Marketing and advertising – they’re two terms used almost as interchangeably as marketing and branding. But, just as there is a difference between the latter set of functions, there is also disparity between the first. Marketing and advertising are not the same. And, having a clear understanding of their differences can help you bring in more business. That’s because each serves a different and deliberate purpose and when appropriately executed, the two work together to help increase sales and achieve other goals.
Understanding the difference is key to achieving goals.
Examining the definitions of marketing and advertising is a key step to understanding their differences so that you can appropriately execute. So, here are the definitions:
Helps drive sales through activities and processes that promote your brand to reach and engage customers. Communicates value to keep your brand and products top-of-mind among the people that you want to do business with.
Helps promote the sale of an offering (product, service, event or anything else that can be purchased) by bringing it to the public’s attention, usually through paid announcements.
At first glance, their definitions may appear very similar. But, they’re actually quite different. Marketing and advertising share a common objective of driving sales; however, the purpose and objectives of marketing are more than just that. Marketing also promotes the value of your brand in a way that advertising does not do to the same degree. Marketing uses advertising to help extend its reach and initiate sales quicker. I like to think of advertising as marketing’s “power-up”. However, in order to sustain the “power-up”, advertising needs to support and work in conjunction with the rest of marketing.
The marketing plan should be used to guide advertising.
A good marketing plan contains key components that should be used to guide the advertising. These components include target audience, company mission, value proposition, situational analysis, marketing strategy and budget.
Unfavorable results are a common outcome of advertising that’s not led by marketing.
Advertising that is not driven by a marketing plan usually produces unfavorable results. Unfortunately, this happens more often than it should.
A plumbing company with no true marketing plan spends most of its marketing budget on paid ads through Facebook. This company generates minimal fan page likes, no new traffic to its website and no increase in sales.
Assuming that the target audience is local residents with impromptu plumbing needs, it may make more sense for the plumbing company to invest in marketing that will drive potential in-market customers to their website. SEO, Yelp and Google Business are areas that could produce better results.
A B2B company spent advertising dollars on generating social media likes and followers. The ad campaign did achieve its initial goals; however, once the ads ended so did the growth of their social channels.
In addition to running social ads, the company should invest in strong, ongoing content that’s posted on the social channels. This content should include strong CTAs to increase website traffic, leads and sales. Good content will also help the company continue to grow its social channels through shares and other engagement.
A credit union spent advertising dollars on direct mailers with a “visit our site for more info” CTA. A minimal spike in site traffic occurred; however, it was offset by a high bounce rate.
A more specific and compelling CTA could have generated more traffic. To minimize the high bounce rate, the credit union could have directed potential members to a landing page vs. their website’s homepage. There is also opportunity for the credit union to modify its website so that it’s easier for members to find what they’re looking for when they do arrive on the homepage.
The same differences apply to the digital world.
Digital marketing and digital advertising are used the most interchangeably. But, even in the digital world, there is still a clear distinction between advertising and marketing. And, as demonstrated in some of the examples above, digital advertising needs to be driven and supported by digital marketing.
There is definite value in advertising when it’s directed by a strategic marketing plan. When intertwined with other marketing efforts, advertising can be the component of your marketing that fuels more rapid growth – helping you bring in more business.
To get help with your marketing or advertising, contact Break Ice Marketing.