Holistic Marketing: What It Is and Why You Should Care

We recently received a phone call from the VP of Sales and Sponsorship of a sports organization demanding we explain “holistic marketing”.

After he had been cornered by an ultimatum from a previously loyal sponsor - “switch to holistic marketing or go elsewhere for funding for your campaign” - he was deeply confused about why a sponsor was suddenly interested in marketing and social media, when they previously only cared about generating leads for their brand. Clearly they had seen major success in a prior campaign and wanted to get the same value for their sponsorship dollars.

We're writing this to guarantee you aren't caught asking “why do you care about marketing?” when your sponsor calls demanding you change your strategy. Even better - so you can beat other teams to funding by already understanding the importance of holistic marketing.

Redefining Holistic Marketing

Holistic marketing is a sales philosophy where you must consider all aspects of your business together in order to be successful.

It’s a term that’s been around for decades. So why it is resurfacing with such urgency now?

Sponsors and businesses are catching on that since the shift to social media and data-driven sales, it is now possible for every department in a business to benefit from a single connection with a client. “Holistic marketing” is no longer an idea, but a concrete strategy that employs specific tools and integrations.

Holistic Marketing: What It Is and Why You Should Care

Why Social Data Broke Business Structure

Holistic marketing goes against many common business practices in the sports industry. Case in point is the fact that Social Media, IT/Web, Marketing, Communications, Sales (E-Commerce) and Sponsorship are often different departments with different staff and different goals. But why do they all these departments exist? To promote or sell products and services.

Let's see this in action:

"Tyler" is an avid sports fan and your sponsor’s target client. He posts about your team on social media. He visits your website for updates on scores. He sees your bus ad reminding him it’s game season. He subscribes to your email newsletter for deals on merchandise. He purchases season’s tickets through Ticketmaster. He buys athletic equipment for his own sports activities. Through each of these interactions, Tyler is offering you a little more insight into who he is as a fan and customer.

But by traditional business logic, each of these activities are seen and tracked by a different department:

  • To Social Media, he’s a commenter
  • To Web/IT, he’s a visitor
  • To Marketing, he’s a geotargeted demographic
  • To Communications, he’s a subscriber
  • To Sales, he’s a ticket buyer
  • To Sponsors, he’s a lead for targeting

Each department wants something from him, demands his attention and views him within their silo.

But for sports and their sponsors to be successful, they must step back from these metrics and get to know Tyler, as Tyler.

This is where holistic marketing comes in.

Holistic Marketing: What It Is and Why You Should Care

Why Sponsors Demand Holistic Marketing

Sponsors don’t care about comments, visits, views, subscribes or ultimately even your ticket sales. What they DO want to know is that avid, affluent sports fans are positively engaging with their brand because they supported your team.

When you use a holistic marketing platform that aggregates and analyzes data from social, web, email lists, event attendance and sales all in one, just one connection with a fan like Tyler provides value to every department:

  • Social Media gains increased engagement when they understand & cater to fans interests
  • Web/IT gains constantly fresh content on their site, boosting SEO and visit duration
  • Marketing gains better ad ROI when they directly target the friends of their best fans
  • Communications gains more authorized emails for their outreach campaigns
  • Sales gains more conversions when they know what influenced fans to buy tickets
  • Sponsors gain a list of relevant leads with authorized contact information and exactly how and when fans engaged with their brand

Holistic marketing empowers your entire business with precise knowledge of your existing and prospective clients, and the exact means to reach them - not just one department. It optimizes everything from engagement to e-commerce.

That’s why holistic marketing works.

Have you struggled with departments not working together? We'd love to hear how you overcame it in the comments:

Holistic Marketing: What It Is and Why You Should Care