The New Era of Holistic Marketing: Embracing change for sustainable growth

Christoph Trappe 4 minute read

Marketing is often run in siloed campaigns today. Let’s run these ads and maybe publish a blog post. Did you hear so and so is doing a podcast now? Even more, if you’re a marketing you’re certainly getting asked constantly about “lead generation”.  All these tactics can work – but they work even better in a more holistic marketing approach, focusing not just on tactics, but on a broader demand generation strategy.

Jenn Mancusi, CEO and co-founder of Growgetter, sat down on “Marketing Demystified” with Megan Bowen, CEO of Refine Labs, to discuss the importance of embracing change in marketing strategies and holistically approaching things. As businesses navigate an ever-evolving landscape, it’s become increasingly clear that traditional, siloed approaches to marketing are no longer sufficient for driving sustainable growth.

“There’s been so much change over the last couple of decades and even more so over the last five years,” Megan observed. “That’s something that we preach and talk about a lot at Refine Labs, which is how you need to be evolving and continuing to adapt your strategies to just the changing realities that we’re all dealing with.”

The need for a holistic approach

Adopting a holistic approach to marketing is important for success nowadays. This means breaking down the walls between departments and collaborating across the organization.

“None of this is like this is what marketing has to door this is what sales has to do. This is all very cross-functional, which is probably the recipe for success, but also not that easy all the time,” Jenn noted. “Getting everybody sort of rowing in the same direction, especially if you are a lot of times the move from that sort of old way of doing things is that you’ve got very siloed teams.”

Megan agreed, emphasizing the importance of aligning marketing and sales efforts. “A lot of it also requires that both teams are working together to really define the total strategy that’s going to work and the role that marketing and sales play in each one,” she said.

Read next: The steps to measuring your marketing success

Shifting from lead generation to demand generation

The shift from lead generation to demand generation happens in holistic marketing. While lead generation focuses on collecting contact information and feeding it to the sales team, demand generation takes a more comprehensive view of the customer journey.

“At any given time, probably only 2-5 percent of your total addressable market is actually looking to buy your product right now,” Megan explained. “What about the rest? What about that 95 to 98 percent of your market that’s not looking actively looking for your product? The way that you win today is that you begin to deploy a strategy to make them aware that you exist, aware of the problem you solve, aware of your solution aware of your brand aware of your differentiation from the competition, and knowing that you’re playing the medium to long game in that arena.”

This means creating valuable content that educates and engages potential customers, even if they’re not ready to buy immediately. By building brand awareness and establishing trust, companies can position themselves as the go-to solution when the time is right.

Overcoming resistance to change

Despite the clear benefits of a holistic demand generation approach, many companies struggle to make the necessary changes. According to Megan, this resistance often stems from a few key factors:

  1. Pressure to deliver short-term results
  2. Lack of understanding of the root cause of growth issues
  3. Insufficient data infrastructure and analysis capabilities

“The reality is there is extreme pressure to grow and to grow quickly, especially for these VC-funded or PE-backed companies,” Megan said. “And because of that pressure, inevitably, and I’ve seen it over and over and over again, it leads to people grasping at what they believe are short-term tactics that will yield results.”

To overcome this resistance, Megan recommends understanding the present and historical performance.

“Face and embrace reality,” she advised. “This is doing that analysis that we’ve talked about putting the business case together, getting the buy-in from everyone of what’s broken, and where we need to, you know, what direction we need to shift to.”

Read next: The Power of a Leadership Growth Mindset: Driving Innovation and Adaptability

Implementing change strategically

After buy-in is secured, identify the most impactful initiatives and focus on implementing them first.

“Commit to one to three initiatives and take as long as it takes to see that change through successfully,” Megan said. “Once you’ve done that, and you’re beginning to see that repeatable pipeline growth, that predictable pipeline and revenue that every executive team and business owner wants to see, and you have successfully completed sort of phase one of the change, that’s when you can begin the next phase.”

This strategic, phased approach allows companies to make meaningful changes without overwhelming their teams or risking too much disruption to their existing operations.

The role of data in decision making

Throughout the conversation, both Jenn and Megan emphasized the importance of data in guiding marketing decisions. 

“Anytime you show up with evidence, it’s much easier to get everybody on board to say this is what this is the current state of affairs. And this is where we want to get to and how we will get there,” Jenn said.

Megan agreed, stressing the need for a robust data infrastructure and the ability to analyze that data effectively. “The only way to do this successfully is by putting together a data-backed business case,” she said. “The only way you’re going to convince someone that isn’t already bought into this way of thinking is to show them financial data analysis that proves that what is happening today is not effective, and shows a roadmap of how we can adjust and adopt strategies to drive better and more effective results.”

Read next: Garbage in, garbage out: The importance of data cleaning to grow companies

Balancing change with consistency

While embracing change is crucial for growth, constant pivots aren’t helping.

“Where’s the balance of change, but not too much?” Jenn asked. “I’ve seen this happen a lot. You develop OKRs at the beginning of the quarter, and by the end of the quarter, they’re not even relevant anymore because everybody’s gone in a different direction.”

Megan recommends committing to a few key initiatives and seeing them through before moving on to the next phase of change.

“You can’t make these changes overnight. And every organization is different,” she acknowledged. “So that roadmap is going to be custom for every company. But overall, that’s a good way to think about it.”

The future of marketing

It’s clear that a holistic, data-driven approach to marketing is the way to go. By breaking down silos, focusing on demand generation, and embracing change strategically, businesses can position themselves for sustainable growth.

“Marketing can’t fix a product that isn’t good; marketing can’t fix a product that the market doesn’t need or want. Marketing can’t fix poor unit economics in your business model,” Megan cautioned.

Companies must be willing to take a hard look at their foundations and make the necessary changes to build a strong, customer-centric business. Then, use a holistic marketing approach to reach your target buyers. Embrace a holistic approach to seize the opportunities of tomorrow.

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