Designing holistic marketing activities


Brands are not built by advertising alone. Customer comes to a brand through a range of contacts and touch points: personal observation and use, word of mouth, interactions with company personnel, online or telephone experiences, and payment transactions. A brand contact can be defined as any information bearing experience a customer or prospect has with the brand, the product category, or the market that relates to the marketer’s product or service. Any of these experiences can be positive or negative. The company must effort into managing these experiences as it does in producing its ads.

The strategy and tactics behind marketing programs have changed dramatically in recent years. Marketers are creating brand contacts and building brand equity through many avenues, such as clubs and consumer communities, trade shows, even marketing, sponsorship, factory visits, public relations and press releases, and social cause marketing.

To market its cereals, General Mills supplemented traditional advertising and promotion with, among other things, a family themed entertainment-based retail destination, Cereal Adventure, inside Minneapolis’s Mall of America, the world’s largest shopping mall. Chupa Chups has developed an extensive marketing program.

Regardless of the particular tools or approaches they choose, holistic marketers emphasize three important new themes in designing brand-building marketing programs: personalization, integration, and internalization.


The rapid expansion of the Internet has created opportunities to personalize marketing. Marketers re increasingly abandoning the mass-market practices that built brand powerhouses in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s for new approaches that are in fact a throwback to marketing practices from a century ago, when merchants literally knew their customers by name. To adapt to the increased consumer desire for personalization, marketers have embraced concepts such as experiential marketing, one-to-one marketing and permission marketing.

From a branding point of view, these concepts are about getting consumers more actively involve with a brand by creating an intense, active relationship. Personalizing marketing is about making sure that the brand and its marketing are as relevant as possible to as many customers as possible—a challenge, given that no two customers are identical.


Peter van Stolk founded Soda on the premise that Gen Y consumers would be more accepting of a new soft-drink brand if they felt discovered it themselves. Jones Soda initially was sold only in shops that sell surfboards, snowboards, and skateboards. The Jones Soda Web site encourages fans to send in personal photos for possible use on Jones Soda labels. Although only may be 40 or so are picked annually from the tens of thousands of entries, the approach helps to create relevance and an emotional connection.


One implication of these new marketing approaches is that the traditional “marketing-mix� concept and the notion of the “4 Ps� may not adequately describe modern marketing programs. Integrating marketing is about mixing and matching marketing activities to maximize their individual and collective effects.

As part of integrated marketing, marketers need a variety of different marketing activities that reinforce the brand promise. The Olive Garden has become the second-largest casual dining restaurant chain in the United States, with $2 billion in sales and over 500 restaurants, in part through a fully integrated marketing program.