AMS Review

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The “first principles” of marketing strategy

  • Robert W. PalmatierEmail author
  • Andrew T. Crecelius


The marketing domain has grown increasingly rich with data, frameworks, and analyses that enable marketers to craft and execute effective strategies, but they simultaneously represent a potential barrier to strategy formation due to their diversity and complexity. This article proposes a parsimonious organizing framework for marketing strategy decisions and the tools associated with each decision. This framework is grounded in four assumptions or first principles that guide the effectiveness of any marketing strategy: (1) All customers differ, (2) all customers change, (3) all competitors react, and (4) all resources are limited. By reviewing prior marketing research through the lens of these four principles, this article illustrates how marketing theory and practice can apply extant analyses and frameworks to support strategy decisions associated with each principle. The authors also theorize about how the four principles build on one another in a natural sequence to guide the formation and execution of marketing strategies.


Marketing strategy First principles Customer heterogeneity Customer dynamics Sustainable competitive advantage Resource trade-off 



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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.University of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

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