According to a self-proclaimed ‘digital prophet’ the four Ps of marketing are dead.

If it has been a while since you picked up a marketing textbook, let me remind you that the four Ps refer to product, price, promotion and place. When I formally studied marketing they were the foundations on which all marketing plans were based.

Since then the list has been expanded by 75 per cent. In 2015, the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) published a report on the seven Ps, adding people, process and physical evidence to the alliterated list. That seemed good to me at the time. And it still does.

These foundations are a solid base on which to build plans.

But in a recent conference presentation David Shing of AOL proclaimed that “The four Ps of marketing are absolute rubbish.”

He went on to ask “what’s the use of applying the four Ps that were invented in 1948 and are now so completely of out touch?”

Does he have a point?

Well, applying the same logic we should maybe scrap the General Theory of Relativity. After all, that dates back to 1915 so can hardly be relevant now, can it? Or what about the Ten Commandments? Those are 3,000 years old or more and therefore clearly not relevant to the digital age.

Obviously, the way we apply the four Ps needs to reflect modern life. We have products and channels of communication that were not even envisaged at the time the original concepts were being drafted.

But are the four Ps ‘rubbish’? I don’t think so. And I appear to be in good company with people such as Tesco CEO Dave Lewis apparently supporting their integration within big business.

The fact is that the four Ps (or seven) still provide a structure that should shape our marketing thinking. Digital or otherwise, the fundamentals haven’t changed. We still need to understand what we’re selling, who we are selling it to, why they might buy it, how much they would be willing to pay, etc.

Or are Mr Lewis and me just showing our age? Should we scrap the four Ps? And if so, with what (if anything) should we replace them?