Most business owners would love to have a strong marketing department that drove sales by the bucketload. However, at JMarketing, we’ve found that creating successful marketing campaigns for our clients can create a downside if it conflicts with other parts of their business. This is where holistic marketing comes in.

Holistic marketing is a concept developed by Philip Kotler. In essence, it’s the practice of making sure that your marketing is cohesive and creates harmony between the desires of the different departments in your business, and your customers.

If you were to think of a business as being like a human body, each department is an organ reserved for a different function. Sales, marketing, customer service, product development, manufacturing…the exact departments will vary depending on the type of business, however, one fact remains constant: for your business to thrive, all the parts of the business need to work together in concert. 

The Holistic Approach

We’ve all been in businesses where management doesn’t see eye to eye with product development, or the sales team over-promises to get the sale, leading to problems down the line when production struggles to deliver the project to the client. 

A holistic marketing approach aims to remove these frictions, and practice marketing that aligns all the departments with each other and with the lifecycle of your customers. 

Fair warning – we’re going to use the ‘s’ word here. The final aim of holistic marketing is to get each part of your business working in synergy. In this scenario, each part complements the other, and the whole is greater than the sum of parts. 

holistic marketing

While it’s a simple concept, holistic marketing is a complex strategy to deliver on, so let’s unpack it a bit to see how this would work in practice. 

Marketing to the Customer Life Cycle  

Customers want different things during their time with your business. For example, if you’re a mobile network provider, when customers first interact with you, they’re likely price shopping. A lower price will go a long way to making the sale. 

However, once they become a customer, users will be more interested in prompt, effective customer service, good network coverage, and perhaps a new complementary phone every few years. 

This life cycle marketing is the first aspect to consider when you’re creating a holistic marketing strategy. Research will uncover for you the different stages of your customer lifestyle, and what customers want at each stage. 

Holistic Marketing Strategy

holistic marketing strategy

Once you’ve looked at customer lifecycles, the next step is to evaluate how each department in your business will interact with the customer over time. Are there times when one department’s objectives are in conflict with what the customer wants, or each other?

For example, using our mobile network provider example from before, the sales department may want to do a half-price promotion to bring in new customers. This will satisfy their goals of meeting new customer quotas. However, a huge price reduction offered to new customers will likely annoy existing customers, making the customer retention team’s job much harder. 

Identifying these types of conflicts and then figuring out how to balance competing objectives is a key part of holistic marketing. 

4 Components of Holistic Marketing

At the last count, there were over 100 types of marketing (something to keep marketing analysts and consultants very busy indeed.) Holistic marketing takes four of these approaches and aims to integrate them all so that your business’s marketing strategy aligns with each part of your business. 

These 4 components are:

  • relationship marketing
  • integrated marketing
  • internal marketing
  • societal marketing

To understand how these four key marketing strategies could work together, we first need to briefly summarize what they are. 

Relationship marketing focuses on the relationships between customers, employees, and business partners. For example, ensuring you have a good relationship with your customers is important, however, it’s just as important as having good working relationships between employees.

Integrated marketing seeks to tie together all the aspects of selling a product or service into a cohesive whole. This includes pricing, placement, promotion, and communication strategy. 

Internal marketing is aimed at the people working within the company. Its goal is to get all departments working together and aim to achieve a common outcome.

Societal marketing is a concept that places the good of society at the same level of importance as customer satisfaction and company growth. 

Tying all four of these marketing types into a single overall strategy isn’t a simple task. However, companies that achieve this experience unusually high growth, great customer satisfaction, and long-term employee retention. 

Examples of Holistic Companies

holistic Marketing strategy

A company that’s grown enormously through holistic marketing is Starbucks. They address the customer, their employees and societal good in one overarching strategy which has taken them to market leadership.

On the relationship marketing front, Starbucks provides an outstanding customer experience – the ‘3rd place’ where customers can relax, work, and enjoy their coffee. Providing this environment has created strong customer loyalty. 

For internal marketing, they provide excellent training and employee benefits even to part-time staff. Employees are recognized as partners, operating on the theory that happy employees will create a good customer experience.

Starbucks was one of the first takeaway chains to replace its cups with biodegradable ones, a societal marketing stance which has a significant environmental impact. They also try to source fair trade coffee which is sustainably grown.

Tying their branding, store design, and coffee offerings together, Starbucks delivers on the integrated marketing front as well. Combining these strategies into a holistic marketing plan has definitely contributed to Starbuck’s continued growth over the last several decades. 

Apple is another example of holistic marketing. The packaging, product development, marketing and sales all work together in a cohesive and tightly focused brand. The highly trained AppleCare staff support the sales team, and this leads to long-term customer retention.

How to do Holistic Marketing

The promise of holistic marketing is that it multiplies the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. An outreach campaign that has the full support of the customer relationship staff, sales team, product development and management will be far easier to execute, and is far more likely to result in profits and happy customers. 

JMarketing is an expert at designing holistic marketing campaigns that will align customer wants with the goals of your different business departments. Talk with us about how we can make your marketing far more effective. 

Joshua Strawczynski

An expert in influencing consumer behaviour online. Josh is an award-winning digital marketer, business manager and best selling author. He regularly appears in the media, providing insights into using influence tactics to enhance marketing strategy effectiveness.

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