MSoM #001 | Dr Augustine Fou and the disruption of marketing theory

Feb 14, 2021

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Welcome to the very first episode of Making Sense of Martech, an irregular set of interviews with some of the most interesting people in marketing technology.

Making Sense of Martech (MSoM) is an extension of the TMW newsletter in a few ways. Each week people ask me to go deeper into the most popular topics of the newsletter. This is how I'm going about it, interviewing the people behind the research, ideas and important work featured in The Martech Weekly and sharing those recorded conversations here.

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In this first ever episode of MSoM, I'm joined by Dr. Augustine Fou a marketer of 25 years and a world class expert in advertising fraud. He's taught marketing at NYU and Rutgers University and has worked at companies like American Express, Intel, Omnicom and McKinsey and Company.

We discuss the place of academic marketing theory, like the 4 Ps (Product, Price, Promotion and Place) in a world where technology has changed the game for what marketers focus on day to day. We talk about the relevancy of the 4P's during technological disruption, and some alternative frameworks.  This conversation also sits in the context of Dr. Augustine Fou's defense of a young marketer online and we discuss how marketers should approach public discourse. We also talk about the state of digital, programmatic advertising, it's future and risks on the horizon for advertisers and brands.

You can get it here on your favourite podcatcher.


💬 TL;DL (Too Long Didn't Listen)

Here's a summary of what we covered in our conversation;

Are the 4Ps dead?

What is the place of marketing frameworks like the 4Ps that have been around for more than 60 years? We discuss the place of theoretical frameworks and how they map to the marketer's experience in the real world, particularly as brands respond to technology disruption. Our conversation centered on how marketers can use theoretical or academic frameworks to drive bigger picture thinking, but balanced with approaches to marketing that responds to customer's needs today.

How do marketers respond to customer needs in a digital world?

How do frameworks like the 4Ps respond to the needs of the customer? One important observation we discussed centered on many of the frameworks used in university classroom tend to work in reverse to the customer's needs. They essentially ask the marketer "what do we want to do" instead of asking "how can we respond to our customers and the market needs." One example is shopping for a TV, most people don't respond to a brand campaign and buy a TV, but they do go through cycles of research, exploration and auditing online before they make a purchasing decision. The 4Ps don't account for the majority of economic activity that happens today where customers have a larger share in the buying, education and even the price setting process.

Provided by Dr Augustine Fou

The missing links framework

The missing links framework is a concept developed by Dr. Augustine Fou as an alternative to the 4Ps. The framework helps marketers pinpoint areas in the customer journey where there is a lack of congruency between experiences. We discussed Google's recent article on the "messy middle" and how customer journeys are very personal and unique to each unique person. We discuss how the missing link framework addresses the customer's experience directly in a way that other theoretical frameworks do not while also guiding marketing activity towards solving on the missing pieces in a customer's journey.

Catalysing conversation in public marketing discourse.

This podcast came about from a public altercation between Augustine and a number of senior marketers in academia, in response to a young marketer's Medium post discussing the relevancy and value of the 4Ps. We talk about the state of public discource, how to challenge each other and why most people in the marketing and advertising industry are reluctant to publish knowledge work in the public domain. We discuss some learnings from engaging in public discourse, how to expand upon and welcome new thinking from the next generation of marketers and how criciscism can actualy be the foudnation of productive relationships in marketing.

The present and future of digital advertising - Risks and rewards.

We ended our discussion on the topic of digital advertising, regulation and what's next for the industry. We covered a number of threads on the shift away from 3rd party cookies, the problem with trade desks in programattic advertising and how some publishers like the Washington Post are going direct to advertisers with solutions like contextual advertising. We also talked about the place of individual targeting and the attribution problem and measuring broad outcomes from advertising efforts.


📚 Resources

4P’s Are Dead—Because They’re Academic, Not Practical And More Irrelevant Than Ever

The Case For New Ideas And Challenging Traditional Marketing Ideals

Augustine Fou's Twitter thread on the doing marketing in the digital age

The Missing Links Framework

Washington Post Signal Beefs Up Contextual Targeting

TMW #017 | Advertising with 1st party data, Spotify turning musicians into customers, business strategy and experimentation

How people decide what to buy lies in the ‘messy middle’ of the purchase journey

Digital Attribution's Ladder of Awesomeness: Nine Critical Steps - Avinash Kaushik

Contact Dr. Augustine Fou on Twitter and LinkedIn


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Juan Mendoza

Marketing technology strategist at The Lumery, I analyse marketing, data, and technology trends for some of the most well-known Australian and global brands.

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