Business jargon tends to conglomerate marketing and advertising together, to create a Frankenstein-esque term that describes all methods of getting products or services to clients.

Although, for discerning professionals controlling marketing and advertising initiatives it’s important to understand the difference between the two.

What is Marketing?

Marketing is a process of planning and implementing the design, creation and research of a product or service to prepare it for the marketplace.

Marketing helps to define the product or service and understand who the target audience is.

Marketing is as takes time and research. The process begins with a unique selling proposition, which is often a short but compelling sentence describing the product or service. The proposition can then become a north-star, to guide you to the target audience who are most interested in what you’re selling.

An effective marketing initiative is made up of a lot of different parts. Think of marketing as a machine, made up of individual parts which work independently from each other but come together to achieve the overriding goal of a unified marketing campaign.

In essence, these parts comprise marketing. It’s all the different methods businesses use to sell a product or service. These methods differ from business to business. Discovering what works best involves researching audience responses and creating content and design that best influences that audience.

Although slogans and mission statements are essential to communicating the ethos of a business, some audiences might respond more to images than words.

In this instance, social media platforms like Instagram might be the most effective method of reaching your target audience. In contrast, other audiences will respond more to traditional print media.

This shows how marketing is much more than the indiscriminate purchasing of ad space. For advertising to be successful, businesses must first conduct their market research to determine their target audience. Once the research is complete you can start developing marketing strategies.

Marketing strategies can be broken down into the 4Ps of marketing: product, place, price and promotion. The 4Ps of marketing is a model for enhancing the elements of the most accepted foundation model of marketing—the marketing mix. The marketing mix is described as the combination of factors businesses use to influence consumers to purchase its products or service.

It defines the marketing campaign and transmits what audience can use the product, what environment best suits the product, where it’s sold and the price. The marketing campaign is then communicated through marketing materials.

Sounds simple?

Well, it is. Yet, get just one element wrong and it can be disastrous. For example, take Dr Pepper’s campaign for their new product Dr Pepper Ten in 2011. In one of the most bizarre marketing campaign failures, Dr Pepper got their 4Ps wrong and advertised their low-calorie version of the traditional dink as “not for women”. Dr Pepper didn’t just exclude half of their potential customers but also exhibited a needless and unpopular sexist attitude.

The marketing mix model can be used to help you decide how best to take a new product or service to market and avoid embarrassing mistakes like this. It can also be used to test your existing marketing strategies.

To see if your marketing strategies have a well-defined marketing mix, test them from the customer’s perspective, through asking these customer-focused questions:

  • Does the product meet the consumer’s requirements?
  • What places or marketplaces will consumers find the product in?
  • How does the price compare to similar competitors?
  • How will the promotional marketing communications reach them?

What is Advertising?

Advertising is just another component of effective marketing. Marketing is a controlled and wide-reaching process that incorporates both research and practice.

Whereas, advertising is a direct practice, specific to brand communication.

Advertising is the process of getting the word out about a new product or service and making it known to the marketplace. It involves creating campaigns that align with your targeted audiences and utilising creative positioning in the media. The most effective campaigns use a mixture of media to generate anticipation or excitements for a product or service.

These media can take a lot of different forms. Although, all advertisements regardless of the format are paid, public announcements that use persuasive messaging and feature an identifiable brand.

With the demise of print-media businesses are now finding new and more creative methods to advertise. For example, if the product or service is targeted towards younger audiences, then social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter might be the best method of reaching that audience.

Advertising uses the data and research collected through marketing strategies to best communicate the product or service.

Although advertising is just one component of comprehensive marketing campaigns, it’s often the most labour-intensive and expensive component. This is because it too involves a lot of components.

Elements like art and design often require outside specialists. Whereas ad placements in prime locations online are often expensive and recurring.