What’s Difference Between Marketing, Branding, And Advertisement?

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What’s Difference Between Marketing, Branding, And Advertisement

July 21, 2020 By Pedro Meneses

It’s no secret that there’s a lot of confusion between branding, marketing, and advertisement.

Part of the problem is that marketers (including myself) tend to get caught in a cycle of “marketing terms” that honestly, can become very confusing to others.

I know, I’ve done it and I’m trying to break the habit!

So I thought I’d put this article together to help you understand each term and identify which of the three are you lacking in your efforts to generate more customers and grow your sales.

So What’s the difference between Branding, Marketing, and Advertisement? 

Branding = Understanding Yourself

Who are we? Who do we serve? How are we different? What problem do we solve for our customers? These are the fundamental questions of Branding.

Branding or Brand Development is the internal work and foundation for everything else you do in your business, and it all starts with you.

Before you can determine who you serve and what problem you solve, before you can build upon that foundation to grow your business, you have to understand what your business is all about.

In other words, you have to know your story.

Sure, you make beer. But what makes your beer different or better than all the other beers out there? Superior quality? Low-cost? A unique recipe?

Are you carrying on a family tradition of service to the community? Are you focus more on traditional styles or you more on the latest trends?

Your story is what gives your business identity, purpose, and sets you apart. It’s what inspires your team and connects you to your customers.

Essentially, all comes down to figuring out who you are, what you stand for, and what you offer to your customers.

But you can’t tell your story until you know your story. Your story is the core of all your branding efforts, and I’m not going to lie, it’s just the surface of branding.

Things like brand strategy, logos, color-schemes, messaging, and maintaining that work are all part of the branding equation.

Marketing = Understanding Your Customer

“Marketing” is such a confusing term because it is so broad and covers a variety of disciplines.

Market research, product development, pricing, customer support, websites, social media, SEO, public relations, event planning, blogging, community outreach, etc., are all subdivisions of marketing. As are branding and advertising (hence the confusion), and while they all fall within the marketing bucket, they are each different discipline that uses different skill sets.

In other words, “Marketing” is the whole enchilada!

What is good to remember is that marketing is the process by which your business gets and keeps customers.

How your business gets and keeps customers are going to be different from how another company gets and keeps theirs, and it all comes down to knowing your customer:

  • Understanding who’s your perfect customer and what they need/want
  • Developing products and services that will appeal to them
  • Positioning those products and services in a way that will resonate with them
  • Communicating and promoting those products and services to them

So when Branding is about you, marketing is about them.

Advertising = Paying Someone to Tell Your Customer About You

People tend to use “advertising” and “marketing” synonymously, but advertising is not the same as marketing.

I’m going to say that again; ADVERTISING IS NOT THE SAME AS MARKETING!

Like social media, SEO, websites, etc., advertising is a subdivision of marketing.

Oftentimes, when I hear businesses say, “We’re not ready to market,” what they mean is, they’re not ready to spend money on advertising. Usually, they’re right, they’re not ready to advertise.

In simplest terms advertising is:

  • The vehicle to deliver your message to your audience
  • Creating ads
  • Paying a third-party to run that ad on their platform

One of the reasons for the confusion is that advertising used to be a much larger and expensive piece of the marketing pie. If you wanted to promote your business, you had to pay to run an ad in someplace. And that place was usually TV, radio, print, direct mail, and billboards.

The Internet and Social media changed all that. The available options for how you can get the message out have exploded.

There is now an abundance of tools and tactics you can use in promoting your business. From running Ads on social media, maintaining a blog on your website, taking your photos, and uploading them on Instagram, none of which requires breaking the bank paying traditional channels to run an ad for you.

So here’s the Conclusion

  • Branding = You
  • Marketing = Customers
  • Advertising = The vehicle to deliver your message to your customers.

Is there an overlap between the three? Sure. Do the lines still get hazy sometimes? Absolutely.

And while marketing, advertising, and branding in practice are interconnected, the terms are not synonymous.

Why is this important to understand?

Because skipping the work of branding keeps you from setting yourself apart. Without knowing your story, without knowing who you are and why you’re doing what you’re doing, you can’t communicate with your customers and tell them why you’re different from your competitors.

Because “we’re not ready to market” can keep your business stuck. Not engaging in the marketing activities that will help keep your business open can hurt you badly.

If you need help putting together a strategy that can help you crush your sales, make sure you Sign Up for a FREE audit of your current marketing and sales strategies.