The Difference Between Marketing and Advertising Online

A slice being cut from a cheesecake.We get the confusion when it comes to understanding the difference between marketing and advertising – after all, while our name is Vision Advertising, we’re a digital marketing agency. We’ve even considered a name change, though the SEO issues with a name rebrand is a blog for another time. However, while these terms are not interchangeable when you get down to brass tacks, one is a vital component of the other. When people come to us and ask “So, you do advertising?” We can say “Yes, but we also do a whole lot more.”

Advertising as a Part of Marketing

You might remember from your basic geometry class the old adage “not all rectangles are squares, but all squares are rectangles.” The same is true of advertising: all advertising is a form of marketing, but not all marketing is a form of advertising. Advertising is one tool in the marketing toolbox: a very important one, but only a single piece of a larger puzzle. This is critical to understand, as advertising may not be the best option for helping your business succeed: using another or combining multiple branches of marketing may be a better fit.

The Differences of Advertising Online

Taking this one step further, advertising online is a much different experience than traditional advertising. While we get into the details of traditional vs. digital marketing much more in our blog, Comparing Outbound and Inbound Marketing, in many ways this is product vs. service.

A Traditional Advertisement

A traditional ad is something you buy in a physical medium (such as a magazine or paper) or via media (TV or radio). You either give information directly or commission an ad (visuals and copy), they produce an ad out of it, and that static ad runs in a fixed location or timeslot. Likewise, these ads usually have fixed costs and a fixed audience.

An Online Advertisement

Online advertising is a much different beast. The most popular and successful ad systems (Google AdWords and Facebook Ads) are defined by three features: a self-service approach to making the ads, self-selection for choosing the audience, and a bidding system to determine the price. This results in a much higher skill curve to making effective ads, as you have to do everything yourself and can quickly exhaust your ad budget if you’re not careful.

Want to learn a bit more about Google AdWords and Facebook ads, and which might be a better fit for your needs? Check out our blog, Facebook Ads vs Google AdWords: Which, When, How Much?

The Importance of Comprehensive Marketing

Getting back to marketing as a whole, let’s talk about its biggest strength: providing multiple ways of connecting you with your clients. Advertising is a powerful tool, but it’s not the only arrow in the quiver. Depending on your circumstances, industry, and level of development, advertising may not be the only (or first) option to try. Let’s look at some of the other parts of a comprehensive marketing plan:

  • Online Presence: Before you can do online advertising, you need an online presence. This covers a multitude of areas: not only websites, but the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to have them rank on Google Search; not only social media accounts, but the regular posting to grab user interest. This also can include services like blogs and newsletters.
  • Brand Management: Comprehensive marketing requires both you and your marketing agency to step back and look at your business as a whole. Doing the research, scoping the competition, developing (and implementing and following) the marketing plan, all of this leads to developing how your brand will succeed.
  • Public Relations: This is more than releasing press releases – it’s about managing your online reputation and presence through announcements, responses to reviews, and social media engagement. Marketing agencies can also help you build stronger bonds with your community through event management and volunteering opportunities.
  • Photography & Collateral: Check with your digital marketing agency – they may provide additional services that can complement your online work. Two examples are the creation of physical media (collateral) such as brochures, takeaways, and leave-behinds; and photography to help capture your products, staff, workplace, and community events.

Ready to improve your advertising and marketing game? Contact Vision Advertising. We’re a full-service marketing agency, specializing in comprehensive internet marketing – from websites to social media and everything in-between (including advertising across all social media platforms and AdWords). Contact us today to start the discussion and find out if partnering with our digital marketing agency is right for you.

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About the author : Alex Geyer

Alex wears many hats, and not just because he’s bald. A writer by background, Alex writes “content” for Vision – anything from social media statuses to blogs to website copy and beyond. In addition, as Senior Brand Strategist, he builds and maintains all search engine advertising for Vision, manages multiple client projects, and herds many meetings. In his free time, he starts and stops writing novels, reads a copious amount of fiction, plays video games, and an enthusiastic chef at home. He’s trying to become a better plant daddy.

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