In everyday conversation, the words “marketing” and “advertising” are used interchangeably – but also sometimes incorrectly.
Marketing and advertising combine to achieve the same goals: brand awareness, communication, product or service offerings, customer relations, and of course, sales. Ideally, businesses need marketing AND advertising to work in conjunction, but there are some key distinctions between the two.
And those are?
If you think of marketing as a baseball team, then advertising is your ace pitcher.
In other words, marketing consists of several parts in a unified process, whereas advertising serves one specific function.
Marketing At a Glance
Depending on what product or service you’re marketing, you’ll first want to come up with an overall marketing plan.
This may involve many different parts and take time to create, but you don’t have to concoct some mad scientist’s elaborate scheme here. The key is just to understand your audience – who are you marketing to? And why? What problem are you solving for them? Once you have that in mind, you can move on to deliverables.
Marketing includes many assets like your website, branding elements (colors/logos/design/tagline), SEO, email, video, and monitoring and analyzing customer insights, and communications.
Now, How ‘Bout That Advertising?
While marketing lays the foundation for your brand and attracts leads, advertising drives the momentum for conversion by delivering the right messages to the audience.
Advertising speaks to the audience by building exposure for the product/service you’re marketing. It’s also where you can put your creativity on display with a combination of copywriting, design, images, and video to touch on the sensibilities and emotions of your audience. People remember what they feel, and advertising has a direct effect on this.
Common advertising deliverables are, well, ads. Digital display, print, social media, TV/radio, PPC (Google), the yellow pages of yesteryear and even signs in a storefront window are all ways a business can advertise.
The Sweet Spot: Making Marketing and Advertising Work Concurrently
As we said earlier, these two facets of business need to work together to bring your offerings to the public and ultimately drive sales. How, then, does one navigate this undertaking?
The important question to ask here is: What is the purpose of this? Just generating awareness or trying to sell something specific?
Consider content marketing, where pieces like blog posts, email campaigns, videos, case studies, etc. are mostly top-of-funnel content that builds traction over time. They are not designed to generate results immediately but rather to establish trust with your audience, showcase your authority and provide helpful information. Other ad campaigns such as PPC, social media, TV/radio commercials and print ads are geared to highlight special sales, events, or specific branding.
One way marketing and advertising can work together is with SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.
A PPC campaign on Google (or targeted display ads on social media) is great for awareness, a special offer, or a boost in clicks to your website. But once the users land on your site, are they staying there? Are they taking the next step like filling out a form, or calling your business? Or are they bouncing? This is where SEO comes into play. Optimizing your landing pages to align with off-site content such as ads and emails are key to not only ranking better in search but also in providing the right kind of information for your audience.
Think of a PPC advertising campaign as renting an apartment, where SEO is like owning a house. One might be pretty and functional and move you in the right direction, but it’s a short-term solution. The other is long-term, something you can shape, design, build upon, and welcome guests as you see fit.
So while there are obvious differences between marketing and advertising – and sometimes focusing on one over the other has its advantages – finding a way to make them work simultaneously for your brand is the happy medium you want.