Marketing vs. Advertising: 8 Differences

For many, marketing and advertising seem like synonymous terms. But for those who work in the industry, they could not be more different! In order to grow and scale your business, it is important to understand how these activities differ from each other and how they work together to maximize your revenue.

In order to get a better understanding of the difference between marketing and advertising, we connected with 8 professionals in the industry to break it down for us! Check out their insights below.

Strategy vs. Messaging

Marketing is the strategy behind your company’s relationship with the customer. Marketing tells you what market to look at, what customer to target, what product features to create, and how to get in front of your consumers. Advertising is the messaging and channel selection of your promotional materials. Advertising tells you whether appealing to a consumer’s logic or emotions will be more profitable or if they are more likely to see an ad on Instagram or cable TV. Marketing comes first. Advertising just pushes marketing to consumers.

Layton Cox, Marketing Consultant

All the Actions vs. One Action

Marketing is everything you do to take your brand “out there”. This includes advertising. Yet, advertising is only one way (and a small part) to make your brand present and recognizable online. Marketing as such is the compound of all the actions you take to put your brand in front of the eye’s of your target audience.

Jakub Kliszczak, Channels

The Whole Thing vs. One Component

It has always been explained to me that advertising is just one component, or subset, of marketing as a whole. Advertising, by definition, is any form of communication that attempts to influence the behavior of a person. The message delivered to that person to take a specific action, like buying a product or service, can be considered an advertisement. Marketing is the process of communicating the value of that product or service to people. I love thinking about this example from author Allan Dib: If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying “Circus Coming to the Showground Saturday,” that’s advertising. Everything else including public relations, sales and promotion is all considered marketing. 

Kayla Centeno, Markitors

Long Game vs. Aim & Shoot

Advertising is a type of marketing, so you could send an email advertising campaign, promote a key service or product and you can also send an email marketing campaign that is designed to build your brand or engagement. Advertising is generally an ‘aim and shoot’ approach with a specific goal in mind, whereas marketing is the long game; you nurture and engage and define your audience over time.

Doug Dennison, MailNinja

Determining Identity vs. the Creative Outlet

Marketing tends to be more concerned with how a brand’s image affects a business’s bottom line, while advertising is a creative outlet meant to establish that image. At our company, marketing researches and determines the best identity to use and where to place our brand to gain business. Advertising, then, makes those touchpoints and places them in the areas marketing has deemed ideal.

Court Will, Will & Will

The Research vs. the Medium

Marketing and advertising are similar concepts that often get confused with one another. Advertising is selling a particular product to a particular, targeted audience through a variety of mediums including commercials and billboards. Marketing is more about product development and the research that goes into essentially marketing your product. Marketing always comes first and the ideas and data collected from marketing are then used in the advertising message of that same product. 

Peter Babichenko, Sahara Case 

Strategy vs. Deliverables

Marketing involves all the strategy of interactions a consumer may have with a brand, from awareness to purchase. They consider all aspects of the buyer’s journey. Advertising is often a more creative outlet, involving deliverables like magazine pages, billboards and commercials. For us, marketing includes SEO and tutorials while advertising helps us with our imaging, like on Instagram.

Vanessa Molica, The Lash Professional

Preparation vs. Direct Communication

While the concepts can be differentiated, the processes can’t. Advertising is an intrinsic part of marketing. Putting all subjective opinions to the side of how these two should interact, the simplest way to put it is that advertising is the externalization of marketing. 

Marketing encompasses everything that prepares “something” for the marketplace. Advertising is the direct communication with that marketplace. At a stage when brand recognition and public opinion are valued so highly, advertising is, in some cases, being brought closer and closer to marketing, which I think is an interesting sign of the times.

João Pedreda, Webdiner