At first glance, marketing and advertising seem like the same thing. Interchangeable terms, right? A lot of people use them that way.
The truth is, they’re subtly—but importantly—different. When you recognize that, you can make them work together to increase your revenue. Take a look:
First: What’s the Difference, Anyway?
All advertising is marketing, but not all marketing is advertising. Simply put, advertising is a part of your marketing plan, which also includes research, email campaigns, social media posts, and community events. Billboards, sponsored social media posts, digital ads, television commercials, and radio spots are all examples of advertising. Notice what they have in common?
You (generally) have to pay for them.
You pay for marketing, too, of course, in time or salaries, but advertising will require additional dollars.
Your Marketing Strategy
Marketing starts with the careful development of your product or service. You’ll use market research to decide upon a name, logo, colors, and more that resonate with your target audience. Your marketing plan helps you understand the demand for your product as you keep an eye on your major competitors, and you may incorporate a variety of events and emails and social media campaigns to build your brand.
Marketing has four phases, and advertising shows up only in the last one:
- Product: What do you have to offer consumers?
- Price: How much is that product/service worth in relation to how much it costs to create?
- Placement: Where can you sell this to reach your target audience?
- Promotion: How will people hear about your product? (In part: advertising.)
You could—technically, kind of, we guess—have marketing without advertising or vice versa, but it will be empty and ineffective either way. Marketing tells your audience that the perfect product exists, but without advertising, they won’t know you can give it to them (for a nominal fee, of course).
If you spend a lot of money on advertising without the marketing plan to back it up, you’ll never know if you’re spreading your message on the right platforms, and you won’t have the brand equity and consumer trust people are looking for today when they make their first purchase.
Bring Them Together for the Big Win
Can you save money by skipping advertising altogether?
Think about it this way: imagine posting high-quality content twice a day on your social media pages. Whether it’s an important how-to video, an excellent discount code, or a totally hilarious and potentially viral meme related to your industry, how are people going to see it? You’re simply tossing it out there and hoping the ever-changing algorithms put it in front of someone’s face—someone who may or may not be your ideal customer.
Advertising gives you more control over who sees your product and what they do next. Here are three things advertising, as part of a smart marketing strategy, can do to help you increase your revenue:
- Talk to Your Target Audience: Considering that about 59 percent of the world’s population is online (Facebook alone has 2.6 billion active monthly users) and 27 percent of internet users find new products via paid social ads—yeah, you’ll probably want to do some online advertising. Still, depending upon your audience, you may have more success with billboards or newspaper advertising. If you’re a local business catering to people over the age of 50, for example, Instagram is probably not the best place to spend ad money. Even though you can reach more than 928 million people with Instagram ads, more than 655 million of them are between the ages of 13 and 34.
- Monitor the Analytics: Your marketing strategy includes tracking and testing your advertising efforts. Through the analytics, you can see which ads are working in which locations. Ultimately, this helps you get more for your money by going directly where your message reaches the most people.
- Build Brand Awareness: Marketing gives people somewhere to go after they see your advertising. Someone laughs at your funny billboard, so they go to your website. Someone opens the 19th newsletter you sent, and they visit your Facebook page. Because they see consistent messaging across all channels, they start to trust you. They know you’re the real deal. They visit your website—and because you’ve strategically built that website as part of your marketing plan, they’re more likely to click and sign up or make a purchase.
Marketing and advertising were made for each other. Use them both intentionally, and watch your business grow.