When you think of marketing, what comes to mind?  Google Ads?  Social media campaigns?  You’d be surprised to know, there is actually a difference between marketing and advertising.  In this article, we’ll uncover how advertising and marketing differ and why you should be looking for your customers before they find you. 

Marketing Versus Advertising – What’s The Difference? 

It goes without saying, advertising is a crucial part of marketing, especially if you’re strictly an online business.  But how much should your focus be on advertising?  Let’s take a look at what these two words mean and then we’ll go over the differences and critical roles they share with each other.  

Marketing is the practice of identifying customers, their needs, and the best methods of delivering those needs.  It involves sometimes months of research and testing, often involving a team of people working together to identify consumer demographics, habits, trends, behaviors, and predictable data.  In other words, most of the marketing work is done before the launch of a service, product, or application.  

Advertising is the practice of delivering a one-way message about a product, service, or application.  It is based on the data from the market research and is oftentimes a straightforward process.  You pay a third party, like Google, for advertising, and in return, they will broadcast an ad on your behalf to thousands, sometimes millions, of people.  Ads can be tailored for specific demographics, locations, and other categories.  There are several different types of advertising such as traditional, retail, online, mobile, etc.  Not all will apply to your business model, but knowing which ones to focus on will be yet another topic we’ll discuss in a future blog.  

So Which One Is More Important?

It’s important to remember that having a solid marketing plan BEFORE you start advertising is critical to success.  Without a plan, how will you know who to target?  It’s crucial to do your research before committing to paid media such as Google or Facebook.  Advertising is an important part of marketing, but until you do the research you won’t know who to target in order to get the most out of your advertising.  

Find Them Before They Find You

Before you start targeting people you think would buy your product or service, do some market research on the industry you’re in.  What demographics are the big companies targeting?  That’s a good place to start.  If you’re only marketing locally, it will take becoming active in your community to get an idea of what market you may have in the area.  

So What Roles Do Marketing and Advertising Play With Each Other?

Well, simply put….marketing encompasses the whole spectrum from identifying customers and demographics to lead generation and customer experience.  Advertising is a crucial part that helps promote the marketing plan.  But when do you advertise and how much?

At this point, there will be a lot of differing opinions, but it’s relatively safe to advertise once you’ve established a base demographic and optimized your website for search engine performance.  It definitely helps to have your website designed with a call-to-action on the homepage.  This helps direct the visitor to your service or product without having to figure out how to navigate your site.  These CTAs can also help your visitor know exactly what it is your business does from the second they land on your website.  

In Conclusion

When it comes to lead generation and getting new prospective clients, it’s much easier to find them before they find you.  Advertising to your audience will help spread awareness, and with a solid marketing plan in place, finding them before they find you will help ensure the audience you’re advertising to will be more likely to convert to a paying customer. 

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