Advertising Is Not Marketing

25 November 2009, by Ariadne Cedilla

–just to make the distinction clear. It’s like the general confusion people get when they try to distinguish between “tactics” and “strategy”.

Using Wiki-fu, we can break down the difference:

  • Advertising “is a form of communication used to influence individuals to purchase products or services […].”
  • Marketing, on the other hand, is “an integrated process through which companies create value for customers and build strong customer relationships in order to capture value from customers in return.” (Italics and emphasis added.)

So, you market your products and services by means of making them known through advertising. Marketing plans, advertising promotes. How else are the two different?

Advertising can encourage and build sales:
Professional bloggers, for example, do this all the time when they send out their newsletters with updates about new promos and offerings. Pull up one of their old emails if you’ve kept them, and give it a quick read-through.

If they’d done their job right, the email should show you the various benefits of signing up/visiting an embedded link/availing of the current offer/visit their site to have a look-see, etcetera. The email is trying to hook you into doing something (sign up, opt-in, visit a webpage) with the promise that you will benefit. That is influence.

On the other hand, advertising cannot:

  • Create a market where there is none – You can’t fill a need that doesn’t exist.
  • Increase sales rapidly – There are too many factors that influence one buyer’s purchasing decision, not to mention a whole market of consumers.
  • Make up for bad service or low quality merchandise – A glittery, crappy product is still a crappy product. And bad customer service can follow you around like a bad smell for a very long time.
  • Solve cash-flow issues – If you turn to advertising to stop a financial bleed-out, then the problem must have started before you thought of using it, and advertising won’t do anything but use up more money.

Marketing is how to sell – it’s an active, ongoing process wherein you as a business owner develop your strategy (or better yet, several strategies) to sell your products, which determines how you establish your position in the market and how you compare with your competitors in that market. Advertising is getting attention – it is getting the right message to the right people the right way.

Marketing is never static. It adjusts to the fluctuations and trends in the market, dropping off what works for what does. Advertising is short-term, marketing is not. Appreciate the difference, and work on using it to your advantage.

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