Advertising vs. Marketing: What's the Difference?

As an event organizer, you contact the local newspapers, radio stations,and television stations, all to ask them how much advertisements with them costs.

Should you pay $20,000 for a full-page ad in your city’s No.1 general interest newspaper and $10,000 for a 60-second commercial during the No. 1-rated television show or should you spend less money on traditional advertisements and more money on online and social media ads targeted toward a more specific audience?



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After spending weeks studying the cost-effectiveness of various types of advertisements, you present your advertising campaign plan to your boss.

Your boss is perplexed and dissatisfied.

“Why are you so focused on paid advertisements?” she asks you.

I want to advertise our company all day, every day.”

“What do you mean?” you reply. I’m confused.” 

Your boss then explains what she should have explained weeks ago.

“I want an advertising plan that includes researching what kind of events we should hold, how we can get the media to promote our events in their news coverage, what kind of seminars and conferences we should attend to promote our company, how we communicate with our prospective customers when they phone our office, and so much more,” she says. “This plan is NOT what I want.”

You might have jeopardized your job because of a misunderstanding.

Your boss said she wanted an advertising done, but what she wanted was a marketing campaign.

She might have thought advertising and marketing are the same thing, but it is NOT. Advertising, in fact, is a PART of marketing.


a diagram of marketing plan system

“Advertising is just one component, or subset, of marketing,” explains MarketingProfs in the article “The REAL Difference Between Marketing & Advertising.”

“Public relations, media planning, product pricing and distribution, sales strategy, customer support, market research and community involvement are all parts of comprehensive marketing efforts. As you market your company and its products or services, keep in mind all the facets that work together to constitute marketing.”

a coca cola advertisement with text in red background


Here’s another way to look at the difference between advertising and marketing.

When you advertise, you are explicitly asking the prospective customer to buy a product, or attend an event if you’re an event organizer.

When you market you are involved in a long-term strategy to improve your company’s reputation so sales, revenues, and profits will increase in the long run, but not necessarily immediately.

Improving your company’s marketing requires the involvement of EVERY individual who works for the company.

Here are more marketing tips:

  • Conduct marketing research before you begin your advertising campaign.
  • Coordinate your public relations efforts with your advertising campaign.
  • Get feedback from your sales reps on what is working in the field so you can improve your advertising campaign.
  • Track the effectiveness of your advertising campaign so your future expenditures will be more cost-effective.

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