It all looks the same to me.

Advertising is exactly the same as marketing isn’t it? Part 1

Aaaaaaargh, NO!

People say that like algebra, you never use anything you learn at university. I have to say that professionally this is largely true, but the dance moves and drinking ability were things that have stayed with me to this day (Ed.  Oi, settle)

However, despite taking up only about 10 minutes of one of my marketing lectures, one very powerful lesson has reared its head again and again throughout my career. It is a simple statement, that upon reflection and careful consideration should give every professional business-person a lot to consider.

My lecturer’s statement was in answer to the age-old question asking the difference between advertising and marketing:

“Good marketing means you do not need advertising”.


Sit down.

Have a think. How can that be? Isn’t advertising a vital part of marketing? Don’t you guys at Line & Length just do advertising? Hold on, let me explain.

First, let’s define advertising.

Advertising is either above the line (ATL) or below the line (BTL). The former includes TV, radio, magazine and billboards (mass media) and usually requires more highly paid hipsters spending time to come up with a big creative idea – costing you an arm and a leg. The latter is usually more cost effective and talks directly to the shopper or consumer, actively encouraging them to engage with your brand through incentives, or simple campaigns like EDM or direct mail.

So that’s advertising, now let’s talk marketing.

Everyone who has ever listened to someone talk about marketing or is a marketer themselves, knows that there are a number of P’s that theoretically cover the marketing spectrum or ‘mix’.  These can range from four up to about twelve I think (Ed. Try 44! ), but I have a word limit, so let’s go with the traditional four for explanatory purposes… 

Product – the product or service you market and its various attributes

Price – the elements that define the price a shopper/consumer pays for your product

Place – where your product is available & the associated requirements to get it there

Promotion – any kind of promotion or activity (including advertising) that enhances awareness or sales of your product.

Lesson 1: We’ve shown that advertising should only be a small component of any marketing strategy and therefore they are not one in the same.

Lesson 2: Therefore, not all marketers are hipsters.

With my word limit fast running out, I’ll bring this one to a close by explaining my fascination with my lecturer’s statement that “good marketing means you do not need advertising”. Didn’t I just say it was part of the marketing mix? The key is that most advertising is a push communication, meaning you are propelling a message towards your target audience. They have not asked for it and rarely do they actively seek it, so you are ‘pushing it’ on to them.

Ultimately, the aim for any marketer is to balance the four, forty four or eighty-five P’s they use in their marketing mix perfectly to create a demand (or pull) from the shopper/consumer for their product. By balance I mean the fewest barriers to purchase as possible, so the right product, in the right place, at the right price and with the right promotional strategy.

Lesson 3: Businesses should have their entire marketing mix defined and planned before any kind of advertising is considered.

Lesson 4: Push and pull marketing are not mutually exclusive, but should work together in any good marketing strategy.

Next time I’ll delve further into defining and then helping you manage your push and pull marketing.

Until next time, get thinking about how you can create more pull and limit the push!

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