Law #1: The Law of Leadership

(This entry is part of a series I am writing on The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing.)

The Law of Leadership affirms the importance of being number one in a category.  People usually know who the number one player is, but often cannot even name the number two.  Tylenol is obviously the number one brand of acetaminophen.  Who is number two?

Ries and Trout also claim that the first player to appear in a category usually ends up being the number one player.  There are plenty of good examples of this.  Chrysler brought us the first minivan and still leads the category.  However, I think the authors overstate the importance of being first, especially in our field.  There are just too many exceptions. 

  • Microsoft Excel was not the first spreadsheet, but it leads that category today.
  • Visual Studio was not the first IDE, but it leads that category today.
  • Perl was not first completely unreadable language, but it leads that category today.  :-)

Anyway, the main point remains:  There is a huge benefit to being number one in some category, even if you have to invent a whole new category.  :-)