I am heading over to England today to visit the Harrison Spinks farm where we will be growing natural materials to make our Spink and Edgar mattresses. While we are there we will get to help the sheep during the lambing process, (well, I will be there for moral support anyway), and visit our factories so stay tuned for more on that. During my travel day I will be reading a book called The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout. It was written in 1994 but my money says they are still true. I am going to do my best to absorb the knowledge within these pages and report back to you, applying the rules to the mattress industry. It should be interesting so let’s get started.
Law #1: The Law Of Leadership. This law basically says that if you are not first your last, or was that Ricky Bobby? Doesn’t matter, the point is first to market wins in a very big way. “The basic issue in marketing is creating a category you can be first in. It’s the law of leadership: It’s better to be first than it is to be better. It’s much easier to get into the mind first than to try to convince someone you have a better product than the one that did get there first.” Do you know who Bert Hinkler is? Didn’t think so. Bert was the SECOND guy to fly the Atlantic Ocean solo, right after Charles Lindbergh did. Bert did it faster, and burned less fuel than Charles but didn’t get too far in the name recognition game.
It isn’t just that you stand out in the mind of the public; this first to market approach delivers long-term sales advantages. Don’t believe me? Who has the most market share among light beers? The best selling computer printer? #1 razor? Top laundry detergent? How about Miller Lite, Hewlett Packard, Gillette, and Tide. Surprised? I wasn’t either. The truth is that people perceive the first to market as superior. Remember “marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products.”
So let’s try this in the mattress industry? Who brought the first memory foam bed to market? Who was first at creating a mattress with adjustable comfort? Want something more recent? What e-commerce company legitimized the bed in a box concept?
What can you bring to market and be first in doing so? Obviously this doesn’t work all of the time, especially if you break any of the other 21 immutable laws, but you can see from these examples there is a lot of truth in the law so what are you going to do to capitalize on it?