The difference between advertising and marketing

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Marketing and advertising are two distinct terms inadvertently used to describe each other. While most marketers continue to confuse advertising for marketing and vice-versa, knowing the differences between the two could define the path to significant growth for the company. The differences seem to dilute as many marketers go digital and start automating their marketing campaigns with advertisements.

In a bid to salvage the pride of marketers and advertisers, here are 5 key aspects that clearly outlines the boundaries of each topic, and the space where they actually overlap.

Advertising is a sub-set of Marketing

In order to identify marketing, you need to have a strategy for product development, pricing, market identification and above all, a promotion strategy. Advertising falls under promotional marketing where the primary goal is to influence the behavior of the audience and lure them into making a decision instantly.

Strategy versus execution

Marketing is the strategy to generate leads and convert them into potential customers. On the other hand, advertising involves the execution of the strategy. While marketing pitches the product to the whole market, advertising makes it evidently clear to the audience why it is the best. Advertising pushes the marketing goals by prompting the audience to make a choice instantly.

Continuity versus cascading efforts

A major distinction between marketing and advertising is the frequency with which the product is being pitched in the market. Marketing is a continuous operation that is built on the collection of data from previous experiences, user behavior, competition analyses and presumptive statistics. Using marketing, a marketer can accurately measure the effectivity of the product on the market.

On the other hand, advertising is a completely hammer-on-the-head activity. It could cascade in a series of build-up activities prompting the probable customers to wait for the customers. Much like a hype over facts, advertising wins more customers for the marketers than marketing strategy alone.

Marketing is like mining. Advertising, sailing.

Marketers spend weeks and months digging accurate statistics and data to build a strategy. It could involve a mix of business activities that intends to bring together the insights from the management, marketing team, financial advisors, stakeholders,

 vendors and even customers. Marketing is more about market research, PR and communications and analytics.

Advertising is the end-product of all these efforts. The face-value of the marketing strategy is delivered through the ad mediums—newspapers, emails, bill boards, posters, TV and radio, and above all internet.

Brand quotient

Marketing identifies the need and effect of pitching the brand image. Advertising turns this brand image into a revenue-generating factor.

Two companies may have the same marketing strategy, but where one beats the other is advertising. This is where the power of brands come into play. Marketing is a set of instructions medium of communications and processes that add value to the product. Advertising leverages on the brand quotient of the company and delivers a higher revenue. In short, marketing and advertising work in tandem in generating and sustaining customer base.

Emergent and deliberate trends


The disruptive forces of digital marketing have opened up the differences between marketing and advertising clearly. While marketing continues to focus on building stability around the organization, advertising is all about focusing on innovation and adaptability. The power of advertising has made it an emergent force in marketing where marketers no longer have to compromise on their stability.

With proper advertising backed by strong marketing, there is always a winner at hand, even if the last outing did not make a resounding impact as per expectations. Taking a cue from the recently concluded Olympic Games at Rio, Marketing is participation in the event and Advertising is the medal in your hands.

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Written by
Yashdeep Bali is a speaker, motivator, an outspoken digital marketing expert with over 14 years of Advertising, PR and Marketing roles across various industries. Recognized as a “branding and digital expert” in the corporate world, he has an astounding knowledge and passion for technology, automobiles, gadgets and gaming.

1 Comment

  1. Competently transition principle-centered materials rather than accurate supply chains. Distinctively exploit user friendly best practices after clicks-and-mortar users. Energistically build backend collaboration and idea-sharing rather than error-free catalysts.


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