3.5 Stars

I would give this book a 30/70 on my Pareto-scale. But that is not to say that the book is not good. Although it was written in 1993 by Al Ries and Jack Trout the points in this book are still highly viable. You will get a lot of good stuff to consider before you start up your own venture.

It is an easy one day read. It has some funny perspectives on Donald Trump as well. At the time he was $1.4 billion in debt!

I will list the 22 immutable laws of marketing straight away as they summarize the book brilliantly.


#1: The Law of Leadership

It is better to be first, than it is to be better. People remember firsts.

#2: The Law of the Category

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

#3: The Law of the Mind

It is better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace.

#4: The Law of Perception

Marketing is not a battle of products, it is a battle of perceptions. Marketing is the process of dealing with those perceptions.

#5: The Law of Focus

The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospect’s mind. The title and logline of your documentary should be unique.

#6: The Law of Exclusivity

Two companies cannot own the same word in the prospect’s mind.

#7: The Law of the Ladder

The strategy to use depends on which rung you occupy on the ladder.

#8: The Law of Duality

In the long run, every market becomes a two-horse race. This has to do with competition, in which there are some very interesting perspectives in Peter Thiel’s book Zero to One.

#9: The Law of the Opposite

If you are shooting for second place, your strategy is determined by the leader. Too many potential No. 2 brands try to emulate the leader. This is usually an error. You must present yourself as the alternative.

#10: The Law of Division

In time, a category will divide and become two or more categories.

#11: The Law of Perspective

Marketing effects take place over an extended period of time.

#12: The Law of Line Extension

There is an irresistible pressure to extend the equity of the brand.

#13: The Law of Sacrifice

You have to give up something in order to get something. There are three things to sacrifice: product line, target line, and constant change.

#14: The Law of Attributes

For every attribute there is an opposite, effective attribute.

#15: The Law of Candor

When you admit a negative, the prospect will give you a positive.

#16: The Law of Sigularity

In each situation, only one move will produce substantial results.

#17: The Law of Unpredictability

Unless you write your competitors’ plans, you can’t predict the future.

#18: The Law of Success

Success often leads to arrogance, and arrogance to failure.

#19: The Law of Failure

Failure is to be expected and accepted.

#20: The Law of Hype

The situation is often the opposite of the way it appears in the press.

#21: The Law of Acceleration

Successful programs are not built on fads, they’re built on trends.

#22: The Law of Resources

Without adequate funding an idea won’t get off the ground.


Notes to self:

Research the hell out of your film’s subject as early as possible. Are you the first out about the subject? If not, how can your film become different than all the others out there? Novelty is crucial.

Don’t attempt to compete with or create something that has been done before. Don’t make Superdrink Me with coca-cola. Own the title and log lines for your project. Get your viewers to associate the title with your film uniquely.

If you are less renowned, work harder. Work so hard they can’t ignore you. After for instance Avis acknowledged their position on the ladder their sales went up. They said: “Avis is only No. 2 in rent-a-cars. So why go with us? We try harder.”

If for instance you are competing with larger companies in appliactions og sales, work harder, or better yet, smarter, than they do. Sometimes leaders get lazy.

Start your marketing as early as possible. Start making a community around the theme of your film. Reach out to people, organizations and forums. Become an expert in the field.

Remember, the target is not necessarely the market. There are many ways to Rome.

Narrow down your film. The classic kill your darlings.

Jump on trends, or create a trend. Don’t do fads. Be thoughtful when and if creating a hype.

Find a niche. Don’t do all sorts of documentaries. Don’t be a generalist, or at least do not appear like it. Be a specialist.

Celebrate your successes, but never become arrogant or lazy.

Focus your efforts on a few things. Find the right partners to work with that doesn’t compete with you.

Think early about how to make your project economically sustainable. If you are not able to make your project sustainable, chances are you do not or can not produce enough value for your target group.

Be patient. It takes time to build and brand your film. But, find methods to test your concept as early as possible.

Be prepared to abandon your project, or pivot to another direction. Don’t get stuck up in a circle of habit thinking.

Quotes that resonnated with me:

  • You want to change something in a computer? Just type over or delete the existing material. You want to change something in a mind? Forget it. Once a mind is made up, it rarely, if ever, changes.

  • Only by studying how perceptions are formed in the mind and focusing your marketing programs on those perceptions can you overcome your basically incorrect marketing instincts.

  • Marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products. Marketing is the process of dealing with those perceptions.

  • Yet, too many potential No. 2 brands try to emulate the leader. This is usually an error. You must present yourself as the alternative.

  • There are three things to sacrifice: product line, target market and constant change.

  • The law of focus applies to whatever you’re selling, or even whatever you’re unselling.

  • The spine-chilling Law of Resources: You’ll get further with a mediocre idea and million dollars than with a great idea alone.

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