The Key Differences Between Marketing and Advertising

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You will often find that many people confuse marketing with advertising or vice versa. While both components are important they are very different. Knowing the difference and doing your market research can put your company on the path to substantial growth.

Let's start off by reviewing the formal definitions of each and then go into a deeper explanation of how marketing and advertising differ from one another:

Advertising Is One Slice of the Pie

The paid, public, non-personal announcement of a persuasive message by an identified sponsor; the non-personal presentation or promotion by a firm of its products to its existing and potential customers.

Advertising is a single component of the marketing process. It's the part that involves getting the word out concerning your business, product, or the services you are offering. It involves the process of developing strategies such as ad placement, frequency, etc.

Advertising includes the placement of an ad in such mediums as newspapers, direct mail, billboards, television, radio, and of course the Internet. Advertising is the largest expense of most marketing plans, with public relations following in a close second and market research not falling far behind.

The best way to distinguish between advertising and marketing is to think of marketing as a pie, inside that pie you have slices of advertising, market research, media planning, public relations, product pricing, distribution, customer support, sales strategy, and community involvement.

Advertising only equals one piece of the pie in the strategy. All of these elements must not only work independently but they also must work together towards the bigger goal. Marketing is a process that takes time and can involve hours of research for a marketing plan to be effective. Think of marketing as everything that an organization does to facilitate an exchange between company and consumer.

Marketing Is the Other Slice

Marketing is the systematic planning, implementation, and control of a mix of business activities intended to bring together buyers and sellers for the mutually advantageous exchange or transfer of products. It's a step-by-step process that begins with a unique selling proposition — a compelling sentence that describes your business. This proposition then acts as a guiding theme, mission, which helps you identify target clients who are interested in your products and services. 

Once you figure out who your target audience is, your marketing plan will then help you map out a strategy to best position your products and services. And after these strategies and tactics are developed, you will be ready to focus on an advertising strategy that will help you explain, teach and promote your products and services to different audiences in film, television, newspapers and magazines, the Internet, and other mediums.