What’s the Difference Between Marketing and Advertising?

The Subtle Art of Marketing

If you think marketing and advertising are one and the same, there’s a pretty good chance your marketing efforts are being less than successful.

Marketing not advertising If you cast your mind back to the bad old days, companies would advertise to you left right and centre. You would be bombarded by less than subtle sales messages wherever you went.

Our TVs, magazines, newspapers and mailboxes were full of ‘buy from us now’ messages desperate to grab your hard earned cash.

But the landscape looks very different these days, with businesses moving away from advertising and towards marketing.

Nope, still don’t get it

In that case, you’re probably a business that has dabbled in social media, blogging, article and video marketing only to decide that it doesn’t work for you.

Well, the reason it’s not working is probably because you’re still advertising rather than marketing.

Let me explain.

If you’re advertising, you’re effectively shouting at your customers ‘buy now’ with little regard for what they actually want.

Perhaps that approach used to work for you, but today’s consumers want more than that, they want to be appreciated, wooed and persuaded.

The subtle art of marketing

Today’s marketing channels are social media, video and article marketing and blogging. Each of these disciplines offers the consumer engagement, information, and advice – effectively something for nothing. Or at least that is how it appears.

You see, people now want to feel as though you, as a company, value them and their business. They don’t just want you to come along, take their money and then head off into the night.

Today, you must engage with them, talk to them, offer them great information, be responsive to their questions and generally take in interested in what they want. And that’s why you must market and not advertise to them.

You see, marketing is all about getting to know your customer and being interested in what they really want, their likes and dislikes and being prepared to chat with them to build relationships.

Think carefully about them and how your product or service will benefit them and then show them.

The days of the blatant advertising are numbered; today your consumers want more. Talk to them, engagement with them and give them something for nothing. As you do so something magical happens, they begin to trust you and that trust will be manifested in the form of their credit card.

Market to your customers and they’ll be customers for life.

There are 12 Comments. Add Yours.
  1. Interesting points, and the premise is sound. But don’t count ‘advertising’ out yet; its demise has been vastly overstated. It’s still a valid ‘pull strategy’ (versus ‘push’ noise to which you refer), which when well-targeted and executed can cost-effectively raise visibility + imaging, and drive traffic to ‘new’ media.

  2. Sally, I appreciate this article and it has some good points, but I agree with Tom…although I will state it more strongly: to say that advertising’s days are numbered is just nonsense. Advertising will never die. Advertising is how to raise awareness for a product in a world that isn’t looking for it.

    Some more comments, not designed to pick things apart, but more to discuss:

    “If you cast your mind back to the bad old days, companies would advertise to you left right and centre.” – where do you get the idea that these days are in the past? Are you watching the same Olympics as 1 billion other people were watching?

    “Market to your customers and they’ll be customers for life.” – that’s a nice-sounding comment, but not true either. SERVE your customers well and they’ll be customers for life. Customers aren’t looking to be marketed to, they are looking to be served well.

    “…people now want to feel as though you, as a company, value them and their business.” – first of all, this is not new, BUT..

    “They don’t just want you to come along, take their money and then head off into the night.” – it’s also not universal. There are plenty of companies that I just want to give money to, take the product or service, then head off into the night. I don’t want every company I do business with following me around all the time, “marketing” to me. Do you? Does anyone?

    Every place we go online to consume content – including this very site – is supported by advertising. Google, Facebook, Twitter, CNN…everything. It isn’t going away. FTR I am not an advertising “guy”…my entire 15 year marketing career has been in the internet.

  3. I think like you rightfully said that if you don’t see the difference between marketing and advertising, you’re in the wrong business. but I do think that comparing advertising and marketing like they’re alternative options doesn’t paint the full picture. advertising is a subset of marketing. so when you’re marketing, you’re somehow marketing because marketing is not possible without some sort of advertising.

    • Concur w/ you Souleye. I would add that solving a problem, ie. autmotive related, with synthetics would be the part of marketing I could relate to. From that point on, relationship marketing seems to have a higher level of longevity.

  4. Hello,

    Really interesting, but we should left, right and center a lot more parameters nowadays in marketing and advertising areas.

    By serving too much there is a risk to keep serving and never see a return.
    By advertising too much there is the risk to be absolutely ignored.

    I am now trying the sharing way which is in my opinion a boomerang tool, if your audience finally is matching your niche and if you are eventually capable to share your niche.

    Anyhow you are the first one to GIVE before you can take.
    … The question is what about all the others?
    I mean all the ones they aren’t smart or rich enough to invest in any idea in these days!

  5. Marketing is new generation word and is somewhat more vast and advanced.Advertising is nearly connected to TV media , newspaper,magzines advertising , posters , or like other types of these, marketing word has caught power over advertising and if we say that it is a part of Marketing we are not wrong anyhow..Marketing is not easy, any business is totally dependent on its marketing plan.Marketing takes time, money, and lots of preparation and efforts.we can say the success of any business may depend on its marketing plan to a great extent.

  6. I think even though there are a little difference as you clearly explained it cannot be denied that both are linked and if you start with ad you’ll be forced to call for the marketing to get efficient result to make your business well known

  7. Advertising will generally specialise and focus on a particular product or item whereas marketing can encompass a whole department and focus more on a strategy to achieve a plan fulfillment whether it be to promote, increase brand awareness or actually sell products it involves a more overall balanced approach than just advertising.

  8. The most effective method of advertising a well-crafted. a person subjected to advertising persuasion is more effective than high. face to face sales are always more useful.

  9. It is a fine line for a small business to be able to do marketing, which takes more time to create and nurture results vs. advertising. A balance between the two is ideal, with time and finances, permitting.

  10. I try and read what might have some significant contribution to the success of our SMB or what I like to call SOB (small ordinary business)but the content expressed here is asking questions and suggesting a position that most SMB’s cannot fathom?

    Obviously, there are those who can digest not only the question(s) posed but also implement the strategy?

    But what about the brick and mortar business that runs around in a 4×4 truck with their cell phone and works 12 hours a day six days a week?

    How about a DIFT program that not only does what this POST suggests but does it for them for FREE?

    What is DIFT? Do It For Them!

    joe underwood
    Area Code Shopper

  11. Hi Sally, what a great article! One thing that has always worked for me in marketing is focusing on the customer by answering the WIIFM question for clients – What’s In It For Me, regards, James.

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