Advertising vs. Marketing: The Nitty Gritty

One of the biggest mistakes many companies make is confusing the terms advertising and marketing and assuming that they are interchangeable. Though they are practically cousins, they do have their own individual meanings and uses.

I know many people do comprehend the difference between those terms, but on online forums like Web Hosting Talk I see a lot of misunderstanding. And I often see post after post of people asking some form of “How do I advertise my business?” So with this first blog in a new series on advertising and marking, I’d love to clear up some of the misconceptions between those two terms, and offer some initial insight on how to take advantage of them!

Dan’s Guru Statement of the Day:

All advertising is marketing, but not all marketing is advertising.

Essentially, marketing campaigns will often involve some component of advertising, but is more than just pasting your company logo and special offers across every billboard, banner ad, and teddy bear t-shirt you can get your hands on. Advertising is an attractive way to do get your name out there, but marketing definitely has some sub-layers beyond shouting the name of your business from the highest mountaintops. (I’ve tried it. It’s exhausting, and incredibly cold up there.)

So! Let’s break down the definitions, shall we?

Advertising is when you place or purchase ads on websites, newspapers, the radio, or any other medium, to promote a product or service.

Marketing is crafting a message, crafting a campaign, and the underlying reasons why someone should pay attention. Then, executing it on all levels of your organization (not just advertising, but service, quality control, etc.) It’s all got to line up.

Think of it this way: if advertising is the sugary frosting, then marketing is the delicious cake underneath. Without a strong marketing foundation, all you have is something that “tastes” good, but it isn’t going to have much lasting value.

Advertising can be very skin deep, so marketing always has to be rooted into your business on all its levels. Anyone can buy advertising, design a banner ad, and pay someone to put it online or to print it on their newspaper or read it on their radio show. But all of these spends will be wasted if the messaging in the advertisements is not in-line with an overall marketing campaign. On top of that, it has to relate to the company culture, vision and direction. If your company’s website does not carry the same message that your ad carries, you will not generate tangible, accurate results.

So, basically, the first step to advertising is putting together a solid marketing campaign that truly represents your company’s ins and outs. Once you have that down, you’re free to put your name out there and advertise like crazy! Simple as that.

In my next blog post I’ll talk a bit more about online marketing campaigns and give you a glimpse into how we initially crafted our SingleHop campaign.

Dan Ushman

Co-Founder & CMO