What’s the difference? Marketing vs. advertising

Advertising is the targeted distribution of messages as paid ads on various media, in order to promote a product or service. Marketing, on the other hand, refers to a wide spectrum of strategies and activities that are meant to meet the needs and desires of customers and build long-term connections with them. Advertising is one of many different kinds of marketing activities. In this article, we’ll explain in depth some of the differences between marketing and advertising.

What is marketing?

The term marketing includes many different areas, processes and activities that are all focused on promoting and selling products or services. The marketing process starts with market research, which will form the foundation of your marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy should be based on these four principles, the four Ps of marketing:

  • Product: The product or service that’s being offered should be designed to meet the needs or desires of your target group.
  • Price: The price of your product or service should be low enough that your target group can afford it but high enough to make a profit.
  • Place: The place where your product or service is offered should be easily accessible for your target group and conducive to making sales.
  • Promotion: You should promote your product or service in a way that gets the attention of your target group.

Marketing goals will vary from brand to brand and campaign to campaign. Some possible goals are, for example, increasing sales, boosting brand awareness or connecting with your customer base. Marketing is one of the most important factors in the success of a company or brand.

What is advertising?

Advertising is an important subcategory of marketing that aims to make potential customers aware of a brand, product or service, in order to persuade them to buy or use it. A defining characteristic of advertising is that you need to pay for it — think, for example, of TV and radio ads, billboards, banner ads online and social media campaigns.

Advertising is used to convey a targeted message about a brand, product or service at a specific time. The content of any given advertising will vary based on target group, medium and purpose. It might be informative, entertaining or emotionally appealing as a means of capturing the attention and interest of your target group.

What is marketing vs. advertising?

Marketing consists of a number of different activities. Advertising is one of these marketing activities and acts as part of a marketing strategy. It’s a product of the marketing process or the result of that process that’s shown to the outside world. That’s why the terms marketing and advertising are frequently (if incorrectly!) used interchangeably.

While advertising is a more short-term marketing activity, marketing is about understanding your customers and developing a long-term strategy for increasing their satisfaction and loyalty.

What kinds of marketing are there?

There are many different kinds of marketing. We make the general distinction between traditional and online marketing. However, traditional and online marketing can be combined with each other in a marketing mix. Individual marketing strategies can also differ in their goals, target groups, strategies and the media and platforms they use. Here are some of the most common kinds of marketing:

  • Digital marketing refers to any marketing strategies that are implemented on digital channels, including search engine marketing (SEM), newsletter marketing, content marketing and social media marketing.
  • Content marketing is a form of digital marketing in which high-quality and informative content is created and published in order to draw a target group to a website and win them over for a product or brand.
  • Social media marketing is a type of digital marketing that takes place on social media platforms. It’s especially popular among ecommerce companies.
  • Influencer marketing also takes place on social media. It involves identifying relevant influencers for a brand or company and integrating them into the marketing and communication strategy.
  • With inbound marketing you don’t approach potential customers directly, and instead get their attention through useful content. It requires that customers are already looking for certain products.
  • Outbound marketing refers to a marketing strategy in which customers are shown ads on various channels, even if they haven’t expressed an interest in making a purchase.
  • Multichannel marketing uses various channels such as email, social media, search engine marketing and print media in order to reach a larger audience.
  • Omnichannel marketing uses digital, analog and physical channels to interact with customers. Unlike with multichannel marketing, these different areas overlap smoothly with each other.
  • Word-of-mouth marketing is when products or services are recommend by customers to other customers. It includes literal word-of-mouth recommendations in person as well as digital referrals.
  • Viral marketing works similarly to word-of-mouth marketing in that it relies on people spreading the word in order to gain a wide reach as fast as possible. The user won’t see this as classical advertising and is therefore more likely to share it.
  • Guerrilla marketing uses unconventional and cost-efficient tactics like street art, viral campaigns, flash mobs and advertising stunts. It’s often used by small companies with a limited marketing budget.
  • Experiential marketing involves creating unique and memorable experiences in the form of events and interactive activities for customers. The goal is to create a positive impression of the brand and foster long-term connections with the brand or company.
  • Performance marketing is a data-driven marketing strategy that concentrates on measurable reactions and transactions such as clicks, leads, sales and other conversions.
  • Affinity marketing is aimed at target groups that share a common interest. The goal is to create a connection between the brand and its target group by appealing to common interests, values or beliefs.
  • Gender marketing works based on the assumption that people of different genders have different preferences, needs and behavior when it comes to consumer goods. It involves targeting a product, service or advertising campaign to a specific gender.
  • Green marketing involves promoting products or services based on their sustainability. The goal is to appeal to users who are conscious of the impact of their purchases on the environment.

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What types of advertising are there?

There are a number of different types of advertising. They can be broken up into the categories of traditional vs. digital advertising. Traditional advertising involves ads that are shown in a specific location so that as many people as possible see or hear them. It includes:

  • Radio ads
  • TV ads
  • Print ads (billboards, magazines, and other print media)
  • Storefront advertising
  • Promotional giveaways

Digital advertising includes all forms of advertising that are distributed on digital channels. Below are some examples.

  • With search engine advertising (also known as SEA), ads are shown in search engine results.
  • Display advertising, also known as display marketing, includes all forms of advertising that work with graphic ads online, such as banners, videos and animation.
  • Native advertising can appear either online or offline in print media. It involves advertorials, which are indistinguishable from normal editorial content.
  • Pay-per-click advertising is a form of online advertising in which advertisers pay for each click on their ad. PPC ads appear on search engines and social media, for example.

In addition to mass advertising, there are also more targeted and personalized ways to come into contact with customers. These direct advertising strategies include letters and emails, ad tracking on websites using cookies, telemarketing, SMS marketing, product tests and home visits. The challenge with these forms of advertising is that the person you’re contacting has to give consent for the use of their data in advance.

How do you plan an advertising or marketing campaign?

A successful advertising or marketing campaign requires careful planning. You should take the following things into account:

  1. Set goals that you want to achieve with your campaign. For example, you might want to increase brand awareness, boost sales or strengthen relationships with customers.
  2. Define your target group and identify their needs and interests. That way you can create content that’s tailored to that demographic.
  3. Set a marketing budget and use it as effectively as possible.
  4. Create a marketing plan that lists everything you need to do to achieve your goals.
  5. Research the competition. How do they do their marketing? What can you do better?
  6. Implement your marketing campaign. Constantly keep an eye on KPIs so that you can make adjustments to your campaign as necessary.
  7. Measure results, optimize and repeat your campaign, if necessary, in order to get the best possible results.

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