What’s the Difference Between Marketing & Advertising?

It’s easy to get confused about the differences between marketing and advertising—both terms are used to promote a company and its products.

To some people, marketing is any activity that brings in sales leads. To others, marketing and sales are one and the same, probably because the terms are often lumped together, as in ‘sales and marketing.’ And oftentimes, advertising is used as a synonym for marketing.

Part of the confusion can be tied to the fact that both concepts share a common objective: alerting consumers to products and services being sold.

While marketing and advertising have a lot in common, they’re not the same. Understanding the differences between the two concepts is fundamental for the success of your business. This post will take a deep dive into the differences between marketing and advertising.

Advertising Is Just One Slice of the Marketing Pie

All your business promotional activities fall under the marketing umbrella. That said, advertising is a division or a subgroup of marketing.

In other words, advertising is one of the components of marketing. Other marketing components include public relations, customer service, market research, social media, etc. So, if marketing is the whole pie, advertising is just a slice of the pie.

By definition, advertising is the action of calling something to the attention of the public, especially by paid means. For instance, real estate advertising would entail placing targeted listing ads on various social platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Advertising is usually niche-oriented and aims to promote products/services with the goal to generate leads.

For example, you’re on Facebook scrolling down your friends’ stories and you spot something in your newsfeed with a “sponsored” tag. That’s advertising! 

So if you’re running property ads on social media, newspapers, or billboards, this would be considered real estate advertising. In this case, you’re looking to get calls or emails in response to your advertisements, and probably generate leads.

Marketing Is a Broad and Diverse Concept

Marketing is a broad term that encompasses activities and processes for creating, communicating, and delivering offerings that are valuable to customers, clients, partners, and society. In other words, marketing includes all the activities you do to promote your business.

Think of marketing as a strategic process that commences with a unique selling proposition—a short, well-defined statement that defines your business. This proposition acts as a blueprint that helps you identify your target audience.

To that end, marketing activities are not necessarily meant to generate leads. You do them to keep your brand in front of your clients and build lasting relationships.

For example, local sponsorships or direct mail farming would be considered ideal real estate marketing campaigns. These are long-term marketing strategies a realtor would implement to create brand awareness rather than generate direct leads.

To Sum It Up

In this digital age, the thin line differentiating marketing from advertising is increasingly becoming blurry but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Understanding the difference between the two terms will put your business on the path to success.

Blake Cohen

Blake is a business journalist with a wealth of experience covering the world of finance, economics and technology. With over a decade of experience reporting on the latest trends in the corporate world, Blake has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, analytical and forward-thinking journalist. He has a keen eye for spotting emerging technologies and trends in the business world, and is able to explain their impact on the economy and society in a clear and compelling way.