Is the Difference Between Marketing & Advertising Really All That Important? (Yep!)

There are many common misconceptions & myths out there: 

  • Coffee is made from beans. (Those coffee “beans” are actually seeds.) 
  • Peanuts are nuts. (They technically belong to the same plant family as beans and peas—which makes them legumes.) 
  • People only use ten percent of their brain. (Neurologists have determined that we use virtually every part of our brains … just not all at the same time!) 
  • Goldfish only have memory spans of three seconds. (Believe it or not, goldfish can be trained to respond to sensory cues—a feat that requires decent memory skills.) 
  • The color red aggravates bulls. (Bulls can only see blues and yellows, so it’s the movement of a fluttering cape—which could be any color—that causes them to charge.) 

Well, here’s one more you can add to the list: 

  • Marketing and advertising are the same thing. 

This misconception needs to be debunked. But, in this case, it’s likely attributable to the fact that the two fields are related. 

Before we proceed, a quick clarification:  

Unless stated otherwise—and we are going to—we are talking about traditional advertising (ads appearing on television, radio, newspapers, magazines, etc.).  

Today, let’s look at the difference between marketing and advertising—and then discern what all of this means for you and your company. 

The Sales House

Much like individual members of the noble houses in HBO’s Game of Thrones—or George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice, if you prefer—marketing and advertising are part of a bigger picture. Instead of being Starks of Winterfell, however, they fall under the general umbrella of “sales.” 

To continue this analogy, let’s say that if marketing is the Ned Stark—who is a great character and we hope good things happen to him—of House Sales, then advertising is his son Robb (who we’re thinking ultimately claims the Iron Throne).  

Okay, shedding the GOT analogy faster than Jon Snow shedding his Night’s Watch vows to be with Ygritte, here’s the deal in plain English: 

Advertising is part of marketing, which is part of sales. 

(Would have been much quicker to just say that on the front end, but our writing team thinks this Game of Thrones show has a real chance of catching on!) 

A Deeper Look: Differences Between the Two

In addition to keeping our fingers on the pulse of pop culture, we happen to know a thing or two about the field of marketing. Because we do, we can break down the actual differences between marketing and advertising for you a little deeper.

Again, advertising is a part of marketing—which means marketing has other parts.

When we talk about marketing, we are speaking of the sum of a collaboration between social media, email, videos, content, graphic designs, and other elements as well.

For a more complete look at all the parts of marketing, check out our Services page.

All of those elements need to work in conjunction to properly establish, maintain, and promote a brand.

This makes marketing more complicated in nature, which probably makes a ton of sense now and you’re seeing how advertising is merely one facet of it. And because it is complex, marketing can actually do more for you and your business than just advertising alone.

Putting the parent/child relationship aside, there are still more distinctions between the two.

For example, we all know that good marketing generally tends to be more inbound in nature. You are seeking a genuine audience, not shouting your message from the rooftop and wondering who hears you.

And to clarify further, let’s talk about what we mean by “inbound.”

Inbound marketing is the “marketing touch” that happens when individuals seek out specific brands, products/services, or industries. In these instances, the market comes to you.

Conversely, outbound marketing is more like broadcasting a message—you are taking the conversation to them.

Accordingly, marketing—due to its inbound nature—leads to a more genuine audience, since people are actively seeking out your brand.

On the other hand, advertising can often be thought of in a more general context as being a “spray-and-pray” approach. (You spray a message out there and pray it reaches the right people!)

Another core distinction is this:

Marketing is a matter of building, maintaining, and strengthening relationships between your brand and your target market.

Advertising is fairly simplistic and straightforward—admittedly, it does become a little more complex when we delve into areas like Google and Facebook ads—but typically doesn’t have the depth necessary to be crucial for building strong consumer/brand relationships.

One more key difference you should be aware of:

Looking at their respective costs, advertising is usually going to be more expensive (after all, periodical publishers and radio and television stations need to pay their bills…). And because marketing is less expensive, it frequently has a much better ROI.

A Deeper Look: Differences Between the Two

So why bother with ads then?

Well, as a starting point, advertising can be particularly important when you are establishing your brand.

If people aren’t familiar with your company, ads can bring attention and recognition—both of which go a long way towards creating an audience.

Of course, if you really want to get people familiar and interested in your company, you may want to consider running online ads.

See, this digital age we live in has come with opportunities for you to target specific groups and demographics—especially those who are actively searching for the products and services you have to offer.

Google Ads have a well-deserved reputation for providing users with an outstanding ROI. That makes complete sense when you consider the fact these ads are being presented to individuals who are actively searching for relevant keywords.

And if that’s not enough, you actually have an impressive amount of control over who sees your ads.

If Bob Smith is in the market for a new snowmobile, the odds are very high he’ll be doing some online research. When he uses appropriate keywords, Google (or his other search engine of choice) will present him with a listing of appropriate websites—along with ads for your snowmobile dealership.

Since he’s actively looking up snowmobiles, Bob is more likely to click on one of your ads and enter your sales funnel than Suzy Johnson, who was randomly presented an ad for your snowmobile dealership while watching her favorite show.

Even better:

Don’t want people from sunny San Diego seeing ads for your snowmobile dealership here in Ottawa County (since they probably aren’t going to be doing business with you anytime soon…)? No problem! You’ll just need to select the right parameters when you set up your ad campaign.

Also, online ads are often done on a PPC (pay per click) basis. That’s great news for you:

You only have to pay when people actually click on your ads—and those people are more likely to be motivated customers.

(Note: There is no need to worry that your competitor is going to sit there and click on your ads all day so you have to pay obscene amounts of money. Google recognizes shenanigans like that, and you won’t be charged for fraudulent behavior.)

Do They Have Anything in Common?

Clearly, both fields have a fair amount of differences. At the same time, there are a couple of commonalities:

Each is most effective when planned and implemented by professionals and used together in tandem.

Branding has to be consistent.

You need to keep the target market in mind if you want optimal results. What your audience wants to hear is always going to be more important than what you want to say—but the good news is that there are ways to influence the situation, so your perfect audience hears your message.

Remember, your marketing strategy is comprehensive. If you want to drive the best possible results, you will likely need to incorporate at least a certain degree of advertising—and especially targeted online ads!—in the plan.

We get that this is all a lot to coordinate. It takes a ton of time, energy, knowledge, and skill. Wanting to handle it all on your own is certainly admirable. If you want to take a more realistic approach, however, you might want to reach out to professionals who would be more than happy to do it all for you.

CP Solutions is fortunate to have a team of hard-working, experienced, and talent professionals—and we’d love nothing more than to have the opportunity to create and implement a marketing plan that drives the results you want to see.

If you’d like more information about our agency and the services we provide—or if you simply have some questions we could answer for you—please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (833) 622-0907. If you’d prefer to reach us online, please feel free to take advantage of this form and we will be in contact!

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