Zipf, his law and why it matters


The category you're in matters.  It matters because some categories are better than others. Much better. If you have control over what category you're in, it can have enormous impact.  

Zipf's law teaches us that something that ranks #1 often sells 100 times better than something ranked #100.  Being #1 means you sell twice as much as #2.

The law broken down and simplified for marketing:

  • a few things are chosen a lot;
  • some things are chosen fairly often;
  • a lot of things are rarely chosen at all.

You want your business to be in the first category.

If you sell websites and you have 5 competitors in your category it's worth the effort to be #1.  It's even better to make up your own niche category and own it. You'll get more referrals, more talented employees will want to work with you and your customers will spread the notion of you, much more.  It's human nature.  We can't help it. We want what we can't have and what we can have, we want the very best of.  We don't think Chapters has a lot of requests for their 62nd best seller.  If you need a designer for an important project, do you start out looking for the 5th best?  Not likely.  People want to be associated with #1 and they're willing to pay for it.

Winners win big because everyone loves a winner.

Take a minute to ask yourself what category you're in.  And what Zipf would have to say about it.