Marketing Vs. Advertising

JUNE 1, 2018

Although used interchangeably, there is in fact a difference between Marketing and Advertising…we wont even get into the difference between these two disciplines and Branding, Communications and Public Relations – we’ll save that for another post.

The reason these disciplines are confused or interchanged is because in practice they are designed to do essentially the same thing. So let’s look at the definitions. First, I’ll give you the formal definitions:

Marketing: 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. (The American Marketing Association)

Advertising: The placement of announcements and persuasive messages in time or space purchased in any of the mass media by business firms, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and individuals who seek to inform and/ or persuade members of a particular target market or audience about their products, services, organizations, or ideas. (The American Marketing Association)

Now, let me break it down for you and tell you what the deal is in some plain ‘ol fashioned real words:

Marketing is all the things that you do to let people know about your product, service or solution to make them want to get it into their hands. Advertising is simply one of those “things” that you do, to make that actually happen.

So in short, this particular “thing”, Advertising, is really just a component of Marketing. It’s pretty easy to think of other things or components of Marketing, especially those that align very closely with Advertising, like Social Media, Mobile Marketing, and Content Marketing to name a few. But there are many other components as well, that don’t come to mind as readily as Marketing, but they certainly are. A few examples of these “things” or components of Marketing would be:

  • Sponsorships (think branded names & logos on Nascars, at events, etc.)
  • Naming Rights (think of any sports arena, or here locally – The Bank of America Chicago Marathon)
  • Exhibiting at Tradeshows
  • Even brands that have signed deals to be the official uniform or shoe provider for professional or NCAA D-One sports is a component or type of Marketing (think of the explosion, traction and adoption of the Under Armour brand in the consumer market, in comparison to the amount of actual brand “advertising” you have probably seen)

It is a certainty that Marketing and Advertising will continue to be used interchangeably, and it won’t be the end of the world by any stretch knowing that that will be the case. But it will be worth knowing and noting the difference, especially if you are fighting the good fight with Company Leadership to maintain, increase, or definitely avoid reductions in your marketing budget.

If Leadership is saying that the spend in Marketing is too much or doesn’t need to be increased, but she or he is thinking of Marketing only in terms of Advertising and is not considering these many other initiatives that fall under the umbrella of Marketing, that could be a problem.

Now however, you will be able to go in armed with an easy-to-explain definition of the difference between Marketing and Advertising, and be able to make a very strong case for your budget. Hopefully it’s an increase, and hopefully you will consider working with the Black Rhino Marketing Group to help make the most of that budget and get the maximum return on your marketing efforts.