eTip #21

Holistic Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

What is your perception of marketing? Why some marketing works and some fails? How can you orchestrate your resources to work together to bring maximum results? In this month’s etip, we interviewed marketing veteran Andrew Szabo to discuss holistic marketing.

BMC: What is your background and how did you get started in marketing

Szabo: I’ve spent over 20 years in the field, as everything from Marketing Strategist with clients like Dell, Hyatt and Sony, business development at specialized boutique agencies, CMO for a Fortune 50 subsidiary, and owning my own businesses.

BMC: You have a distinctive way of looking at marketing, don’t you?

Szabo: My experience with large global companies, emerging growth companies locally and everything in between proved that marketing works best when it is approached holistically, rather than piecemeal. I believe that your message must be the foundation, and everything you do and say must communicate this message. This methodology is challenging, requiring strategic thinking and non-preferential tactics, but it results in stronger, clearer, and quicker communication of your brand’s promises.

BMC: What is holistic marketing vs. traditional marketing?

Szabo: Think of marketing like music, where each marketing tool is an instrument. Most agencies create a song for each instrument, which sounds good when they’re each heard solo, but cacophonous when put together! We approach it like a symphony: choosing the piece for the entire orchestra, then deriving what and when each instrument will play for a harmonious and effective experience.

BMC: What are the three most common marketing mistakes that you've seen organizations make?

Szabo: 1) Letting one’s tactics drive strategy. We work with our clients to develop a holistic strategy as the foundation which provides focus and direction. It is a roadmap of what needs to be communicated when, to whom, and through what instruments.
2) A flawed story. Effective messages are rooted in a compelling core story, one that moves the heart, mind and soul of your target audience, and is transferable across different media – written or oral, online or offline.
3) A poor selection, combination or deployment of marketing instruments. There is no shortage of things you could do. The key is to select the perfect complement of instruments that is right for your strategy and your business. This is where we put it all together. Having created a holistic strategy, we select perhaps 20-30 of the best tools and implement them harmoniously.

BMC: How can a company evaluate potential marketing partners?

Szabo: 1) Is their development process tactical (focused on the instruments) or holistic (centered around one foundational message)?
2) What is their bedside manner? Do they listen to you, or are they quick to give you specific solutions without all the facts?
3) Are they trying to sell you a tactical point solution or product, or do they work with their clients to develop a comprehensive strategic solution?
4) Evaluate their depth and breadth of experience. Their past projects should display the clients’ individual thumbprints, not their own.

BMC: Last words of wisdom in regards to strategic marketing

Szabo: Two things.
1) Marketing is everything you do (and everything you don’t do). Everything you do sends a message, so you’d better figure out what you want your message to be.
2) The strategic objective of your marketing is to have your clients, prospects, referral sources and other stakeholders think of you first, often and well.


Andrew Szabo, aka The Marketing Chef™ is an inspirational keynote speaker, marketing author, strategic facilitator and marketing strategy consultant who helps you stir up new business. He reinvents the way people view the marketing process by creating a splash of new ingredients, combinations, and flavors that result in a tantalizingly fresh marketing recipe. With over 30 years experience in the industry, and a client list including some of the best known names in households and boardrooms, Andrew Szabo is the marketer’s marketer. Visit The Marketing Chef on the Web at


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