Advertising and Marketing – What’s the Difference?

We often hear consumers and business owners alike confuse the terms “advertising” and “marketing.” How would you differentiate the two? I know I mistakenly mixed the terms for some time before learning the difference. It’s really quite simple once you know.

Longtime professor of advertising at Harvard University, Neil H. Borden, defined advertising as, “the chief means by which businesses communicate with the customers about their products or services to bring about an exchange.”

Professor Borden did not define advertising as “building store traffic” or “selling” merchandise or services. The keyword in the definition is “communicate.” “The chief means by which businesses communicate with customers about their products or services to bring about an exchange.”

“Advertising” is what you do to attract the customer. “Marketing” is everything you do to keep the customer. You need to attract the customer repeatedly with advertising…but it’s your total marketing effort that determines whether or not you keep the customer.

“Marketing” is everything…the total effort. Marketing includes advertising. But advertising is only a part of the total selling effort.

Your marketing effort includes all your unique strengths and competitive advantages. It includes your personnel. Are they professional, friendly, clean, sincere, helpful and well-trained?

Marketing includes your merchandising. The appearance of your store or office. The appearance and condition of your service or delivery vehicles. Is your business easy to find, comfortable, well lighted, conveniently located?

Marketing includes price and value. Are you competitively priced? Or, more importantly, is your price right for the value received?

Marketing includes advertising. Is your advertising consistent? Are your messages compelling? Do you effectively communicate the benefits the consumer will receive should they do business with you?
Your advertising should attract the consumer. Your marketing effort should turn the consumer into your customer. If you get all your ducks in a row…and you are always on the watch for competitive strengths and weaknesses…opportunities and threats…you put the odds for success in your favor.

Think about this…with proper advertising and a solid marketing plan, you can command a higher price for your goods or services. When your higher-priced goods or services are perceived as the “best deal”…you know you have done a good job with your advertising and your marketing.

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