[The Law of Leadership] It's better to be first than it is to be better
The basic issue in marketing is creating a category [the company] 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.
You can demonstrate the law of leadership by asking yourself two questions:
1) What’s the name of the first person to fly the Atlantic Ocean solo? Charles Lindbergh, right?
2) What’s the name of the second person to fly the Atlantic Ocean solo? Not so easy to answer, is it?
Ego is the enemy of successful marketing. Objectivity is what’s needed. When people become successful, they tend to become less ...
No matter what your product is, you are ultimately in the education business. Your customers need to be constantly educated about the many advantages of doing business with you, trained to use your products more effectively, and taught how to make never-ending improvement in their lives.
In strength there is weakness. Wherever the leader is strong, there is an opportunity for a would-be No. 2 to turn the tables [...] If [the company] wants to establish a firm foothold on the second rung of the ladder, [it] should study the firm above. Where is it strong? And how does [the company] turn that strength into a weakness?
[The challenger] must discover the essence of the leader and then present the prospect with the opposite. (In other words, it shouldn’t try to be better, but try instead to be different.)
[...] The long-term effects are often the exact opposite of the short-term effects. Does a sale increase a company’s business or decrease it? Obviously, in the short term, a sale (discount) increases business. But there’s more and more evidence to show that Sales decrease business in the long term by educating customers not to buy at “regular” prices.
Aside from the fact that you can buy something for less, what does a sale say to a prospect? It says that [the company's] regular prices are too high. After the sale is over, customers tend to avoid a store with a “on sale” reputation.
(...) the key is to get the whole story into the headline but leave out just enough that people will want to click.