Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What Is the Difference Between Marketing and Advertising in the New Economy?

I would assume depending on whom you asked everyone would have a different answer. The old ways of looking at marketing, it was considered a form of exchange, yet many automatically assume sales when they hear the term marketing. Furthermore, many people think of advertising as the stuff they see on billboards driving down the street or see on television.

If you ask the American Marketing Association they would define marketing as "the process of planning and executing the conception of pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas goods and services." You'll notice that it even says it's about exchange. Here's the thing though... not all forms of marketing are a form of exchange.
Non-profit organizations market their causes all the time, yet the giver doesn't always get something in exchange. Although I feel that the definition is correct that general marketing mostly consists of some type exchange, it's not always true.
If you look at many online marketers, you can see that they freely give away value, but it's generally always in exchange for something in return such as name or email. I do feel though that this other term of marketing better represents modern business times which is...
Marketing is the activity and processes for creating, communicating and delivering offers of value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
So you may ask...
If marketing is a process of creating and communicating value to others, what is advertising?
I feel many people get advertising confused with marketing and in today's modern business times, it's more important not only to understand these two, but to master them in completion. I'd say over 75% of your success in business will always tie into one of these two.
Advertising is the actual media you would be using as a business owner. One business owner may use direct mail, TV, radio, Internet, etc., so in a nut shell it's the actual media one selects to use. Compared to the marketing, where there's much that goes into the processes of understanding the message to market match, which is a complete other topic.
Advertising, however, can be used in many ways, including brand awareness, in which you're informing others about a company, product, or service. It would greatly benefit anyone to understand the objectives of their marketing first and always select the correct advertising media to be used with it.
In conclusion, marketing has many processes that go into the overall structure and formulas compared to advertising where it's just a matter of selecting the correct media to use that best fits your market. By having a better understanding between the two it will allow business owners to achieve more profits in their businesses.


  1. You over simplify the value that marketing and advertising contribute to each other. Marketing owns the brand and advertising translates through communication strategy and tactics the message.

  2. I'd agree with last comment that advertising is one media channel through which marketing engages constituents in a value-for-value exchange. The entire organization is about marketing, and we do ourselves a disservice by siloing the function in a single department. This is doubly true for nonprofits, as I discussed in a recent post.