What is Holistic Marketing?

The concept of “marketing” means many things to many different people. As a marketing professional, how do you determine where to spend your marketing dollars and uncover what strategies and tactics make the most sense for your business in such a rapidly changing industry where keeping up with your competitors has become not only confusing, but increasingly difficult?

What is Holistic Marketing?

Did you know that 87% of a company’s market value today is represented by their intangible assets (brands, quality processes, relationships, etc.) compared to 1975, when it stood at only 17%?

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Thanks to the industrial revolution which progressively allowed for our economy to master the skill of producing products cheaper, better, and faster, it has become exponentially difficult over time to compete on quality or price alone.

The only way to truly approach marketing today is from a holistic business perspective: marketing as a discipline needs to be understood from the whole picture of the business and integrated into every aspect in order for a business to remain relevant.

Holistic Marketing Defined

Holistic marketing is an integrative marketing paradigm that considers the full scope of a business as opposed to narrowly focusing on the development or execution of particular marketing activities. According to Philip Kotler, author of 57 marketing-related books and the recipient of the American Marketing Association’s first ever “Distinguished Marketing Educator Award” in 1985:

“A holistic marketing concept is based on the development, design, and implementation of marketing programs, processes, and activities that recognize their breadth and interdependencies. Holistic marketing recognizes that ‘everything matters’ with marketing and that a broad, integrated perspective is necessary to attain the best solution.”

In short, the linear communication model of “one-to-many” (between company and customers) has been fully replaced with a “many-to-many” discussion taking place simultaneously across a myriad of communication outlets among countless numbers of people (consumers tweeting about their bad customer service experiences, sharing stories on Facebook with their social networks, etc.) A holistic marketing approach becomes immediately relevant by recognizing this shift in communication, and the need for a brand to be able to capture the full spectrum of their reach and engagements.

8 comments

  1. Have you ever considered publishing an e-book or guest authoring on other blogs?
    I have a blog based on the same information you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my subscribers would appreciate your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

  2. the second definition that you gave at the end of the article, as from unknow source, is in fact from Kotlers´s wellknow book “Marketing Management”, p.19 in its 14th edition

    • Thank you! Coincidentally, I did read this book 11 years ago now (!) in a “marketing management” course and am very familiar with Kotler from the AMA. When I wrote the content on this page I was pulling from my own notes and I never went back to research the source so thank you! I’ve added it.

  3. Great article! It clarified a lot. In a way, I try to assess a business by using models like business model canvas or lean startup canvas that in a way have a more holistic approach compared to just looking at financials. Thank you for this great article!

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