Marketing and Advertising: What’s the Difference?

Defining The Difference

The first step in determining the difference between advertising and marketing would be to define each practice independently of the other. Once we have set the parameters within which each pursuit functions, we can more accurately differentiate between the two.


The generally accepted definition of advertising is as follows:

A typically, paid-for form of non-personal communication whose intention it is to persuade.

A basic, but nevertheless, accurate definition. This is exactly what advertising is, you communicating with your target market with the intention of persuading them to purchase your products or services.


Marketing is defined thusly:

The process by which products or services are introduced to the marketplace.


The ongoing process of planning and executing the marketing mix (Product, place, price and promotion) for products, services or ideas to create exchange between individuals and organisations.

Marketing is a broad term, encompassing several disciplines. Everything from determining what the product itself will be and who your target market is, through to the price and promotion of the product, all fall under the broad heading of marketing.

So, The Difference?

Basically advertising is just one piece of the marketing pie.

The reason for the common confusion between advertising and marketing is that advertising is a commonly-seen application of  marketing tactics, but marketing itself encompasses more than just advertising.

Branding, public relations, advertising and more, all fall under the banner of marketing.

Is It Important To Know The Difference?


An advertising campaign without a sufficient marketing structure to support, guide and track it is probably doomed, from the start, to be a massive waste of money. Marketing is all about the collection and application of information, this information is what advertising needs, to be successful.

If you don’t know the difference between marketing and advertising, or don’t apply marketing to implement your advertising successfully, you wouldn’t know if your advertising is targeting the right market, or the right needs. You’d essentially be blindfolded, in a dark room, shooting painted-black targets.