Marketing, from First Principles

11 ratings

Become a first-principles marketer.

You’ve seen so many marketing tactics out there. Ever wonder how they get created? Or better yet, how you could create them?

There is no "works-every-time" formula for marketing. But there are principles that underlie great marketing.

In this 37-page ebook, I’ll teach you those principles. And then I’ll show how you can use the principles to create your own tactics and strategies.

Principles vs Tactics

Tactics are the top of the triangle. First principles are the foundation - the fundamental knowledge from which everything else is derived. 

There will always be another “7-step framework” or “secret marketing blueprint they don’t want you to know”. But it’s always perishable. 

If you chase the tactics, you’ll always be chasing. You’ll always feel overwhelmed and like you’re playing catch-up. Because the minute you hear about the framework, it’s already becoming outdated and ineffective (this is the “law of shitty clickthrough rates”).

But first principles never perish. They’ll keep on working as long as humans keep on being humans. The top of the triangle always changes - the bottom never does.

In fact, first principles only become more valuable as time passes. We get constantly new tools and channels and opportunities, and first principles will help you tame the chaos and help you focus your efforts. 

By chasing tactics, you’ll think the marketing world keeps on getting crazier. But by using first principles, you understand what’s going on, and it all keeps on making sense to you. 

When your competition is operating in tactical hell, you’ll be sailing in first principle heaven.

Tactics perish like milk, first principles age like wine.

Proactive vs Reactive 

With first principles, you become proactive. You can derive tactics for yourself. You don’t need to hear about the tactic somewhere else and react to that information.

This means you can reap outsized returns. You’re a pioneer instead of a late follower.

You can move from the bottom of the triangle to the top, but it's difficult to move from the top to the bottom. 

Independent vs Dependent

Because you’re proactive, you can be independent. If someone took away your toys (blogs, podcasts, Twitter influencers), you’d still be able to execute. 

And independence isn’t limited to just actions. Your thinking on marketing and strategy will be independent. You don’t need thought leaders. You know how to think, not what to think.

As we know, the really good marketers, the innovators, are all independent thinkers. No exceptions. They don’t follow what a teacher says but reason things out for themselves, thus find paths not found by others.

Personalized vs Cookie-cutter

Because you can independently derive your own actions, you get personalized advice, on demand. You become your own consultant and expert. (Again, you’re not dependent on anything or anyone.)

By contrast, tactics are cookie-cutter. The blogs and podcasts will feed you stuff that sounds logical and makes sense, but if you try to execute on that, you’re lost. And you end up consuming more articles and podcast episodes in an effort to understand (which is the whole business model of many “influencers” - to confuse you, then give you just enough guidance to reel you back in so they can confuse you again).

You’ll break up with the endless cookie-cutter marketing content as soon as you understand first principles.

General vs Specific

Between tactics and principles, there’s a massive difference in explanatory power: when you understand a tactic, that understanding is limited to very specific circumstances. But when you understand a principle, suddenly you understand many things regardless of the circumstances.

First principles are general, thus applicable widely. (This general nature may make you mistake the principles for truisms or “obvious facts”. But don’t overlook them - the basics, once deeply understood, are more useful than the “advanced” stuff.)

Yes, you still need some tactical knowledge. But if you’re all tactics and no principles, it’s like you have lots of dots that you don’t know how to connect. 

To put it differently, an all-tactics-no-principles biologist knows the names of all the species on earth but has never heard of evolution. They know the specific stuff, but not the general stuff that actually matters.

First principles help you take a step back, connect different areas of marketing and show you how seemingly unrelated tactics actually share the same ancestor. 

Indeed, many great marketing campaigns share the same ancestor. Don’t just study the campaigns - study the ancestor.

The ebook

Section 1: The First Principles

Introduction to some first principles of marketing with full explanations of what they are and real examples of how they are used.

The principles carry huge explanatory power to branding, copywriting, early-stage marketing, UX, social media, SEO…. Basically, whichever area of marketing you work with, you’ll find new juice to succeed in that area from this ebook.

Section 2: Discovering more first principles

Sure, I’ll get you started and teach you the best first principles I know.

But it’s important to learn how to discover these first principles on your own, in your own environment, from your own experiences. I’ll teach you how to do that so your development won’t be limited to the duration of this workshop; your development will continue for life.

Section 3: Deriving new actions from first principles

How to put your new understanding to good use and come up with truly original marketing activities.

Delivery: Google Docs

If I make edits, you’ll get the upgrades for free and they’ll be available to you instantly via the same link (you have lifetime access).

Bonus: Top Marketing Resources

The best, most ever-green marketing resources I’ve come across.

Questions? Feedback?

Reach out at or on Twitter.

Buy this
24 sales

30 day money back guarantee, no questions asked

Just email me at

Last updated Jun 22, 2023

37-page ebook, lifetime access + small bonus


(11 ratings)
5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Marketing, from First Principles

11 ratings
Buy this