What Are the Differences between Advertising and Marketing?

Sheri Cyprus

The main difference between advertising and marketing is that one is actually part of the other. Advertising is a part of the promotional aspect of marketing. The "5 Ps" of marketing are product, price, place or distribution, packaging and promotion. Along with advertising, the promotional part of the five components of marketing mix includes personal selling, public relations and sales promotions.

Man holding a globe
Man holding a globe

Sales promotions are temporary, individual offers designed to give the target market incentives to purchase a company's products. The offers may be "buy one get one free" deals, coupons, or points to be collected and redeemed for merchandise. In terms of advertising and marketing plan paybacks, these incentives often have the result of increasing sales volume by giving people an added reason to purchase products, whether that is to save money or collect reward points to get goods they want.

Public relations strategies involve promoting a company in a good light, such as by having part of the product's sales go to charity. Getting news about the company published in the form of media press releases helps keep awareness of the brand forefront in the public eye. Although public relations, advertising and marketing are all distinctly different, they all work together to establish, develop and maintain brand awareness. This is important for any product, especially to distinguish it from competing brands to its target audience.

Personal selling means speaking one on one with customers, either in person or on the telephone, to sell them products or services. This type of communication goes beyond customer service, although it does often involve building a close relationship with each client. Whereas advertising and marketing efforts often reach a large group of potential customers at once, personal selling is different in that its scope is more limited. Each sales representative can only build a close working relationship with a limited number of customers and prospects.

Advertising is getting a company's message or communication about its product out to its target audience through one or more forms of media. This may be done through broadcast media such as radio and television, or the advertising may be in print form such as by appearing in magazines or newspapers. Advertising often informs as well as persuades to communicate the buying message established in the marketing plan. In this way, advertising and marketing work hand in hand to achieve overall objectives in reaching out to grab the attention of the target audience.

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Discussion Comments


@Moldova - I love those gift with purchase promotions. I think that the gift with purchase and the purchase with purchase promotions are really smart because it entices the consumer to buy more than they probably were not going to buy.

I know that many companies tie in advertising, marketing, and public relations when they sponsor events. For example, a friend of mine went to a charity event that was sponsored by a wine company. Not only was the name of the wine company featured at the event, but the wine was also served at dinner. This was a way for the company to have good publicity in a visible charitable event. It was really a great idea.


@BrickBack -I agree that advertising has to address a specific market in order for it to be effective. I wanted to add that advertising in the right print magazines and even during the right television programming can bring additional customers to your store.

I remember when I was an Account Coordinator for a cosmetic company we would have our semi-annual gift with purchase which allowed customers to make a qualifying purchase of a certain amount of dollars in order to receive the free gift.

During this time, our company also ran radio spots and we also used additional special events makeup artists to help customers with their purchases. I think that retail advertising and marketing like this produces huge sales figures which is why the staffing is so high.


I think that marketing and advertising go hand in hand for a business. The market research really tells you who your target market is and finding advertisements that address this segment of the population will help create awareness of your brand.

For example, if you are looking to design an educational children’s toy, you would most likely advertise in parenting magazines that fit the level of circulation that you are looking for as well as disposable income for your market.

This is much better than putting advertising in children’s magazines because the parents are the ones that will buy the product not the child, so in this way the advertising is marketing to parents rather than children.

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