“The term ‘holistic’ refers to my conviction that what we are concerned with here is the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. I do not concern myself with such petty things as fingerprint powder, telltale pieces of pocket fluff and inane footprints.”
Sci-fi fans will know this quote from Douglas Adams’ 1987 book Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (and 2016 BBC America/Netflix TV series of the same name). Or perhaps you’re more familiar with Adams’ legendary Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. But what does a sci-fi author have to do with ecommerce, digital retail, silos of information, and the concept of holistic marketing?
So glad you asked.
At Prospero Commerce, we are firm believers in the so-called “fundamental interconnectedness of all things”. Like the eccentric investigator Dirk Gently, we find that often, the best approach to a problem is to step back and look at the bigger picture.
Why You Need a Holistic Business Approach to Problem Solving
In our experience working with eCommerce companies, digital retailers, and other brands, problems in business rarely surface at the root of the issue. In other words, what a company thinks is their most pressing problem is usually merely a symptom of something bigger.
Too often, stakeholders see things like declining online revenues, degrading marketing spend ROI, and organic traffic decline as root causes. When in reality, these issues are merely clues (much like pocket fluff and footprints) that can lead us to the real culprit.
It’s easy to forget that the success of an ad campaign or a piece of content is a byproduct of multiple factors that span departments and functions. And while it may be convenient to compartmentalise marketing, sales, digital and ecommerce teams—it doesn’t change the fact that they’re all intertwined.
Again, drawing from Adams’ holistic detective Dirk Gently, “I see the solution to each problem as being detectable in the pattern and web of the whole. The connections between causes and effects are often much more subtle and complex than we…might naturally suppose.”
From a modern business perspective, that means success (or failure) is a concert of social media, inbound marketing, influencer strategy, paid media, SEO, design, brand reputation, messaging, customer service, internal systems, and so much more. Now you see why they call it marketing orchestration.
A holistic business approach involves working together across departments and roles to determine the real obstacles holding back your business. Failing to do so results in missed opportunities, wasted resources and an increased risk that the same symptoms will continue to pop up again and again. It is also a major inhibitor to your company’s digital leadership efforts.
Finding and Breaking Down Silos of Information
If interconnectedness is the natural order of things—well, life has a funny way of breaking that down. Silos of information are one of the biggest enemies of interconnectedness, and they can wreak all kinds of havoc in your business, without you even realising it. Here are some common working practices that can unintentionally cause silos of information in your business:
- Lack of shared vision and roadmap
- Restricted or non-discoverable documents
- Limiting access permissions
- Lack of documentation
- Failure to share relevant information
- Over-reliance on email
- Knowledge bases with an impenetrable structure so nothing can be found
It takes proactive communication, a culture of real transparency and a holistic business vision to combat these challenges.
Everybody Wins with a Holistic Approach to Solving Problems in Business
Due to our staunch belief in a holistic approach to business problem solving and the interconnectedness of all things, we begin every new client engagement with diagnostics covering everything your business does within the digital sphere. It involves:
- Collaboration and data collection from multiple people and departments
- Diving deep into company performance, including data, processes and philosophies
- Collection and analysis of customer data including surveys, interviews, etc.
- Competitor and industry landscape research
When it comes to common challenges in ecommerce and digital retail such as degrading marketing spend ROI, organic traffic decline, retention rates, purchase frequency, and CLV, we use our holistic vision to find—and act upon—opportunities for improvement.
With over 60 years of combined experience, our consulting firm helps ambitious companies make smarter digital decisions. Our diagnostic frameworks are designed to identify root causes of underperformance and align that with rapid action to ensure our clients get real value.
Whether you’re a founder, owner or digital operator we can help your business grow faster by making smarter decisions. Let’s connect.