What is the Difference Between Marketing and Advertising?

Many people think the answer to the question, what is the difference between marketing and advertising is obvious; they are one in the same, right? Wrong. It’s true, the goal of both is the same, to sell a company or organization’s goods and services.  But marketing is the umbrella under which advertising resides. Here’s how it works in more detail.

What is Marketing?

The marketing department of a company is responsible for a host of functions including public relations, packaging, branding, pricing, and market research. Another responsibility includes the logo design and color elements that make the company have a unique look and feel in the overall marketplace. Most companies have a marketing plan, which spells out the details of how all these elements will fit together over a period of time. This time period used to be a year, but with heightened competition and quickly changing market conditions, many companies now have quarterly plans. Think of marketing as the conductor who directs and makes all the instruments play in harmony.

What is Advertising?

As one of the instruments of marketing, the job of advertising is to spread the word, put the product or service in front of the potential customer, and convince them to buy. How? Super Bowl commercials are the epitome of television advertising, but today, a plethoria of media is available for advertising. Advertising is generally organized into individual campaigns that focus on a single product or service.

Recommended: 5 Super Bowl Advertisement Fails

What is Included in a Marketing Plan?

The best answer to the question, what is the difference between marketing and advertising, is encompassed in the marketing plan. The strategy for how the company appears to its many constituencies is encapsulated in this document, starting with a detailed description of each one of these audiences, otherwise known as target markets. Then comes a thorough analysis of the competition and thorough plans for pricing, sales tracking, and budgeting. Finally, with this information, advertising, public relations, and the other departments in marketing can design campaigns that meet marketing’s goals.

What is Included in an Advertising Campaign?

“An advertising campaign focuses on the creative positioning and media through which a product or service is sold.” What does that mean? With a specific product in hand, advertisers must analyze how it stands up against competing products in the market place as well as identify who is buying what product at any moment. The next question is, what are the ways to get the customer’s attention? In other words, what media channels should be used: Websites? Television advertising? Pamphlets and brochures? Magazine ads? These are just a few of the possible options in today’s Internet age. Next comes content, or copy. These are the points each ad should contain to grab the customer’s attention. Finally, advertising produces the ads, places them, and hopefully sells the product.

What is the difference between marketing and advertising? The distinction between these two functions should be clearly defined by any company or organization. In a sea of endless competition and a vast array of media, the more detailed the marketing plan and advertising campaign, the better the chance of success.