So...What's the Difference Between Marketing and Advertising?

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

When it comes to the world of marketing, it's basically unavoidable to hear these "buzz" words floating around: marketing, advertising, promotion, PR, branding, the list goes on. And we hear them all the time, use them interchangeably, say them to our clients, and we may not be 100% clear on how each word is distinguished from the others— especially marketing and advertising.

So what actually is the difference? According to the American Marketing Association, marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. Advertising is said to call the public's attention to your business, usually for the purpose of selling products or services, through the use of various forms of media, such as print or broadcast notices by

All of that sounds great, but that still leaves us looking like this:

Because that doesn't tell us what they actually mean. (Yeah, we can relate because no one actually told us either.) However, here's the best way that we think people should look at it.

Marketing is the plan of what, how, and when the buzz words that we listed at at the top (Remember those?) are used and, in an even shorter explanation, is the mother of those words, including advertising. Marketing also tends to include research to create a plan that is right for your business.

Marketing is a necessity because, all those buzz words at the top? They may or may not individually be the best for your entity's marketing plan. Some tactics may be completely irrelevant. Plus, you need to know your target market, what's important to them, where they connect on social media, what gets them excited, and you can't do that without marketing. That would then make advertising the roll out — or at least part of the roll out — of your custom-made marketing plan.

Advertising, as one of the children of marketing, is what you actually see: that Facebook or Instagram ad, the flyer that you were handed, and even the free T-shirt you got from your college. And promotion, branding, PR are just a few of the brothers and sisters of advertising. Here are a few examples of advertising that we've created:

And there you have it! Marketing and advertising are essentially a mother-daughter duo. Now, it's our job to give you a personalized plan of what to use and when to use it. Ready to get started? Contact us here.

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