Using a holistic marketing approach allows you to make the best use of all the solutions available to set your brand apart. Directing all your marketing dollars to one area just isn’t enough today. Marketing is multifaceted with many different levers.

The best way to make use of various solutions is by bringing everything together into a comprehensive and balanced marketing plan. That’s what tech giant Apple, global beer maker Heineken and a growing number of leading brands are doing — and it’s working.

The same approach can work for smaller businesses. Holistic marketing is helping businesses get the most out of their marketing plans and drive sales by filling the sales funnel with the right target customers.

It works because it brings all aspects of marketing — programs, campaigns and processes —under one umbrella. And it takes all parts of the business into account, especially its customers.

Holistic marketing plans consider all these perspectives to create customer-centric content and messaging. In this way, a holistic marketing approach can create unified, consistent, positive brand messaging across all channels – delivering a good customer experience and achieving business goals.

The thinking behind holistic marketing is that the whole business is greater than the sum of its parts. In today’s digital world, where competition and messaging are everywhere, you can gain a competitive advantage by having all parts of your business working toward the same goal.

Components of a holistic marketing approach:

  1. Relationship marketing
  2. Integrated marketing
  3. Internal marketing
  4. Societal or socially responsible marketing
digital marketing strategy template

What is holistic marketing?

Holistic marketing is a marketing strategy focused on the big picture. It requires understanding the whole business and then connecting marketing strategy to each of the departments that make a company work.

Holistic marketing also requires a crystal clear focus on customers. Armed with this knowledge and these important connections, marketing can develop customer-centric content. This content is shared throughout the business to help deliver on its goals.

The Big Benefits

  • Increased efficiency because everyone is on the same page.
  • Improved effectiveness because all departments are working toward the same goal.
  • A stronger brand because of consistent, cohesive messaging.
  • A better experience for customers because they are getting the same message from all parts of the business.

The four parts of a holistic marketing approach

Every business is different, so how you go about implementing a holistic marketing approach will be unique to you. What remain the same are the components. These include: relationship marketing, integrated marketing, internal marketing and societal marketing.

1. Relationship marketing

All businesses want to build strong, long-lasting relationships with customers. It’s also one of the most difficult things to do. To succeed, you have to first get a potential customer’s attention. Then you have to give them a reason to choose you over your competitors. This requires a deep understanding of your target customers, their demographics, interests, likes, dislikes, wants, needs and wishes.

It’s a lot, but it’s necessary because relationship marketing is focused on driving customer satisfaction and loyalty. It’s what can help your company attract customers and keep them coming back.

If you’re only focused on trying to make a one-time sale, then relationship marketing is not for you.

Relationship marketing in action

Loyalty programs, asking for and acting on feedback, and providing value-added information – such as videos or articles – are all examples of relationship marketing. In today’s visual world, educational videos provide an effective way to engage and inform customers.

2. Integrated marketing

The foundation for integrated marketing is a unified, consistent, cohesive message that goes out to customers. Advertising, public relations, direct marketing, social media marketing and all digital communications (from pay-per-click marketing campaigns to customer reviews to your website) work together to create a positive brand image.

This is important because it ensures everyone that comes in contact with you has the same view of your business. It also takes time and is difficult to do well. Many businesses bring in digital marketing agencies to help pull all those pieces together.

For example, you’ll need to:

  • Determine campaign goal and key performance metrics.
  • Establish clearly defined buyer personas.
  • Identify the right marketing channels and set unique goals.
  • Choose marketing content that is adaptable and can be repurposed.
  • Strategize how you’re going to collect leads.
  • Launch, monitor, measure and repeat.

Integrated marketing in action

The Digital Marketing Institute cites Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty as one of the seven most successful integrated marketing campaigns. It started as a series of billboards in two cities that asked people to vote on what beauty looked like. Drivers texted in their votes and the conversation spilled over onto social media, where it went viral. Parent company Unilever then used the findings to extend the conversation.

3. Internal marketing

Internal marketing is focused on a business’s employees — the people behind the positive brand image and great customer service. It’s based on the understanding that to drive a great customer experience, every interaction a customer has with a company has to be a positive one.

To deliver top service, employees must be motivated and engaged, and feel good about the company and their work. Internal communication alongside effective training and good corporate culture are key to making this happen.

When a company is clear about its vision and mission – what sets it apart – and invests in its people and unique culture, employees can get excited and bring that enthusiasm to customers.

To get this right, outsourcing other marketing tasks can help you focus on the people you’re closest to: your employees.

Internal marketing in action

Apple’s external image as innovative, creative and knowledgeable starts with its employees. Its well-trained brand ambassadors bring these attributes to serving customers. They are experts on the products; willing and able to answer just about any question.

4. Societal or socially responsible marketing

This final component of a holistic marketing approach is all about having a greater purpose and taking society’s long-term interests into account when making marketing decisions. The goal is to attract customers who want to make a positive difference in society with their purchases.

These types of marketing initiatives fall into three categories: social, environmental and cause-related. In all cases, it’s about showing how your business and/or products are responsible and helping people and the planet.

Societal marketing is another tool to help build lasting relationships with customers by building a better image of the company and setting you apart from competitors.

Societal marketing in action

The Body Shop beauty brand is known for its activism to advance civil rights and protect animals and the environment.

There’s a reason holistic marketing is so popular with leading brands: it works. By looking at the big picture and the whole business, a holistic marketing plan takes a balanced approach. You’re not putting all your marketing dollars behind one strategy. Instead, you reach the right customers with a unified and positive business image.