You might use the words "marketing" and "advertising" interchangeably, but they are not the same! Knowing the difference between the two will help you build your marketing and advertising strategies. You'll be able to better serve your customers' needs and continue to grow your business. To better understand the needs of your customers and your business, read on about the differences between marketing and advertising.
1) Marketing is the ongoing process
To understand the difference between marketing and advertising, it helps to think of Marketing as the umbrella and advertising as a component underneath it. Marketing is the ongoing process of planning, implementing and maintaining of activities that connect the potential buyers to your products, services, and brand. Marketing teams focus on building relationships with customers, and making the products and services compelling to the company's customers. With marketing, there is an overall strategy to promote the company. Marketing responsibilities include building the brand, developing the relationship with customers, understanding their needs and purchasing habits, and tracking changes in business and industry. Marketing teams track trends and competitors as well as do market research, develop an ongoing strategy, and are in charge of the budget.
2) Advertising is a finite subset of Marketing
Advertising is one part of the marketing strategy. Advertising includes targeted ads like billboards, newspaper ads, magazine ads, and digital ads such as tv spots, radio commercials, Facebook ads, LinkedIn sponsored posts, YouTube ads, etc. An important thing to note: advertisements are paid promotions and are usually the most expensive part of the marketing budget.
An advertisement is specific — for a product, service, or brand. While marketing develops a relationship with customers, advertising attracts new first-time buyers and encourages direct purchases through ads. Think about Starbucks: you don't see a ton of Starbucks ads promoting a specific drink. You aren't clicking on a Facebook ad for the company. However, they still have great marketing. The "Starbucks Cup" is so popular that people buy that specific type of tumbler to use everyday. That's marketing. Their brand is recognizable and linked to their image, but they aren't paying for an ad spot. With marketing, you convince potential buyers that your brand is right for them. With advertising, you communicate that the product or service exists and influence shopping and purchasing behavior.
3) Every Brand Needs Marketing
Whether you're interested in buying ads or not, marketing is so important to all brands, big or small. Think about it -- word of mouth is one of the best ways for small businesses to grow, and that is a part of marketing! It's not just about ad spend to grow your business and customer base. It's the steady relationship built between your brand and your consumers, the way you focus on meeting your customers' needs, and it is the most important tool to grow your business. Some low-cost or free ways to market your brand and business are marketing videos on social media. TikTok and Instagram are a great way to reach your audience, showcase your brand, and highlight your services and products. Creating short TikTok videos every day can help improve brand recognition and increase audience engagement. After you grow and have a larger budget, you could advertise with a paid sponsored video with an influencer. Another example: let's say you're a real estate agent just starting out. You might make TikTok videos of "three things to look for when buying a house" and share them on social media. You can also include them in your newsletter to past and current clients. All of that would be part of your marketing plan. When your budget increases, you can create a showcase video for a specific house that is for sale. Then, you can pay YouTube to place that video before popular videos about home buying. Now, you've created an advertisement. Even if your brand isn't ready for paid advertising, every brand needs marketing. You can start out small and increase your budget and strategy as your business grows.
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