You’ve seen examples of holistic marketing by very large corporations such as Coca Cola and Apple. Rather than simply marketing their products, they market their target customer’s needs and wants. Customers don’t buy a beverage or a phone when they buy from them; they buy the promise of the message. Selling this way is selling and building their brands. This way, the customer doesn’t view the product as a commodity; it views it as something to fill their needs. Can small businesses use holistic marketing to build their brand and grow their business? Absolutely. Coordinating messaging across all marketing channels and engaging all employees in the process helps customers see your value and builds loyalty. And the place where all those messages come together is your website.
What is Holistic Marketing?
Your marketing plan already identifies your target customer with demographic information such as age, education and salary. Holistic marketing identifies values, needs, emotional triggers and other factors that allow you to build a relationship with the target customer. Knowing their needs offers insight into how best to reach them.
The holistic marketing approach makes every employee in your small business a part of the marketing message. Everyone knows what the marketing goals are and what strategies will help you reach them. It inserts the marketing goals into all products and services.
Holistic marketing integrates the marketing message across all channels. Your marketing mix may include social media, advertising, public relations, email and text campaigns, direct mail, and direct customer interaction such as service and sales calls. An integrated marketing plan assures that you create and apply unified messages to every customer touch point. Most importantly, all channels should link back to the website for more information and an opportunity for communication.
How to Apply Holistic Marketing Messages
Small businesses can apply holistic marketing by including all areas of the business in the marketing process. For example, rethink the idea that marketing is just the newest social media campaign. Every part of the business is a part of the holistic marketing process. Every employee, from product management to accounting to delivery and service is aware of the business’s marketing goals and messages and every area considers those goals in their everyday processes. Think of the four “Ps” of marketing; Product, Price, Placement and Promotion.
Product: For service organizations, create service practices that are in line with your marketing message and goals. Focus on the needs of your target customers. Talk about the practices by posting videos on social media, including testimonials from satisfied customers, or quoting service employees on your website. For products, highlight the features that appeal to the customer’s values, such as reliability, performance, sustainability, or trendiness.
Price: Structure pricing to match your marketing message. Include messages about value, prestige, premium quality or other attributes that appeal to your target audience.
Placement: Your target audience will help you determine the right placement channels. If you place a Facebook Ad, for example, specify your target audience attributes. Try to make it interactive, and always link back to your website. Quick responses to visitor questions will help you build relationships. Post on special interest groups, always linking back to your website, and track results to gauge interest. Direct mail responses and email campaign feedback give you insight into who is interested in your business, as well.
Promotion: Choose a wide range of marketing materials, but be sensitive to those that your target customer is more likely to see. Make social media, including email campaigns, interactive.
- Link back to the right landing page on your website.
- Include customer testimonials.
- Add videos describing your process, your employees or your value.
- Write blogs that give your target customer information appealing to their interests.
What’s the Payoff?
Internally, a holistic marketing approach brings all areas of the business together as one unified group. All employees know what the marketing goals are and can apply them to their individual processes. Externally, customers will see consistent messaging that speaks to their values and needs. Employees and customers will feel loyalty and build lasting relationships with the company.
The role your website plays is the hub of all your marketing messages, always including information to support and expand upon your marketing efforts. This will reinforce the messages customers see, build your brand and build loyalty.
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