What is Holistic Marketing? Definition, Strategies, and Examples

Richard Lee Peeler
Sally Sperling
Published: Nov 05, 2021
Last Updated:
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Holistic marketing can bring immense benefits to your business and community. With it, your organization can become happier, more robust, and more profitable, and your community becomes more engaged and supportive.

The holistic marketing approach creates synergy because it considers all interested parties: potential customers, employees, shareholders, vendors, and the whole community environment. In this guide, you'll learn more about the holistic approach to marketing, examples, and how businesses profit from embracing this concept.

Two People Standing in Front of a Board Discussing Marketing

What is Holistic Marketing?

Holistic marketing is a marketing strategy where you look at your business activities as a whole, which includes all related parties, the company's position, and the value brought to customers.

The Holistic Marketing Approach

You can take a natural approach to holistic marketing by having a brand purpose. Your brand purpose is the reason your business exists that goes beyond making more money. Aligning your brand purpose with powerful social motivators organically improves customer acquisition.

For example, Apple’s brand purpose is to create innovative products that enrich people’s lives. It permeates all Apple products from inception through marketing and on to after-sales support.

The goal of a holistic strategy is to grow out of your brand purpose is to unite your whole business in the pursuit of providing a great customer experience. Your focused brand image is the result. When you understand the holistic marketing concept, the entire organization works together as a whole. This allows you to provide an exemplary customer experience across every aspect of your business.

Successful holistic marketers incorporate the goal of providing a seamless customer experience across every department and in the actions of all individuals. The entire organization works together as a whole instead of functioning as siloed departments.

Benefits of Holistic Marketing

When everyone is united and working together towards a common goal, beneficial changes happen internally and externally.

  • Creativity blossoms and grows.
  • High-demand products and services are born, nurtured, and marketed better.
  • Employee and customer satisfaction increase.
  • The sales team has a better understanding of the customer journey.
  • You can create an effective long-term approach to your marketing campaigns

By taking a holistic approach to your key marketing strategies, your business can better execute each task.

For example, let’s say that your business needs a new product. A dedicated holistic marketer might involve all departments in product development and do the following:

  • Use collaboration software to ask for product ideas and track progress.
  • Research market interest and feasibility for the best ideas.
  • Determine the financial viability of the project.
  • Examine the legal and social implications.
  • Develop production plans to make the product ethically.
  • Market the product using the channels that give customers the best experience.
  • Provide after-sales support that keeps customers happy and coming back.

Traditional vs Holistic Marketing Strategy

If this sounds much like traditional marketing, that’s because it is. The differences are in the degree of interdepartmental cooperation, the emphasis on individual motivation, and the business's increased consideration of customer relationships and the public.

A critical modern development with an immense impact on holistic marketing is the rise of social media and digital marketing. Marketers can segment and reach consumers better and engage with them in more meaningful ways.

Consumers also have a louder voice today. A happy or disgruntled customer can now inform millions of other consumers about a product or service through social media. Having an amplified voice has given rise to influencers who make a business out of influencing consumers.

Consider how successful Samsung has been with using holistic marketing. Samsung has 330 social media accounts.

As the significance of social media grows and the pace of increasing social awareness accelerates, businesses that want to survive and prosper cannot ignore the importance of holistic marketing. Holistic marketing enables companies to stay relevant to changing market conditions.

There are four main components of holistic marketing. The strategies for execution vary from one organization to another, but the four pillars are always present.

Integrated Marketing

This form of marketing aims to accelerate business success through combining outbound, traditional marketing with newer inbound marketing methods. Integrated marketing combines

  • Paid channels include traditional advertising, direct marketing, and online ads.
  • Social media, UX, and direct messaging using email and mobile.
  • Organic searches using content marketing and influencer marketing.

Many new marketing channels have appeared in the last decade, opening new opportunities while compounding difficulties for integrated marketers seeking to coordinate their message. Presenting a harmonious, unified message similar across all channels increases brand awareness while boosting purchase intent.

Your brand achieves a cleaner, more extensive impact when everyone experiences your message in the same way everywhere. That’s why integrated marketing is sometimes called omnichannel marketing — because it’s universal.

Software developers have capitalized on the new environment by creating apps to track your messaging across all digital media because it’s crucial to avoid sending mixed messages to customers. Your message needs to be uniform across all platforms: press, advertising, and social media.

Examples of Integrated Marketing

Taco Bell has consistently been at the forefront of integrated marketing innovation for the last ten years. The question Taco Bell asks themselves before every digital change is, “What’s in it for the customer?”

Taco Bell was the first fast-food enterprise to create an app that allows customers to order and pay before arriving.

Today Taco Bell has

  • Revamped its website for a more streamlined ordering experience.
  • Incorporated nutritional information in its menu.
  • Introduced vegetarian options.
  • Made ordering kiosks accessible for individuals with disabilities.

Taco Bell uses social media extensively because the 72 million millennials making up America’s largest population group have incorporated SMM into the fabric of their lives.

Taco Bell uses

  • Influencer marketing to promote its products.
  • Twitter to monitor customer complaints.
  • Snapchat to unveil menu changes.
  • Instagram to display product-related artistic content.

Taco Bell’s integrated marketing efforts have paid off so well in the US that the company is now incorporating them worldwide.

Internal Marketing

In marketing, there are two types of customers. External customers are those you attract to your business through various marketing campaigns. On the other hand, internal customers are your employees and staff.

Internal marketing is educating employees on representing and characterizing your brand through their work.

Employee education imparts your organization’s vision, mission, and values while recruiting, onboarding, and training workers in their holistic marketing roles.

Internal marketing treats employees as internal customers and seeks to improve employee engagement through

  • Allowing open discussions, including criticism on products, policies, and leadership.
  • Fostering employee communication and collaboration.
  • Using a reward system, so employees know that their contributions are essential to company success.
  • Encouraging employees to experience the product or service themselves.

A McKinsey report states that employee productivity can increase by 20 to 25% through improving employee communication. Also, employees are 87% less likely to quit when communications are exemplary.

Installing and encouraging the use of an internal communications app is an effective way to boost employee morale and communications. You will know your employee transformation program is successful when employees have a feeling of belonging to "our business."

During the first year of an employee advocacy program, Dell generated over 150,000 shares and got 45,000 additional inbound website clicks.

Relationship Marketing

Our most substantial ties in life are our relationships with other people. Relationship marketing capitalizes on this aspect of humanity to create relationships with products and services.

Customer retention grows through relationship marketing and can result in a 5% increase lead to a 25% increase in profits. It’s much cheaper and easier to retain and sell to an existing customer than to find and sell to a new one.

Relationship marketing enables your organization to create solid, personalized ties to promote long-term customer loyalty, retention, and engagement. Successful branding is all about building meaningful relationships with everyone associated with the business in any way, including

  • Customers.
  • Employees.
  • Stakeholders.
  • Suppliers.
  • Regulatory bodies.
  • Financers.
  • Distributors.

Impersonal shopping experiences frustrate 71% of customers, while a whopping 90% of US consumers say personalization is appealing. Consumers expect relationship marketing, and it works.

Other relationship marketing strategies that businesses employ successfully are

  • Employing customer service teams.
  • Listening to and acting on customer feedback.
  • Emailing, chatting, and messaging to build relationships.
  • Automating communications: Email, chat, and SMS can be both automated and personalized.

You can also collect, store, and analyze customer data with a customer management platform. Businesses are investing more in relationship management software like CRM apps and resource management platforms to streamline marketing communication and avoid silos.

Examples of Relationship Marketing

For example, Coca-Cola’s touching messages about friends and family that encourage you to share a Coke make buying one much more than a soft drink purchase.

Amazon stores data on past purchases and has excellent success increasing sales with their feature “Frequently Bought Together.”

People remember those who don’t forget birthdays and anniversaries. Facebook uses this with reminders of contacts’ birthdays and FB’s automatically generated posts “10 years ago on this day...”

Firefox remembers browsing habits and displays the sites you’ve visited most as clickable icons that appear in newly opened windows and below the search box in text format.

Societal Marketing

Social marketing’s core principle is that businesses must be accountable and responsible for their actions because they impact society powerfully. Today’s environment demands a strong focus on social marketing since public clamor can damage businesses fast.

Consider the controversy surrounding Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, has been called before Congress numerous times to testify about Facebook’s actions as Congress considers social media regulations. Social pressure on Facebook has grown so great that it has changed its name to Meta.

While it’s common for businesses to attempt to influence lawmakers, companies suffer from a social backlash when they get caught using their influence selfishly. In today’s interconnected world, that backlash can be swift and cause permanent damage.

Examples of Effective Societal Marketing

In contrast, Patagonia manages its social marketing so well that it gained the number one spot in the 2021 Axial-Harris brand reputation poll.

Patagonia states that it’s “in business to save our planet.”

Their purpose-driven philosophy resonates so strongly with like-minded consumers because Patagonia’s convictions permeate their entire organization and all of their actions. Patagonia’s actions speak so loudly that creating natural marketing messages around them is easy.

  • Gives priority to hiring employees who share their beliefs about saving the planet.
  • Uses images sent in by actual customers to illustrate products.
  • Donated their ten million dollar Trump tax cut to environmental interests.
  • Contributes one percent of sales to environmental causes.
  • Only sells co-branded fleeces to companies who share their eco-friendly stance.

Unique marketing methods like their trade-in policy and “Don’t buy this jacket” campaign has grown out of Patagonia’s brand purpose. Both approaches demonstrate Patagonia’s environmental commitment.

The trade-in recycling program encourages customers to send perfectly functioning used items back for credit towards new or used gear.

The “Don’t buy this jacket” campaign encouraged people to reduce their environmental footprint by forgoing the purchase of a new jacket until necessary.

Yvon Chouinard, the 82-year-old founder of Patagonia, says, “Purpose is not a strategy. “

Beyond Holistic Marketing Strategy

Businesses that think beyond a non-holistic marketing strategy permeate their organization with a powerful brand purpose aligned with current social values. They find that holistic marketing strategies are easy to implement and prosper from. It becomes natural to adopt holistic concept marketing fully throughout their entire organization.

Holistic marketing is growing in importance, being one of the best strategies to use while adjusting to the changes social media and increasing social awareness present.

The companies using holistic marketing’s four strategic pillars are reaping immense rewards. Socially aware companies gain the respect and loyalty of everyone associated with them. When a brand lives its philosophy, holistic marketing strategies grow naturally out of its actions.


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