What’s the difference between marketing and advertising?


The difference between advertising and marketing is the same as the difference between a wrist shot and hockey. Or the difference between a guitar solo and rock music. Advertising is an essential part of marketing, but only a part of it.

Broad definition of marketing: Marketing is value creation for customers and partners.

Narrow definition of marketing: Marketing is enabling and amplifying the sale of products and services.

Advertising is paid, goal-oriented communication, often in the channels of a third party.

The difference between advertising and marketing through examples

A newspaper advertisement is a good example of a traditional advertisement: the advertising company pays the newspaper for advertising space, uses the space to convey a marketing message with a purpose.

Example: Bjornholm’s Auto Repairs advertises in the local newspaper that summer tire changes will be half price this coming weekend.

Marketing, on the other hand, is everything that needs to exist in order to make ads at all. There must be something to sell, it must be able to be bought, it must be trustworthy enough to buy and you must be able to hear about it somewhere.

Example: Bjornholm’s Auto Repairs has a name, logo, color scheme, products, prices, website, phone number, address…

Marketing can be understood through the traditional 4 Ps

Marketing has been originally defined by the 4 P’s. (The numbers keeps growing by the year). The traditional 4 P’s are:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place, i.e. distribution channels
  • Promotion, i.e. marketing communication

The company is doing marketing if it has a product that can be bought.

The 4 Ps of advertising – or actually five

The 5 P’s of advertising, on the other hand, are:

  • Peef, i.e. what is the purpose of the ad
  • Pudget, i.e. how much the advertising space costs
  • Pduration, i.e. how long the ad is displayed
  • Pformat, i.e. what form the ad is in
  • Ptargeting, i.e. to whom the ad is shown

For example, in the case of the Bjornholm’s Auto Repairs advertisement, this is how:

  • Peef: you will soon get cheap tire changes
  • Pudget: €500 + VAT on page 26 of the local newspaper
  • Pduration: a single ad on a Wednesday morning in April
  • Pformat: 80 x 160 mm, four colors
  • Ptargeting: People who read print newspapers in the vicinity of Bjornholm

Can a company survive without marketing?

In the tables of the nearest service station and in the back rooms of Slush, you sometimes hear claims like this: “Our company increased its turnover tenfold, completely without marketing.”

If we remember the analogy of the hockey and the wrist shot at the beginning, this is the same as the coach of the team that won the World Cup gold saying in an interview: “We won the gold – without playing hockey.”

It is more understandable to claim something like this: “We won the gold, without a single wrist shot.” Or “We scaled without paid advertising.”

Most of the time, when you hear such a whispered confessions in the glow of neon lights, it mostly means that marketing methods other than paid advertising have been used, most often even so that only print ads are understood as advertising.

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