Are the terms Marketing and Advertising interchangeable?

The simple answer is no. A lot of business owners confuse the two and believe they are in fact the same but there are some distinct differences. Even though they work together, advertising is just one of the main key components of a marketing plan. As a business it is important to understand how marketing and advertising differ and make sure your company is using both to grow your business. 


Marketing is the process in which a business must undergo to get their product or service ready to go to “market.”  What does that look like?  The first step in marketing is to identify your target market.  In other words, who is most likely to purchase or use what you are offering?  All businesses must take a deep dive into identifying that target.  What does the potential client or user look like.  What do they like to do, eat, shop, hobbies.  How old are they?  What are their media habits.  Who are they buying from now.  You need to compare your product/service to your competitors.  Develop your strengths and identify your weaknesses against the market.

Then you need to start to build your image.  How do you want the public to view your brand?  Simple tasks such as designing a logo and a website that represents the business in a manner that appeals to your target.  If it is a retail location, how do you want the store to look and feel.  What vibe does it give off when you enter--there is a distinct difference between a Walmart and a Nordstrom!  Sales and marketing really go hand in hand as you will identify your marketing strategy and then develop your sales plan based on that.  Then you will be ready to advertise!

These are just some basic marketing questions you need to answer way before you advertise, as well as predefine the key marketing points for your product/service; Price, Point of sale, Product and Promotion. And promotion is when advertising comes in.


Advertising is how the market knows about your brand, and how you promote it. This requires a deep understanding of what media mix will reach your target most efficiently. For example, if your market is seniors over the age of 65, TV and talk radio may be the way you want to advertise as they are heavy consumers of both.  A proper marketing plan is the first step towards an effective advertising plan.  They are not the same but work very well together when the marketing plan is thoroughly thought out.  There are many ways to advertise from the long standing avenues of radio and TV to all of the digital ways people consume media. The landscape is changing daily as technology continues to shape new ways in which we all will get our information and entertainment. 

The concept/message is also a key element in Advertising. A successful advertising campaign uses a persuasive message that speaks to your target audience and creates the need to purchase your product/service. This is possible by using different kinds of appeal (emotions, humor, information, etc.) as well as showcasing the brand’s unique selling proposition (USP). The selling proposition will display the benefits that the product or service offer to the consumer that make them unique and superior in the market.

Marketing & Advertising

As the name of our company implies we do both Marketing & Advertising for our clients.  Marketing is the first step to building your business and growing your brand, while advertising is the next step. We have developed our Marketing & Advertising into a three step process. 

Step 1: Analyze (Marketing) 
Sit down and analyze your entire business to determine your strengths and opportunities in the current marketplace. 

Step 2: Strategize (Marketing) 
Create a strategy unique to your business that will help you create the look and feel of how you would like to portray your brand and messaging. 

Step 3: Implement (Advertising) 
Put that strategy to work for you: initiate your advertising in the medium or mediums that will work best for your brand, track your media to make sure you are getting the correct amount of coverage and messaging across, and evaluate your results to make sure you get the most return on your investment (ROI). 

As LMA President Laurie Fisher says, “you cannot do the advertising unless you do the marketing”.