The Law of Resources: A Good Idea Isn’t Enough

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing" by Al Ries and Jack Trout. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is the Law of Resources? Why is having a good idea not enough in the marketing arena?

Marketing is about getting your product or service into the minds of consumers, and you need resources not only to reach them in the first place but also to stay in their minds. And marketing is very expensive.

Continue on to learn more about the Law of Resources.

The Law of Resources

If you have a great idea and you’re ready to apply The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing and watch your business take off, take a step back. No matter how brilliant your idea is, you need money in order to successfully market it. Marketing is about getting your product or service into the minds of consumers, and you need money not only to reach them in the first place but also to stay in their minds. Marketing is a constant—and expensive—battle. Even household names like Procter & Gamble and General Motors spend billions each year to stay in consumers’ minds. That’s why the Law of Resources is so important.

Leverage your idea to find funding. You could: 

  • Pitch venture capitalists, but be warned that few entrepreneurs secure sufficient funding this way.
  • Pitch your idea to an existing company, in which case your best bet is to pursue smaller companies. Large companies seldom accept ideas from outside the organization. 
  • Franchise your idea. Tom Monaghan took this route to get Domino’s Pizza off the ground. 
  • Get help from your parents or relatives, if you come from a wealthy family. Donald Trump’s father had already built wealth that was critical to Donald’s early success.

If your customers are other businesses, you’ll still need a sizable budget but it will be considerably less than you’d need for a product or service aimed at the general public. And if you’re a large company that already has a big budget, use it. Being frugal won’t earn you sales, so invest in marketing and follow the laws we’ve discussed.

The Law of Resources: A Good Idea Isn’t Enough

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  • Why the quality of your product matters less than customers' perceptions of it
  • Why trying to appeal to everyone will sink your sales
  • How Marlboro sold more cigarettes to women by marketing to cowboys

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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