I often see the question “What’s the difference between marketing and advertising?” posted on chat groups and discussion boards. Do you know the difference? Or is there one?
Advertising is a part of marketing – a subset of marketing, if you will. It is the portion of marketing that includes purchasing space in various media (TV, radio, billboards, online, Yellow Pages, sky writers, etc….) to broadcast a message. The message can be meant to build brand awareness, develop good will, increase sales, introduce something new, polish a reputation, encourage a good deed, or whatever other message the business purchasing the time deems appropriate.
OK, so if that’s advertising, then what’s the difference between that and marketing?
Marketing is pretty much everything that a business does to encourage people to do business with it. Every decision has some sort of marketing impact. Don’t think so? Well, what about…
...the packaging can help someone at the market decide which one to buy from two seemingly identical products from two different companies that are priced the same. Camo might be attractive to some segments of the population while a purple sparkly presentation might be the key to clinching the deal with another.
...that last employee you hired – the one who has the skills but also an attitude – is s/he bringing in business or driving it away when in contact with customers. And if s/he’s not in contact with customers, is s/he making your customer contact employees unhappy and disgruntled?
...prices have to go up because your supply chain raised their prices on raw materials. How does this impact getting new customers? What will it do to reorders?
...you found a storefront at a great price. Your customers will love it because it will help you keep your prices down. So what if it costs them $10/hour to park and then they have to walk 2 blocks to get to your store? They’ll still come…right?
...if you're a criminal attorney that dresses like a throwback to a 60’s flower child? Will have an impact on who will hire you or how seriously you're taken in court?
There are very few business decisions you make that don’t have some impact on marketing because they have some sort of an impact on your current or potential customers. Believe it or not, even the paper you choose to print your invoices on can impact your marketing. Are you a company that is proud of it’s green approach to business? Better make sure that what little paper you do use is made of recycled content because your green conscious customers will notice.
Marketing – it’s everywhere and in practically every business decision you make.