This morning I saw an ad for Gillette on Demand Shave Club.
In a very short time, Dollar Shave Club and secondary entry, Harry’s, have taken 12% of the global razor market share. Gillette used to command more than 70% of the global market share for razors. Now it’s down to 54%. Still, a great number. What company wouldn’t appreciate more than half of the entire market share? Proctor & Gamble’s Gillette spent years trying to kill these guys; legally, on patent infringement, advertising that Harry’s customers didn’t become repeat buyers, even lowering their own prices by 12% in 2017. And, there’s so much more they are trying to do to cause what Vox.com called “disruption.”
Disruption is supposed to get us to the best but can often feel like it gets us to something worse.
The lessons here:
- Continually look to evolve your brand and find new ways to surprise and satisfy your customers…or someone else will.
- If you have a new competitive threat, decide your response early and be willing to pay for it…or not.
When in doubt go back to the basics.
While working for Chancellor Broadcasting in the late 90’s, we were presented with cards that list The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing from the famous Ries & Trout book. I have kept this card in my wallet for 20+ years and to this day, often reference or refer to it.
It’s amazing that even today, with the advent of digital marketing, how many of these “laws” still rule the marketing land. Most of Ries & Trout’s Laws apply in this razor example:
- The Law of Leadership – It’s better to be first than it is to be better
- The Law of the Category – Own a category, or set up a new category in which you can be first
- The Law of the Mind – It’s not as important to be first in the market but first in the mind of consumers
- The Law of Perception – Marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products.
- Law of Focus – The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospect’s mind
- The Law of Exclusivity – Competitors cannot own the same word in the mind
- The Law of the Ladder – Your strategy depends on which rung you occupy on the “ladder.” You can only move one rung at a time
- The Law of Duality – Every market is a two-horse race. The leader and the upstart
- The Law of the Opposite – Discover the essence of the leader, then present the prospect with the opposite
- The Law of Division – Over time, one category becomes two or more
- The Law of Perspective – Marketing effects take place over a great deal of time
- The Law of Line Extension – Don’t extend the equity of the brand. Less is more. Narrow the focus, don’t broaden
- The Law of Sacrifice – You have to give up something to get something
- The Law of Attributes – For every attribute, there is an opposite, effective attribute
- The Law of Candor – Admit a negative then twist into a positive.
- The Law of Singularity – Only the single bold move will produce substantial results
- The Law of Predictability – Unless you write your competitors’ plans, you can’t predict the future.
- The Law of Success – Success often leads to arrogance; arrogance leads to failure
- The Law of Failure – Failure is to be expected and accepted
- The Law of Hype – The situation is often the opposite of the way it appears in the press
- The Law of Acceleration – Successful programs are not built on fads, but trends
- The Law of Resources – You can’t save your way to success