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What is the difference between marketing and advertising?

"Be careful…don’t mistake advertising for marketing".

At the turn of the year The Drum printed an article by Wayne Blodwell of the Programmatic Advisory titled ‘2017 will be the year we have to rewrite the marketing rulebook (before it’s too late)’.

Wayne posted it on his LinkedIn profile and it was with a wry smile that I noted that a previous colleague of mine commented "be careful…don’t mistake advertising for marketing".  I smiled because I have three industry bug bears:

  1. Pronunciation of the word schedule as sKedule rather than SHEDule
  2. Use of the term digital (which is an adjective) without a noun. Digital what? You shouldn’t use ‘digital’ as a catch-all term* 
  3. Using marketing and advertising as interchangeable terminology

    *hat tip as always to Nigel Walley who likes to call this out on twitter whenever he sees it

So I’ll leave the first two for now, and take a closer look at the third.

Firstly, my broad definitions:

Marketing (noun): Encouraging people to buy a product or service / promotion of products or services

Advertising (noun): Producing and placing paid for advertisements for commercial products or services

So advertising is a component of marketing – a specific part of a broader discipline. And, whilst we are at it with the definitions, here’s one more:

Media planning and buying: Selecting, negotiating and delivering the media channels for advertising

Many brands and businesses will have internal teams responsible for the marketing of the brands. As part of their marketing mix, they may choose to allocate budget to advertising, which they might outsource to a specialist agency to plan, negotiate and deliver.  In some cases, businesses will not have the resources to do marketing internally, and they may bring on board a consultant or agency to look at this for them.

In some cases – as with Orchard – the agency will be able to advise on and activate all aspects of marketing – including PR, media planning and buying, design, branding, production and events.

Advertising does tend to command a large chunk of marketing budgets because its effectiveness is measurable. 

My background has always been in media planning and buying, and the core competencies I use for what I do as a day job are; research of target audience, understanding of brand and goals for the campaign with clear targets, selection of media channels, reach and frequency of message to the target audience(s), negotiation of best possible rates, getting the campaign live and delivering the plan, and post campaign reporting afterwards. 

Large letters 'BRAND' surrounded by cranes and scaffolding

Here at Orchard, we’ve simplified this process into 3 stages; 'Discover - Devise - Deliver', and we tailor what we do in each stage to meet the client needs and requirements. 

Since joining Orchard, I have enjoyed learning more about the wider marketing sphere and we will work with clients to work up plans with; research of the target consumers, competitor market analysis, product pricing, product design, marketing materials, PR, tracking, advertising, advertising effectiveness and ROI, internal communications, and brand launches, owned media and social channels. It’s been really interesting to get more involved in other aspects of clients business, and see how all the components work together. I still feel more comfortable with my media planning and buying hat on, but now I know that I am lucky enough to work with people who can provide greater support in the market mix for clients who require services outside of the advertising campaigns.

Interestingly, the author of the article that was published in The Drum responded to the comment "…be careful, don’t mistake advertising for marketing" with "I’d love to know how you personally differentiate them these days as the two are clearly blurring".  I know what the author means, paid for advertising is becoming harder to distinguish from wider marketing, especially with the rise of ‘fake news’ and the speed with which brand content is shared – but on balance, I think that the distinctions are still pretty clear. 

In summary, advertising is a paid for component part of the marketing mix. 

Rachel, Account Director

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