For any business to run smoothly, it is vital that they reach as many people as possible. This reach out opens up doors for new customers to walk in and help in the growth of the venture. Given that, a smart businessman always understands the difference between advertising his business and marketing his brand. One is very often confused with another and leads to inaccurate decision making.
Naturally, every businessman is rightfully averse to making losses in their business; unless they are doing it for charity. That makes it essential for every entrepreneur to understand how marketing and advertising are different. However, before understanding the difference, it is imperative to understand what marketing and advertising are individually.
What is Marketing?
Marketing is the set of activities that are intended to generate a positive brand image in the minds of a selected target audience. Marketing personnel take efforts to ensure people view the company/brand in a favourable manner which will aid in bringing and onboarding new customers relatively easily. Marketing can be done both online and offline.
An excellent example of marketing activities is running a corporate social responsibility campaign and trying to incorporate as much public participation as possible. Such a campaign, when in tune with the brand’s vision and values generates a very respectable image in people’s minds. This way people are influenced to come to that brand for any future needs. Another example is running a social media contest, promising heavy discounts to winners. The audience will interact and share the content on their own timelines/profiles giving the brand enhanced visibility in the online space. The more a person sees a brand online, the more likely they are to recognise it when they see it on the ground. Thus, marketing doesn’t always focus directly on sales, even though that is the ultimate motive.
What is Advertising?
Advertising is the process of creating attractive business communication(s) which highlight a product or a group of products to a wide range of audiences. This communication is intended to show the advertised item(s) in a positive light so that anyone who views the advertisement is tempted to purchase the product. The motivation is to make as many sales as possible through the period of the campaign.
Advertising can be done through conventional channels such as print media, TV, radio etc. as well as through online channels such as Google Ads, Facebook, Twitter etc. Examples for advertisements are present all around us. Right from full-page ads in the newspapers to classifieds, billboards etc. there is a multitude of advertisements showcasing various products.
What is the Difference Between Advertising and Marketing Then?
The first and foremost difference lies in the motivation for both activities. While marketing is focussed on generating maximum return on the investment made in brand building, campaign planning, strategising the brand position, pricing strategy etc. advertising has a single goal – to make maximum sales from the advertising campaign.
If an ad campaign brings in fewer sales/lead conversions, the campaign is said to have been unsuccessful. On the other hand, even if a branding campaign does not bring in any new sales/leads/conversions right away, but get people to talk about the company (a.k.a create a buzz), the campaign may be deemed successful.
Another key difference lies in the way of execution. An advertising campaign would feature a single product or a special combo of products/services that the company would present to its customers. Very rarely does an ad campaign feature the brand. Marketing campaigns, on the other hand, promote the company/brand and try to build a very positive image in the minds of people exposed to it. This makes them very likely to come to the business and/or bring other people.
Moreover, a marketing campaign is run on a different set of platforms than advertising campaigns. Some modes, such as social media can overlap although the execution methods would still differ. An advertising campaign would feature offline and online media advertisement(s) which would grab the attention of the viewer to make them think about buying the subject being advertised.
On a deeper level, marketing is done for a long term goal. When a marketing campaign is designed, a marketer plans the strategy in a way that the brand of the company and the vision and values the company holds dear stand out, making a permanent impression on the minds of the audiences. The goal is to make them come to the brand instead of having the company go to them.
Advertising or Marketing?
There is no competition between marketing efforts and advertisement expenditure. Both have to go hand in hand. Some companies tend to spend more on marketing their brand, while some spend more on sales. A smart businessman does not choose one of the two. He chooses both and balances his company’s expenses accordingly.
For those who feel lost, it has been gleaned that a company/business which depends upon reputation (e.g. marketing service firm) tends to spend more on marketing efforts to maintain its good public image. On the other hand, shopkeepers and other MSMEs tend to use advertisements more as that gives them favourable returns on investment. It befalls ultimately upon the businessman and his keen business sense to decide what is best for his venture and when done the right way, both methods of publicity are effective and prove fruitful.