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marketing vs advertising - differences and definitions

Marketing and advertising are commonly confused. This confusion is compounded because meanings of both continue to evolve. Below are definitions of marketing, followed by definitions advertising, and the differences between marketing and advertising.

Firstly it's important to note that:

The increasingly broad nature of the marketing definitions reflects the increasing dimensions by which organizations engage with their markets. It is truly fascinating and highly significant to see how the definitions of marketing have changed over time.

Marketing was traditionally simply 'selling products' (as if at a traditional old-style farmer's market). The term derives from this meaning. This meaning developed so that marketing became an extension of selling - a means by which to identify, design, and communicate or 'target' offerings to customers.

Nowadays however, we know that customers make decisions to buy many products/services by referring to vastly more and wider factors than simply product/service features, quality, availability, and price.

Nowadays the meaning of marketing is extremely sophisticated. A good modern definition of marketing must acknowledge that we buy things in far more complex ways than we did fifty years ago, even ten years ago. The internet and social media are major factors in this. Above all, marketing is a reflection of 'the market', and how the market buys and behaves, which especially entails people and society - much broader considerations than purely product and price. As the market evolves in sophistication, so does the way in which we understand what marketing actually is and what it means to conduct marketing well.

Here are three examples of how the scope and definition of marketing reaches much farther than ever before:

Organizational constitution - many customers will not buy from a supplier whose ownership is considered to be unethical, greedy, or overly profit-driven, whereas many customers positively seek out suppliers considered to have more ethical convictions and ethos, such as mutuals and cooperatives, or social enterprises. These issues are therefore now unavoidably part of marketing, and where marketing fails to consider or influence these matters, then marketing activity is potentially less able and effective.

Organizational probity - (probity means honesty, uprightness - it's from the Latin word probus, meaning good) - this includes issues such as environmental and social responsibility, and 'Fairtrade', etc. See the '4P Purpose-Probity model'. Where marketing fails to involve, address and influence these fundamentals of organizational values, then marketing is to an extent (dependent on the service/market sector) disabled.

The psychological contract - the relationship between organization and staff directly affects market image and customer service/relationships. Marketing has for decades extended its reach to staff (traditionally, for example 'internal marketing' via newsletters and staff briefings, etc) but nowadays this 'internal' facet is immensely more significant. Organizational integrity and related failings are now much more transparent. Employer/employee relationships are now seen very obviously to influence quality and ethics of conduct and service (for example, scandals featuring News International privacy criminality, insurance industry miss-selling, and banking/investment risk). As such it is difficult to exclude considerations such as the psychological contract from the marketing responsibility.

Definitions of marketing

Here are some definitions of marketing, oldest first, starting with the 1922 OED (Oxford English Dictionary). The increasingly broad nature of these marketing definitions reflects the increasing dimensions by which organizations engage with their markets, and consequently how the meaning of marketing has grown.
"The action of selling, i.e., to bring or send to market..." and also, "Produce [verb meaning] to be sold in the market." (1922 OED - Oxford English Dictionary, paraphrased)

"The action or business of promoting and selling products and services, including market research and advertising". (1998-2005 revised, modern-day Oxford English Dictionary)

"Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably." (The UK Chartered Institute of Marketing, CIM, official definition 2012.)

"Marketing encompasses and includes all organizational activities which involve or affect the relationship between a supplier/provider organization and its audience and stakeholders." (Businessballs.com, A Chapman, 2012)
 
Definition of advertising and advertisement

We now see more clearly that advertising is quite different to, and actually within, marketing:

"The activity or profession of producing advertisements for commercial products or services." (2005 Oxford English Dictionary)

Advertisement is defined as: "A notice or announcement in a public medium promoting a product, service or event, or publicizing a job vacancy." (2005 Oxford English Dictionary)

"Communicating by print or electronic or other media to a customer/audience/market about a product/service/organization so as to improve the desire for or view of the product/service/organization." (Businessballs.com, A Chapman, 2012)

(Extending usefully as:) "... Advertising seeks, in measurable, cost-effective, controllable ways, to generate enquiries or sales and/or to raise awareness/perceptions of a supplier/provider/organization, by presenting motivating communications to an appropriate audience." (Businessballs.com, A Chapman, 2012)

In summary -- Marketing and advertising are different.

Marketing is an extremely broad area that includes advertising, not vice-versa.

Marketing also includes PR, online presence/activities, customer service, selling/sales admin (methods and structure/strategy), branding, exhibitions, sponsorship, new product development, merchandising, surveys and market research, political lobbying, and even extends to ethos, culture, training, and organizational constitutional issues, since all this affects the image and trading style of an organization or product/service provider.

Advertising is far more specific than marketing; advertising is a function of marketing, and basically encompasses methods of communication with audience designed to produce sales enquiries, and/or improve awareness/perceptions of product/brand/organization. Advertising refers to printed and electronic media that is presented one way or another to market or audience, including packaging, point of sale, brochures and sales literature. Advertising increasingly extends to 'advertorial' in traditional and online media, which combines provision of objective helpful information and more subjective advertising/endorsement.

Advertising (when properly executed) is the statistically driven and measurable implementation of marketing strategy, via carefully selected communications methods, targeted at predetermined audiences.

Advertising is one of several instruments/means by which marketing operates.
We might also regard advertising as one means of tactical implementation of the strategic aims of marketing.

Excerpted from an article in businessballs.com.

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