Sridhar Raj Sampath Kumar Archive

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing as the name implies, put forth 22 Immutable Laws. It is widely perceived that businesses need to have the best product in its class, to succeed. If all business have best products in the same category, who could win? Having a good product alone isn't enough, It needs to used by consumers. A quick example I can think of is, G+. By all means, it was a better product than Facebook. They had Gmail accounts, circles were cool for isolation of groups. Yet they failed. Why? Why dint user use G+? Why does Facebook still dominate the social networking? Can it be changed?

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk

This book, written when the Internet was in infancy, doesn't answer these questions. It, however, describes something related to it. "the world is full of perspective". These perspective determine how a user adopts a product. Better product can help in retaining the user, but not on getting them in first place. The successful products are the ones that capture the mind share of its target customer. You can dominate a category only if the market leader in that segment makes mistakes. In our case, Facebook dint make any, and G+ just couldn't break into that segment. G+ is now walking dead.

The book limits itself in explaining each of these laws with supporting anecdotes. Of all the Immutable Laws, I found these 2 particularly most interesting.

The Law of Focus

The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospect’s mind.
Not a complicated word. Not an invented one. The simple words are best, words taken right out of the dictionary.

A company needs to own a word in the mind of the prospect. Interestingly, the customer decides the word.

Web 2.0 companies

Though most of web 2.0 products have social woven into them. The way people use it, is different.

WordPress => blogging
Twitter => tweet & share breaking news
Facebook => Personal Social network
LinkedIn => Professional Social network
Instagram => Photos
Youtube => Videos

We follow strangers on twitter. Similarly, we send invites to them on LinkedIn, but in Facebook we prefer to accept only from known circle of friends and family.

This is one of the reasons I'm curious to see, how Facebook for work gets adopted inside enterprises. Won't people have privacy concerns?


Some could say cool. But I think it is innovation. No other company could own the word "innovation" other than Apple. It has added a whole new meaning to 'i' with range of products like iPad, iPhone, iWatch, iCloud, iMac and has burned this word on our minds for it.

And also, Apple is mostly criticized for not being innovative enough(irony?) and not for anything else. But from the business point of view, that's a good place to be.

The Law of Duality

In the long run, every market becomes a two-horse race.

This law is the most relevant to the tech industry. A market is said to be formed, when you see a duopoly in action.

search engine market share pie chart

mobile os market share 2016

As far as I could see, the year of Linux desktop is never going to happen. But we could say it was achieved, if we apply The Law of the Category to Linux.

If you can’t be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in.

Though it failed to dominate the desktop category, When the need for mobile OS arose. It created a new variant called Android and capitalized on the trend. Microsoft failed to act and ended up with 0.3%.

Overall, I think these Immutable Laws can help you in knowing what perspectives should be built around your product to drive adoption at less money, resource and time than your competitor.

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