A Holistic Marketing Strategy Is No Longer an Option. It’s a Requirement.

It’s pointless to focus only on converting customers if your customers don’t yet know you exist.

Written by Eugene Levin
Published on Sep. 08, 2021
A Holistic Marketing Strategy Is No Longer an Option. It’s a Requirement.
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When developing a digital PR and marketing strategy, set the customer aside — at least initially. With 89 percent of companies competing primarily on the basis of customer experience according to Gartner, it's not surprising that many also place the customer at the center of their marketing strategies by focusing on interaction, conversion and loyalty. The problem is that the tools focused on those goals assume your customer already knows about your business when, of course, that may not be the case.  

Rather than limiting their concentration to engagement, smart companies develop their marketing and PR plans based on a holistic strategy that integrates short-term activities (such as paid advertising) with longer-term activities (such as content and SEO). The optimal way to execute this approach is through martech platforms where marketing is conducted as a multidisciplinary approach. In other words: platforms that enable each individual marketing channel to speak to each other. After all, it's pointless to focus only on converting customers if your customers don’t yet know you exist. 

A 2018 Semrush-commissioned Forrester study underscores the importance of rethinking marketing strategies to combine short-term and long-term activities while ensuring all of the various channels can communicate collectively. The study revealed that when marketing and data were siloed, for instance, acquisition teams weren’t sharing data with awareness-driven teams. These divisions expose corporations to missed opportunities, especially when marketers stand to benefit from using SEO data to push targeted content to social channels — where customers are researching and actively seeking additional information before making decisions and purchases.

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Awareness, Meet Acquisition

It is a common mistake for marketers to solely focus on centering customers and driving conversions when building their marketing and PR campaigns. It is also an understandable error because, after all, their job is ultimately to reach customers and drive conversions. However, this approach jumps the gun by skipping certain aspects that are necessary for a successful marketing strategy.  

Engagement requires awareness. A holistic blend of digital PR, paid advertising, content marketing and search-engine optimization creates a sturdy foundation that conversion-based marketing can build upon simultaneously.

It’s also important to note that awareness goes beyond mere name recognition when it comes to executing a brand awareness campaign. Research from Marketing Dive found that “90 percent of people buy from brands they follow on social media,” indicating that users willingly invite brands into their lives. That’s a decision that is often based on brand image and how that aligns with the user’s self-perception and the qualities they want to communicate with their peers. 

According to a 2018 study by Accenture, “Nearly two-thirds of consumers globally (63 percent) prefer to buy goods and services from companies that stand for a shared purpose that reflects their personal values and beliefs.” 

Awareness is no longer about recognition. Brands must develop an image that is welcoming, piques curiosity and stands on solid ethical ground.


The Building Blocks

This holistic approach to developing marketing and PR strategies is based on a thoughtful blend of short-term and long-term activities, each of which plays a vital role in brand recognition and awareness. 

The 4 Building Blocks of a Successful Marketing Strategy

  1. Digital PR
  2. Content marketing
  3. SEO
  4. Paid advertising


Digital PR 

Not to be confused with traditional PR, digital PR focuses on leveraging linkable assets to earn backlinks that impact a website's organic visibility and SEO efforts. Attracting this specific type of media attention might be one of the most challenging yet rewarding aspects of building brand recognition. 

Digital PR KPIs are complex. Based on the quality of links earned and the impact they have on SEO performance, however, they are also more quantifiable. When the editorial decision is made to hyperlink from a publication to your business’s web page, marketers can track the quantifiable effect on their website’s SEO. KPIs for traditional PR aim to measure brand awareness, a metric that is vital but also difficult to quantify. As a benchmark, backlinks are both comprehensive and easy to measure with the right technology. Therefore, they should be an indispensable part of any holistic marketing and PR strategy. 


Content Marketing 

Building a relationship with prospective customers must precede the hunt for leads and conversions. The way forward is an effective content strategy that creates meaningful stories and shares valuable information to ensure readers come back for more. 

News and content are what ultimately lure consumers and decision makers to follow specific brands on social media, and this content is not limited to sales information; establishing a business as an industry expert plays an important role in the brand awareness process. 



The bread and butter of a website, building a proper SEO strategy is arguably the most impactful way to increase a business’s online visibility. SEO is tightly tied to content strategy, and it draws in the audience that wants to access a brand’s content.

This, in turn, helps businesses attract the right consumers based on the information and expertise they share online. Another key benefit of SEO is that when executed properly, it’s extremely cost-effective compared to potentially expensive paid advertising campaigns with high costs per click.


Paid Advertising

Establishing your presence via paid advertising t ties a brand to competitive keywords. The most cost-effective approach is to determine which words are undeniably the identifiers of your brand — creating a central “headquarters” for your paid advertising campaign. 

Especially when several campaigns run simultaneously, this approach equips marketers with a way to carry back and evaluate their paid advertising strategies. 


Together, Not Siloed

Sure, each pillar holding up brand awareness could arguably stand alone, but marketers who enact multiple activities in tandem are the ones who are most likely to discover and benefit from the limitless potential of their marketing and PR strategies. 

Beyond carrying out various activities in parallel, marketers who embrace tools that facilitate cross-channel communication and collaboration create an interdisciplinary approach that ensures customers have the awareness of a brand that creates the basis for engagement.Ensuring all of these components work together as one holistic strategy leads to both awareness and engagement. And by breaking down silos separating awareness from acquisition, marketers reduce the risk of error when it comes to brand messaging.

Though it may seem counterintuitive, it can pay dividends to set the customer aside in order to prioritize an awareness and branding campaign before acquisition efforts. Given the rapid evolution of customer behaviors and the technologies they use, a holistic approach is no longer simply an option — it’s an essential framework for any successful marketing and PR strategy.

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