Myth: Marketing and Advertising are the Same Thing

December 29th, 2016

Short answer: Advertising is just one component of marketing.

Long answer: Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “advertising” and “marketing” as the following …

  • Advertising: something that is shown or presented to the public to help sell a product or to make an announcement.
  • Marketing: the activities that are involved in making people aware of a company’s products, making sure that the products are available to be bought, etc.

Basically, that means marketing is everything that gets a product into the hands of consumers, while advertising is the portion of that process that publicly shows the product to people.

To take that a step further, many experts also say that advertising is paid for – like television, radio, print, outdoor, etc. Adding this caveat means that marketing not only includes market research, product pricing, distribution tactics and customer service, but it also includes public relations, community involvement and media planning and buying. All in addition to advertising.

When defined as such, it is easy to see why people get them confused. Many “advertising agencies,” including Bozell, cross the line into some aspects of marketing. They might help a client with public relations and market research in addition to advertising. They might help plan events or encourage community involvement. Likewise, many businesses don’t merge all these components into one marketing department. Many separate customer service and distribution into their own departments all together.

There is nothing innately wrong with either of these situations. However, every business must make it a priority to ensure that all of the elements of marketing, including advertising, are communicating and working together to give the end consumer a consistent experience. If market research has given you an insight into what price you should set for a particular audience, it will probably also help the advertising team determine how to communicate to that audience. Plus, spending millions of dollars on an advertising campaign will do nothing to improve sales if the product isn’t available on the shelf.

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