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Marketing vs. Advertising: What’s the Difference?

To most consumers, it may seem there are no differences when comparing marketing vs. advertising. In fact, they do share a common objective: to alert consumers to products and services available for purchase. Although these practices have things in common, nuances lead to there being a difference between marketing and advertising. Understanding the differences — not to mention the similarities — in the discussion of marketing vs. advertising helps businesses and organizations develop effective strategies for reaching target audiences and acquiring more customers.

What Is Marketing?

Marketers conduct research and mine data to find opportunities to reach audiences for products, services, and brands. This process informs the design and creation of products after ideas are established. Additionally, marketers set value propositions that guide promotions, and these selling points often define the product for consumers more than its features.

How Do You Market Products, Services, and Brands?

Marketing involves research and analysis. Through these processes, marketers study how people respond to products and services, which informs how companies create promotional language and design elements related to products. This research also defines consumer segments for tailoring campaigns to the needs of specific populations. Additionally, research into language influences the slogans and mission statements that companies use to sell products.

The basics of marketing strategies can be explained by the four P’s: product, place, price, and promotion. Price and means of distribution play critical roles in the success of products, and market researchers help establish these elements. Marketers also build strategy documents for framing marketing messages. These documents account for the types of consumers who will use a product, the environments that best suit it, the tone that marketing messages should strike, and the product personality that consumers should perceive in messaging. Once it’s time to develop messages that bring the strategy to life, the worlds of marketing vs. advertising begin to overlap.

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What Is Advertising?

Advertising is the process of making a product and service known to an audience. It involves the development of messages that present products, services, ideas, and brands to the world. These processes generally entail advertising campaigns in the media. An advertising campaign relies on timely offers, creative positioning, and catch-phrases to ensure products resonate with consumers.

How Do You Advertise?

Put simply, advertising spreads the word about products and services. But this process requires careful targeting to ensure campaigns align with the wants and needs of specific audiences.

Great advertising campaigns use a mix of media to generate excitement for a product. For example, to promote a product that is geared toward a younger audience, advertisers may use Instagram, Twitter, and other social platforms. Other consumer groups may respond better to radio, television, and print ads. Advertisers need to experiment with media placement to find the right combination for reaching the right audience. Advertisers must also communicate with frequency for their promotions to break through a highly saturated media environment.

What Are the Similarities Between Marketing and Advertising?

When contrasting marketing vs. advertising, it’s important to know that advertising is actually a component of marketing. Marketing refers to preparing a product for the marketplace. Advertising is making your product and service known to people within that marketplace. In other words, advertising is a step in the marketing process — one that uses the data and research collected by marketing strategists to craft compelling promotions.

When viewed broadly, marketing is a controlled but wide-reaching process, and advertisers focus on creating communications. Additionally, marketers investigate consumer behavior, and advertisers engage in design, multimedia production, and more creative endeavors to convince consumers to act.

If you’re ready to begin a marketing career, earning a B.A. in Marketing is an ideal starting point. Concordia University, St. Paul offers an online bachelor’s degree in marketing that provides hands-on learning opportunities to help you thrive as a marketer. You can complete all coursework online and benefit from an undergraduate marketing program that enables graduates to earn the highest salary among all alumni from Minnesota colleges and universities.

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