As businesses grow in a fast-paced economy with rapidly changing technology, they are constantly looking for new marketing and advertising tactics to stay competitive, boost their sales and increase their customer base. Whether that be through traditional print or new digital strategies, both marketing and advertising is virtually everywhere you look.
But what exactly are the differences between the two? We often hear ‘marketing’ and ‘advertising’ used as if they are the same thing, but in reality the two are quite different. Below, we’ll outline each of these concepts in detail, explain the difference between the two and outline the various types of marketing and advertising to help illustrate just how distinct (yet important) they are.
What is advertising?
Advertising is all around us, on trains, in public restrooms, on TV, on our phones and in our movies. Simple and effective advertising formulas are often seen on television and radio ads. However, advertising comes in many different shapes and sizes. Some utilise sponsorships for greater reach and influence, and some are more subtle, even forgoing the mention of any product at all and focusing on building brand awareness.
Either way, advertising will generally have a straightforward, direct goal, but the main difference between advertising and marketing is that advertising is the means for brands to convince consumers to buy their product.
What is marketing?
When you think about marketing vs advertising it’s hard to even imagine a world where they don’t coexist with each other, but what sets marketing apart is its all-encompassing nature. Relating to more than just the products themselves, but the entire brand.
Marketing is ever-present in all forms of business, it is the actions taken to promote the business, the brand and the products for the purpose of growth and success.
To get a sense of just how much ground marketing covers, take a look at any marketing plan and you’ll understand the sheer scale of influence marketing has over business operations.
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What is the difference between marketing and advertising?
Advertising is a strategy that fits within a broader marketing campaign. For example, a company may advertise a new phone model through a television ad. This may fit into the brands overall marketing campaign which also focuses on brand awareness, content creation and other categories that fall underneath the marketing umbrella.
Advertising and marketing are similar in that they both aim to influence, but if advertising is a piece of the puzzle, then marketing is all the pieces put together. Advertising is just one of the ways in which the messaging of a campaign is conveyed to consumers, a process often referred to as the delivery method. Once again this does fall under the marketing umbrella, it is an endeavour to promote the business after all, but this umbrella also covers far more than just advertising.
The act of advertising often includes direct actions such as paying for ad space on a billboard, TV, or any platform that offers this service. Marketing also incorporates direct and explicit actions such as email marketing and other growth strategies, but it is generally for more macro-oriented, overarching goals.
3 common types of advertising
1. Paid search advertising
Most advertising requires a fee to be paid for the ad space, and the digital world is no different. Paid search advertising refers to the ads that show up at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs), which is a hot property. Companies bid on keywords relevant to their product in an attempt to dangle a carrot in front of the searcher, to try and entice them onto their page when they’re already thinking about something related to that product. In a cruel twist, research has now found that people generally avoid these paid search ads, as they feel they can’t trust them to have their best interests in mind.
Paid ads are sometimes less effective than organic clicks because users perceive an ad on search pages as trying to sell them something.. As a result, search engine optimisation (SEO) was born. Simply put, SEO is a way of writing that aims to place your webpage at the top of search engines. However, Google’s algorithms still make it extremely hard for small businesses to ever place higher on a results page than well-known and highly trusted companies in similar industries. Therefore, paid search advertising still has a valuable part to play, especially when a lesser-known company is trying to compete with big-name brands.
2. Social media advertising
As well as being the most self-explanatory type of advertising, social media advertising is regarded extremely highly because of its quick ROI. Everything happens in real-time on social media, and tracking codes are often used in social media advertising to instantly gather data on where sales and clicks are originating from, and what type of engagement it is creating.
Different audiences use different social media platforms, so this data is very useful for placing your product correctly across platforms. You can play to your strengths and galvanise your presence on the areas you’re performing well on, or try and strengthen your presence on platforms where you now know you’re not doing so well on.
3. Native advertising
As mentioned previously, people don’t like to know they’re being sold something, they’d rather organically come to the decision that they want or need a product, and this is the strength of native advertising.
It is a technique that camouflages ads in the form of content (videos, articles, podcasts etc.) that often appears more as a source of information or entertainment than it ever does as an advertisement.
It’s also necessary for these content pieces to be placed in spaces that make sense so that consumers can naturally come across them without scepticism like they would if they were being given a sales pitch.
3 common types of marketing
1. Experiential marketing
Also commonly referred to as engagement marketing, this is a marketing strategy centred around experiences that leave lasting memories and work to form a stronger bond between the consumer and the product/brand. It often requires a creative strategy to bring a unique experience that ties together emotion and product.
This type of marketing is much more likely to result in customers voluntarily sharing on social media, not because of what they think of the product, but due to people’s natural inclination to share experiences with others online. Creating a positive touchpoint can create a memory that lasts forever, and attaching a brand name to great memories is an incredible way to improve brand image.
2. Influencer marketing
Social media has become one of the most popular marketing channels due to shareability and high ROI. Influencer marketing leverages the popularity of certain users to endorse and promote a product, resulting in increased traffic directed primarily from followers of the influencer.
Implementing influencer marketing requires a lot of research and trust due to the fact that the influencers are acting as ambassadors on behalf of the company. They may not directly represent you, but you’re putting your faith in their ability to showcase your products, which requires trust that they’ll do good for you and your company.
The space where influencer marketing really shines is in achieving campaign goals. There are two main goals of any marketing campaign: brand awareness and direct response. Influencers not only create great visibility of your product but it’s also been found that the quality of customer traffic from influencer marketing is better than other sources. It’s a common strategy and requires lots of industry knowledge, but it is also undeniably effective.
3. Relationship marketing
Relationship marketing is the art of developing long term and loyal customer engagement instead of focusing on individual sales. Most companies tend to use a blend of relationship marketing and transactional marketing (a style of marketing that focuses on customer acquisition) to try and get the best of both worlds, but it’s often just simply not feasible to excel at both areas all at once.
One of the appeals of relationship marketing is that it curves the risk and cost factors that come with customer acquisition. By being able to develop a loyal customer base, companies don’t need to keep fuelling money into marketing campaigns to boost sales. Knowing that there are consumers willing to come back time and time again gives a lot of peace of mind.
Is marketing more important than advertising?
Marketing is more important than advertising because you can still ‘market’ your products without necessarily ‘advertising’ them.
We already know the difference between marketing and advertising. While advertising may be a very essential part of marketing, there is a lot of essential work that advertising doesn’t cover that marketing does. Marketing will consider the entire strategy of finding customers, developing brand identity, creating both B2B and B2C relationships, all of which work hard for profitability and sustainability. Advertising will put in the leg work in some areas but can be incredibly inefficient if a proper marketing strategy is not developed and implemented.
The rise of marketing automation
The demands of running a marketing campaign are only becoming more numerous as marketing strategies develop and come to be more complex. Luckily, we’re living in the digital age where technology is constantly evolving to help make our lives easier.
Marketing automation does exactly that, by using software developed specifically to handle the simple and repetitive tasks that can weigh down marketing managers. Automation software can be customised to handle complex duties, but the real value is found when these technologies are used to carry the load on tasks such as e-mail marketing, content uploading and other scheduled engagements.
Being able to save time on these monotonous tasks allow you to spend more time and energy hitting on the crucial aspects of marketing, which has shown benefits for companies all over the world and is certainly one of the most direct ways of improving efficiency during marketing campaigns.