The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them At Your Own Risk! — Book Notes

Al Ries, Jack Trout

Si Quan Ong
12 min readAug 2, 2017


Published: 1994

Who are Al Ries & Jack Trout?

In their own words: Al Ries & Jack Trout are probably the world’s best-known marketing strategists. Along with Jack Trout, Ries is credited with coining the term “positioning”, as related to the field of marketing

What This Book Is About:

If there are laws of the jungle and laws of the universe, there should also be laws that marketing professionals follow. These are the 22 laws of marketing.

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Big Lessons (or tl;dr version):

  • Marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products or services.
  • It’s better to be first than it is to be better.
  • Create a category that you can be first in — and make sure that the category is supported by a singular word.
  • Fight the leader by not being better, but being their opposite.
  • Don’t extend your brand through line extension; it rarely works. Plus, your brand is not the one that works, it’s the association with something.
  • Study your customers, market and trends to find the “one move” that works.


Chapter 1: The Law of Leadership

  • It’s better to be first than it is to be better.
  • The basic issue in marketing is not convincing prospects that you have a better product or service. The basic issue in marketing is creating a category you can be first in.
  • It’s much easier to get into the mind first than to try to convince someone you have a better product than the one who got there first.
  • The leading brand in any category is almost always the first brand into the prospect’s mind. E.g Hertz in rent-a-cars, IBM in computers, Coca-Cola in cola.
  • Not every first is going to be successful. The timing could be an issue — for e.g your first could be too late.
  • Some firsts are also just bad…