How to Master Any Marketing Channel

F-A-C-T-S: a 5-step proven framework for success

Happy Saturday to all 8,868 of you 🦄.

(If you’re counting - I booted 512 folks from the list to keep send quality up)

Let’s get right to it:

It can be expensive and exhausting to figure out how to make a new marketing channel work.

But you can master any marketing channel with this 5-part framework:


F = first principles
A = ask experts
C = competitive research
T = test and learn
S = systems

Growth stage: early - mid

Difficulty level: medium

With this framework in hand, you’ll no longer feel lost or overwhelmed when approaching a new marketing channel.

We’re also going to mix things up a bit with a few new sections.

Today’s format is:

  • Need to Know (3 key updates)

  • 1 growth strategy (F-A-C-T-S framework)

  • Shout-outs (3 new joiners building cool stuff)

“I think it’s important to reason from first principles rather than by analogy. The normal way we conduct our lives is we reason by analogy. [With analogy] we are doing this because it’s like something else that was done, or it is like what other people are doing. [With first principles] you boil things down to the most fundamental truths…and then reason up from there.”

-Elon Musk

Need to Know

🦄 Google clarified its stance on using artificial intelligence to generate content for SEO. Bottom line - if it’s helpful to users, the source doesn’t matter.

🦄 OpenAI announced plugins, which allow their models to access third-party data sources using APIs. This will lead to some incredible new user experiences.

🦄 You can now use AI via Google Ads to create assets for you, which Google’s algorithms will then test to find the top performing creatives.

How to Master Any Marketing Channel

The F-A-C-T-S framework

A few years ago I was talking Facebook ad strategy with the Head of Growth at a large startup. He mentioned that he had some guys who were his “go-to” for all things FB. In fact, the primary investor in his startup used this team for all of his companies, because they were “the Facebook guys”. That was their specialty.

At this point we were several years into experimentation and growth with Facebook ads, but I was curious.

What could we learn from these experts?

Within a few weeks we hired this specialized Facebook agency to run in parallel to our internal team. Their goal was to beat our CPA with their superior skills.

They spent a decent amount of money and tried all the tricks in their bag, but they weren’t able to outperform the angles and creatives we’d developed ourselves.

Was this a waste of money?

Hell no.

We learned two important things:

  • How leading experts were thinking about Facebook ad strategy

  • That our team was as good as the leading experts

Had they outperformed our internal team, it would also have been a win:

  • More profitable ad strategies

  • Great training for our internal team to level up their performance

This story captures the “A” in the framework - “Ask the Experts”.

But let’s take a step back and start with first principles.

First Principles of a Marketing Channel

First principles reasoning means: what are the underlying truths to this system?

When approaching a new ad platform, you need to understand:

What are the rules governing success on this platform?

For paid search, for example, a fundamental principle is that your quality score largely determines how much you pay per click.

So you’d want to understand the elements that go into quality score:

  • CTR

  • Ad relevance

  • Landing page relevance

If you don’t understand the primary dynamics at hand, you can’t optimize them and win.

Ask the Experts

No matter how experienced you or your team are, digital channels change quickly and can support a range of successful strategies.

I’ve found that hiring outside experts to benchmark performance and get new ideas is a great way to ensure your internal team is performing at the highest level.

Asking an expert can mean many things.

In its most basic form, it could be paying for a digital course.

The other extreme is hiring an agency that charges 10% of marketing spend to run six-figures on one of your marketing channels.

As I explained above, the value of using experts to confirm performance is a win-win.

If you’re better than them, it’s objective confirmation.

If you’re not, it’s invaluable learnings for your team and improved ROI.

Competitive Research

If you’re in a popular niche where others are generating revenue, you can learn a lot by studying your competitors.

The point is not to copy, but to understand.

Look at the brands spending a lot of money:

  • How are they positioning themselves?

  • What type of ads are they using?

  • What type of landing page experience are they using?

You’ll want to test similar versions yourself (modified to suit your specific business and value prop) to benchmark performance.

One of my favorite approaches is to study large advertisers on a channel in a different vertical.

Oftentimes there are novel strategies working for a company in a totally different industry that you can apply to your own product.

It just takes a little imagination to translate an approach from one industry to another.

Test and Learn

Now that you understand the mechanics (first principles) of the channel and have studied the competition, it’s time for testing.

Every company’s approach to testing will be slightly different, but what’s important is that your testing framework be:

  • methodical and deliberate

  • isolates variables

  • statistically significant (here’s a stat sig calculator I like)

Your tests should be prioritized by impact.

The most important elements will usually be:

  • Ad angle / offer

  • Creative

  • Landing page

  • Targeting

  • Bid strategy


Systems and first principles go hand in hand.

Once you understand the key levers that will drive your success, you should build a system designed to improve each lever.

For example, ad creative.

I’d recommend setting up a testing schedule where you commit to testing X creatives every 1-2 weeks, and standardize the creative research, design and analysis workflow.

That way you’re not reliant on inspiration. You have a schedule.

With consistent testing, you will produce winners over time.

Set up similar systems for iterating landing pages, etc.

Going back to the PPC example. Since quality score has an outsized impact on cost, which affects ROI, you should have a system to monitor QS for important keyword segments and attack each of the components that can influence it.

Same for any other ad ecosystem that’s algorithm-based.

If you’re optimizing a variable, you should build a system around it so results are a side product of a well-oiled system.

The F-A-C-T-S Framework Summary

F = first principles
A = ask experts
C = competitive research
T = test and learn
S = systems

One more point:

Ask Experts comes second because a framework needs a memorable title.

In reality, if you’re going to pay a lot of money for outside expertise you should know enough about the channel to gauge the quality of outside expertise.

I would use lower cost forms of expertise such as research and courses before launching your tests, and then once you have some platform experience bring in paid experts.


Welcome to some new members of the unicorn community!

Alex, an SEO consultant at

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I hope this helps you in your growth journey.


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