Last Updated on
Some people discuss marketing and advertising as if they are interchangeable terms. They’re not the same, however. Knowing the difference between the two will help you make well-informed, strategic decisions on how to spread the word about your company or product.
You’ll also be better able to set a budget and ensure you get your money’s worth during a campaign. Let’s draw some distinctions between advertising and marketing, then learn some real-world examples of each.
What Is the Difference Between Marketing and Advertising?
Marketing is an umbrella term for numerous responsibilities associated with helping more people know about a product or service. All marketing activities collectively drive the goal of increasing positive interactions between a company and its potential or current customers — such as sales, media downloads and conversations.
Check out the list below to get some ideas of possible activities:
- Polling or interviewing the target market to check for sufficient demand
- Researching competitors to determine how they discuss their products and how they promote them
- Setting prices and planning discount campaigns, limited-time sales or other cost-based promotions
- Monitoring the market to watch for people mentioning a brand or product
- Writing press releases and scheduling or appearing on media outlet interviews
- Planning community engagement events, such as open houses or conference appearances
- Hosting social media contests and writing blurbs to get a platform’s users more interested in what you sell
- Coaching a company’s employees on how to use the right tone and language to deliver consistent messages
- Recommending changes to a company’s branding elements, such as its color scheme, logo and font
- Creating content — blog posts, infographics, videos and more — to keep people informed
- Tracking metrics to assess the effectiveness of a campaign and making changes when necessary
You can think of advertising as one piece of what happens when marketing a product or company. It’s a more specific practice of running an ad on one or more platforms. They could appear in a variety of forms — most of which you probably know well:
- Online display/banners
- Newspaper/magazine ads
- Social media
- TV commercials
- Movie trailers
- Radio spots
- Direct mail pieces
- Bus shelter content
- Mobile ads
Most advertising campaigns use a mixture of media to thoroughly appeal to the target audience. For example, if you want to reach younger generations of people who love the internet, social media advertising is a smart bet. Alternatively, if one of your main goals is to address those in a specific industry, you might run a print advertisement in a business journal or pay for a display ad on a website they frequent.
How Are Advertising and Marketing Similar?
After looking at the lists above, you’ve probably noticed that overlap often exists between marketing and advertising professionals’ duties. For example, both groups likely will — or at least should — depend on data to plan their efforts and monitor the effects. Doing that well is not always easy.
According to one study, 89% of retailers found it challenging to manage the vast amount of data associated with their omnichannel marketing strategies. Today’s culture is one where many people freely give their information when signing up for newsletters, ordering products online or entering contests. That reality could make it difficult to use data effectively.
Whereas marketers may use data for several reasons — such as to research the target audience, determine the most popular products and uncover new needs to meet — advertisers typically depend on it to check the outcomes of an ad campaign. They may set goals at the start, then use data to see how close they get to those ideals.
Another common link between marketers and advertisers is that they both work to show the company in an accurate, positive light. If a marketing professional appears for a radio interview, they’ll want to have polished answers and an upbeat attitude. Before an advertiser posts a Facebook ad, they’ll need to check for spelling, grammar or formatting errors.
Marketing and advertisements also work hard to give the audience straightforward information. Think about what happens when a company goes through a crisis. Getting back on track may require the brand to admit wrongdoing or fault, then speak honestly about what it will do to make things right or prevent the problem from happening again. Transparency is important at any time, though. Both advertising professionals and marketers have vital roles in helping a business show this.
When Might Marketing and Advertising Teams Work Together?
Some analysts point out that — in this digital-driven era — there is an increasingly blurred line between the marketing and advertising groups at a company. That makes sense, especially since many digital channels have combinations of educational and purely promotional content. Marketing teams may also collaborate with advertisers to meet certain needs.
Consider a situation where a marketing leader identifies that millennials and Gen Z make up less than 1% of the total sales at a company that sells meal kits. They might come to the advertising team to discuss ways to increase that percentage by a certain amount in a specified timeframe. The professionals in that group could recommend running a combination of video and photo ads on Instagram to show the audience the fresh ingredients and simplicity of making dinner.
The need to help a company through a major change may also bring marketing and advertising teams together. For example, several well-known food brands — including Cream of Wheat, Uncle Ben’s and Aunt Jemima — announced they would change or at least revisit product imagery due to its promotion of racial stereotypes.
In that case, marketing professionals might write press releases and blog posts to introduce a new brand or packaging design. Those help people realize that although the items look different, they’re the same ones people know and trust. Advertisers could simultaneously launch campaigns in print, on TV and via social media to ease the transition and let people know what to look for on store shelves.
The main thing is not to assume the best option is to work with either marketing or advertising professionals. You need both because they each play crucial roles in helping a company succeed. The modern marketplace poses continual challenges, and these experts have the tailored and necessary knowledge to help companies stay resilient and competitive.
What Is the Difference Between Marketing and Advertising? Now You Know
Now that you understand the difference between marketing and advertising, you might realize your company doesn’t have the internal resources to maximize your campaigns’ profitability.
Consider getting in touch with Voy Media for help moving forward. Whether you need assistance with Facebook ads, Instagram campaigns, retargeting efforts or e-commerce customer outreach, the company’s professionals have the experience and insight to advise on those things and other ways to effectively spread the word about your company.