The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout (Nicole Schlinger Book Review)

Nicole Schlinger
2 min readOct 27, 2018

Published in 1994, this short gem of a book will change your perspective on marketing in a single afternoon.

Granted, you’ll have to get past some of the completely outdated cultural references. Things like IBM computers, Hertz rental cars, etc. But if you are a child of the 80s … the nostalgia of advertising from this era will be an added enjoyment.

The laws are short and simple. They make sense …

It’s not about being first to the marketplace. It’s about being first in the customer’s mind. The leading brand is almost always the first brand in your mind.

And if you aren’t first in your category, make a new category.

For instance … you probably know the first person to fly the Atlantic Ocean solo. It was Charles Lindberg.

Do you know the second person? (Probably not.)

What about the third? (Well if I didn’t know the second …)

Turns out you do know the third person to fly the Atlantic Ocean solo. It was Amelia Earhart. The first WOMAN to cross the Atlantic solo.

Then he turns some of that conventional wisdom on its head. What do you do if you ARE second in a category? Give up? No way. POsition yourself against the leader and get the contrarians on your side. Use that momentum to either become the leader or create a new category in which you are.

Perhaps the best example of this was the Avis “We Try Harder” campaign in the 70s and 80s.

While some of the stories haven’t aged well .. especially the ones about which “micro computer” is going to dominate the market … the lessons really are timeless. It’s a surprise this book hasn’t been updated and overhauled for this millenium.

But since it hasn’t … use that to your advantage. Your younger competitors have likely not read it.