AOL’s digital prophet claims the ‘four Ps of marketing’ are ‘absolute rubbish’

David Shing also suggested the era of celebrity influencers was coming to an end.

Photo by Jarle Naustvik

The ‘four Ps’ are a widely-adopted framework among marketers, with the likes of Tesco CEO Dave Lewis publically supporting their integration within big business.

And in a February Marketing Week poll, which generated nearly 800 votes, a resounding 77% of marketers answered yes when asked if the 4Ps of marketing were relevant to their job today. However, it’s fair to say Oath and AOL’s digital prophet (FYI – that’s a self-awarded title) David Shing isn’t much of a fan.

Speaking at the ProcureCon Marketing conference yesterday (15 June), Shing delivered an energetic, if rambling, presentation, where he seemed to dive through a different subject every 30 seconds while rapping unverified stat-after-stat to back up his many claims.

While making a point that the “wearable web” will be the next major trend for marketers, Shing claimed: “The 4 Ps of marketing are absolute rubbish.

“It’s true that 37% of kids are now better at swiping on iPads than their parents. If you give them analogue they think it is broken. So what’s the use of applying the four Ps that were invented in 1948 and are now so completely of out touch?”

READ MORE: The big debate: Are the ‘4Ps of marketing’ still relevant?

Shing was also critical of celebrity influencers and brand advocates. He believes consumers are now more influenced by their peers than a celebrity influencer network. The latter, he says, is “starting to backfire” because it’s too superficial.

However, just a few minutes earlier he had praised influencers, advising the audience: “If you can find a videographer, a DJ or an influencer you can make them part of your brand. You need to give them the tools to create stuff. The life of your content must start, not die, when it’s published and they can help with that.”

Even if Shing’s presentation was routinely contradictory, it injected flair into a conference grounded in the straight-laced world of procurement. At times, as Shing danced around the stage in glam rock sandals, the audience audibly gasped, unsure of what they were witnessing.

Shing’s final parting shot: “Ads suck, mobile ads are terrible. Messenger is the big problem as we need automation to be a lot smarter – 70% of people would rather read about a brand than be advertised to. So let’s evolve.”



There are 16 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. MKTG101 17 Jun 2017

    Based on this article I’m not even sure he knows what the 4Ps stand for…
    Ritson was right, a minimum of Marketing education should be required particularly for senior positions.

  2. James Steadman 17 Jun 2017

    Is this guy high, or what?

  3. John Vickary (JV) 19 Jun 2017

    Like so many of his fellow self-important “digital gurus”, Shing shows an incredible ignorance of the critical role the 4Ps (or 5,6 or 7 Ps) plays in marketing strategy.
    It suggests to me that he has no grounding in the broader field of marketing, and simply cannot accept that digital is nothing more than another marcoms channel.
    Oh how I yearn for the emergence of the next “shiny new thing” which will consign marketing fundamentals to history (yet again).
    I for one have heard enough of digital!

  4. Thomas Oosthuizen 19 Jun 2017

    I agree with the above comments. The number of “p’s” has increased. Yet, the fact of it has not changed as a business still has to produce something, even if printed in 3G, it still has to “get” it to consumers, it still needs to tell them about it. These are fundamentals of business, not marketing alone. All aspects of marketing technology, for one, focuses on one or more of these issues. Whilst I love marketers being challenged, at least think about it first.

  5. Difficult not to come to the conclusion that this chap is one of the ilk who bowl into a meeting with no idea what’s being discussed, spouts a few digital cliches, sound-bites and totally out of context percentages and leaves everyone wondering what on earth it is he actually does.

    And I fear MKTG101 is right. The iPad is a Product, found in that Apple Store Place (amongst others..), Promoted on various channels and available for a Price.

  6. Andrew 19 Jun 2017

    “w/ Bob & David’s” Shangy character talks as much sense as this bloke, and he just goes around literally shouting DIGITAL everywhere.

  7. malcolm wicks 19 Jun 2017

    Perhaps the ProcureCon Marketing conference simply hiring a comedian to entertain the audience.

  8. Kunal Chan Mehta 19 Jun 2017

    The only P not relevant is the one in his self-coined title. For everyone else, the 4Ps are relevant more than ever today due to the power of search.

  9. Nic Halley 20 Jun 2017

    How is this clown still a thing – 200 years ago they wouldn’t have let him milk a cow.

  10. Mark Bosworth 20 Jun 2017

    The Emperor’s New Clothes – although they could do with a bit of a wash. Spare me the rest. Although it was quite funny.

  11. Mike Allario 20 Jun 2017

    This dude actually took time to ‘work’ on that look before going to work; I have 4 ‘Ps’ for him: Potpourri, Polished, Pure and Professional. Now; someone please show him the shower and give him a bar of soap.

  12. Gabriel Donnelly 21 Jun 2017

    ‘Google’ and ‘Earth’. Goes together like ‘AOL’ and ‘Dial-Up’

  13. Tonia Smreczak 21 Jun 2017

    Clearly, the man is delusional.

  14. Eduardo Trevizani 22 Jun 2017

    Absolute rubbish is his sense of style.

  15. brian 22 Jun 2017

    Sounds like he hasn’t the faintest idea what the 4Ps are. WTF does the fact that kids may be more deft with iPad swiping than their parents, have to do with the 4Ps? Does Apple adjust it’s distribution and pricing based on this fact ? Nope. Does it shift it’s targeting focus to children, who likely don’t the have the disposable income to buy tablets? My question would be ‘don’t you think AOL might be in slightly better shape if it employed serious business and marketing people, versus, dudes with cool hair who say outrageously ignorant things just for the hell of it.

  16. Christopher Lawton 26 Jun 2017

    I don’t think he’s doing his employers any favours whatsoever – or to put it more succinctly , the guy seems an absolute tosser.

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