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Marketing Is Not Advertising, Learn Why Marketing and advertising are often used interchangeably by professionals and laymen alike. But there are a sea of differences between the two integral processes of a product launch. Companies that fail to understand the difference between the two are also the ones that don't make room for strategic plans for both

By Mayur Sethi

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In the early days of my career, I made a lot of mistakes. None as grave as using the term marketing and advertising interchangeably. Marketing and advertising are essential steps of an unfolding business process, and there is plenty of difference between the two. Not understanding the differentiation between the two is more than a linguistic failure.

It is important to establish a clear distinction between these operations. Failing to understand the difference between the both is not a good look. At best, you'll be laughed out of a meeting, at worst, you'll cause some catastrophic error that'll drain resources and add up to some irreversible mistakes. Want to learn from my blunders? Keep scrolling!

Marketing Vs Advertising

Before we get into their basic differences, let's explore their individual meaning. In basic terms, marketing identifies the needs of customers, and advertising presents these products to the public in an appealing and persuasive manner. Advertising aims to persuade, whereas marketing is done to procure data stats. Marketing is the open-ended process that begins at the inception of a product, whereas advertising is a part of the marketing and is one of the final steps of the process.

To put it plainly,

  • Through marketing, a company implements a systematic market research plan for businesses that transform products/services into exchangeable commodities.
  • Meanwhile, advertising is all about bringing the attention of the public to a product/service through paid/unpaid announcements and media presentations.
  • Whereas marketing is often blanket, subjective, and open-ended.
  • Advertising is targeted, specific, and goal-oriented.
  • Marketing is the complete process through which businesses prepare the product for a market.
  • Advertising is, by motion, a component of marketing, and one of the key steps in the process.

As we settle on the difference between the two, it is also important to learn the fundamentals of marketing and advertising. Most articles get tangled in heavy jargon and complicated scenarios because they are written by people without any first-hand experience of the unpredictable world of business. I believe it is better to learn not from the spectator, but from the man in the arena.

Here's how I interpret the fundamentals of marketing and advertising.

The Ins and Outs of Marketing

Marketing is a business practice that involves identifying, predicting, and meeting consumer needs through rigorous market outreach. It unfolds in various steps and differs based on the market type, product/service, funnel stage, and public perception of the product.

As a seasoned entrepreneur and digital marketer, my interpretation of a solid marketing plan is one which includes a thorough analysis of the market and the purchasing behaviour of my target audience. This plan includes taking a lay of the land, determining the value of the product, formulating a bullet-proof promotional strategy, and absorbing the feedback from on-boarded customers.

Marketing precedes advertising because it includes it. Savvy marketers evaluate the orientation of the market and learn details about its environment.

In a nutshell, marketing includes:

  • Conducting research, surveys, and interviews.
  • Mining data about product performance.
  • Researching competitive brands and finding service gaps.
  • Providing reports and feedback to the advertising leg.
  • Setting value propositions driven by market research and customer feedback.
  • Using collected value propositions to define the selling points of product/service.

The Application of the Marketing Process

Marketing strategies can be summarized into four Ps: place, price, product, and promotion.

  1. Place: Determining your market, funnel stage, and target audience.
  2. Price: Settling on a price that's worthy of the product/service.
  3. Product: Absorbing the market input and strengthening your offering.
  4. Promotion: Coming up with an advertising strategy and framing a marketable message.


Marketing consists of deep market research and pointed analysis. Marketers study the market and report back to the product team — which incorporates the findings into the product. This is done through direct marketing, content marketing, alliance marketing, and many other ways. The slogans and taglines applied in the advertising are also extracted through pointed marketing campaigns.

While price and promotion play a critical role in the success of products, the placement and distribution determine the areas for executing winnable advertising campaigns. The central job of a marketer is to build a solid strategy upon which a marketing message can be framed. The tone of these messages is decided by the consumers.

The Ins and Outs of Advertising

Advertising is the process of communicating the merits and usage of a product to an audience. The process includes landing on the message, settling on catchy hooks, and presenting all necessary information to the people. These processes generally entail advertising campaigns in the media. An advertising campaign relies on timely offers, creative positioning, and catch-phrases to ensure products resonate with consumers. Advertising is all about spreading the word about your products and services through media and other distribution channels.

In a nutshell, advertising includes:

  • Generating excitement for a product.
  • Promoting a product on Instagram, Twitter, and other social platforms.
  • Promoting a product through radio, television, and print ads.
  • Calculating the frequency of ads to break through a highly saturated media environment.

The Application of the Advertising Process

The advertising process is carried out in three steps. Firstly, you have to create a product and settle on its branding. Next, you must study the market (via marketing, of course) to predict the sales and desirability of the product. Lastly, you have to design advertising in the most creative and effective way possible to carry your product's messaging to the world.

Summing Up

It can be concluded that marketing is open-ended and serves more or less as a feedback loop to companies, while advertising is the promotional stage of the process that shares your product/service with the world.

I believe, and even experts agree, that marketers and advertisers do share the same end goal, which is to create awareness about a product/service and alert the consumers. By comprehending the differences and similarities in advertising and marketing, businesses can develop separate strategies for their product.

Mayur Sethi

Founder & CEO, advertiCe / YellowDigi

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