“The Difference Between Advertising and Marketing”

Two words that often get intertwined, and are often seen as interchangeable are branding and marketing. Let’s establish something upfront – they are not the same.

By definition, advertising is the act or practice of calling public attention to one’s product, service, need, etc., especially by paid announcements in newspapers and magazines, over radio or television, on billboards, etc. Marketing, by definition, is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

“A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself.”

– David Ogilvy

I’ve been working in marketing for the last fourteen years, and within that timeframe, I have spent that same amount of time understanding advertising and working closely with advertising agencies. In simple terms, advertising takes the work of marketing and uses paid media to bring attention to a particular product or service. There are various forms of advertising – TV, radio, outdoor, print and online – and the key word about advertising is the term, paid.

“Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.

– Joe Chernov

Coming out of college, I was taught that marketing consisted of the 4 P’s – product, price, place and promotion. Then it changed to the 5 P’s with the fifth word being people. And now marketing has numerous aspects to it like content marketing, guerrilla marketing and influencer marketing. The 4 or 5 P’s is referred to as the marketing mix. But in addition to the mix, the opportunities in marketing are created through positioning, segmentation and targeting. Those opportunities come by way of buyer behavior, data intelligence and market research. 

When it comes to media, it is broken down into three areas – earned, owned and paid. As I mentioned earlier, advertising is paid media, which means I am paying a media outlet money in exchange for them to showcase my product or service. Marketing is part of the process in making the right advertising decisions. It is only after you can define your customers and your messaging, that you’ll be able to find the right media outlets that reach the right people at the right time.

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