Advertising vs. Marketing: What’s in a Word?

Marketing and Advertising are terms that are often used interchangeably by companies, much to their dismay. I was in a meeting the other day when this conversation came up and here is how I explained it.

There was a time when advertising was used by companies as an outreach, a method of communication and to tell people what to say and believe about a product or company. Companies advertised in good times to flaunt their success and in bad times to prove they were still around and surviving.

Times have changed! People and technology today have changed and it is known what an ad is. People know when a company pays to put their message online, on a billboard, a tabletop, in a magazine, or anywhere else an ad can be placed. They also know that the message is the company’s words—or what they say.

Marketing on the other hand is what the company does. There is a big distinction between the two and this distinction drives drastically different results. Just because a company calls their advertising, marketing doesn’t make it so. Marketing is the actions and reactions that demonstrate how a company takes responsibility for its business, its employees, customers, the community, and the industry.

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