The Laws of Attributes and Candor

The 14th Immutable Law of Marketing is the Law of Attributes.  Similar to a past blog post where I talk about the Law of Opposites we talk about the need to make sure that what you are saying about your product or company doesn’t look too much like your competition. If you are competing against Restonic with the Marvelous Middle which is something they have owned for decades, coming out with something similar just doesn’t make sense. “Marketing is a battle of ideas. So if you are to succeed, you must have an idea or attribute of your own to focus your efforts around. Without one, you had better have a low price. A very low price.” My add on to this law is to say that when you select your attribute, make sure that it is relevant to your target audience.

The 15th Immutable Law of Marketing is the Law of Candor. I really think that there is a lot to this law but very few take advantage of it. Consider that everything negative that you say about yourself is almost immediately accepted as true. You can tell people that you are a horrible golfer and probably won’t hear an argument from anyone about it. If on the other hand, you were to brag to some new friends about how great of a golfer you were, you may get challenged by them to put your money where your mouth is. The book points to Listerine as a great example of this. These guys know that their product taste like crap and it’s painful on top of the bad taste. Instead of running from that they embraced it and came out with the punch line of, “The taste you hate twice a day.” Consumers related to it and gave Listerine a lot credit for their honesty in advertising. What if this industry were to adopt a little of that approach. “This bed is horrible for sex, but it sleeps great!” Okay, bad idea but you know what I mean.


At the end of the day it all comes down to the relationship you want to have with your customer. If they trust you they will buy from you and telling people that you are not perfect isn’t so bad. Ann Pillow used to work for Blumenthal who produced mattress ticking back in the day. Jim Lamping was my rep at the time but Ann would assist him in product presentations. I was picking covers for Sam’s at the time so every decision meant millions in sales for them. I would zero in on something and Ann would literally say, “don’t buy that one, its ugly and over priced.” Jim would whence and I’m sure be thinking he was going to kill her when the presentation was over. The impact on me was, I LOVE THIS LADY and I had never heard of anyone be so honest about their products. We did a lot of business with Blumenthal because of this and Ann and I are good friends to this day.

How much candor is there in your marketing when it comes to telling your story? Are you focused on the right attributes to set yourself apart?


2 thoughts on “The Laws of Attributes and Candor

  1. Great article Mark! It sounds like Ann and I went to the same school. often we get wrapped up in our own hype. The $64,000 is it relevant to the consumer and is it relevant to the RSA. Without the RSA on board all our efforts are doomed!

  2. Hey Mark,

    Thanks for sharing your post. Full disclosure that I work for Restonic and full disclosure that I personally adore the Marvelous Middle :-)

    Single most important sentence in your post => “At the end of the day it all comes down to the relationship you want to have with your customer.” Once a brand figures that out, the rest is SIMPLE. Not easy, but simple for sure :-)

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