The law of duality states, “inthe long run, every market becomes a two-horse race (Rise/Trout P.44).
“Meaning, eventually markets on a ladder compete in twos at the top. The law ofduality is flawed and doesn’t apply in several circumstances today. Today wehave several market leaders in the same category. I’ll be explaining how in thetime of internet things have changed, allowing for more than two market leadersat the top by providing examples of three specific markets where this law hasnot applied. I’ll be explaining how the law has not applied in the world ofwireless telephones, airline companies, and niche brands.
To rephrase, the law of dualityexplains in the long run, “the battle usually winds up as a titanicstruggle between two major players, usually the old reliable brand and theupstart Ries/Trout P.44).” They inform us that if you are either not thefirst or second brand you are irrelevant in the world of business. The authorsencourage the readers to see the law as a gateway into the future. They suggestthat by applying this law in the marketing world, planning for the future willbe easier in the short run. They provide examples of major companies, likeCoca-Cola and Pepsi, Colgate and Crest, McDonalds and Burger King. They informus that being third or fourth is irrelevant because eventually you will ceaseto exist.
But leaving out various market where this law does not apply issomething the authors flawed in. The law of duality no longer appliesto many markets thanks to the internet. Today consumers have access to endlessinformation. Consumers are able to communicate and share information via onlinereviews, on apps like yelp and forums. Current examples where this law nolonger hold truth is with wireless carriers.
According to the authors, thethree leading telephone markets in 1993 where: AT, MCI, and Sprint. Theauthors predict and put their money on MCI. Today MCI, at least for me, is nota company I can remember. Today the leading telephone companies are not two butfour: Verizon, AT, Sprint, and T-Mobile. According to Buffalo News, in2013 Verizon was the top wireless carrier, but T-Mobile and AT where notfar behind. This is proof that the race between wireless carriers is notbetween two but of more. Airline companies are anotherexample where the law of duality has not applied. Today we have access tohundreds of airlines company and the most affordable prices thanks to ourcomputers.
Travel is literally a click away. To list only four in the UnitedStates we have: American Airlines, Delta, United, and Southwest. In April of2016, according to Business Insider Delta was worth 37.1 billion, Southwest wasworth 25.8 billion, American Airlines 25.3 billion, and United was worth 21billion.
These four major airline companies don’t fall behind one another andare proof that the law of duality does not apply in this case. It’s clearairline companies can dominate a market in more than two.Today we have access to a variety ofbrands and markets. One example of this is niche brands, internet searches makeit easier to find these smaller brands today. These small brands are able togain market share because of the easiness to gain access to them.
Niche brandsare an example of not falling under the law of duality because they are able tomake themselves relevant in a world where two or more markets may already beholding the majority of the market. For example, take Peets coffee and tea, theyare able to provide an experience unlike Starbucks or the Coffee Bean. Theseniche brands gain popularity and customer loyalty making them a strongcompetitor for the already standing brands in the coffee and tea world.
Anotherexample of this is someone might start of by liking artist like NSync and theBackstreet boys, but thanks to internet searches or streaming services they mayend up accessing a niche band that otherwise they would have never found. The law of duality may have someflaws, but it does hold some value under certain circumstances. When thinkingof older companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi I think the law is somewhatcorrect. Generally speaking the average person thinks of these two options whenthinking of purchasing a dark soda beverage. Take the example of Colgate andCrest, this is another company that shows proof of two major brands dominatingthe teeth cleaning world.
The authors also indicate something that I thinkstill applies in today’s world. They say, “as time goes on, these customersget educated. They want the leading brand, based on the naïve assumption thatthe leading brand must be better (Ries/Trout P48).” In closing the law of duality,although may still apply in some markets today is overall flawed. The claimthat every market eventually becomes a two-horse race is incorrect. Becauseconsumers have so much access to information they are able to pick and choosefrom a variety of different market leaders not just two. Today we see proof ofthis in airline companies, wireless phone carriers, and niche brands andproducts.
The market leaders don’t need to be first, or second, or even third.There is enough room for products to thrive in a market that allows for morethan two market leaders at the top.