The holistic marketing concept is a relatively new marketing perspective that takes into account the entire organization in addition to its counterparts when determining or executing its overall marketing strategy. Holistic marketing recognizes that there are many stakeholders involved in each transaction—from suppliers, to employees, customers, shareholders, the community at large, and the environment. In order for a company to achieve success in today’s business landscape, it must take into consideration the complexities of its breadth and interdependencies because businesses no longer exist in a vacuum but within a multi-dimensional, global, interconnected landscape.
Companies who adopt this new marketing paradigm are not only generally more profitable, but they subscribe to a triple bottom line objective of profit, people and planet as opposed to a pure profit maximization strategy that typically only serves to benefit shareholders.
From a 2005 article in the European Journal of Marketing entitled “Stakeholder perceptions presage holistic stakeholder relationship marketing performance,” the authors write:
Stakeholder performance appraisal results to date indicate that a holistic stakeholder relationship marketing orientation that incorporates triple bottom line philosophy significantly enhances business financial performance beyond that achieved by a customer relationship marketing orientation.
To this end, I recently came across the Conscious Capitalism Institute web site, which serves to explore this emerging new business paradigm and bridges together distinguished professors, thought leaders, and CEOs from such companies like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Southwest Airlines and Starbucks.
It was on this web site that I came across marketing professor Rajendra Sisodia (who has his MBA in Marketing from the Bajaj Institute of Management in Mumbai, India and a PhD in Marketing from Columbia University), who believes that traditional marketing is going away. He argues that companies that perform well in today’s business landscape may not even spend any money on marketing at all.
In reference to his book Firms of Endearment: How World Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose, he writes:
This book not only challenges capitalism’s traditional marketing paradigm but the very “genes” of capitalism. If any book is going to launch a New Capitalism of Caring, it is this book that redefines great companies as stakeholder value builders, not just shareholder agents.
Because companies can no longer solely control their brand image or marketing efforts through the traditional “push” channels of broadcast media, direct mail, advertising, or public relations (to name a few), in order to be successful the focus is going to have to shift to managing and servicing customer wants and needs, employee and stakeholder satisfaction, and inbound marketing methods.