Advertising vs Marketing: What Are the Differences?

Advertising vs Marketing: What Are the Differences?

If you have been in the industry long enough, you may already know how prominent are advertising and marketing. Not more than a decade back we quickly ventured into an era where marketing, advertising, and all the online aspects associated with these two strategies became the centre stage.

However, when we talk about marketing and advertising, we often use the words interchangeably. So, what is the difference between advertising vs marketing? Is it the advertisements we experience or the digital content that we consume?

This article will clarify your doubts, keep reading.

What Is Marketing?

Let’s start with basic definitions, what is marketing?

Marketing is a strategy, activity, or process that finds innovative methods to communicate with customers. Of course, there are a series of definitions that offer you a formal introduction to the concept. However, marketing is simply about communicating with customers. Whether you are spreading awareness, promoting your product, or attracting new leads, we communicate our story, ideas, or offers to customers.

Advertising vs Marketing: What Are the Differences? - DSers

What are the types of marketing that we currently use?

Traditionally, in the 20th century, marketing evolved into telephone, TV, print, and media. These were the methods used across the industry to market business, grab new leads, and spread awareness of the brand. At some point, this type of marketing overlapped with advertising.

However, as we entered the 21st century, new forms of marketing channels evolved and the best one became the internet. Social media platforms and various channels for real-time two-way communication were created, which helped us market to customers directly. Therefore, a large part of our marketing efforts shifted to modern technology.

  • Digital marketing involves the use of electronic devices to communicate with the customer, such as email, search engines, websites, blogs, etc. Whenever you open a blog and click on the CTA, you are responding to the marketing efforts of the business.
  • Social media marketing is a type of digital marketing that specifically occurs on social media platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc.
  • Brand management helps businesses strengthen the bond between the company and its customer. It involves strategies that help customers build trust in the brand. For example, logos, campaigns, designs, giveaways, etc.

Ideally, every organization utilizes a mix of different marketing patterns. These strategies collide with advertising regularly, which gives us better results, more revenue, and better brand value.

What Is Advertising

Advertising is a process where we place our ad, such as on the TV, billboards, or anywhere else. Advertising intertwines with marketing, but it always takes some type of physical form. For example, an ad on a billboard on a high-traffic road is a great way to improve your outreach. Another method is running an ad on the radio.

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Basically, when we buy some space to run our ad, advertising is born. Earlier, this was restricted to billboards and radios. But the advent of the internet has widened our canvas. We can easily run our ads almost everywhere, on the search engines like Google, a website, etc.

Can you see that this is where advertising collides with marketing? It has become a sub-form of marketing to a large extent.

Various types of advertising are used:

  • Traditional advertising means placing your ad on the billboard, on broadcast media, etc.
  • Retail advertising involves placing your ads on retail stores, shopping cards, or in other similar physical forms.
  • Online advertising is where we use the internet to place our ads, such as on websites, search engines, and promotional videos. For example, on YouTube when you see an advertisement for a brand.
  • PPC or pay-per-click advertising includes driving the traffic to your website or landing pages. You place an ad on a website or blog and the owner gets paid every time a user clicks the link.

Differences between Advertising vs Marketing

The only possible difference in advertising vs marketing is that advertising is actually included in marketing. Throughout the above discussion, we have figured that advertising helps enhance our marketing results. To help us market our business well, advertising diverts traffic to the website, landing page, or lead page.

Differences between Advertising vs Marketing - DSers

However, one major difference in advertising vs marketing is that marketing focuses on multiple aspects of promoting a business and advertising focuses on gaining more leads. Even when you are using both together, this difference will always remain. No one will purchase a billboard ad only to gain users’ trust, everyone needs leads.

There are three major forms of media that we use in advertising vs marketing:

  • Paid media involves offering a fee to the publisher for our marketing efforts or communications. For example, putting up an ad on a billboard or a website or a Google search engine.
  • Earned media is a form of external communication received by third-party stakeholders. For example, endorsement on social media, reviews from our customers, and other external publicity activities.
  • Owned media contains channels that we create and own. For example, our company’s blog, social account, brochure, etc.

In all of these forms, you can judge that advertising is an integral part. For example, paid media is mostly about advertising your brand, using which we sell, generate leads, and improve revenue.

In all, advertising vs marketing is not the right question. It is how advertising intertwines with marketing. Both the concepts complement each other.

For example, with the help of your Google ad, you can gain an audience on your website, where you can market your brand and gain customers’ trust. In this example, advertising leads to a marketing channel, which helps convert a customer.

Which Is More Valuable

Any business aiming to successfully generate a continuous lead pipeline may use multiple strategies. Therefore, these businesses may often use advertising and marketing together. There’s no question arising in favour of advertising vs marketing, it is always advertising and marketing.

Further, there’s no possible way to judge what’s more valuable. In this digital landscape with varied customer requirements, both advertising and marketing work for businesses. Some may focus more on advertising, while others on marketing.

For example, a car company may want to use more billboards and strengthen their advertising because that’s how people will know about them. Contrary to this, a homegrown brand will focus more on marketing. They will try to attract an audience that scrolls Instagram and Facebook daily. There are also businesses that use a fair mix of both.

So, judging what’s more important from a wider perspective is not possible. We can’t have a concrete answer for everyone. But, your business can have a concrete answer! You need to know your audience, the type of media they consume, and understand what will work for your brand: advertising vs marketing.


In this article, we have discussed the difference between advertising vs marketing. We have explained the meaning of both strategies along with their importance in any industry. Go through this data, understand how your business can use marketing and advertising, and create a comprehensive plan today.

Knowing your audience, trying different marketing and advertising strategies, and then analysing results is the key to your success. Spend some time on this and see how your dropshipping business evolves.

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