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Marketing and Advertising: 6 Key Differences Between Them

Whenever you hear these words “marketing” and “advertising,” have you ever wondered if they are the same? Many people use these two words interchangeably by referring to marketing as advertising and vice versa. In this well detailed article, I have highlighted the 6 key differences between marketing and advertising for you and everyone out there.

However, the truth is that even though they seem related, these two concepts are quite different.

Knowing the difference between marketing and advertising is pretty much essential as a marketer. Making a clear distinction between these two words in your own mind is a knowledge that will come in handy when you are speaking to clients or cross-department managers who may assume these two separate terms mean the same thing.

By being able to clearly define what marketing is, and how it differs from advertising, you can eventually create more productive conversations around the topics.

What is Marketing?

According to, marketing is “the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.”

Therefore, marketing refers to any actions taken by a company or individual to attract an audience to the company’s or individual’s product or services through high-quality messaging. Marketing aims to deliver a stand-alone value for prospects and consumers through content, with the long-term goal of demonstrating product value, strengthening brand loyalty, and ultimately increasing sales.

What is Advertising?

Now let’s zoom in on advertising. As mentioned before, advertising can be considered a subset of marketing because all your advertising activities – including native ads, social media ads, search ads, YouTube ads, CTV ads, and even podcast ads – support your overall marketing goals.

The definition of advertising is an industry used to call the attention of the public to something, typically a product or service.

Advertisement is the means of communication in which a product, brand or service is promoted to a viewership in order to attract interest, engagement, and eventually sales. Advertisements (often shortened to ads or adverts) come in many forms, from copy to interactive video, and have evolved to become a crucial feature of the app marketplace.

Now that we understand what exactly are marketing and advertising, and how they relate to each other, it is time to explore the six key differences between them.

1. Responsibilities


Marketing has the following responsibilities because of the fact that it focuses on boosting the visibility of a business, and the desires of existing and potential and customers alike:

Branding: In marketing, you are exactly your brand; because your brand is a combination of how you behave, communicate in inviting prospects into your business; this is what makes you different from other companies in the same industry. It is your brand that creates the lasting impact in the minds of consumers.

Competitor tracking/Trend analysis: It is the absolute responsibility of your marketing teams to understand the position of your brand in comparison to your current competitors, additionally; they also must know current trends in the market. They must of necessity be on the lookout for competitors’ trending topics and campaigns in their industry, plus what consumers are saying about them and their competition.

Managing Customer Relations: To better manage customer relationships, your team of marketers should carry out interviews and surveys, using other feedback collection methods and activities to determine if customers are well satisfied with the business.

Cross-department alignment: be reminded that your marketing team is not the only team in a business setting. You must understand that there are many departments that must work together to keep a business operation smooth; this is where your team of marketers must make sure every department understands and work together to enhance your brand, marketing activities to reach your set goals.

Research and strategy development: Your marketing team is forever saddled with the responsibility of making sure that your business is regularly well positioned for profitability. They must regularly lookout for what is trending in the market, engage effective marketing tools and strategies, alongside managing new software and programs that can effectively help the business run smoothly in support of its other roles of customer management and after-sales support.

ROI tracking/Budgeting: It is the responsibility of your marketing team to ensure that the company is not overspending. The team must plan out their marketing budget and makes sure all marketing activities fall within their budget based on year-after-year data. This they do being fully aware of their desired ROI to ensure that the investment made into marketing is worthwhile.


Now, let’s take a look at the responsibilities of advertising as compare to that of marketing that we have just explored:

Customer analysis: Getting to know your existing customers and their relationship with your business can help your team create better ad campaigns, thereby moving forward and developing advertising strategies that will better serve your brand as being managed by your marketing team.

Planning and pitching advertising strategies: It does not matter if you are working with other clients for their advertising needs, or you are on a personal work with agencies, it is the responsibility of your advertising team to pitch the strategy for marketing the business, the processes, specific activations, and budget required to enact an advertising strategy.

Social media buying: Another duty the advertising teams must do is staying on top of the most effective and profit yielding marketing channels for your business based on factors such as sound data and where customers for the business can be found at a good value.

Creative production: advertising teams are responsible for planning, researching, creating, and distributing creative assets that apply the advertising plan from short social media posts to radio or TV commercials such as images, ad copy, videos, and audio elements.

Campaign management: Advertising teams are responsible for tracking and monitoring the performance of ad campaigns, and optimizing copy and images as needed to get the highest ROAS (return on ad spend).

Stakeholders Communication: The accounts managers of any advertising agencies are saddled with the responsibilities of keeping clients informed about progress made so far, and also maintaining their agency’s own project slate of their creative team.

2. Purpose

It is important for us to understand that even though marketing and advertising share the ultimate goal of boosting sales and profitability, they always deviate in the ways they tend to accomplish this.

Below are breakdown of the purpose and goals of marketing vs advertising:


• Customer retention
• Lead generation
• New customer acquisition
• Maintaining consistent branding
• Creating and managing upsell and cross-sell opportunities
• Product development
• Wholly racking the results of all marketing initiatives


• Increasing brand loyalty
• Keeping the brand’s image strong
• Building brand awareness
• Boosting brand recognition
• Attracting first-time buyers to purchase
• Informing/reminding customers about the existence of your brand
• Compelling customers to purchase through ads
• Establishing the business as the top-of-mind option
• Motivating existing customers to repeat purchases

3. Techniques used

It is no surprise that marketing and advertising uses different techniques to meet target goals, this is so because marketing and advertising have different goals.


Inbound marketing: This is the act of using organic methods to attract customers to your business.

Content marketing: This is the act of using all types of content such as blog posts, landing pages, social posts, YouTube videos, and many more to attract audiences from the internet and generate interest in a business or brand.

Search engine optimization (SEO): SEO is the act of getting your business website to rank higher on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. thereby gaining more visibility and drawing traffic to your website.

Email marketing: Again, your business can readily stay in touch with customers through email campaigns, newsletters, and promotions.

Affiliate marketing: If you are able to partner with the right affiliates who are capable of reaching more customers on your behalf, it affords you the opportunities to leverage other trusted people to market your brand for you in exchange for a commission.


• Traditional advertising, e.g. print, TV, or radio
• Retail advertising, e.g. shelf marketing and in-store promotional material.
• Digital advertising such as video marketing, content syndication, guest posting, social media ads, etc.
• Native advertising like promoting ads that match the look and feel of the webpage where they appear.
• Billboard ads
• Mobile ads in apps

4. Investment required

Apart from the organic social advertising, most other advertising methods requires a budget, this is what made advertising one of the most expensive marketing strategies your company will invest in.

If you plan to advertise using internal talent, you might find that you’ll need to build a team that includes media buyers, copywriters, video editors, and the like.

Because marketing activities include other factors such as customer research, marketing costs, trend researching and branding, a lot of money may be involved to cover different positions and tools that are required to support these marketing goals.

Examples of these expenses includes hiring social media manager, product managers, brand managers, sales managers, or research analysts who can make sure that each marketing activity for your business is well taken care of.

5. Success measurements

It is important that your business needs to stay on top of performance and make sure your tactics are successful in both marketing and advertising. You can maintain the efficiency of your marketing and advertising investments and ensure the business is as profitable as possible, by effectively optimizing and consolidating successful campaigns, and discarding tactics that are not working among your target audience.

Below are some examples of different success metrics for both marketing and advertising that should be tracked, monitored, and optimized:


• Net Promoter Score
• Customer Retention
• Customer Lifetime Value
• Quarterly and Annual Sales Revenue
• Market Share


• Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)
• Reach and Impressions
• Click-through Rates (CTR)
• Engagement
• Conversion Rates

6. Generating results

Now, let’s look at how long it takes for either marketing or advertising to generate the expected results for your business. Firstly, you must remember that advertising is a part of marketing; therefore, wisdom demands that advertising should have faster results and returns for your brand, while marketing activities are meant to be more long-term and build up your brand for the future.

For instance, in advertising campaigns, you need to consider the campaign duration to enable you monitor results. E.g. if you run a month-long campaign, then you’ll have to wait till the end of the said month to see the results generated. You can also recheck a couple of months after to see if it has had a longer-term impact.

But in marketing, you will want to look at this as a life-long process. Your business and brand will evolve alongside your customers and market trends. However, it is important to monitor the effects of marketing campaigns in the shorter term to enable you understand the status of your brand health, what resonates with audiences, and where to go from where you are right at the moment.

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In Conclusion

The fact that both advertising and marketing have a lot in common does not necessarily mean they are one and the same. I believe this blog post have walk you through the fundamental differences between the two so that you, your company, and your clients can be well positioned for more productive conversations when planning and monitoring either your marketing or advertising efforts.

About Efogator

Emebu N. Oghale, the visionary force behind EfoGator, is a luminary in the realms of SEO, technology, and content writing. With an unwavering passion for staying at the forefront of digital advancements, Emebu has been an influential figure in the blogging sphere since 2014.

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