If you’re confused about the difference between marketing and advertising, you’re not alone. On the surface, marketing and advertising seem to be synonymous, two words you can use interchangeably to describe a process that helps your company sell more products or services. 

There’s a vast difference between marketing and advertising, and if you want to be successful with either, you need to understand why and how they’re different — and how to use each effectively. 

So what is the difference between marketing and advertising? Why is it essential to separate the two? And how can you use both effectively to take your business to the next level?

Let’s start by looking at the basic definitions of each and then dive deeper into why marketing should be centered around brand building and is very different from advertising.


Difference between Marketing and Advertising.

By definition, advertising is the action of calling something to the attention of the public- This is done, especially with paid announcements of a business’s products or services to an audience. In essence, Advertising is anything that has to do with — you guessed it — Ads. 

Advertising occurs across multiple mediums, but the one factor all advertising has in common is that the brand or marketer pays to spread a specific message (an Ad) to an audience on a particular platform. 

Typically, the more audience a platform reaches — the more brands/marketers can expect to pay to Advertise. For example, buying a quarter-page ad in a local publication is going to cost a lot less than a full-page ad in a national magazine. You’ll also pay more for a 30-second commercial during the hottest primetime TV show than you would for a 2-minute spot on a local channel.

On the other hand, marketing is the activity, set of institutions and processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value proposition to your customers, clients, partners, and society at large. In other words, it is the systematic set of activities and processes planned and implemented to exchange the value your brand offers for sales.

Marketing is strategic- An effective marketing strategy uses a variety of components to create in the mind of your customers an idea or perception that there is no other product in the market quite like yours by making your consumers buy because of the brand first.

Typically a marketing strategy is broken down into four phases, or what marketers often referred to as the 4 P’s: Product, Place, Price, and Promotion.

  1. Product: Refers to both products and services that you bring to the marketplace to meet consumer demand.
  2. Price: Setting the right price is essential for success. Many factors come into deciding the price of a product, including margins, perceived value, and opportunity costs of not buying.
  3. Place: Placement is supplying. Place involves considering strategies such as selective distribution, franchising, and exclusive distribution. A place can also mean physical outlets such as brick and mortar vs. e-commerce, or online sales platforms.
  4. Promotion: All vehicles of communication used by a brand to relay the message about its products and services fall under this phase of marketing.

The promotional phase of a Marketing Strategy is where advertising lives — but promotion also includes other activities your brand leverages to market your business.

In a nutshell, advertising is one of the components or subsets of marketing- If you think of marketing as a pie, then advertising will be an essential slice of that pie.

The primary goal of an advertising campaign is to influence the buying behavior of an audience by promoting your products or services to potential or existing customers. But if advertising is all you’re doing to market your business, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to elevate your brand, connect with your customers, and drive sales for your business over time. 

For your advertising campaign to work, it must be integrated well with the other pieces of the overall marketing strategy to translate to sales — A well-executed Ad campaign should move new and existing customers through your brand engagement path.

Advertising takes many formats — Banner Ads, Social media Ads, Ad Words, Programmatic Ads, Billboard Ads, Magazine Ads or Paid/sponsored Influencer post, and so on.

Marketing includes these but also encompasses a ton of other strategies like — Content marketing (i.e. ebooks, blog posts, case studies, whitepapers, infographics, or videos), Email marketing, Marketing brochures, Social media marketing, influencer marketing, Sales presentations, Podcasting and so on.

A well-conceived and implemented marketing strategy offers your brand and company new and unique ways of engaging with customers to a far higher level than has been previously possible. Initial faltering steps in digital marketing such as PPC and SEO are the tip of the iceberg as to what is possible. 

Similarly, for your marketing strategy to be effective, it cannot live in isolation from the existing activities and history of your brand. Your marketing strategy should be central to your brand.

No matter what business you’re in, advertising and marketing are a must.   

Now that you know the difference between the two — it’s essential to understand why it’s crucial to leverage both advertising and marketing to take your business to the next level.

Next, let’s explore why Marketing is Brand building and what this means your business.

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