Marketing and advertising are both crucial tools to help promote your business.

However, although they’re closely connected in purpose, there are distinct differences every business owner should know.

The branding and promotion of a business falls under the marketing umbrella. This is the process of getting your business noticed and uses a range of activities to promote and advocate your brand, including online and offline marketing efforts, public relations, market research, newsletters and social media.

Advertising is a portion of the marketing pie and focuses on paid campaigns to reach a specific audience. Both are related and can be used interchangeably. However, there is much more involved in the process than simply picking one or the other. Here’s how to understand marketing vs advertising to set the right strategies to help grow your business.

Marketing is the Overall Picture

The marketing umbrella is a holistic approach to offer the big picture of your business.

Marketing activities begin with a communications plan that outlines your unique selling proposition, budget, mission statement, brand messaging, objectives, short and long term goals and target audience.

To market your business, you’re helping customers understand why your product/service is better than or different from competitors. Marketing strategies that are well-devised build awareness across everything with your brand’s imagery, including printed materials, social media interactions, content marketing and business website and social media pages.

To achieve a successful marketing plan, techniques such as market segmentation and analysis must be implemented. The four primary elements, Product, Price, Place and Promotion can help identify marketing opportunities and put a strategic plan into place.

Marketing is beneficial and needed by all businesses. Even if you’re starting out, marketing is essential to:

  • Attract and retain customers
  • Identify the value of your product or service to consumers
  • Increase your businesses’ bottom line
  • Develop brand awareness
  • Gain control of your business
  • Understand the various factors that affect your success

Advertising Drives Sales and Influences Buyer Behaviour

Advertising is a focused component of marketing used to drive sales, influence buyer behaviour and help get the word out about your products or services.

Typically, advertising is a paid element of marketing and the largest expense of many marketing plans. But it’s necessary as an important tactic to help meet your marketing goals.

Such paid campaigns are carefully planned and designed to reach your target audience through a variety of channels, including web advertising and Google ads, social media, direct mail, newspapers and magazines, television and radio.

Advertising benefits businesses by:

  • Increasing visibility within your industry
  • Helping to grow word of mouth referrals
  • Generating new leads
  • Increasing website traffic
  • Introducing new products or services to consumers

To ensure your advertising campaigns are successful, follow these advertising best practices.

Benefits of Using Both

Marketing and advertising go hand in hand.

Although marketing should be the priority, especially for small businesses or ones with limited budgets, implementing marketing and advertising helps businesses reach a wider, more targeted audience.

Where marketing prepares your business, product or service for the marketplace, advertising makes it known to your audience and uses the data collected by marketing strategies to communicate your brand in the best way.

Tip: Develop a content marketing strategy and a brand guide to assist with your marketing vs advertising game plan.

Marketing and Advertising Channel Ideas

After you have a strategic plan in place, better decisions can be made about which marketing and advertising channels you want to spend your time and resources in.

Most campaigns will use a combination of media channels to reach the widest audience possible. Here are a few ideas to explore.


  1. Business website: Use your website as an online shop front for your business. Update with relevant and educational content for potential customers to find your products/services
  2. Newsletter and email marketing: Use tools such as MailChimp to create campaigns and measure success
  3. Networking events: Industry trade shows and networking events are useful for spreading the word about your business. Seek out events focused on your target audience to network with likeminded individuals


  1. Social media advertising: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube advertising platforms can be easily tracked to determine what efforts are working
  2. Google AdWords A measureable, targeted and flexible tool to produce relevant search results and ads for your audience. There are more than 40,000 search queries on Googleevery second, but Google Ads can help put your business in front of potential customers
  3. Local online and offline channels: Invest in printed materials, referral promotions, paid ads in your local newspaper or trades magazine or try vehicle wraps, depending on your budget, advertising goals and target market