Marketing of the 21st century is marked by its relationship orientation. Without major alteration, marketing is refocusing its efforts of increasing organizational performance through the development of long-term relationships with all its partners (suppliers, customers, other stakeholders). Such a mutation, takes place on the basis of shift from transactional marketing to relational marketing, the latter requiring a new approach to business relationships among all the partners mentioned above. Customer orientation, emphasized by relationship marketing, directs the entire controlling activity towards monitoring the profitability generated by company’s relationship with its demand holders. The meaning this approach has for the organization, takes a new qualitative dimension, through two concepts, more commonly found in the theory and practice of developed countries: customer lifetime value and customer profitability. Both concepts are common to interactive marketing and seek to ensure ability to identify and capitalize difference between customers (Pop, Fotea, Mihoc, & Pop, 2009).
On the background of increasingly complex exchange at the beginning of the third millennium contemporary marketing presents new changes. Satisfying demands expressed on the market by consumers employs organization in a more diversified set of connections, not only with its beneficiaries but with its employees also, with the surrounding environment, raising ethical responsibilities, towards legislation and community to higher levels.
Moreover, from another perspective evolution of marketing has been discussed by several researchers (Hunt 2002; Sheth et al. 1988). According to Achrol and Kotler (2012), this evolution has been from the functionalist paradigm to marketing management and then towards the exchange paradigm. The functionalist paradigm determined the marketing institutions and their functions. The marketing management paradigm is based on the actual marketing processes and approach rather than just the production functions in the organization. This approach takes the marketing functions from the promotion of the products to product development and customer orientation (Bagozzi, 1975; Kotler, 1972). Marketing expanded its domain from just the goods and services to time, energy and other intangible factors in not just the for profit organizations but in all non-profit, social agencies and governments. This evolution has not just stopped with this approach (Achrol & Kotler, 2012).
The exchange paradigm, with its focal point on inter-firm relationships, carried the concept and theories of the marketing channel to the front, and it led us to the new threshold of network paradigm (Achrol & Kotler, 1999).
So, several theorists and experts have come to the point that the holistic marketing is the new paradigm for marketing in the third millennium. Holistic marketing is based on holism theory, which says that the whole always has priority, more than the total sum of individual parts, holistic marketing requires development and implementation of marketing programs, processes and measures with a wide spectrum and correlated with each other. Stressing that the whole is important, an integrated marketing concept is required which is at the same time relational, integrated, omnipresent within the organization and socially responsible. This way, on the same level of importance are placed relationship marketing (which develops a strategic and long term vision for the organization with all its partners), marketing in action (integration of all components of marketing mix), implementation of marketing – as business perspective – in all departments of the organization and marketing responsibility towards the surrounding environment, the community where enterprises operate in accordance with business ethics requirements and of the law in force . So, holistic marketing can be seen as the development, design, and implementation of marketing programs, processes, and activities that recognize the breadth and interdependencies involved today’s marketing environment. Holistic marketing recognizes that “everything matters” with marketing and that a broad, integrated perspective is often necessary (Kotler, Jain, & Maesincee, 2002). This universalistic approach of marketing is also reflected by Sainz (2012), Heath and Chatzidakis (2012) and Bart and Annemiek (2011) where they have used this concept as their argument in their studies. Another look at the holistic marketing is based on the customer-centric idea (Kotler, Jain, & Maesincee, 2002), means paying attention to the perception of the offered products and services, and implies trying to satisfy clients’ needs. It defines the “sense-and-respond” paradigm, which is quite different from the classic “make-and-sell” paradigm that implied selling what a company could make and that is not useful anymore in the dynamic, competitive markets of the global economy.
Holistic marketing has four key dimensions:
1. Internal marketing-ensuring everyone in the organization embraces appropriate marketing principles, especially senior management.
2. Integrated marketing-ensuring that multiple means of creating, delivering and communicating value are employed and combined in the optimal manner.
3. Relationship marketing-having rich, multi-faceted relationships with customers, channel members and other marketing partners.
4. Socially responsible marketing-understanding the ethical, environmental, legal, and social effects of marketing.
Increasingly, a key goal of marketing is to develop deep, enduring relationships with all people or organizations that could directly or indirectly affect the success of the firm’s marketing activities. Relationship marketing has the aim of building mutually satisfying long-term relationships with key parties-customers, suppliers, distributors, and other marketing partners-in order to earn and retain their business. Relationship marketing builds strong economic, technical, and social ties among the parties.
The marketer’s task is to devise marketing activities and assemble fully integrated marketing programs to create, communicate, and deliver value for consumers. The marketing program consists of numerous decisions on value-enhancing marketing activities to use. Marketing activities come in all forms. One traditional depiction of marketing activities is in terms of the marketing mix, which has been defined as the set of marketing tools the firm uses to pursue its marketing objectives. McCarthy classified these tools into four broad groups, which he called the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion.
Holistic marketing incorporates internal marketing, ensuring that everyone in the organization embraces appropriate marketing principles, especially senior management. Internal 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 as, or even more so than, marketing activities directed outside the company. It makes no sense to promise excellent service before the company’s staff is ready to provide it.
Social Responsibility Marketing
Holistic marketing incorporates social responsibility marketing and understanding broader concerns and the ethical, environmental, legal, and social context of marketing activities and programs. The cause and effects of marketing clearly extend beyond the company and the consumer to society as a whole. Social responsibility also requires that marketers carefully consider the role that they are playing and could play in terms of social welfare (Kotler et al., 2002).
Despite the fact that holistic marketing concept has been developing for a decade, there is still not have been any comprehensive operationalization of the concept which could serve the practitioners for application of the concept in its full. Hence, this study would further the topic towards its application in the academia and the practical market. Methodologically, this study would be based on the comprehensive evolution of marketing thoughts and would construct the operational dimensions on the emerging paradigm of holistic marketing. Local and international organizations and marketing agencies would be studied for the development of the constructs within the holistic marketing domain.
Figure 1: Holistic marketing and its dimensions (Kotler et al., 2002)
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