The Clear-Cut Difference Between Advertising and Marketing

I’m meeting more and more people who have an existing business or planning to start one and want to know how to start marketing. But instead of asking me about marketing, they ask how to start advertising. So, rather than continuing to repeat myself, I will explain the clear-cut difference between marketing and advertising here. It’s actually easier to understand than you may think.

Let’s start with advertising. Advertising is:

  • the most visible form of marketing
  • the most elusive, seductive, and expensive branch of marketing
  • the most misunderstood
  • best used when it is balanced with all other marketing
  • used to build share of mind
  • not marketing but a tool used as part of marketing
  • reminding and once is not enough

OK, by now I think we know that advertising is not all of marketing. If you don’t know, you need to reread those bullets points.

What is marketing? Marketing is:

  • everything you do or say
  • creating awareness for your products and services
  • action and action leads to profits
  • how you comport yourself
  • run your business
  • bid on projects
  • perform for customers and clients
  • build relationships
  • your company’s name
  • its services and products
  • methods of delivering services and products
  • pricing plan
  • the location of your office
  • how you promote your practice
  •  the clients with whom you choose to work
  • how you answer the telephone
  • even how you design your invoices and envelopes

Marketing is everything you do to promote your business on a regular basis. The thing that marketing and advertising does have in common is that they both work best through repetition. Just like marketing, advertising works best through repetition. Just like marketing, advertising works best through repetition. Just like marketing, advertising works best through repetition. Get the point?

Question: What could you do this week to bring to life the principle that marketing is everything you do to promote your business?




6 thoughts on “The Clear-Cut Difference Between Advertising and Marketing

  • Superb post, Patrick. The concept of marketing not equaling advertising, but advertising being an element of marketing seems to be a really hard concept for many businesses to grasp. I’ve been preaching this for years. Again, the way you’ve laid this out is great. Have a good one.

  • I am baffled by what induces a person to buy anything. Clearly from the marketing and advertising in print, radio and TV, it works, but unfortunately, most of it is lost on me. Over the weekend, we had family visiting. As we watched TV together, we talked about what influenced from the ads…I can’t remember the last time I ran out and bought something based on advertising…I think there’s something wrong with me.
    Linda Joyce

  • Nope Linda you’re normal and part of the growing group of people who distrust ads and lean more on personal recommendations. Which almost every does to a certain extent.

    But here’s the other side of the coin. If you hear something enough times you might not buy it but you’re aware of it. For example: If I said, Eat Fresh, you might think of Subway, or Hungry, Why wait! Snickers, or Fresh Never Frozen, Wendy’s they work at some level whether it’s buying decisions or awareness.

    Thanks for your comment and sharing your personal experience!

  • Thanks Patrick!
    This make sense….I am already doing marketing. Maybe I need to hold off on advertising until people become familiar with my brand.


  • My pleasure Tony! I just want small businesses owners and organizations like yourself to make marketing an investment that grows your business and not an expense – one that sinks it.

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