What is the difference between marketing and advertising?

min read

Many people get confused about the difference between marketing and advertising. This is how they are defined and how to use both successfully.


Marketing and advertising are two terms often used interchangeably. Usually, when businesses talk about their advertising, they include marketing in their definition, while others refer to their marketing efforts when in reality, they’re only advertising. The truth is, that both terms refer to different concepts, and understanding the differences between the two can help you plan your marketing strategy more efficiently.

We understand that you may feel confused between the two terms or be concerned that you’re misusing them. This blog aims to clear the confusion, define each term and demonstrate how they contribute to your business’ success.

What is marketing?

Marketing refers to the process of preparing your product for the marketplace. It involves understanding your potential customers and what they want to get from your product or service.

The marketing process involves the systematic planning, implementation, and control of a mix of activities intended to bring together buyers and sellers. Colours, logos, and other design elements help align your product's image with the needs of your potential customers. The style and tone of your writing further assist this process.

Essentially, marketing boils down to studying specific audience expectations and responses to various subjects and then creating language and design that will influence that audience best.

Scope of marketing activities

  • Market Research 
  • Promotion 
  • Advertisement 
  • Distribution 
  • Sales
  • Public Relations 
  • Customer Satisfaction.


How it contributes to your success

Marketing defines your brand and attracts the market share you want. It directly impacts how your brand and business are seen in the marketplace and informs your business of customer needs and expectations.

With marketing, you’re focused on the long term, facilitating customer relationships and creating markets for new or existing products. Marketing can ensure more sales and a dedicated customer base if done well.

What is advertising?

Advertising is letting an audience know about a product or service. It aims to get the word out about a product or service to the general public. A good advertising campaign aligns with the wants and requirements of a prospective audience while using a mixture of media to generate interest in a product best.

Scope of advertising activities

  • GoogleAds
  • Paid media
  • Radio ads 
  • Television ads 
  • Newspaper adverts 
  • Magazines 
  • Social Media 
  • Sponsorships 
  • Posters


How it contributes to your success

Advertising is focused on creating exposure for a business. It generates curiosity in the minds of the targetted audience. This way, it supports marketing efforts by attracting large amounts of leads to nurture and eventually convert into sales. 

With advertising, you’re focused on generating awareness and grabbing the general public's attention for new or existing products. If done well, advertising can attract large numbers of people who want to find out more about your business.

The primary difference between marketing and advertising

It’s critical to understand how marketing and advertising differ, as well as how they work together, to understand why allocating a specific budget for both will successfully bring your product to market.

While each concept is focused on the promotion and sales of a company, they are essentially different in their approach. While marketing is a discipline, advertising is just one branch of it. Marketing is done to increase sales, while Advertising is done with the objective of inducing customers. 

However, while they may be different, they work together to help your business find new customers.

guide to inbound marketing

How each can work together

Marketing’s ultimate goal is to nurture leads until they are ready to become customers. One of the most important elements of this is advertising, as it attracts to be nurtured. 

Product, price, promotion, place, people, and process are the six significant aspects of Marketing. Advertising focuses exclusively on promotion, bringing in enough people to undergo the marketing nurture process.

In essence, marketing is to pull the customers, whereas advertising attracts them. 

Use both to your advantage

Marketing and advertising are essential terms that are often within the business context. Understanding the differences between the two is vital - but implementing both effectively is even more important for the future of your business.

We understand that marketing or advertising may not be your primary focus as a business owner. You may not have the time or resources to feel like you’re in control of your public image and customer acquisition - which is why you may need a partner to show you the way.

Getting the right partner is the first step toward effective marketing. It saves you time, money, and frustration and lets you find success even without deep knowledge in setting up campaigns. We know how important marketing is today, and how confusing it can be to those who don’t have the experience to apply it. As a small company ourselves, we’ve gone through this process ourselves and found a way to succeed. That’s why we’ve spent the last 12 years planning and implementing award-winning digital marketing campaigns for B2B clients worldwide.

Contact us for a quick 30-minute meeting and we will present you with a digital marketing campaign plan with the right messages, channels, audience, and content to use, to assure your success online.