Written by

Candace Gerlach


19th August 2021



Marketing. Like marmite. Lots of business owners we talk to see it as a necessary evil. Some enjoy it but simply don’t have the time. Others don’t get it at all. Which is fair, seeing as there are so many different facets and meanings to the word marketing, especially when you consider the rise of the internet and advances in technology. 

For us, the most effective way to think about marketing and the approach that pays off in the short and long term – is to think about it holistically. In simple terms, this means taking a helicopter view of your business so that you are clear on the people you want to serve, the brand you want to create, and the impact you want to have. It goes against diving straight into lower funnel tactics and gives you the best opportunity to drive long-term success. 

One of the main benefits of holistic marketing is that it creates cohesiveness. Rather than presenting diverging and conflicting information in different areas of your brand, holistic marketing brings your brand effectively ‘under one roof,’ presenting greater consistency and cohesiveness for your customers, even if you’re a small business.

Let’s break holistic marketing down into 5 key areas:

Situational Analysis

This requires taking a step back to analyse the big picture. You can use a good old-fashioned SWOT analysis here, some competitor analysis and then get really clear on who you are trying to reach (target audience). Go beyond demographics and think about their wants/ needs and how you can offer solutions with your product or service. 

Bringing the outside world in, protects you against risks that you may not have considered and allows you to take advantage of the opportunities you see in the market. Ultimately, you want to build everything around your brand’s core strengths and what you know about your prospects and customers.

Brand positioning

If you try to be everything to everyone, you end up becoming nothing to everyone. The market is cluttered with brands fighting for our attention and it takes a lot to cut through the chaos. Especially if you are solely operating online.

The most successful brands are crystal clear on their target audience, whether that’s B2C or B2B, and develop a purposeful brand idea and positioning that is interesting, motivating, and ownable. Your brand can then more easily flow through the entire business and across every customer touchpoint, so when people interact with your brand it is consistent, recognisable, and memorable. The best way to build brand awareness and recognition.

Strategic brand plan

We like to take a helicopter view to start with and a snapshot of the year, before diving into the nitty-gritty detailed quarterly marketing plan. Creating an annual brand plan is a good way to keep everyone in the business aligned and supports day-to-day decision making.

To help you write your annual brand plan, here are some questions to ask:

1. Where are we? (Situational Analysis)

  • It’s worth considering the key points from your situational analysis that highlight what is driving and inhibiting your brand’s growth, and what threats and opportunities exist. Include your commercial forecast here too.

2. Where could we be? (Vision & Goals)

  • Think about your vision and three chunky goals that you want to set for the year, that work towards you achieving your vision. Think high level, as an example: ‘Increase new business sales by 5% and monitor high-value orders/purchases to support customer life-time value targets’

3. Why are we here? (Key Issues)

  • Focus on the top three issues getting in the way of you achieving your vision, which you should put in question format. I.e. How will we build the right level of brand awareness and create trust within the industry?’

4. How can we get there? (Strategies & Goals)

  • Think of three strategic solutions that match up to each of the questions above. Then set goals to measure your brand’s performance against each strategy. In response to the key issue example above, the Strategy could be ‘Focus a proportion of marketing investment on driving brand awareness’ and the Goal could be ‘Increase awareness by 5% within our core target audience’

5. What do we need to do? (Executional Plans)

  • This execution section maps out the specific plans for each of the customer touch points. Think marketing, sales, service etc.. – keep it high level here and then you can jump into the detailed marketing plan, as below.

Tactical marketing plan

Holistic marketing is all about being able to plan, monitor, analyse and optimise all of your marketing activity effectively. Once you’ve done the upfront thinking, it’s important to dive into the detail and plan against your short and long-term brand and commercial targets.

To create your tactical marketing plan, here are some things to consider:

  • Budget
  • Target audience
  • Channel choice 
  • Messaging hierarchy
  • KPI’s (include brand goals (as above), commercial targets and softer measures such as number of content pieces)
  • Tracking & measurement

Think about where your customers are and focus your efforts. There’s nothing worse than trying to be everywhere, with no clear direction, spending time and money on wasted opportunities. Doing the upfront work will certainly help you plan more effectively and support your brand and commercial goals. Be conscientious with your budget and think about what results you need today and what activity will drive longer-term brand gains.

Track, measure, optimise

Every marketing plan will look very different as it entirely depends on who you are trying to reach, what budget you have, and what you are trying to achieve. Keeping all of your activity under one roof has huge advantages. Being able to create consistent brand messages and track the performance of your entire marketing mix, allows you to make informed decisions going forward and continually aim to bring down your cost per sale while monitoring your brand awareness over time.

Make sure that you have the right tracking and data dashboards in place to support your plan and growth ambitions. The beauty of marketing is that you can see what’s working and do more of it!

At The Conscious Marketing Group, we’re dedicated to supporting brands on a mission to have a positive impact on people and the world they live in. With our strategic and holistic in-house experience, we deliver on every unique client brief – all under one roof. Having built a team of multi-skilled marketing enthusiasts with creative minds and a glass half full approach, we’re passionate about helping do-good brands get the airtime they deserve and the results they’re looking for.

If you’d like to book a call with Candace our founder to discuss how we can help, we’d love to hear from you. Click here and book today.