Holistic marketing, a plan to expand marketing’s position beyond the marketing department and into an enterprise-wide involvement in strategy for all business activities, has proven to be one of the most effective concepts in marketing’s ongoing 21st-century evolution.
Like conventional marketing teams, holistic marketers discover possibilities, design goods and services, and create the infrastructure to support them rather than working in silos on individual advertising initiatives. Holistic marketers, in contrast to conventional marketers, see the company as one interconnected unit, allowing them to provide a cross-enterprise perspective to corporate strategy.
Holistic marketers care about other profit drivers that conventional marketers sometimes overlooked, such as the role the company plays in the larger economy, in society, and in the lives of consumers, in addition to reframing the marketing function as a force at the centre of the firm.
Holistic Marketing: A Corporate Mentality
Holistic marketing programmes (and all associated processes and activities) are created as interconnected platforms that have the breadth to integrate all business activities and bring all employees, from the CEO down to the support staff, together around common business objectives and a unified message.
Holistic marketing proponents contend that the fact that marketers work across several business units offers them a holistic view of the company as a whole that can and should be aligned with shared corporate goals. Marketing is uniquely positioned to use the interconnection of all business operations inside an organisation to achieve alignment, unlike other functions, and the holistic perspective can also drive strategy, efficiency, and profit in a manner that no other department can.
“Everything Is Marketing and Marketing Is Everything”
Although the term “holistic marketing” is relatively new, the fundamental idea of using marketing as a cross-enterprise business driver is not. The “P.R. Guru of Silicon Valley,” Regis McKenna, said in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) as early as 1991 that the conventional notion of marketing as a “different… separate activity… subservient to the core operations” is “completely unsupportable and outmoded.” He is famous for saying that “marketing is everything and everything is marketing,” which indicates that all crucial factors that determine how businesses operate are “ultimately the functions of marketing.”
For the straightforward reason that modern economies have a “surfeit of goods” and a “shortage of customers,” marketing has become “much more important in the hierarchy of company functions,” according to Philip Kotler, a trained economist who has been dubbed “the most influential marketer of all time,” in 2002.
Holistic marketing offers firms effective tactics to differentiate their brands and foster departmental synergy and efficiency as market forces drive up competition and technology gives customers more power and choice.
In Holistic Marketing, “Everything Matters”
In a 2019 interview, Kotler claimed that holistic marketers are aware that “everything counts with marketing” and that taking a comprehensive, integrated approach is what produces the greatest results. He foresaw “the collapse of the marketing department and the growth of holistic marketing” as a result.
The Harvard Business Review did not mean to “disparage” marketers when they stated that “marketing has become too important to be left just to the marketers,” but rather to “underscore how holistic” marketing has become in high-performing businesses that provide seamless brand experiences to all customers.
In fact, three of the five drivers of organisational effectiveness identified by the HBR are holistic marketing practices:
1) linking marketing to the organization’s overall business strategy
2) involving staff members at all levels in the brand’s mission
3) setting up agile, cross-functional teams to work on common business goals.
Market Segmentation vs. Holistic Marketing
In contrast to market segmentation, a potent marketing approach that divides a target market into distinct consumer segments based on their characteristics, holistic marketing is concentrated on bringing a market together by discovering shared objectives.
No matter how different market sectors may be, they frequently come together for major, international efforts, according to the holistic premise. Companies that match their brands with what their consumers desire in the broadest sense, meanwhile, benefit from this, and can even help growth drive-up growth organically.
According to Kotler, branding is “building fans” who believe in the brand’s ability to improve their lives. Consumers who are brand advocates for businesses that express a higher brand purpose are not just engaged customers; they also contribute free publicity across media.
The Four Elements of Wholesome Marketing
By addressing everything from internal alignment on the brand purpose to business relationships with all stakeholders and the ethical, social, and environmental effects of the business on society, Kotler’s four dimensions of holistic marketing serve as a demonstration of just how comprehensive and complex this approach is.
Internal marketing: According to Kotler, holistic marketers are aware that every employee of the company, particularly senior management, represents the brand. As a result, constant internal alignment to the brand’s vision and ideals is essential to how the brand is seen by the public. According to McKenna, “marketing has to be…part of everyone’s job description, from the receptionists to the board of directors”—not in order to manipulate the consumer but rather in order to build a “systematic method for engagement that will develop substance in the relationship.”
Integrated marketing is the coordination of all marketing initiatives across all platforms to ensure that all clients and business partners see the brand and the messaging in the same way. The omnichannel experience’s consistency generates a sense of matching expectations, reliability, and confidence, all of which increase advertising, public relations, direct marketing, online communications, and social media marketing ROI (return on investment).
Relationship marketing: According to Kotler, a significant growth driver is the relationship marketing strategy’s outstanding breadth of application. Holistic marketers create an even more valuable asset by seeing a firm’s diverse business connections with all stakeholders as valuable corporate assets: stable, long-term networks founded on mutual prosperity.
Obviously, the most crucial relationship is with the customer, with a focus on long-term client retention, customer relationship management (CRM), and customer lifetime value (CLV), but holistic marketers see practically every customer the company interacts with as a constituent with the potential to influence the success or failure of the business.
In addition to the financial community (investors, shareholders, analysts), regulatory organisations, and rival companies, this also refers to workers and partners (subcontractors, retailers, suppliers, distributors, channel members, and agencies).
Performance Marketing | Societal Marketing: The holistic approach to performance marketing looks at more than just short-term financial results, like sales revenue, and focuses on factors that have a longer payoff horizon, like market share, customer retention, product quality, and customer satisfaction. However, holistic marketers also take into account less tangible non-financial gains to the company and to society, such as the business’s influence on the law, morality, society, and the environment.
This comprehensive approach expands a company’s sphere of influence beyond customers and other stakeholders to society at large by positioning the company as a socially responsible partner engaged in ethically sound business practices, such as environmentally friendly production and meaningful community interaction. This aspect of holistic marketing, also known as social marketing, has shifted its emphasis more and more toward environmental concerns.
Holistic performance marketing: What Is It?
Holistic performance marketing looks at long-term value drivers including customer happiness, customer loss rate, product quality, and market share in addition to immediate financial returns like sales income. A holistic marketer also takes into account the company’s and society’s non-financial benefits, such as its influence on the law, morality, society, and the environment.
What Sets Holistic Marketing Apart from Market Segmentation?
The primary distinction between the two is that whereas holistic marketing focuses on uniting a market by identifying common goals, market segmentation divides a target market into specified customer groupings based on their distinctions.