Marketing vs. Advertising: Are they the same thing?

Justine Perry avatar
Marketing vs. Advertising: Are they the same thing?

Certainly, they’re not the same. In this insight topic, I’ll delve into the key differences between marketing and advertising and clarify their unique roles.

What is marketing?

According to the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the definition of marketing is: “The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably”.

This means that every product we buy, retailer we visit, business message we receive and purchasing choice we make, either as a business or consumer, will have been shaped by the forces of marketing.

Traditionally (though there are now other models), marketers have been ‘brought up’ on the Six Ps – think of these as pillars of marketing. I’ve simplified these for the purposes of this article:

  • Product: This can be a product or service and essentially relates to what your business is selling. Before starting to promote this, you need to ensure that there is a genuine need, your offering addresses this, it is the best quality it can be (to satisfy the other Ps), and gives value for money.
  • Price: In order for your target market to purchase your products and services, a well scoped out and researched pricing model is required. It is rarely about being the cheapest (or most expensive), it is usually about value for money and perceived worth.
  • Place: Where and how your products or services sold.
  • Promotion: How your products and services are communicated – more on this below.
  • People: Covering your target audiences and, more granularly, buyer personas, but also who is selling your products and services, recommendations, brand advocates, influencers and social proof.
  • Process: How your business delivers your products and services – a well thought out user journey and experience ensures happy customers who can communicate with your business in a way which suits their needs. Additionally, when things go wrong, a well defined customer care programme goes a long way.

As such, marketing is a pretty huge umbrella term. Under this umbrella are all of the different areas of specialism and under those are a plethora of media choices. As an example – let’s look at Cariad’s specialist area – digital marketing. Again a broad term relating to the promotion of brands via digital channels such as websites, search engines, social media, email marketing and more.

What is advertising?

In very simple terms, advertising is the activity of making products or services known about, and persuading people to buy them.

Generally, advertising is paid for promotion, although of course sometimes free ads are available.

Advertising is just one aspect of marketing, the ‘Promotion’ pillar. When promoting any product or service, a wide range of tactics need to be considered, researched and deployed in order to effectively sell anything. Of course it doesn’t stop there, as advertising campaigns need to be constantly reviewed, evaluated and tweaked to ensure you get the best value for money.

Whether the advertising is in print media (newspapers, magazines, direct mail etc), outdoor (bus sides, tube stations, poster sites etc), on TV and radio or digital (Google ads, Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads, Native ads etc), there are literally hundreds of choices to consider.

Think of advertising as a direct sales message and is therefore a channel where you should be looking to achieve an ROI (return on investment). So, if you spend £1k on advertising – how much more do you want to achieve in sales?

How are they different?

The term ‘marketing’ relates to the entire process of taking products and services from inception to market. It is a broad term covering all activities, from originating a brand or product idea, through the R&D phase and onto pricing, selection of distribution channels, market definition and process creation.

Advertising on the other hand, is just one aspect of marketing. It should have an annual budget assigned to it, which should be broken down into monthly spends – relative to seasonal sales variations. Sales targets can be assigned to your promotional advertising to ensure you are getting the very best value for money. It is important to note, that with the best will in the world (and the highest level of targeting), not all advertising campaigns are successful and this needs to be built into budgeting.

Which advertising medium is the right choice for your brand?

There is no one size fits all answer to this question. Each medium will provide a different ROI and be measurable in a different way. It can therefore be best to employ the services of a specialist agency to help research, plan and buy your advertising campaigns for you.

Justine Perry avatar

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