Marketing vs. advertising: What’s the difference?

Foto ritratto della collaboratrice Sarah LaoyanSarah Laoyan
27 febbraio 2024
6 minuti di lettura
Marketing vs advertising article banner image
Vedi modelli


When someone thinks about marketing or advertising, what comes to mind? Don Draper and his friends sitting around a room coming up with slogans? The thousands of advertisements that we see on a daily basis?

Marketing and advertising have been impacting consumer behavior since the late 1800s, and companies rely on both of them to connect with customers. But what exactly are the strategies behind both marketing and advertising? How do they differ?

What is marketing?

According to the American Marketing Association, marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

Crafting your company's marketing strategy is an iterative process, as the marketing landscape is constantly shifting. There are 4 main tenets—the 4 P’s of marketing—to consider when crafting your marketing strategy:

  • Product: The thing you are offering in an exchange for money.

  • Price: The amount of money you are asking for in exchange for the product. Price is an important factor for marketing because it impacts how customers view your brand. 

  • Place: Where your target audience goes to find information about your product.

  • Promotion: How customers find out about you. This is often done with advertising.

Read: Marketing project management: How to structure your strategy

Prova Asana per i team di marketing

What is advertising?

Advertising is the act of purchasing a specific space to share a message with your audience regarding your product or service. 

Advertising is an extremely prominent subset of marketing. You likely see advertisements on billboards as you drive home, on the radio during your commute, at the top of your Google searches, or in your Instagram feed—just to name a few.

The difference between marketing and advertising

Marketing covers many different strategies including branding, content marketing, public relations, sales strategy, and more. Advertising is one of the strategies underneath the marketing umbrella. 

Read: 4 P's of marketing: How to achieve the perfect marketing mix

The different types of marketing

There are several different types of marketing, and each one is unique in its own way. Here are a few of the most common types of marketing strategies that seasoned marketers use.

These terms are often used to describe different types of media. In this instance, media refers to the type of platform you’re marketing on.

  • Paid media: What you traditionally think of when you think of advertisements. Paid media is any media your company pays for to get messages out. Some common examples include newspaper advertisements or paid digital display ads. 

  • Owned media: Outlets in which your company fully controls the messaging. Your company's website, social media channels, storefronts, or brochures are all examples of owned media.

  • Earned media: Publicity earned organically. Public relations, word of mouth, viral social media marketing campaigns, and organic influencer content are all examples of earned media.

Digital marketing

Digital marketing is marketing within the digital environment. Social media marketing, search engine marketing (SEO), and email marketing are all examples of digital marketing. This can also include digital advertising like paid ad campaigns on social media or display ads on the Google ad network.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing is a specific subset of digital marketing. It is the practice of using social media platforms as an avenue for your marketing strategy. Social media marketing is often used to help drive brand awareness for individuals who are just learning about your product. This type of marketing is common in business to consumer (B2C) or ecommerce companies to help sell consumer goods.

Leggi: La tua guida in sei passaggi per creare e gestire un calendario editoriale per i social media

Content marketing

Content marketing is the strategy of using long-form content to attract customers to your website. Content marketing is often used in business-to-business (B2B) companies in combination with search engine optimization (SEO) to attract potential customers. This type of marketing is typically a slower-paced digital marketing strategy, but it can yield a lot of rewards.

Types of advertising

Advertising can come in many different forms. Here are the most common types you'll see.

Traditional advertising

Billboards, radio ads, print ads, direct mail, and other forms of display advertising are often referred to as traditional advertising. These are advertisements that are displayed or broadcasted in an area where a large amount of people can see them.

Digital advertising

Similar to traditional advertising, digital advertising is an advertisement that's displayed on a digital channel. Digital advertising is often part of a company's marketing effort because it's much easier to tailor your target audience and deliver highly specific messages. 

Digital advertising can be display ads, sponsored posts on social media, or paid search engine advertising.

Planning for advertising and marketing campaigns

Building a marketing campaign from scratch can be daunting. The good news is, you don’t have to start from scratch. Here are the basic steps for starting a new marketing campaign

Prova Asana per i team di marketing

Step 1: Establish goals

Creating a marketing strategy is like setting a waypoint for a road trip: Before you can plot out the course you'll take, you need to have the de

stination in mind. Decide what goals you'd like your marketing team to accomplish so you can begin crafting a strategy to reach those goals.

When you’re creating your strategy, make sure you can track and measure your goals. If you don’t know where to start, try using the SMART goal format to ensure that your goals are measurable. Or, try setting Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) if you have multiple initiatives contributing to a larger objective.

Example marketing strategy goal:

It’s the start of Q3, and your marketing team receives feedback from your public relations team that your company’s brand awareness is below 10%. Your team makes it a goal to increase brand awareness to 15% by the end of Q4. 

Step 2: Create a marketing plan

A marketing plan outlines all of the activities you need to complete your objective. Based on the goals that you created in the previous step, what are different actions you can take to achieve those goals? 

All of these actions that you take to achieve your goals are part of your marketing plan. It’s important to monitor relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) for your marketing tactics to ensure you’re moving in the right direction.

Example marketing plan:

Continuing our previous example of increasing brand awareness, your team creates a marketing plan to increase brand awareness. The social media ad team kicks off digital awareness campaigns, while another team partners with influencers to showcase their products. To stay organized and aligned, the entire marketing department tracks your plan in a project management tool. With this sense of truth, each team has an easy way to track their plans, monitor performance, and gauge the engagement of each tactic. 

Step 3: Research the competitive market

Competitive research is not just for product development, it's important for market research as well. During your competitive research, look at how similar brands and other competitors are creating conversation, especially online. Note what they're doing well, and what they could improve on. Use these recommendations to craft your own marketing strategy. 

Example of how to collect competitive market information:

Continuing with the marketing team example, your team’s initial plan is based on market research within your own company. To take this market research a step further, you run competitive market research to evaluate your competitor’s brand awareness and current marketing strategies. You notice different efforts on social media, such as paid ads and sponsored posts with influencers. Because these tactics are working for your competitors, your team decides to use similar avenues for your marketing plan. 

Step 4: Implement your marketing efforts

After you establish your goals, create your plan, and research similar markets, it's time to put your plan into action. Consider all of the actionable steps that you have to take to implement your marketing campaign, including:.

  • Who will be responsible for what tasks? 

  • Where will all of your completed assets go? 

  • How are you tracking performance? 

All of the answers to these questions will help shape your marketing strategy moving forward.

Example of implementation:

Your brand awareness campaign is live! With different tactics going on at different times, your team needs a way to keep track of all of the work being done. You decide to track all of your work using Asana, so that the rest of the team can easily see who’s doing what by when.

[Old Product UI] Marketing campaign plan - example (Lists)

Step 5: Monitor and reiterate

Once your marketing work is implemented, the next step is to step back and look at the results. Compared to your marketing research, how is your campaign performing? Are your campaigns attributing to any new customers? Did your team hit their goals?

Connecting your marketing work to specific goals helps you decide what to reiterate on for the next campaign. If you see a specific initiative that didn't perform as well as you anticipated, adjust it for the next time or swap it out for a brand new initiative.

Example of monitoring and reiteration:

After monitoring the effects of the paid ad campaign and the influencer partnership campaign, your team looks at the results of the work that’s been completed. Since you’ve tracked all of your work in Asana, you’re able to connect your work to the goals you want to achieve. As you compare the two, you notice that the influencer campaign increased brand awareness more than paid ads. As a result, you decide to continue using this tactic next quarter. 

Leggi: Massimizzare i vantaggi degli OKR

Manage goals and campaigns in one place

From conception to execution, use marketing templates to plan and manage your content, campaigns, and more. With Asana, you can make sure your entire team knows what's expected and empower your team to seamlessly and efficiently plan, organize, and execute marketing activities from start to finish.

Prova Asana per i team di marketing

Risorse correlate


Five ways to streamline your marketing activities