How Is Advertising Different From Marketing?

How Is Advertising Different From Marketing?

I had an interesting conversation with a business owner the other day and he made the point that business owners in his market often did not distinguish between advertising and marketing.

This is not a new topic. I found a Businessweek article from 2003 titled Marketing vs Advertising asking the same question.

So what is the difference between marketing vs advertising? There are a lot of different definitions of advertising and marketing, and many of them are almost interchangeable with each other.

But the best one I found was on where they used this definition from Kathleen Micken, assistant professor of marketing for the Gabelli School of Business at Roger Williams University.

marketing vs advertising
“Marketing might be defined as everything an organization does to facilitate an exchange between itself and its customers/clients. Advertising is just one of many marketing activities.”
Kathleen Micken
Assistant Professor of Marketing for the Gabelli School of Business at Roger Williams University,
Steven R. Jolly, owner of SRJ Marketing Communications, a marketing and design firm in Dallas adds,
“Marketing is the sum total of all impressions and advertising is part of the impressions that must be managed. And, of course, advertising has a hard dollar cost associated.”

To put it another way, advertising is a single component in the overall marketing process, it’s a tactic. It’s part of an overall strategic marketing plan. Advertising is an ad, a commercial, a billboard. Think Mad Men. Advertising is typically a brand message delivered in a passive way to consumers, with the goal of raising their overall awareness of a brand, product or service. If you are trying to educate a mass audience about your brand, that is advertising.

Marketing on the other hand is delivering a targeted offer to a differentiated audience for a specific result. So if you are trying to generate actual leads, for a specific offer, from a defined audience, that is marketing. And I would argue that MOST small and mid-sized business owners do not know the difference. So why does that matter?

The most compelling argument for using marketing vs advertising is because marketing has a better track record of consistently producing results. Several times I have met with business owners who think that by buying an ad in the local newspaper, industry magazine or billboard in town that they have a marketing plan. They do not. They are just advertising.

Rarely do those tactics lead to first three stages of a successful inbound marketing campaign; Traffic Generating, Lead Generation and Customer Acquisition. Instead we have found that clients have a much better ROI when they use email marketing to present a specific offer to a segment of their customer base, or they offer a webinar that solves a problem that many customers are facing.

Is your currently marketing plan generating all the leads that you want? If the answer is no, check out our free marketing assessment offer.


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