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Marketing vs advertising: What’s the difference and how can they work together?

If you thought marketing and advertising were the same thing, you’re not alone.

Both business specialties are often thrown into the same bucket because they focus on product or service promotion, however there are material differences between the two.

For marketers and other professionals carrying out marketing strategies, it is important to appreciate the individual characteristics of marketing and advertising and how the two interact.

A better understanding of these disciplines can help businesses fine-tune their approach to advertising and drive more value from their marketing strategy.

The main difference between the two is that advertising is just one component of marketing — think of advertising like a spoke in a wheel.

What is marketing?

Dictionary.com describes marketing as “the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer”.

This encompasses everything from the initial market research and analysis through to product development, distribution and sales.

Marketing is not only confused with advertising, it is also often mixed up with other business disciplines such as sales and public relations.

The reason marketing is so pervasive is because marketers understand what consumers want and provide key insights into how to best serve customers.

From a marketer’s perspective, they approach their role through the four P’s of marketing — Product, Price, Place and Promotion — to help bring products or services and consumers together.

What is advertising?

Advertising, on the other hand, is focused on one part of that overarching goal: attracting new customers through targeted ad campaigns.

Think of it as getting the word out about a business or product to those you want to speak to the most.

There are many ways to advertise, whether its online through websites, email or social media to more traditional outlets such as newspapers, radio and direct mail.

Advertisers also have to pay for ads, whether it’s on a social media platform or a billboard, making it one of the more expensive parts of a marketing plan.

But before they can create their campaigns, advertising professionals have to define their target market and build a profile of who the prospective audience is.

Understanding how they work together

Understanding who to advertise to and how to best reach them is a marriage of marketing and advertising expertise.

Establishing the profile of a target market may involve looking at demographic factors like age and gender or trends like shopping habits and lifestyle preferences.

There are other factors to consider too, such as the level of competition in your particular market and how they price their product or service.

Once a business has a comprehensive idea of who its audience and competitors are, they can ascertain an overarching marketing strategy, including mapping out a typical customer journey and tailoring ad campaigns across the most effective mediums.

This will allow a business to market to a customer at every stage of their buying cycle, rather than simply running an ad campaign that only serves a single purpose.

And that’s ultimately where marketing differs from advertising – marketing is about developing a strategy, implementing a plan and carrying a range of activities, including advertising, to achieve business objectives.

Working in unison

Does your business need help with developing an effective marketing strategy with a focus on advertising?

Assemblo is a full-service marketing agency based in Melbourne, and offers businesses high-level marketing strategies that incorporate a range of digital and traditional advertising options.

To find out how we can elevate your marketing and advertising efforts, give us a call on (03) 9079 2555 or drop us a note via our contact form below.

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