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Knowhow: the difference between advertising and marketing

Difference between marketing and advertising

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Outlines the difference between advertising and marketing, where they differ from PR, and what each does for your business.

Nowadays, anyone who wants to bring a product or service to the customer cannot avoid terms such as marketing, PR, advertising, direct and online marketing.

Marketing, advertising and PR particularly are often mixed up by laypeople. There are major differences in the meaning, the goals and the tasks for each. We explain the difference between marketing and advertising, and PR, in this guide, and the meaning of the individual terms.

These terms from the world of customer communication are complex, partly overlap and often cause confusion in companies. With this article we give a clearer perspective!

The difference between advertising and marketing — and PR

In this guide we want to shed light on the most important forms of communication with customers and show the differences between the communication disciplines.

The development of the media landscape has proceeded explosively in the last 30 years. The communication options are more diverse than ever. In a competitive sales market, many companies continue to expand their communication strategies.

As a result, market participants are increasingly specializing in communicating with customers. In order to be able to cover all sub-areas of customer communication, companies depend on these experts.

The difference between advertising and marketing: definition of marketing

There is no generally binding definition for the term “marketing”. Marketing generally describes two different fields of action. Marketing is a concept of corporate philosophy or for all activities related to the sale of products and / or services.

As a corporate philosophy, marketing puts the customer at the center of all company activities. That means: the company no longer asks what is best for the company, but rather for the customer. At the same time, marketing can also be understood to mean all activities that serve to sell the product / service. This includes sales, PR, sponsorship, advertising, presentation, advice, sales promotion, product development and service.

So, put simply: Marketing is a strategic process and deals with the planning, coordination or implementation and control of the individual marketing measures. This also includes market research, i.e. procurement, evaluation and interpretation of data relating to markets, competition, target groups, etc.

Marketing is the entire alignment of a company to sales – i.e. to the needs of customers and the market in which the company operates. This term also describes the division that deals with the marketing of products and services.

Marketing has a broader approach compared to advertising. This is understood to be a long-term strategy that relates to entire product lines or brands and is not aimed at individual products as in advertising.

Marketing encompasses the entire sequence of all individual measures that serve to bring product lines as well as brands and consumers together.

Marketing therefore always includes precise market research, in the course of which the consumption needs of potential customers are determined. With the help of market research, various questions are answered that are relevant for the development of a marketing strategy, especially whether there is any need for the products (goods or services) of a product line or brand, and how large the target group is.

Another important part of the market analysis is the determination of the competitive situation. If, on the basis of this analysis, a company comes to the conclusion that the introduction of a new or the continuation of an old product line or brand is economically worthwhile, it develops a marketing strategy that includes not only the price but also the distribution channels from production to the customer and communication belong to the customer.

The classic four marketing strategies – also known as the marketing mix – are product, price, sales and communication policy.

Communication policy as part of marketing

The communication policy organizes the communication between the company and the customer or other relevant groups. This includes all measures that provide information about the company’s goals, offers and activities . Such relevant groups are journalists, but also scene influencers such as bloggers or loyal regular customers of the company.

There are various instruments for successful communication . This can be classic advertising in TV, print and online media as well as direct marketing campaigns, social media activities, public relations measures (PR), event sponsoring and presentations at trade fairs.

The difference between advertising and marketing: Definition of advertising

Advertising influences the target group through subjective information and advertising material and in this way controls the purchasing behavior and the purchasing decision of the potential customer.

Advertising changes attitudes towards products and the company. This is achieved by generating demand, anchoring the unique selling points or changing the image. Here, too, those responsible use advertising media, online marketing or third-party advertising.

Advertising is largely the use of paid advertisements in different media. Ads address the customers of a company as a group and try to influence the buying behavior of the customers. Companies can also use advertising to promote their image, advertise offers and promote sales.

Advertising is often related to a specific product. Advertising can be understood as commercial messages that are sent to a specific group of addressees and serve the purpose of introducing a specific product and thus indirectly stimulating consumption.

The product is presented in such a way that it arouses the need to consume it in the recipient of the advertising message. Advertised products can be goods or services, and the form of consumption (purchase, rental, etc.) is irrelevant.

All known media (television, radio, newspapers, magazines, Internet, e-mail, posters, etc.) are available as advertising media. You can also advertise by addressing customers directly in public spaces, for example by distributing leaflets and handouts.

The target group of an advertising measure should not be arbitrary, but should coincide as closely as possible with the target group for which the advertised product was developed. The form and content of advertising are therefore always tailored to the communication habits and consumer behavior of the target group.

Advertising measures are limited in terms of their reach – they are therefore only carried out over a clearly defined period of time and in a previously specified area.

Classic advertising, especially via posters, TV and radio spots , is one of the most cost-intensive, but also still most effective marketing communication tools for large companies.

Direct marketing

Direct marketing campaigns address individual customers directly and prompt them to respond immediately. This can be done through advertising letters (mailings), catalogs or telephone marketing. A well-maintained customer database is an absolute prerequisite for this.

Some sub-areas of direct marketing, such as mass faxing, are primarily a B2B tool, e-mail marketing and sending newsletters are used successfully by business customers and private customers (B2C)!

The advantage of direct marketing lies in the personal addressing of the individual recipient . Due to the ever-improving possibilities of segmentation, wastage is greatly minimized and individual offers for each customer are commonplace. This increases the effectiveness of direct marketing measures.

Companies often experience the highest conversion rates in email marketing (percentage of those advertising recipients who take the desired action, e.g. an online purchase).

Online marketing – target internet users

Online marketing includes all marketing measures that are connected to the Internet. The goal: to draw web users’ attention to a company and to direct them to the company’s website with a click on an advertisement .
This can include many measures – search engine optimization for good rankings in search results pages, banner advertising on thematically relevant websites and social media marketing in networks such as Facebook and Instagram are just three of many possible ways.

The biggest advantage of online marketing: Everything can be measured . This comprehensive measurability sometimes leads to excessive reporting with incorrectly drawn conclusions. But if you understand the measuring points correctly and understand the relationships within the entire marketing mix, you can derive valuable optimization potential for future measures from the extensive reports!

Outsourcing of marketing campaigns

The diversity of customer communication in the 21st century is a particular problem for small and medium-sized companies. Personnel, time and budget do not allow the use of the entire communication keyboard. Even employees of larger companies feel overwhelmed by the increasing variety of communication channels.

In order to be able to survive in the competition, it is advisable to seek the advice and active support of specialized agencies. It often turns out that a long-term, trusting collaboration with experts unleashes potential that is more than worth the associated agency budget.

The difference between advertising and marketing: Defining PR (public relations)

Public relations refers to the targeted handling of public communication . This form of communication is not based solely on sales. Rather, it is about building a positive image and influencing the public in the interests of the company.

Public relations are aimed at long-term effects . In contrast to direct advertising, it takes place indirectly through intermediaries such as journalists. So here it is not the advertising budget that decides, but the information value and professional cooperation with the multipliers in the media landscape.

In summary: the difference between advertising and marketing

So as you can now see, the difference between advertising and marketing — and public relations — is contained in small but subtle factors.

Marketing can be used as a generic term for all sales efforts. This includes advertising and public relations, among others. Marketing therefore includes advertising and PR.

While advertising aims to sell services and products, public relations focuses on positively influencing the acceptance of the company and its products. In addition, PR has the task of limiting the damage to companies in times of crisis news and information.

The cost factor also differs in PR and advertising. While advertising often comes with high costs, public relations can be quite cheap with the right placement of press releases etc. Professional service providers for press work are considered true experts here. Companies that have no resources for PR should therefore fall back on the support of external services in order to avoid a loss of image due to improper public relations.

In a nutshell: Marketing is the strategic instrument of corporate development; Advertising and PR set the operational measures.

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