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The Mystery of Marketing & Its Immutable Laws

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In an effort to understand business success and how marketing plays a critical role, we debunk the mystery and frustrations of marketing. This article is as much for marketers as it is the non-marketer.

We revisit the standout book: 22 immutable laws of marketing by Al Reis & Jack Trout and give our take on why marketing is remains elusive.

Why this book – when it is nearly 25 years old? Well, it’s as relevant today as it was when it was released in 1994. The ‘laws of the jungle’ and the ‘laws of the universe’ haven’t changed over time, and nor too the fundamental laws of marketing. 🙂

Let’s start with the immutable law of the mind, as it’s this law, out of the 22 immutable laws, that resonates with us the most.

Immutable Law Of The Mind

Before we jump to the present day and show its relevance, and particularly. How it unravels some of the perplexity around why some business succeeds today; let’s first look at its actual meaning.

What is the Law of The mind? In short, it’s first in the minds of consumers. Your brand, and/or products, services, are what consumers think of first, ahead of your competitors.

However, ‘what comes first is the best is a logical assumption that’s proven to be incorrect, and it’s caught many business owners out. Focusing on product improvement, so they are true of a higher quality than the products of their competitors, may all be in vain, as better products are usually not first in the minds of consumers.

NB: Remember the word ‘logical’ as we come back to it later on in this blog post.

Another anomaly to the first in mind law is; your brand may come first with consumers but not all of your products or vice versa. I.e. you may have an outstanding product but fail to create more or get your brand to stick with consumers and thus come first in their minds.

Looking at this article titled: Having a Better Brand is Better than having a Better Product, we see it articulates the point well. There is no correlation between brand and product when it comes to the immutable law of the mind.

Marketing – The Survival Of The Fittest

Marketing is not a logical process, and thus it frustrates marketers and non-marketers alike.

Marketers, however, are used to its fickleness and spasmodic outcomes, but non-marketers, i.e. business managers, want to see direct ROI, and for that, there need tangible results, which is not usually obvious in the process of marketing.

Marketing is thus like the ‘laws of the jungle’ where only the fittest survive.

The savvy marketer will reign supreme as the ‘fittest’, and that’s because they understand that marketing applies the ‘law of the universe’, i.e. everything is interconnected. Everything your business does, i.e. how it communicates online and offline, is in some way marketing and all the effort contributes to the results.

As explained here – ‘marketing is manipulation’, and (for the non-marketers) it’s not about products it’s about perception. So, no surprise there is also the law of perception.


An example of perception could be that Red Bull is the best energy drink, and Starbucks the best coffee, but of course, that’s just the perception among consumers. It’s hardly likely to be true. However, why brands and products that come first, like those aforementioned, are considered the best is not just perception. It’s also the result of another immutable law of marketing: The law of category.


Create a new category so your product or business can be first in it. Red Bull and Starbucks came out as leaders in new categories, and soon competitors followed. Some of them produced far better products, but what did they lack? Yes, you got it – ‘first in mind’ of their consumers. See how all Al Reis and Jack Trout’s laws are all interconnected? No one law rules supreme!

First in mind

To become first in the minds of consumers, it’s perception, and perception is illusionary and founded on something else, like being first in the category and ‘being first is better than being better.

Yes, we’re going around in circles. Hence non-marketers struggle the most with how marketing works and more so today than in previous years, as there’s far less focus on transactional advertising now and more investment in collaborative online marketing strategies.

Illusion Is Real

Today is a marketer’s paradise. There’s no doubting its importance in driving businesses forward. No longer can businesses ignore the expertise required to get results from marketing campaigns, even if it is more illusionary today than ever before.

The plethora of marketing channels, tools, apps to use, and dashboards to monitor the lot more often hinder than assist the non-marketer. But can you imagine marketing today without them? We need social media, blogs, mobile apps and automation tools.

As we near the end of this article, our thoughts turn to how we will share it with our social media followers and our email list. Taking this action is very important as marketing relies on its intended audience taking action, with likes, and shares and, of course, clicks of the EDM in their email inbox.

Today, it’s a busy time for all marketers, where a lot of action can happen, but what remains a mystery is its tangible results (sorry, non-marketers). The focus has to move off trying to track direct real outcomes and trusts the process will work…eventually.

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