People Keep Asking: “What’s the Difference Between Marketing & Advertising?” Focus on This Instead.

People Keep Asking: “What’s the Difference Between Marketing & Advertising?” Focus on This Instead.

Essentially, it’s not so much about what the difference between marketing and advertising is — so much as making them work together.

Today, we’re going to be talking about the difference between marketing and advertising in the context of B2B.

Let’s start by clarifying that advertising really is just a subset of marketing. It exists in the larger umbrella of what marketing does and accomplishes for a brand.

Now, what we really need to look at, is what the primary difference between marketing and advertising is. In my opinion, it’s actually not as much about the work as it is about the expectations.

See, there are certain expectations that go into advertising, those things being:

  • Time: Advertising is supposed to work quickly. Marketing takes time.
  • Cost: Marketing is retainers, and employees, and hours. Advertising is spend.
  • Goals: Advertising has these big goals of impressions, views, clicks, conversions, and cost per conversion. Marketing is more about the brand.

What I’d like to do is spin those preconceptions — or┬ámisconceptions — on their head, and really point out that marketing and advertising shouldn’t be different but instead aligned and codependent especially for B2B and enterprise companies.

Different Types of Advertising

To properly align advertising and marketing, we really need to break down the different types of advertising that exist for B2B and enterprise companies.

Search Ads

One of those is obviously search ads. Here at Directive Consulting, we do a lot of pay-per-click advertising — But that’s changed, right? Because it’s not just Google that allows you to do search ads now.

There are third-party directories in our industry like Clutch, in a software industry, Capterra, in high tech there’s Gartner, Forrester, Software Advice. There are so many different directories and opportunities now to position your brand within a search engine that search ads have become far too vague to really describe all the different types of ads that exist within a search engine as well as display ads.

 Difference Between Marketing & Advertising


There’s a lot out there but beyond just search advertising, there are conferences.

Is that advertising, or is it marketing? Instead of arguing over whether field marketing is really field advertising, we should be asking ourselves, “Is all of our advertising that we’re doing aligning with all of the field marketing that we’re doing and are both focused on generating opportunities, deals, and revenue for our firm?

 Difference Between Marketing & Advertising

And so while we could spend all day going over what’s marketing and what’s advertising, I think the primary goal of either department should be aligning themselves with the company’s bigger picture and focusing less on the differences between the two and instead, how they can align. Most importantly, not just how marketing and advertising can align, but how they can align themselves both together with sales.

Aligning Marketing, Advertising, and Sales

You see, the worst case scenario is for our companies, especially our clients that have larger in-house teams, is when marketing operates on an island, demand operates on an island, lead generation operates on an island, corporate marketing, brand marketing, ad teams, different agencies, regional agency, corporate agency, national agency.

The reality is all of these units need to be working together, codependent and aligned with similar goals and objectives.

 Difference Between Marketing & Advertising

Now, we can talk all day about fluffy things like alignment, and marketing, and advertising and how they can codependently work together, and I know it’s a bit utopic. But the reality is there are actual ways to execute on this.

Weekly Meetings

One of the first ways we can do this is through weekly meetings. Now, I’m not talking about two-hour meetings where nothing’s accomplished, and you’re wasting everybody’s time. But instead, a very well prepared agenda that talks about the top three goals for marketing, advertising and sales and make sure that all three are aligned towards a singular objective for the firm.

For example, here at Directive Consulting, we will have certain inbound opportunity goals. We’ll also have certain sales development goals, field marketing goals, pay-per-click or AdWords goals, right? But all of those goals are funneled into the bigger picture of what we’re trying to accomplish. Right now, we’re trying to grow the firm to 100 accounts. So, we have to ask ourselves, “Will this tactic, will this investment of our time, resources, or capital help us hit our overall objective?

It’s critical that all three leaders of all three departments — I’m talking where you have the head of marketing, head of advertising, and head of sales altogether in a meeting going through their objectives and then reporting directly into whoever is managing them and asking ourselves, “Is that aligned with our bigger objective?” These types of weekly meetings help bring all three departments together.

Share Goals

Secondly, these three departments should share some goals. It is important that we have specific goals for our specific departments. But simultaneously, we need to be able to say, “Okay, how many opportunities has marketing generated? How many opportunities has advertising generated?

I’m not saying that you separate them, by the way. Marketing and advertising don’t have to be separate. But if you are running marketing and advertising separate, both should be reporting on the same goals of opportunities. That’s also the same goal that sales should be reporting on.

See, now you can start to look at what your capital investment is, your time investment and your resource investment is into each department based on one singular objective of opportunities where now you can measure and see where you want to invest future resources, time, and effort. By creating a singularity and sharing a common goal, you can start to measure things more evenly.

Friendly Competition

Lastly, friendly competition. I do believe that these departments don’t have to be all buddy-buddy all the time, and I don’t think that’s always realistic either, right? It’s helpful that internal teams can compete with each other because whether you like to admit it or not, the heads of the departments are competing to get budget, time, and resources.

By creating weekly meetings with shared goals all going towards an ultimate objective and having friendly competition, what you’re able to do is you start to be able to create and foster an environment where the last thing you’re worried about is the difference between marketing and advertising and instead worry about how you can better execute on these goals together with both to exceed your objectives.

So, hopefully, this helps you understand and think through that while there are differences in marketing and advertising, the better we can do as managers to align them and bring them together, the faster you can grow and the more you can accomplish.

As always, thank you for watching and feel free to subscribe to the channel and leave a comment below. Thank you!

Garrett Mehrguth

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