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Holistic Marketing

Holistic Marketing

The 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 acknowledges that everything matters in marketing—and that a broad, integrated perspective is often necessary.

Holistic marketing thus recognizes and reconciles the scope and complexities of marketing activities.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing aims to build mutually satisfying long-term relationships with key constituents in order to earn and retain their business.

Four key constituents for relationship marketing are customers, employees, marketing partners

(channels, suppliers, distributors, dealers, agencies), and members of the financial community (shareholders, investors, analysts). Marketers must create prosperity among all these constituents and balance the returns to all key stakeholders. To develop strong relationships with them requires understanding their capabilities and resources, needs, goals, and desires.

The ultimate outcome of relationship marketing is a unique company asset called a marketing network, consisting

of the company and its supporting stakeholders—customers, employees, suppliers, distributors, retailers, and others—with whom it has built mutually profitable business relationships. The operating principle is simple: build an effective network of relationships with key stakeholders, and profits will follow. Thus more companies are choosing to own brands rather than physical assets, and they are subcontracting activities to firms that can do them better and more cheaply while retaining core activities at home.

Companies are also shaping separate offers, services, and messages to individual customers, based on information about their past transactions, demographics, psychographics, and media and distribution preferences. individual customer lifetime value and design their market offerings and prices to make a profit over the customer’s lifetime. Marketing must skillfully conduct not only customer relationship management (CRM), but partner relationship management (PRM) as well. Companies are deepening their partnering arrangements with key suppliers and distributors, seeing them as partners in delivering value to final customers so everybody benefits.

Integrated Marketing

Integrated marketing occurs when the marketer devises marketing activities and assembles marketing programs to create, communicate, and deliver value for consumers such that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Two key themes are that (1) many different marketing activities can create, communicate, and deliver value and (2) marketers should design and implement any one marketing activity with all other activities in mind.

The company must develop an integrated channel strategy. It should assess each channel option for its direct effect on product sales and brand equity, as well as its indirect effect through interactions with other channel options.

Internal Marketing

Internal marketing, an element of holistic marketing, is the task of hiring, training, and motivating able employees who want to serve customers well. Smart marketers recognize that marketing activities within the company can be as important—or even more important—than those directed outside the company. It makes no sense to promise excellent service before the company’s staff is ready to provide it.

Marketing succeeds only when all departments work together to achieve customer goals when engineering designs the right products, finance furnishes the right amount of funding, purchasing buys the right materials, production makes the right products in the right time horizon, and accounting measures profitability in the right ways. Such interdepartmental harmony can only truly coalesce, however, when senior management clearly communicates a vision of how the company’s marketing orientation and philosophy serve customers.

Internal marketing requires vertical alignment with senior management and horizontal alignment with other departments so everyone understands, appreciates, and supports the marketing effort.

Performance Marketing

Performance marketing requires understanding the financial and nonfinancial returns to business and society from marketing activities and programs. As noted previously, top marketers are increasingly going beyond sales revenue to examine the marketing scorecard and interpret what is happening to market share, customer loss rate, customer satisfaction, product quality, and other measures. They are also considering the legal, ethical, social, and environmental effects of marketing activities and programs.

Many firms have failed to live up to their legal and ethical responsibilites, and consumers are demanding more responsible behavior. One research study reported that at least one-third of consumers around the world believed that banks, insurance providers, and packaged-food companies should be subject to stricter regulation.


Understanding the 4 As of Marketing


Acceptability is the extent to which a firm’s total product offering exceeds customer expectations. The authors assert that Acceptability is the dominant component in the framework and that design, in turn, is at the root of acceptability. Functional aspects of design can be boosted by, for instance, enhancing the core benefit or increasing reliability of the product; psychological acceptability can be improved with changes to brand image, packing and design, and positioning.


Affordability is the extent to which customers in the target market are able and willing to pay the product’s price. It has two dimensions: economic (ability to pay) and psychological (willingness to pay). Acceptability combined with affordability determines the product’s value proposition. When Peachtree Software lowered the price of its accounting software from $5000 to $199 and started charging for customer support, sales demand increased enormously.


Accessibility, the extent to which customers are able to readily acquire the product, has two dimensions: availability and convenience. Successful companies develop innovative ways to deliver both.


Awareness is the extent to which customers are informed regarding the product’s characteristics, persuaded to try it, and reminded to repurchase. It has two dimensions: brand awareness and product knowledge. Awareness is ripest for improvement because most companies are either ineffectual or inefficient at developing it. For instance, properly done advertising can be incredibly powerful, but word-of-mouth marketing and co-marketing can more effectively reach potential customers.

Note that we can easily relate the 4 As to the traditional 4 Ps. Marketers set the product (which mainly influences acceptability), the price (which mainly influences affordability), the place (which mainly influences accessibility), and promotion (which mainly influences awareness).

Updating the Four Ps

People reflects, in part, internal marketing and the fact that employees are critical to marketing success.

Marketing will only be as good as the people inside the organization. It also reflects the fact that marketers must view consumers as people to understand their lives more broadly, and not just as shoppers who consume products and services.

Processes reflects all the creativity, discipline, and structure brought to marketing management. Marketers must

avoid ad hoc planning and decision making and ensure that state-of-the-art marketing ideas and concepts play an appropriate role in all they do, including creating mutually beneficial long-term relationships and imaginatively generating insights and breakthrough products, services, and marketing activities.

Programs reflects all the firm’s consumer-directed activities. It encompasses the old four Ps as well as a range of other marketing activities that might not fit as neatly into the old view of marketing. Regardless of whether they are online or offline, traditional or nontraditional, these activities must be integrated such that their whole is greater than the sum of their parts and they accomplish multiple objectives for the firm.

We define performance as in holistic marketing, to capture the range of possible outcome measures that have financial and nonfinancial implications (profitability as well as brand and customer equity) and implications beyond the company itself (social responsibility, legal, ethical, and the environment).

Finally, these new four Ps actually apply to all disciplines within the company, and by thinking this way, managers more closely align themselves with the rest of the company.

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