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Marketing vs. Advertising: What's the Difference?

It can be confusing to try to sort through all the different aspects of business. Many of them are intertwined, and what may seem completely unrelated can actually combine in unexpected and interesting ways. Marketing plays a large role in advertising, and advertising likewise affects marketing, although there are significant differences in the two disciplines.

What is marketing?

There’s going to be a marketing segment of almost any company or business. While sometimes it’s a one-man show, in large corporations, it may involve a large group of people working together. Marketing also involves many different aspects of said companies and businesses. Marketers aren’t just marketers. They are responsible for helping to create and produce products. They work with clients, come up with new, better ideas for commodities, and then turn around and sell those commodities to interested parties. They help create promotional material, or help manage accounts and make long term plans. They do research, manage teams of people, and work with others for the welfare of the company.

“Marketing” is a small word for a lot of responsibilities. At its purest and most simple, marketing entails creating a product, setting a price, targeting the right customer, and promoting the item.

What is advertising?

Advertising has two main sides: the business side and the creative side. While advertising means making posters, designing commercials, knowing your audience to best engage them, and promoting campaigns, it also requires a great deal of careful planning and account management. Advertising might mean working in a specific department of a specific company and creating advertisements and advertising campaigns only for that company, or it might mean working for an advertising firm, and working with a team on specific projects for a variety of companies with different needs and different consumers. Advertisers have to be knowledgeable in a variety of different mediums, whether it’s making commercials on TV, designing packaging, or creating internet ads.

What’s the difference?

The biggest difference between marketing and advertising is that marketing encompasses advertising. It is a single component of a much larger entity. This doesn’t make it any less important or smaller, only different. While advertising is specifically the means of appealing to consumers, marketing is the entire process of creation, production, research, management, advertisement, and sales.

Last Updated: August 14, 2015