Marketing vs. Advertising

What’s Best for Your Business?

June 16th, 2020

It’s not uncommon for people to assume advertising and marketing are the same thing. After all, they are both effective avenues to promote a business or service, and sometimes they overlap. However, advertising and marketing have different approaches and end results. If you are a small business or start-up venture, it’s important to know the specifics of each and how to get the most bang for your buck. This way, you’ll have more to work when strategizing, forecasting and building your business.

Advertising 101

If you’ve ever watched Mad Men, you’ve likely got an understanding of ‘classic’ advertising – before the Internet, that is. The main objective is to get a broader audience to buy, subscribe to, or use a product or service. Advertising is usually temporary in nature, but with a call to action or promotion in mind. For example, a company will advertise a new shoe line, handy app, organic cereal, or menu. To be successful, companies needs to understand who their audience is and target them strategically. It also requires a budget – advertising is not free.

Popular examples include:

  • Print Advertising: Magazines, brochures, flyers, newspapers
  • Outdoor Advertising: Billboards, banners, flags, benches, bus shelters, wraps
  • Broadcast Advertising: Television, streaming services and radio
  • Digital Advertising: Google ads, social media ads …. essentially anything on the Internet

Advertising has a broader audience in mind, with the exception of digital advertising. Let’s look at billboard ads. They are designed to be shown to a lot, hoping to be acknowledged by a few. Meanwhile, digital ad campaign can pinpoint a specific group who views their ad. A Facebook or Instagram ad for example can target by age, geographic location, interests, occupations and so on. For digital advertisers, there is a wealth of information about their online audience readily available.

Marketing basics

Marketing is not a quick campaign – it’s a process. Marketing works best when it can develop and promote a brand over time using a variety of methods and resources. Marketing is designed to get an audience interested in your business and its offerings while building a sense of community. The ultimate goal is to attract and retain a continually growing base of happy customers or clients. Looking at the big picture, advertising is just one component of an overarching marketing plan. Here are other examples of activities that help to market a business.

  • Pricing
  • Customer service
  • Charity or community involvement
  • Branding
  • Logo
  • Social media activity
  • Blogging
  • Website / design
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Market research
  • Sales
  • Conferences / events
  • Distribution
  • Public relations

The more diversified and flexible the marketing strategy, the better the results. That’s where a solid plan of action comes in; it’s important to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. For example, you can have a great product, impressive packaging and a popular online presence, but if your customer service is lacking and you aren’t doing anything to fix it, then your brand will take a big hit, regardless of successes in other areas.

Another difference between marketing and advertising is that business don’t actually need a budget for marketing. The day-to-day operations influence a company’s visibility and brand. From the delivery driver who is helpful (and well-presented) to the latest clever blog post and fair pricing policies, your company is continually marketing itself.

Now that you have a better picture of marketing compared to advertising, does that change your current strategy? Maybe you’re putting efforts or money into one area that can be used elsewhere for an improved ROI. If you want to learn more about building a successful brand and promoting your business or services, connect with the expert team at Element 6. As a new business ourselves who has been walking the walk, we’re always here to talk.