Are marketing and advertising the same thing?

Before comparing marketing and advertising it is easier to see their relationship when looking at the business as a whole.  There are five essential functions to a successful business.  The bigger the business the larger, and more defined these functions are. Naturally a small business that is less experienced with these defined functions would blur the lines more because they have to stay competitive.  Small businesses can’t afford to hire large departments that are highly structured and specialized with heavy documentation like a mid-sized or large business can.  However, this should be viewed as an advantage in that small businesses are far more agile and efficient for the same reason.  If all team members are involved in all functions the business moves better a whole. 

Finance is a function of a business by which manages all money and assets of a business for the survival of the business.

Marketing is the function of a business by which strategy is developed, implemented, and iterated to translate a product/service to business growth.

Sales is a function of a business that acts as the liaison between the business and the consumer to grow revenues that sustain the business.

Operations is a function of a business that affects all members of an organization from how each segment operates and how the work together to management of the people within all segments.

R&D is a function of a business that is directly responsible for all product/service development and iteration for a business to earn revenue.

In a highly successful business each of these five functions are directly connected and in regular collaboration with the other four functions.  Conversely, advertising is a component of the marketing function.

Marketing is to advertising as a carpenter is to a hammer.  Advertising is a tool marketers use to externally communicate, one of many tools used to effect the changes desired.  To best explain let’s use an example. Marketing will employ several tools identify the characteristics of the ideal customer for a specific product or service and advertising will use this to best communicate with that customer.

Why does it matter you ask?

Beyond accurately communicating within the business community it may save you a lot of money and hassle.  Most business that sign on with a “marketing company” or “marketing consultant” are in fact signing with an advertising business and often results in a negative result.  

For example: lets say you don’t know the real difference between advertising and marketing, but you do know that something has to change to make your business grow.  You get contacted by some “marketing company” aka advertising company and after some research you feel convinced enough to sign with them with hopes that this will make a lasting impact on your business.  Unfortunately, after the contract is up and they have completed all their services, you have a spike in sales and then a long flatline.  You feel the marginal spike was hardly worth the money and time you invested with the advertising company and develop a negative view of the marketing industry, underestimate the marketing function of your business, or lets say you are the verbal type and write some bad reviews for the company.   

Here is the problem: you came to a company that’s primary function is advertising and you had no marketing strategy in place to guide that advertising effort.  That means there was no data to model the estimated ROI of the advertising efforts, the advertising was not in strategy with the business orientation, not well branded, and overall didn’t have a targeted purpose.  It is what we call the spray and pray method.  Spray advertising budget everywhere and pray something works.  In the advertising businesses eyes you are a client that asked for advertising services and gave them little direction and they gave you their best but got a very damaging review from you.  No business benefits from this very common scenario.  In your defense, you didn’t know any better. In their defense, they gave you what you asked for.   

Let’s not hate on advertisers…

It is a loud world out there and strategic advertising is essential for getting your message to the customer that need to hear it. In today’s day in age nobody wants to research through 47 pages of google results to find everything they want or need.  It is impossible to seek out every service or product that a consumer wants and is highly beneficial for both business and consumer connect easier.  Advertisers are creative and strategic at communicating your product/service, brand, and message to the consumers who need it. 

For a business it is vital to know the difference between marketing and advertising and most importantly, how they should be used in your business.  This is where strategy comes into play. 

Are you unsure of wheter your business needs help marketing or advertising?

We are happy to help you identify what you small business is going to benefit from most based on where you are, what your goals are, and your industry. Send us a message and we will be happy to offer FREE guidance on where the best investment of resources would be or if you can go it on your own.