Marketing vs Advertising: What’s the Difference

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Advertising is when a company pays to convey its message to its target audience. The scope of marketing is much more extensive.  It covers all aspects of advertising and the research necessary for the correct placement of these advertisements, competitive pricing of related products and services, and tracking of the effectiveness of any related work.

The Difference Between Marketing and Advertising

When we think about marketing and advertising, it’s not uncommon to use them interchangeably in conversation. But the truth of the matter is that they are indeed very different from one another.


Marketing is the broader of the two, entailing a wide range of actions needed to bring a product or service to the eyes of consumers, to put it into perspective, 


Conversely, advertising is a part of marketing that is designed to get the consumer to take action. Moreover, advertising is the more visible of the two. You see advertisements everywhere you go, whether online or while driving in your car. Even when you’re out “in the middle of nowhere,” you’ll likely see a billboard or sign asking you to buy a product or service.

The Importance of Marketing

So far, we’ve seen that marketing is an all-encompassing plan that businesses use to propel their brand in various ways. As a result, companies everywhere spend incredible sums of money each year marketing their products or services. It is estimated that they spend upward of 10% of their yearly revenue just on marketing and advertising. And many times, that percentage is much higher. 

A Closer Look at Advertising

The ultimate goal of advertising is to draw the attention of potential consumers. Keep in mind that advertising doesn’t have to be for a product or service. You can use advertising to get the word out to any group of people you are trying to reach. Say you’re getting married and you want friends and family to attend your wedding shower. To do this effectively, you need to advertise your information to them. The same goes for businesses trying to get consumers to buy products or services, attend events, and so on. In other words, advertising is creating and distributing content to convince customers to buy products or services. The traditional advertising method is to place ads on TV shows, roadside billboards, magazines, and newspapers. 

The Shift to Digital

Today, however, we see more and more companies focus on online marketing. One method for doing so is inbound marketing, which involves reaching out to potential customers online after they have expressed interest or need for a product or service. This is large because consumers aren’t buying things like they used to. The method has changed dynamically, shifting from brick-and-mortar purchases to digital purchases.  The age of the internet has played a significant role in altering the buying habits of consumers. And the fact is, most people already know what they want long before making their final purchase. Thanks to the internet, consumers can do all the research they need without ever speaking with a salesperson. Social media likewise helps people make decisions on what they want to buy. There is an undeniable impact made through the sharing of information online. That’s why companies everywhere have shifted to digital advertising over conventional methods. At present, roughly 55% of all advertising is done online, and it’s expected that traditional advertising will continue to diminish over the coming years in favor of advertising online.  What’s more, it is predicted that spending on digital advertising will reach nearly $1 trillion by 2025.  But while most consumers are all too familiar with the digital advertisements that commonly appear online, advertising comes in many other forms, as well. These include:

  • Billboards and outdoor
  • Product placements
  • Radio and podcast
  • Internet display
  • Direct mailings
  • Retail
  • Print

Now let’s look at how marketing contrasts advertising since the latter is only a part of the former.

What Is Marketing?

Marketing is the act of promoting goods and services. It also includes advertising and market research.  As such, marketing includes all aspects of advertising and the research necessary to ensure the correct placement of ads, competitive pricing of products and services, and tracking to see the effectiveness of the ads. The bottom line is that marketing refers to any action by a company to attract an audience through targeted messaging about the company’s products or services.  Marketing aims to provide potential customers and consumers with added value through content. The long-term goal is to demonstrate product value, strengthen the brand, encourage customer loyalty, and increase sales. As a business owner, marketing aims to research your customers and analyze their buying habits continuously. You also conduct focus groups and surveys and ask basic questions to understand your client base and potential clients better. Marketing is when you try to get people interested in the products or services offered by your company. You do this through analysis, market research, and understanding the interests of your ideal customers.  It’s important to note that marketing refers to all aspects of a business, from product development and distribution to sales and advertising. 

How It All Began

Modern marketing began back in the 1950s. Then, it was a time when businesses and entrepreneurs began to look beyond the established print advertising method.  There’s no denying the impact that television had on marketing and advertising. Without the era of TV commercials, there likely wouldn’t be an internet to promote today’s products and services. Today, marketers can carry out entire campaigns across multiple platforms. For instance, a shoe company can spread its marketing campaign via television commercials, newspaper and magazine ads, website ads, and social media ads. With so many platforms to command, it’s no wonder why companies have changed their marketing strategies so dramatically just in the last 20 years. Messaging is a large part of what makes up marketing. Given that businesses have so many options for marketing their respective brands, it’s easy to see why messaging is such an integral part of marketing.

Marketing Methods

Where you carry out your marketing activities depends on where your customers spend most of their time. Therefore, you need to conduct market research to determine which marketing methods are the most effective to build your brand. Let’s take a moment to explore some of the various marketing methods available to businesses in today’s landscape. SEO Search Engine Optimization, better known as “ SEO ,” is the action of optimizing website content to improve its appearance in search results. Marketers use it to attract people who perform web searches, as it implies that those searching are already interested in a product or service. Online Marketing This is a pretty broad aspect of marketing in and of itself. But, essentially, marketing on the internet encompasses a litany of strategies to ensure a company’s digital presence online. Social Media Campaigns Thanks to the wide-ranging options of social media, companies can take advantage of the vast user base among the various platforms to market their products and services.  Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter are all there for the taking, with billions of users worldwide promoting your brand. Print Marketing At one time, print was the de facto form of marketing. This changed with the introduction of television. While magazine and newspaper subscriptions have dipped dramatically since the advent of the internet, print marketing still exists today.  Blog Marketing Blogs are now a major marketing strategy for businesses large and small. What was once considered niche is now a lucrative portion of the internet, where companies can market their brand to a wide range of consumers.

In Closing

These are just a few of the marketing options companies have at their disposal. As technology continues to flourish and evolve, there will undoubtedly be new and exciting opportunities for businesses to market and advertise their brands. When it comes down to it, marketing and advertising, while different, are both used in an effort for companies to grow, and while there are many facets to growing a business , marketing, and advertising remain some of the most important. Companies everywhere pour billions of dollars into growing their brands through marketing and advertising. And often, the methods used are hit or miss.  Some marketing campaigns prove to be highly effective in increasing a company’s bottom line. Others, however, are essentially useless, requiring the company to go back to the drawing board to strategize their next attempt. It’s an ongoing process, to be sure. But when a business finally lands on that winning strategy, there’s nothing else quite like it. Are you interested in starting your own small business? Get the funding you need with same-day approval by applying with us online. If you have any questions in the meantime, drop us a line , and we’ll be sure to get in touch. Sources: eMarketer predicts digital ads will overtake traditional spending in 2019 | Online Advertising Market | Growth, Trends, Forecasts (2020 - 2025) SEO Starter Guide: The Basics | Google Search Central

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