Marketing and advertising are two words that often get used interchangeably. At the end of the day, whether you’re a marketing agency or an advertising agency, you’re doing the same things, right? Wrong.

While marketing and advertising work synergistically together to drive results and influence consumer behavior, each is distinctly different from the other. Understanding this difference is essential in order for brands to be successful in increasing awareness, conversions, and sales.

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Marketing vs Advertising – Main Differences


What is Marketing?

According to Concordia St. Paul University, marketing can be defined as “a process that involves design, creation, research, and data mining about how to best align the idea of a product or service with the target audience.” Put simply, marketing involves a long-term strategy for positioning a brand’s products and services as desirable within their target market. During the marketing process, brands must conduct careful research to thoroughly understand their target audience. This will help them understand how to create key elements of their brand, such as messaging, graphic design, and advertising strategy.

What is Advertising?

Advertising, however, focuses on driving sales revenue. Advertising campaigns incorporate elements of marketing and branding into their messaging but the primary objective of the campaigns is to get primary and secondary audiences to purchase the good or service. The key to a successful advertising campaign lies in the success of one’s market research. Through this process, brands can clearly identify and define their target market, increasing their likelihood for improving sales and customer loyalty. Not only does this information allow brands to understand the demand for their products and services, but it helps them understand the marketplace as a whole, including competition and sales trends.

Advertising differs from marketing in that it’s more of a short-term strategy designed to influence consumer behavior and drive sales. While marketing essentially accomplishes the same goal, advertising is attached to a singular product or service while marketing is attached to the brand as a whole. In order for advertising campaigns to be successful, the marketing strategy must come first. Advertising must be timely and strategic, and should focus on positioning the brand’s specific offerings through creative materials and paid media campaigns.

How Marketing & Advertising Work Together

Marketing and advertising agencies often work hand-in-hand. In fact, many professionals in the field use these terms interchangeably as well since the two are so deeply dependent on the other’s success. A good marketing agency might assess their client’s brand, identify the main differentiators and key services, and hit the ground running with an advertising campaign. Great marketing agencies (like WiT Group) go a step beyond: Rather than simply focusing on driving sales through paid ad campaigns, a strategic marketing agency will take a deep-dive into the client’s business model and conduct thorough research to identify the target audience. From there, a marketer will work to create a holistic brand image, including key messaging, creative, and potential advertising platforms.

Only after these essential aspects have been researched and planned can an advertising campaign take shape. The information gained through market research will ultimately dictate the success of these campaigns as advertisers rely on marketing professionals to dictate targeting, delivery, and creative strategy.

Marketing, Advertising & Brand Success

By taking the time to address the marketing process first, brands can increase their likelihood for success in their advertising efforts. Not only will market research provide key insights for the advertising campaign, but it will help brands save money, time, and energy on campaigns that don’t resonate with their target market.

Creating a long-term marketing strategy takes a lot of hard work and expertise, which is why companies need the right agency to get the job done right. By enlisting an expert marketing agency to help in your overarching strategy, you can lay the groundwork for increased exposure, conversions, and revenue.

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