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Advertising vs. Marketing: What’s the Difference?

It happens all too often. We’re standing around at the annual company holiday party, throwing around these technical terms about our organizations’ marketing efforts, and then someone asks, “What IS the difference between advertising and marketing?” Cue the awkward pause and stumbling babble.

Advertising and marketing are very closely related. Knowing the distinct difference between the two can save you from embarrassment at your holiday party and, more importantly, can propel your business on a path of success in market research.

Let’s define advertising and marketing as well as the channels used by each.

Advertising is a part of marketing. It is a tool used to influence the thoughts and behaviors of a particular audience to meet a specific goal, usually the selling of a product or service. Advertising is done through the use of mostly paid media such as:

  • Television
  • Radio
  • Print publications
  • Internet

In short, Advertising uses various paid media channels to produce a message, which aims to persuade consumers to interact with a product or service.

Marketing, on the other hand, represents the whole. It is everything an organization does to create an exchange between itself and its customers. Marketing brings awareness to a product or service through the use of tools such as:

  • Advertising
  • Public relations
  • Media planning
  • Product pricing

In other words, advertising is just one element (and an expensive one) playing a role in a much larger and broader marketing strategy.  Think of advertising as the shoes to an outfit. Without the shoes, the outfit wouldn’t be complete. Advertising is a necessary tool used in marketing strategies. So, the next time you are at your company holiday party and someone asks, “What IS the difference between Advertising and Marketing?” Look down at your shoes and think.

Understanding the importance of marketing is necessary for growing your business in 2013. Today, social media marketing is a useful and effective way for businesses to quickly deliver information to their audience.  Because it is so new, and quickly evolving, many professionals struggle to keep up with this powerful tool. Learn how to maximize your business and sales potential by attending our Social Media Boot Camp or Google Online Marketing Boot Camp.

Ashley Sayers is an account manager for Shelten Media, LLC, a social media marketing firm in Raleigh, NC. She is a student at North Carolina State University studying Public Relations and the Event Coordinator of NC State’s PRSSA. She is working toward a minor in Spanish and is particularly interested in government affairs. 



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