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We have a few tips for you.

As a digital marketing company or a marketing manager, it is important to be able to clearly explain the difference between advertising and marketing to clients and CEOs. This way, you will be able to ensure investment in the right medium in order to help achieve business goals.

We have used the analogy of the popular fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs for better understanding. In the story, you will recall the infamous evil stepmother and her magic mirror. The stepmother would ask her mirror every night “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all” and the truthful mirror would reply, “You are, my majesty”. This pleased her to no end until it was not true anymore.

Unlike the evil stepmother, marketing helps brands build an unbiased brand image. It provides a true reflection of the way a brand is perceived by potential customers. Only good marketing can generate a positive brand image for the company.

Advertising is very different from marketing. Let us take the case of the stepmother again. Now imagine a situation where instead of using the mirror to measure the true extent of her beauty, she goes around town announcing that she is in fact “the fairest of them all”. That is what advertising is.

It is not that one is right and one is wrong. Both routes can bring about substantial improvements in brand perception if used in the appropriate situation. We have listed down clear differentiators that will create a strong case for both marketing and advertising as and when the situation calls for it:

1.The Marketing Objective is Broader than the Advertising Objective

A marketing objective is broad, uses several customer touch-points and spans a certain duration to achieve desired business goals. Some marketing objective examples ar to build brand awareness, grow market share, launch a new product, enhance customer relationships and increase sales.

Advertising, on the other hand, is one of the customer touchpoints that brands use to achieve the larger marketing objective. The advertising objective is usually more specific. It highlights one aspect of the brand in an innovative way using creative ad copy and content. The aim is to build curiosity and convince the target audience to take a specific action. Some examples of advertising objectives are to share product information, announce the launch of a new product, introduction of discounts and offers among others. Advertising usually spans a short, focused time period.

2.Marketing Budget is always more than the Advertising Budget

Marketing budgets are usually decided basis a certain percentage of the overall revenue that the company earns. It varies from as low as 7 -8% to about 12-15% depending on how aggressive the company is towards their marketing objectives. This budget is then further divided into different marketing platforms like traditional advertising, public relations, events and sponsorships, digital marketing, online advertising to name a few. The budget allocated is dependent on the extent to which each medium helps in achieving the overall marketing objective.

Advertising budgets are one part of the overall marketing budget. This budget is further divided for specific advertising platforms. There are traditional advertising platforms like the newspaper, radio, outdoor hoardings, leaflet distribution and the newer platforms like facebook ads, Twitter ads, google display ads and online search ads. FMCG and lifestyle brands spend a lot of advertising budgets on the traditional platforms. But over the past few years, a large chunk of the advertising money is being allocated for digital advertising as well.

3.Ads Cater only to a Part of the Overall Marketing TG

The target audience for a marketing campaign is determined after much market research. This includes studying existing customers, understanding their demographics, psychographics and behaviour patterns and evaluating and analysing competitor customers. This enables the marketing agency to identify new potential customers. These potential customer groups are then targeted using a gamut of different marketing tools. For example, an online marketing agency includes activities like content marketing, affiliate marketing, online collaboration/ partnerships and online advertising to reach out to potential customers.

The Target Audience for an advertisement is a specific set of potential customers who are targeted using paid promotions. This ad is designed to attract that specific audience segment. For example, the online advertising agency of a women’s clothing brand will promote the ads for a new collection on Instagram as Instagram is one of the ad platforms that have a large number of the potential TG.

4.A Marketing Plan is all-encompassing unlike a Media Plan

A marketing plan will consist of several small activities with specific goals, that together help in achieving the larger business goal. For example, the marketing plan for a new organic foods company will use Public Relations to announce their entry into the market or highlight the benefits of organic foods. They may use Content Marketing to create an online blog and partner with bloggers in the similar field to further reach out to their customer segment. Additionally, they will create Social Media pages to build customer engagement. And finally Paid Advertisements to increase sales. All these activities together conducted within the specified budget will help build brand awareness among the target audience.

A media/advertising plan for the same organic foods company could include a certain number of Quarter page Print Ads in metros across the top 5 newspapers, a particular number of hoardings, Facebook newsfeed ads and Google display ads within the specified budget.

5.The Results of a Marketing Campaign directly Impact Business Goals

All the individual marketing activities need to be tracked and analysed to measure the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. Some numbers to monitor are website traffic generation, lead generation, lead conversion rates, cost per conversion, store walk-ins, return customers, number of collaborations, mentions in newspapers, awards and nominations received and positive customer reviews and feedback. An improvement in all these factors together can result in a successful marketing campaign.

Digital advertising companies measure the success of their ad campaign in two ways. One way is directly comparing the ad spent to the sales, walk-ins, conversions that a specific ad campaign generated. This can be easily tracked for online ads. The other way is the effectiveness of the ad and how much interest it garnered from the target audience.