advertising versus marketing

Advertising and Marketing: What’s the Diff?

Advertising and Marketing are concepts that a lot of people consider the same, selling a product or service to the marketplace. But, they’re distinct concepts and understanding the difference is important to make sure you give the right attention to each. We’ll break down the two concepts so you can clearly approach both advertising and marketing for your business.


Marketing refers to the strategies and preparation you do to get your product or service ready to sell. Identifying the target customers for your product plays a huge role in this also. Marketing is a long term process where you have to believe in future results. You determine what your product /service will be, features, solutions, how you’re going to package and brand your product and design it to appeal to the target audience you’d like to capitalize on.

Successful marketing involves a good amount of groundwork in terms of clearly studying your target market/audience.

  • What are your customers’ needs?
  • How can you address them?
  • What problem will you solve with your product or service?
  • What’s most important to them?

The needs for people in their early 20’s are completely different than that of people in their 50’s, so taking the time to identify your buyers in the market is extremely important. The branding and messaging you’ll need to reach different groups is different, and to make sure you have a successful advertising campaign you need to ensure you effectively communicate to these groups.


Advertising refers to the process of actually promoting your product or service to the marketplace. Ensuring that you are effectively getting your product known to your target audience and emphasizing the benefits to them is important when it comes to driving successful sales. So where marketing involves the ground work of branding and researching the needs of your target audience, advertising is the process in which you actually communicate with your target market.

Advertising campaigns can be communicated through various outlets, television, radio, and online, just to name a few. Part of your marketing research is identifying the most effective venues for your target audience. A product could have an awesome online campaign, but if your market research has identified seniors as the key target audience that would not likely be the most effective use of your advertising dollars. For a lot of target customers social media is becoming the go-to for advertising campaigns because of the low cost and how it can reach a wide audience.

Advertising campaigns have to evolve over time for various reasons. Once your products and services are in the market you’ll get more information and likely be able to refine who your buyer is. Plus if your product is successful, different venues like television, which can initially be too expensive, could open up. How to effectively advertise your products or services is something that should always be re-evaluated (as should the market research).  Social media being the newest kid on the block, shows that you have to be in a continual evaluation mode and its brands that respect this that learn, adapt, change and succeed.

Advertising vs. Marketing

When considering both Advertising and Marketing it’s important that you take the time to address both aspects of selling your product in great detail. Extensive market research can be done, but if advertising isn’t effective, the target audience won’t ever know about your product or service. On the other hand, a brilliant advertising campaign can be launched, but if it targets the wrong audience your product or service will not sell. With that same approach, if proper research is not done for product development, you may have built a product that does not sufficiently address consumer’s needs.  Looking at both advertising and marketing and linking the market research to your advertising will ensure your work effectively drives the sales your business needs to succeed.

You will also not that marketing professionals exist in every organization; advertising professionals typically work in Ad Agencies.  Having experts in each field is also helpful to ensure you have stacked all the chips in your favor. Cutting corners where experts have earned their keep can cost entire product launches.  Be armed with the right army in your next initiative!





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