It's better to be first than it is to be better.
If you can't be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in.
When you launch a new product, ask what category this product is first in. This is contrary to classic marketing thinking, which is about getting people to prefer your brand. Don't think brand. Think categories. Everyone's interest is piqued when there is something new.
It's better to be first in the mind than it is to be first in the marketplace. Marketing is the battle of perception, not the product.
Be first in the mind as people don't like to change their minds. Once the mind is made up, it seldom changes.
Marketing is not a battle of products but a battle of perception.
There are no best products. It's all an illusion. What exists are perceptions in the minds of the customer.
The logical way to think is that you'll succeed based on the merits of the product. But it is flawed. A better method is to study how perceptions are created in the mind and focusing your marketing programs on those perceptions. Customers often base their buying decisions on someone else's perception of reality.
The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospect's mind.
The word should not be complicated or invented. Simple words are the best. The leader owns the word that stands for the category.
If you're not a leader, your word must be available in your category. No one else should 'own' it. Once you have narrowed your focus and developed your word, you have to go out of your way to protect it in the marketplace.
Two companies cannot own the same word in the prospect's mind.
It is futile to try and own the same word as a competitor. Yet, many companies continue to defy the law of exclusivity, thereby often reinforcing the competitor's position.
The strategy to use depends on which rung you occupy on the ladder.
It is not all over if you fail to be the first in the prospect's mind. There are also strategies to use for No. 2 and No. 3 brands.
Not all products are equal. Your marketing strategy should focus on how soon you got into the mind of the prospect and which rung of the ladder you are on.
In the long run, every market becomes a two-horse race.
A new category may have many rungs in the beginning. But, over time, the ladder has only two.
When you have a long view of marketing, the battle is often the struggle between two major players - the reliable brand and the upstart.
The customer believes that marketing is a battle of products. Their thinking is that the two brands must be the best because they are the leaders. This keeps the two brands on top.
If you're shooting for second place, your strategy is determined by the leader.
Trying to establish a firm foothold on the second rung means you have to study the firm above you. Where is its strength? Can you turn it into a weakness? Discover the essence of the leader, then show the prospect the opposite. In other words, try to be different, not better.
Don't simply knock the competition. There has to be a ring of truth about the negative. Then present yourself as the alternative.
Over time, a category will divide and become two or more categories. Categories never combine.
A category starts as a single entity but breaks up into other parts. For example, computers became minicomputers, workstations, laptops, notebooks. Companies may erroneously try to take a well-known brand name in one category and use the same brand name in another category.
Timing is also important. However, it's better to exploit a new category early to get into the prospect's mind while waiting for it to develop.
Marketing effects take place over an extended period of time.
Marketing moves often show the same phenomenon: Long-term effects are often the direct opposite of short-term ones.
In the short term, a sale increases business, but in the long term, sales educate customers not to buy at "regular" prices. Periodic couponing may keep sales on an even level, but it does not increase sales in the long run.
There's an irresistible pressure to extend the equity of a brand.
At one time, a company is deeply focused on a single product that is highly profitable, but the next moment the same company is spread thin over many products and making a loss.
You have to give up something in order to get something.
If you want to be successful, you should sacrifice the following:
For every attribute, there is an opposite, effective attribute.
It's far better to search for an opposite attribute that will enable you to play off against the leader, instead of being similar to the leader.
Marketing is the battle of ideas. To succeed, you must have your own attribute or idea to focus your efforts on. Try to own the most important attribute. If your competition successfully takes your attribute, find a different attribute and dramatise its value.
When you admit a negative, the prospect will give you the positive.
The most effective way to get into a prospect's mind is to admit a negative, then turn it into a positive.
Honesty works well in the marketing process:
In each situation, only one move will produce substantial results.
The only thing that works in marketing is a single, bold stroke, not the sum total of a lot of small efforts.
In marketing, there is only one place where a competitor is vulnerable. And that place should be the entire focus. Marketing managers have to be involved to find that singular idea, not hang around headquarters.
Unless you write your competitor's plans, you can't predict the future.
Marketing plans based on what will happen in the future are usually wrong. One reason for marketing failure is the failure to forecast competitive reaction.
Success often leads to arrogance, and arrogance to failure.
Objectivity is crucial. When organisations become successful, they tend to become less objective and often substitute their judgment for what the market wants.
The ego is helpful as a driving force in building a business, but it becomes problematic when the ego is injected into the marketing process. One way for a CEO to gather objective information is to go in disguise or unannounced to get an honest view of what's really happening.
Failure is to be expected and accepted. Admitting a mistake and not dealing with it is bad for your career. So instead, recognise failure early and cut your losses.
Too many companies try to save the situation instead of dropping things.
The situation is often the opposite of the way it appears in the press.
The only time you need hype is when you're in trouble. The only revolutions you can predict are the ones that have already started.
The front page won't give you clues to the future. For that, you'll have to look in the back of the paper for the harmless stories. Hype is hype. Real revolutions come unannounced when it is least expected.
Successful programs are not built on fads, they’re built on trends.
If your business has all the characteristics of a fad, dampen the fad to stretch it out so that it becomes more like a trend. One way to maintain a long-term demand for your product is never totally to satisfy the demand.
Without adequate funding an idea won't get off the ground.
Marketing is a game fought in the mind of the prospect. You need money to get into a mind and money to stay in the mind.
Ideas without money are almost worthless. Use your idea to find the money. Marketing should come afterwards.
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