What is the difference between advertising and marketing?

Advertising and marketing are often used interchangeably, but, there are some distinctions between the two that are important to understand as you think about your marketing plan.

Advertising is a subsection of marketing. Advertising is one way of making a product or service known to an audience.

Marketing is the entire process of creating, designing, researching, and analysing data relating to align a product or service with the target audience.

When you’re thinking about your business, you’re probably also thinking about how to get more customers. This is thinking about your marketing strategy. Who is your target audience? How much will they pay? How can you get them to pay more, and more often, for your product or service? How are you going to let people know that they can get what they need from you?

Where most small and medium business owners panic, is the depth and breadth of opportunities to do marketing. Do you use social media? Do you do paid advertising? How much time do you have to put into public relations, or speaking with editorial publishers? Do you buy ads in local magazines? Or the radio?

The most important part of your advertising is ensuring that it meets your marketing objectives. As with all of your marketing, developing a brand guideline from the outset, while it’s an investment, will have an outsize ROI, as it will ensure that every potential touch point that your customers encounter your offer is cohesive, and carries the same message. Typefaces, colourways, and logo usage are all extremely important components of your overarching marketing performance.

So, next time you start thinking about marketing, or advertising, you can do so knowing the difference, and with a better understanding of how to stay cohesive across all of your channels.