to do is look at trends over time. The trends are more reliable and predictable. Instead of getting caught in the fray of a quickly shifting market, focusing on the trends yields better long-term stability.
Law 18: Law of Success
Success leads to arrogance. Arrogance leads to destruction. One of the biggest problems of success is the belief that it is due to a winning product name. It is the problem that leads companies into the line-extention trend, which brings the company down. Believing that the name will carry the business is a fatal flaw. Too much success almost always leads people to that assumption.
Law 19: Law of Failure
Failure will happen. We just have to be able to adapt and change. Many companies end up failing because they are either afraid to make the necessary changes, or the changes don’t get made because a top management person doesn’t directly benefit from it. This seems to be more endemic to American companies than to, say, Japanese companies. In American companies, as long as someone in top management is benefiting, there is no motivation to change, even if the company is doing poorly.
The authors suggest putting who directly benefits from the decisions out in the open for all to see (transparency).
Law 20: Law of Hype
Hype is a deceptive element. There have been several products that were going to revolutionize the world due to the hype of the media. Fact is, if your company needs hype, you’re in trouble. If you’re doing fine, then you don’t need the hype. As the authors say, “the real revolutions don’t come at high noon with marching bands and are covered in the 6pm news. Real revolutions come in the middle of the night, unannounced and sort of sneak up on you.” In the end, don’t follow the hype, it’s bad marketing.
Law 21: Law of Acceleration
Law of Acceleration deals with the differences between fads and trends. Fads are flashy, here one minute, gone the next. They are fashion trends. Once the fad fades, the companies that followed the fads struggle financially. Trends are longer term. Those who ride the trends have more stable companies. The authors recommend that if you are riding the trends, and fads flare up, we need to dampen the fad in order to keep the trend flowing. The secret to trend riding and maintaining demand is to never fully satisfy the market.
Law 22: Law of Resources
At the end of the day, every one of these laws is vitally important to keeping up successful marketing. However, none of it will get very far without money. Even the best world-changing ideas will never get anywhere without financial backing. The old marketing adage is true: “It takes money to make money.” The authors suggest, first get the idea, then go get the money for it. The give a list of short-cuts to getting the money. They sound humorous, but the gave real-life examples:
–find the money at home
–share your idea by franchising it
More successful marketers front load their investment. Take no profit for 2 or 3 years as they plow all earnings back into marketing.
So those are the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. Now the task is figuring out how to adapt them to the specific marketing venue needed.
Were these posts insightful? Let me know in the comments. Here at the TM Wiliams blog, it is my goal to “Expand your mind through the power of words.”