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.
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.
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.