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Advertising vs Marketing – What’s the Difference?


We’ve come a long way from the advertising culture shows like Mad Men portray. Once there were billboards, newspaper features and radio ads, new terms have now taken the industry by storm. As a result, you’ll often hear about digital marketing, social media advertising, content marketing, and much more.

Marketing and advertising are everywhere, and their strategies are still vital for success today. But whilst these two terms are often used to imply the same things, there are actually quite a few differences between what we understand as ‘marketing’ and what we know as ‘advertising’.

Suppose you’re trying to determine whether to go with one of the top advertising agencies in London to accomplish your next brand objective. In that case, you might want to know more. Why are marketing and advertising important to your business, and how do they differ?

What is Advertising?

Advertising is the much more specific of the two terms, and therefore easier to explain. According to the Oxford American Dictionary, it is the act of winning attention for a product, service or event to promote sales or conversions.

We are all familiar with common types of advertisement. In the past, the advertising world was ruled primarily by:

  • Print ads, flyers and pamphlets or ads in newspapers
  • Radio and TV ads
  • Outdoor ads, like on posters and billboards

With the 21st century, advertising channels expanded to predominantly include:

  • Search and social media ads
  • Internet display ads, such as banners on websites
  • Video ads
  • Product placements in film and media
  • Direct mailings
  • Email ads

Over the years, advertising has gotten a reputation for being disruptive and annoying. Unfortunately, there is some truth to this. The average person sees between 6,000 and 10,000 ads a day.

Most people install ad blocks on their browsers to avoid being bombarded with advertisements. Unfortunately, such channels also have a reputation for being straight-up sales pitches, serving only to promote a product without adding value to the customer. That’s why advertising on its own the way we used to know it no longer works as effectively.

Brands have to establish trust and connection with their audience. This is rarely achieved through seeing a singular pop-up banner on a website or glancing briefly at a poster at a bus stop.

This is where marketing comes in.

What is Marketing?

Marketing is an overarching term that encompasses advertising as a strategy. It includes all aspects of advertising and entails research of the target audience, the best distribution channels, and how a product should appeal to the market. It also involved monitoring the success of an advertisement after a product has been launched to see how revenue can be further improved.

Marketing coordinates the advertising effort and determines the best strategies.

Many types of marketing focus on different advertising techniques at their core:

  • Content marketing: This is a strategy in which brands create content that adds value to the lives of their customers to build trust with them. Content can include videos, blog posts, templates, guides and images. The goal of content marketing is for customers to keep engaging with a brand’s content and follow along with their progress and new products accordingly.
  • Email marketing: Email marketing utilizes email funnels to market products and services to customers. Like content marketing, it’s key to make emails as personally relevant as possible to the target audience.
  • Word-of-mouth marketing: Word of mouth marketing relies on testimonials, online reviews, in-person meetings and referral schemes. The objective is to build trust with the audience by ensuring customers act as ambassadors for your brand.
  • Influencer marketing: Influencer marketing uses influencers on social media and the rapport they have built with their audiences. For solid social proof, influencers promote a brand’s products and services on their social media.

Advertising Alone Isn’t Enough

Now you know the difference between advertising and marketing – what’s the takeaway?

If you want your brand to succeed, advertising alone isn’t enough. Ads can help your customers remember you when they require a similar product to your own. They help make an impression, especially when your target audience is exposed to your ads regularly. But it is marketing that coordinates these efforts.

Marketing ensures your ads are not just sales pitches. First, it finds out what will impact your audience and through which channels your customers can be reached. Then marketers formulate a strategy to improve your revenue and brand perception through several touchpoints along a funnel.

When you choose to work with advertising agencies in London, be sure to find specialists in marketing that understand the whole process from start to finish. ZAK agency can partner with you to develop marketing campaigns from the ground up. Get in touch today to learn more.