In most business conversations, the terms marketing and advertising are used interchangeably. For the people outside of marketing or advertising, these terms may mean the same thing, i.e. the promotion of a company’s goods and services. However, on a closer look, one will find that marketing and advertising are unique disciplines with well-explained differences. One of the first things that a student learns when he starts to attend one of the several marketing and advertising courses available, is the difference between the two disciplines of business. This is so, because academics, as well as professionals from these fields, understand that for implementing marketing or advertising initiatives, it is important to understand that these terms do not mean the same thing.
Understanding Advertising and Marketing
By definition, advertising is just one subset of marketing. Marketing deals with the promotion of a product or service across several platforms. There are numerous ways to market a product or service to the targeted customer. A marketer may take the help of public relations (PR), on-ground events, media planning, product pricing, distribution, sales strategy, social media strategy, customer support, market research or advertising to promote a product or service and all of the above will fall into the realm of marketing.
Marketing is the way of creating contact with the desired customer base through various promotional ways. This is done in order to make the customers eventually buy the product or service that the concerned organization is selling. The process of marketing is a long and detailed one. It covers everything from how a store manager talks to the customer to how an order is fulfilled. All the customer experiences can be a part of an organization’s marketing efforts. Advertising is one of the many marketing activities that may be used in order to create a connect with the targeted audience for a product or service.
For example, a company wants to sell its B2B solutions to a set of targeted enterprises. It sends out personalized emailers to all the companies. This step will be defined as advertising. Out of all the companies that were approached, some of them will respond to the emailers and the process of converting a sales lead to an actual sale will begin. Once the sale is closed, the customers might have queries or complaints from time to time, so a dedicated customer support team will be helping them in their journey. The entire procedure falls under marketing as it influences the customer’s view of the company and the products and services it offers to the customers. As shown in the above example, advertising is a way of creating awareness and generating interest in the potential customer’s mind about a product or service. While marketing is much more than that. However, all the marketing elements, including advertising are linked together to work towards the common goal of creating more customers for the company.
While advertising is one subset of marketing, it is in itself a highly creative and time taking process creating perfect brand imagery for a product or service. Once a company has set its marketing strategy in place, they present their product or service to the targeted customer through advertising. There are various methods of advertising available today. A company can choose between television commercials, print media, outdoor advertising or online advertising amongst others as a way of promoting their brand. Social media is also a big tool today to create lasting conversations between a brand and the customers. All of these help in generating awareness about a brand and create interest among people to try it out. Advertising helps a company spread the word about its offerings. It is an expensive medium and therefore requires the expertise of advertising specialists who create the taglines, the storyboards, radio spots, jingles, video ads, brand creatives etc in order to create compelling advertising campaigns for a product or service. Since it is a specialized field, usually a company does not handle its advertising by itself. There are several advertising agencies who work with their clients in creating their advertising campaigns for them. Some of the famous advertising agencies are Ogilvy, Lowe Lintas, Mudra Communications etc. A company may stick to a similar advertising campaign for many years or keep changing it, it is dependent on the marketing strategy that they plan to follow.
Marketing and advertising may sound similar but there is a clear distinction between them. While advertising is a part of marketing, it is not marketing in itself. Marketing is a much larger element of an organization’s strategy and advertising is a tool that helps marketers to reach the overall objectives and goals of an organization.