What’s the difference between marketing and advertising?

What’s the difference between marketing and advertising?
-by Tracy Harven

I’ve been asked this question numerous times. The simplest answer is that marketing is the entire plan to sell your business and advertising is one of the ways your message is communicated.

Dictionary version:
Marketing – Noun 1) The action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising. 2) Marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships Marketing is used to create, keep and satisfy the customer. With the customer as the focus of its activities, it can be concluded that Marketing is one of the premier components of Business Management – the other being Innovation.

Advertising – Noun 1) The activity of producing advertisements for commercial products or services. 2) Advertising is an audio or visual form of marketing communications that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea. Sponsors of advertising are often business wishing to promote their products or services. Advertising is differentiated from public relations in that an advertiser pays for and has control over the message. It differs from personal selling in that the message is non-personal, i.e., not directed to a particular individual. Advertising is communicated through various mass media, including traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, television, radio, outdoor advertising or direct mail; and new media such as search results, blogs, social media, websites or text messages. The actual presentation of the message in a medium is referred to as an advertisement or “ad” for short.

If you look at Marketing as a pie, then advertising is one of the slices. Other slices may be social media, sales, trade shows, public relations, digital marketing, etc.… Each company and industry’s pie is different and continues to evolve. All of these pieces should work together and support your overall strategy.

Let’s break down the pieces of the marketing pie:
Advertising: consists of creating targeted advertising and placing the advertising, whether its radio, print, billboards, online digital ads, direct mail or television or anywhere you can communicate your message with paid space.

Strategy/Research: This involves your products and pricing. Determining your products, pricing and distribution methods by researching the market and your competitors. You’ll find a niche and if you’re lucky maybe several points of difference you can capitalize on.

Sales/Customer Service: Whether you have a sales team or are a one man band, your sales strategy will define your tactics of how and who you will sell to. ‘Warm leads’ tend to have a better closing rate; which includes follow up calls to existing clients or hosting a seminar. ‘Cold leads’ involves cold calling from a purchased database list, door to door or mailing to prospective new clients.

Public Relations: This is often a misunderstood piece of the pie. The common knowledge that having a news article printed in the local newspaper or website is free. In essence it doesn’t cost anything IF the story is picked up. Public Relations experts know the angles that will most likely get the most exposure, the buzz words and headlines needed for an editor to consider and most importantly they will know exactly who to send it to. A good example of why to hire a Public Relations expert: I had volunteered my marketing expertise to a local non-profit shelter for the victims of domestic violence. Their Director of Marketing would write a press release once a month and send to the local news outlets. Seems good enough, right? With the advice from the board of directors, they hired a local public relations firm who gave them ideas on content they could write about. They also jumped on news stories that involved domestic violence offering commentary by staff which made this local non-profit appear as the industry expert. Their grants, donations and public funding increased within one year. To gauge your public relations efforts, not only count how many and which publishers picked up your story but also the total number of impressions the story made.

Digital Marketing: This is the newest slice to the marketing pie. Digital marketing is using digital technologies on the internet also including devices such as mobile phones and tablets. Since digital marketing is very trackable, you can tell how many people saw your ad, clicked on a link or visited your website. I find all too often that businesses are putting most (or all) their efforts in this one category because it gives cold hard responses to how their advertising is working. I believe the most common challenge is these businesses don’t consider the sales funnel for their industry.
This chart illustrates the stages customers go through before they purchase. Awareness is at the very top. Customers have to be aware of your business before considering it. Traditional advertising (TV, radio, print) and public relations will give you that awareness. For the next step, customers research the product and in the last 15 years the research is done mostly online. You want to place your digital marketing efforts in the stages of the funnel that makes the most sense for your customers.
We have a car dealership client that understands this funnel and has balanced their marketing budget to include awareness advertising as well as digital marketing. The message on your awareness campaign should be tailored to the stage the buyer is in. For instance, if you want to advertise during the awareness stage try promoting why a customer would choose you (biggest selection, family owned, dependable since 1926). At the research stage, make sure your online ratings (or reputation management) is up to par with your competitors. For the purchasing stage, advertise your promotion ($100 off, BOGO, 25% off).

There are so many facets to this piece of the pie, I thought I could break this section down even further.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Make sure your website is optimized to include key words people are searching for. I was working at a casino in Mississippi and planned to launch an advertising campaign in a new market (Atlanta). We built a web page announcing our packages to this market knowing that it would most likely be a 2-3 night stay. When researching key words for this market, we stumbled upon data that showed us that people in Atlanta searched more for the word ‘getaway’ than ‘vacation’ when searching online. We changed the some of the words on our web page to include ‘getaway’ and our web page hits increased by 50% within one month.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – Promoting your website by purchasing key words that pertain to your business. Google AdWords is the largest search engine and has great analytics. If you own a shoe store, you may want to consider purchasing words like ‘women’s shoes’ ‘athletic shoes’ or ‘work boots’ keeping in mind that the more popular the search term is, the more expensive it will be. When you search for something on Google or Bing, you’ll notice a few of the top spots are marked ‘AD’ that is because that company paid to be there when someone entered those search terms.
PPC or Pay Per Click – Exactly as it sounds, you buy advertising a website or network of websites and only pay when it is clicked through to your website. These ads will usually appear when someone enters a key word that is relevant to your business.
Display Advertising – Paying for your ad to show up on a particular website or network of sites. You will purchase these based on number of impressions served.
Social Media – This is advertising one on one with your customers through social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Snap Chat, etc. Although having a page for your business doesn’t cost anything, to get your message seen is another story. The most time consuming element of successful social media marketing is content development. What should you post? I see it all too often where businesses post their ongoing sale and that doesn’t get your message seen. Ask engaging questions in your posts, the more customers that engage with your post the more people will see it. For example, if you own a doughnut shop, don’t just advertise 99 cent specials. Try sharing a recipe with photo and ask for your customers recipes. This will get them engaged with your brand and will also show up in their friends feeds. I could, and most likely will do a whole other blog on social media. Stay tuned for that one. I find this area very fascinating. The rule of thumb on the amount of promotional/sales posts a company should post is 70% engaging/20% promotional/10% sales.
Email marketing – Sending out your message to your database or a purchased list via email. There is a long list of do’s and don’ts in this category so your email doesn’t get caught in the spam folder. Sending too many emails will increase the number of people who ‘opt-out’ of receiving email from you. The number one most important feature in an email campaign is the subject line. There have been numerous studies on what gets the most people to open your email.
Content marketing – You can show off your expertise in your industry by sharing content usually in the form of white papers, infographics, e-books, podcasts, articles or blogs (just like this one).
Reputation Management – This is how you manage your reputation mostly online. People today are searching more and more online to determine where they should buy, eat and vacation. People tend to value their friends opinions more than they do a business. You can tell your customers that you are the best and why you are the best but if they hear it from someone else they are more likely to believe it. The most popular rating sites are Facebook, Google and Yelp! When people decide where to eat they will search restaurants in that area and choose one with higher rated reviews, the same goes for buying a car or choosing a hotel. A good way to keep your ratings up is to ask your customers to rate your business. When someone ‘checks in’ to your business on Facebook or Yelp! They will be asked the next day to review your business. Encourage check-ins by offering an incentive like a free appetizer or 20% off next visit. You may encounter an angry customer’s review but don’t fret if they are few and far between. Consumers understand that some reviews are meant to vent. What’s important with negative (and positive) reviews is that you respond within 24 hours. That way other readers know that you care and also you will rank higher on those social review sites.

Promotions – The three objectives of a promotion as defined by Wikipedia are 1. To present information to others. 2. To increase demand. 3. To differentiate a product.
Promotions can be as simple as 20% off sale or Buy 3 get 4th one free.

Analysis – Whatever your offer, advertising or strategy is test, test, test and analyze which ones work best for you. For me, this is the most important and most abandoned piece to a marketing plan. If you launch a promotion for 25% off and advertise in the newspaper yielding a low engagement rate. You could look at the offer, the creative, the newspaper to decide which piece isn’t working. The same promotion of 25% could be very successful on the radio or digital campaign.

Marketing doesn’t stop at the sales team or advertising. A great example: When I was Vice President of Marketing at a casino in Louisiana our competition was getting bigger and newer products/amenities. We needed to determine how we were going to compete and grow revenue. After a couple weeks of research, competitive shopping and analysis, we determined that we would make our niche being viewed as the ‘best value casino’ and pursued a strategy of profit by volume. We made our buffet pricing lower, beer specials in the sports bar, $5 blackjack tables, adjusted our monthly mail offers, and so on. However; we were still charging $3 for a soda at the vending machines, $30 for a roll-away bed in the hotel, $12 for a glass of wine at the steak house. All of which were quickly pointed out by our customers were not the best value in town. Our positioning statement “best value” needed to be embraced by all departments and customer touch points. And of course, we listened and adjusted our pricing. It was more important for our customers to know we listened to them.

Whatever your business or marketing strategy, move forward. Keep analyzing and trying new things. If you decide you’d like some help, give us a call.