What is the Difference between Marketing and Advertising?

That may seem like an obvious question, but the fact is that most people interchange the two terms without acknowledging the huge, inherent differences between them. This lack of understanding can translate to problems for vendors and partners alike when developing marketing campaigns or co-op and MDF programs.

Put simply, advertising is marketing, but marketing is not advertising. In other words, marketing encompasses a broad spectrum of activities designed to gain or increase end-users’ awareness of a brand or product. Advertising is one of these activities and includes print, online, or broadcast ads that, ideally, put the reseller and product in front of the most likely end-users. As powerful a tool as it is, however, advertising is not the only one.

Usually, it is the reseller who is less familiar with the difference between the two terms. This gap can lead to the creation of MDF or co-op proposals that focus entirely on advertising, rather than on the myriad other tools that marketing has to offer, such as public relations or promotions. Vendors can—and should—help illuminate this difference for the reseller. And both vendors and resellers should also know that, while the end goal of marketing is sales, marketing does not guarantee sales; it simply creates an opportunity for the reseller’s salespeople to close the deal.


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