Straight Talk From the Digital Printing Council Holistic Marketing By Frank J. Romano January 24, 2006 -- Holistic is one of those 50-cent words that means considering a whole thing or being more than a collection of parts; or treating the whole person rather than just the symptoms of a disease. Advertisers are placing more emphasis on direct marketing and other targeted techniques, moving the focus within agencies away from the 30-second spot. Well, marketing is becoming holistic and ad agencies--and printers--are now waking up to marketing integration trends. According to the Wall Street Journal, the ad professionals who make television commercials have been the ad-spot big shots at most Madison Avenue ad agencies, reflecting the role that TV historically has played in advertising. But advertisers are placing more emphasis on direct marketing and other targeted techniques, moving the focus within agencies away from the 30-second spot. Executives who can develop ad campaigns that integrate all types of media, including "marketing services," such as direct marketing, public relations, collateral promotions, and in-store advertising are being sought. Publicis Groupe stated that they needed to use a "holistic" approach when serving their clients, rather than focusing on TV. The company then merged advertising and marketing services. It is no longer print versus other media--it is print and other media. Holism (from holon, Greek for entity) is the idea that the properties of a system cannot be determined or explained by the sum of its components alone. The word, along with the adjective holistic, was coined in the early 1920s by Jan Smuts. He defined holism as "The tendency in nature to form wholes that are greater than the sum of the parts through creative evolution." (Uh oh, marketing Darwinism.) As advertisers increasingly see TV ads as one part of a broader campaign that might include online ads, public relations, and direct marketing, agencies have to make different business units work together. Publicis USA promoted the head of a marketing-services unit to a new post with the interesting title of "chief holistic officer." This job is designed to encourage ad professionals to think beyond TV-centric campaigns and devise campaigns that use whatever media serves the client's target audience. We can no longer sustain growth by focusing on print. WPP's Ogilvy & Mather also combined its ad agency and its OgilvyOne marketing-services unit in order to encourage collaboration rather than competition for client dollars. It is no longer print versus other media--it is print and other media. Interpublic's Foote Cone & Belding will promote creative executives capable of generating ideas and programs that can be used in all types of marketing, not just TV. Agencies are waking up to the fact that it isn't only about TV anymore. This shift on Madison Avenue arises as digital video recorders are making it easier for viewers to skip ads, and NBC Universal will offer ad-free versions of some of its broadcast and cable shows via an on-demand service by DirecTV. Hold a mirror up to all this and you will see the printing industry in the 21st century. We are moving away from a press-centric manufacturing mentality to a marketing-centric solutions service. We can no longer sustain growth by focusing on print. We must expand our service horizons to include more different kinds of media and more integrated approaches among them. The printer of the future will also be holistic--and now you know what it means.