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Holistic marketing incorporates integrated marketing, relationship management, internal marketing, and social responsibility to build a unified and shared brand.
Differentiate between holistic marketing and the traditional methods that came before it
Traditionally, marketing mostly related to personal selling. The idea of marketing was largely one of managing key relationships.
As marketing evolved alongside technology, the scope, scale, and the availability of data has changed significantly. Today, marketing is largely about careful research, targeted market selection, and segmentation.
However, segmentation may not be the ideal form of utilizing technology and data for marketing strategy. Holistic marketing is the idea that unifying a market based on shared goals is better.
Holistic marketing is often considered to include four components: relationship marketing, integrated marketing, internal marketing, and socially responsible marketing.
Through combining these four components of marketing, a holistic marketing strategy will focus on putting forward a vision and brand that is meaningful to consumers across the entire market.
The history of marketing has seen a fair amount of evolution over time, particularly with the integration of technology and big data. The origins of marketing are much simpler than modern marketing, revolving primarily around managing relationships and personal selling. Marketing tactics and methods have changed over time, spanning from simple personal selling to advertising, promotions, affiliate advertising, social media, PR, branding, and market research to support each of these investments and initiatives.
As globalization, mass production, and big data became prevalent across industries, marketing evolved to be more targeted and specific across many different potential channels. This resulted in marketing segmentation, or the strategic decisions to pursue specific groupings within the broader population of the market. Segmentation through target markets has been (and currently is) a powerful trend in marketing strategy and tactics.
This targeting and segmentation through broader market opportunities has substantial advantages, and is a useful perspective for marketing managers to consider. However, holistic marketing assumes that segmentation is as much a threat as it is an opportunity. The prospect of 'divide and conquer' is potentially more expensive than uniting the market based on shared initiatives and needs. Holistic marketing unites the market on shared ideals and vision, creating an inclusive, relationship-oriented and socially responsible strategy. This typically includes four perspectives:
Relationship Marketing - A large field (often referred to as retention), relationship marketing is the simple idea that retaining a customer is significantly cheaper than getting new ones. Relationship is about building a meaningful engagement with current customers, not so much to make a sale but simply to ensure a continued relationship with the organization.
Integrated Marketing - Another substantial branch of marketing is referred to as integrated marketing communications. Integrated marketing focuses on aligning the messaging, communication, and brand image across a variety of channels, customer groups, stakeholders, and other communications. By having a consistent brand across the board, companies can build a sense of trust, reliability, and shared expectations when dealing with the firm.
Internal Marketing - Potentially viewed as a facet of integrated marketing, it's important to keep in mind that internal stakeholders such as employees require careful organizational brand management as well. Employees impact what the organization stands for (brand), and play an integral role in driving the organization towards its objectives, mission, and vision. Internal consistency of intention and vision is therefore a critical part of external consistency.
Socially Responsible Marketing - Finally, the modern holistic view of marketing takes into account some of the ethical criticisms of the past advertising eras (and with good reason). Organizations should stand for things that society values. Let's take an example. An organization sells carpets and furniture. They realize the negative impact of their operations on the environment. This company decides to define their brand on perfect efficiency in terms of shipping, complete utilization of recycled goods, large donations to environmental research, and local sourcing. As a result, they build meaningful relationships with their consumers based on shared values, while cutting operating costs and capturing subsidies. This is a great utilization of holistic marketing.
While holistic marketing is an evolving field, the general concept is simple. Markets are full of people, and these people are often united on certain initiatives. By aligning the organization with the people who work there and the people it serves, the organization's brand will evolve holistically across various channels, supported by operations that align with the vision of the customers.
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