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marketing vs advertising, marketing vs advertising, pointdot

marketing vs advertising: know the difference

Marketing and advertising are often used interchangeably. It’s easy to confuse the two terms, especially when people keep using one when they mean the other, but they’re actually quite different.

When crafting marketing and advertising strategies for your brand, it’s essential to understand their key differences and similarities. While there is some overlap between the two, marketing and advertising are distinct disciplines – each with its own roles, techniques, and measurements for success.

So, what’s the difference between marketing and advertising? Keep reading this guide to find out! By the end, you’ll know how to make use of your marketing budgets much more efficiently, reach more potential customers, and improve your brand image.

marketing vs advertising, marketing vs advertising, pointdot

what is marketing?

The overarching goal of all marketing strategies is to improve the customer perception of your products or services. It’s a very involved process that requires market research, not just about your target audiences and their consumer behaviour but also your brand and the industry in which it competes.

If you were to do a degree in marketing communication, one of the first things you’ll learn is the “marketing mix”. This term encompasses the four main aspects of your brand and how you can address them in your marketing strategies.

Also called the “4 Ps,” the marketing mix is divided into the following four elements:

  • Product: What you’re selling
  • Price: How much you’re selling it for
  • Place: Where you’re selling it
  • Promotion: How customers find out the above, typically refers to advertising

what is advertising?

Advertising is actually just one component of your marketing strategy. That’s not to say that advertising campaigns are less complex in any way – on the contrary, advertising strategies encompass a wide range of paid initiatives with the overall goal of exposing your desired target market to your brand.

For example, brands will hire advertising agencies to create a TV commercial to reach new customers. They might also run paid ads on social media platforms to promote a special offer whose goal is to retain customers.

Regardless of the ultimate objective of the campaign, if it’s paid for and directly targets your consumer, then it’s advertising. This also applies to business-to-business advertising campaigns.

marketing vs advertising, marketing vs advertising, pointdot

marketing vs advertising: how roles and execution differ

scope of work


  • Branding and communication: This deals with what your brand stands for — its personality, core values, beliefs, and promises.
  • Trend and competitor analysis: Understanding the best brands in your industry and what tactics your direct competitors are employing helps you define your unique selling proposition
  • Customer relationship management: Collecting and analysing marketing research about your audience using surveys, interviews, or social listening tools can help you better position your products.
  • Budgeting: Keeping track of the budget and ensuring all marketing initiatives are being costed efficiently is crucial to avoiding under or overspending.


  • Paid media strategy: This task deals with narrowing down which paid advertising platforms are best suited to reach your desired target audience (also an aspect of social media marketing)
  • Creative executions: Advertising relies heavily on content, whether it’s offline or online. It’s not uncommon for advertising teams to also include creative directors, writers, and photographers.
  • Customer analysis: It’s important to understand the needs, wants, and pain points of your audience to better craft creative advertising executions that appeal to them.

use of mediums and platforms


  • Inbound marketing: This type of execution deals with reaching out to new and existing customers. This can be through social media posts, blogging, hiring influencers to talk about your brand on their platform, and encouraging user-generated content. Content marketing, for example, falls within inbound marketing.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This involves improving your search ranking through keyword-researched content. This is not to be confused with search engine marketing (SEM) which is a paid initiative.
  • Email marketing: It is typically the marketing department’s responsibility to keep in contact with customers through email campaigns. Examples of this include weekly or monthly newsletters or special promo announcements.


  • Traditional advertising: This includes ad campaigns on older mediums such as TV commercials, print ads, and radio.
  • New media: New media is synonymous with internet-based digital advertising. This includes social media advertising, display ads, and banner ads — basically any paid campaign executed online.
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM): SEM involves paid search ads you can run on search engines like Google. This is not to be confused with SEO whose aim is to get more organic clicks.
  • Outdoor advertising: Any marketing materials placed on outdoor physical structures where there is heavy foot traffic fall under this category. These can be billboards, bus ads, train ads, branded vehicles, retail advertising, and the like.

marketing vs advertising vs branding

Advertising, marketing, branding — these words get thrown around a lot interchangeably but how are they different?

Aside from the differences between marketing vs advertising we discussed previously, branding is its own business discipline that is very distinct from the other two. It involves defining the personality and core values of your brand. Typically, this definition will dictate how you strategise your marketing plan and advertising strategy.

For example, let’s you run a craft beer brewery. Let’s see how these three concepts play with each other:

  • Your branding dictates that you are a premium, high-quality, Japanese craft beer.
  • For your customers to see you this way, you could use marketing to partner with local Izakayas to sell your beer.
  • For advertising, you could run a paid display ad campaign to show on specific websites. For example, websites that review high-end bars and restaurants or local blogs that cover Japanese culture.
marketing vs advertising, marketing vs advertising, pointdot

digital advertising vs digital marketing

Both digital advertising and digital marketing are business disciplines that are primarily focused on internet strategies. The differences between them are similar to the differences between traditional advertising and marketing.

An example of digital marketing would be your brand’s website and how your social media page is curated. These assets’ marketing goal is typically to improve the perception and opinion of your brand.

On the other hand, digital advertising includes your paid social media ads, sponsored search engine results (search engine marketing), or any paid display advertising campaign. Some examples of objectives for this discipline are increasing brand awareness, website click-through rates, or page growth.


Understanding the difference between advertising and marketing is key to a successful marketing strategy. While there is quite a bit of overlap in terms of their roles, it’s still important to make the distinction.

The reason for this is to make sure that your entire marketing department acts as a coordinated unit. If you don’t have clearly defined roles for each discipline, you’ll have a harder time developing an effective marketing strategy – thus, making it harder to gain more customers.


1 page marketing plan.

Since 2016, pointdot has grown by adopting the same marketing principles in this 1-page plan, into our own agency and business. We have grown from a 2-person team, to a team of 11 super talented marketers. Download your free copy of this brilliant 1-page marketing plan and begin growing your business!

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