Marketing and advertising seem to go together in people’s minds as much as peanut butter and jelly or milk and cookies. But if you are an SME looking to invest in promoting yourself, you would be doing yourself a great disservice if you were unable to identify the key differences between the two. In fact, not isolating and using these vital areas correctly could mean slow sales and the lack of that all-important customer interaction to generate future business.

Let us break down for you the clear difference between marketing and advertising and explain how you can utilize both to ensure success in your business.

What Is Marketing?

Although it may seem rather vague the roots of marketing are in fact very simple. Marketing’s main focus is making sure that the product or service develops a link to the customer. Many things can make this happen, meaning advertising is one of the many tools to be found under the broad umbrella of marketing. Other branches of marketing would include things such as product and brand design, market research, and data mining.

The goal? Starting a conversation with the customer and leaving the door open for future business. You should be present in your target audience’s mind when they need you. It is clear to see then that marketing involves playing the long game and not leaving anything to chance. This is understandable as the time it takes for someone to get familiar with what a brand represents and then know where to turn to when they have that need takes time. But when an effective marketing strategy is put in place, when people do turn to you it normally is for the long haul. In order to achieve this the fundamentals of marketing are always utilized. These are known as the 4 P’s: Product, Place, Price, and Promotion.

Knowing where and how to strike your blows by targeting your core audience, presenting them with a product or service that you know they will be interested in, at a price that you know they will be happy to spend, makes up all the key elements of a robust marketing plan.

What Is Advertising?

Advertising has one simple purpose, to raise awareness about your brand, product, or service. It makes up that crucial final P out of the 4 pillars of marketing, promotion, making it a single strategy.

This may be done in a variety of ways however one common factor would be that you need to buy this visibility, be it through TV, radio, or on the internet via Pay Per Click (PPC) services such as Google or Facebook ads. Additionally, there is usually an advertising campaign that runs for an intense time period.

A good advert sparks curiosity and can be the hook needed to entice your customer. This aspect is vital and used to be the primary way of informing your clients of your service or product. But if you were to focus solely on advertising as a business, thinking that it is the main way you will get customers, you would be selling yourself short. How could this be illustrated?

The Key Difference Between Marketing and Advertising

Imagine you want to catch fish. If you were to go out and cast your net every day, you may be successful. Some days you would catch more and other days you would catch less. But importantly you were out there doing the work. This is like advertising. However, what if you make a plan to ensure that you fished at the optimum time. You checked your location to see where most of the fish were, and at times changed your approach by using bait to catch the fish, how much more successful would you be? No doubt you would agree that the second option would be more effective. This essentially is like having a marketing strategy. In marketing, you still advertise however it is a much more measured approach.

This is all the more important today as the average customer has changed drastically. Due to the advent of the internet experts estimate that we see upwards of 5000 adverts a day. So making your business stand out among the white noise of modern-day advertising requires a lot more effort on your part. As the marketing guru, Seth Godin says “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” Marketing is also measurable, with you being able to use the information from your interaction with people to your advantage either by adapting your advertising strategy or even your product.

The film industry does this regularly with test screenings. Pretty Woman, Titanic, and Sunset Boulevard are all famous examples of movies that used their marketing strategy to change their final product and with successful results.

Key Factors in Marketing Strategies

So what methods and practices would be best for your business? Well, good marketing adds value to the customer but great marketing also means you start to optimize your leads. This is again one main difference between marketing and advertising. Marketing and not advertising alone drives business. A great example would be something like online content creation.

If you are consistent in providing good content on a platform like Instagram or Facebook then you will start to have interactions with potential customers. But not just any customers. These are people that you know are actually interested in your business. This is a great choice for SMEs because it can be relatively cheap to do however can yield a core customer base. Each business is different however, therefore taking the time to understand your customer base will determine the best route for you and your business.

Making Them Work for You

If we were to give you one piece of advice about the use of marketing and advertising it would be this. Use both of them! The difference between marketing and advertising is that one is developing your business and the other is purely presenting it. Remember, advertising without marketing your business would be like getting in a car and hoping that you have enough gas to get you to where you want to go. By doing both you can have peace of mind that you will be able to reach your final destination.

To guarantee that your business will reach the heights that you want it to, you can rely on EraserFarm to give you all the advice you need to map out a successful marketing strategy or advertising campaign.

Contact us and we’d be more than happy to help!