Are you under the impression that advertising and promotion are the same? Learn the difference between these two marketing techniques in this article.
In this article:
- Are They the Same?
- What Is Advertising?
- Traditional Offline Advertising
- Digital Advertising
- Major Differences Between the Two
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Both
Marketing Communication 101: Advertising vs Promotion
Are They the Same?
For many small businesses, advertising and promotion get lumped together.
- The same department carries out both functions.
- Both advertising and promotion campaigns usually share the same budget or are given the same amount.
- Often, the same manager also oversees the results for both.
In actuality, they are quite different. Understanding these differences and when to use each is key to making effective use of these different marketing techniques.
What Is Advertising?
First of all, we need to settle on a definition. Advertisements are controlled — these are paid messages delivered to the public through different media outlets.
There are different types of advertising.
- Digital advertising deals with Internet-based media, such as social media.
- More traditional forms involve older forms of media such as print, radio, and TV.
Across all these different forms, certain characteristics stay the same.
- The company (which can be represented by an ad agency) controls the content, graphics, and design.
- It also pays the media source to show the advertisement.
- The goal of all forms is the same: to influence the target audience to take some action. This means buying the product or service your company offers.
Advertising can be done in-house. However, some companies choose to use ad agencies.
An ad agency can hone a company’s targeted advertising efforts. This can maximize the reach of the campaign.
Digital Advertising Definition: It is a form of advertising that uses the Internet to improve, analyze, track, manage, and research online ad campaigns.
Traditional Offline Advertising
The modern age offers a staggering number of techniques and strategies. Traditional offline advertisements remain common these days.
These offline methods still continue to be an important part of marketing campaigns for different companies.
Traditional advertisements include the following:
- Print ads in magazines and newspapers
- Television commercials
- Radio spots
- Billboard ads
Digital advertising has risen in ranks over the years and has become as important as offline advertising for many companies.
It offers many benefits, one of which is that online ads are often less expensive than television commercials.
Some brands are even considering investing more of their ad spend online than in traditional ads, like TV.
There are several different types of digital advertising.
- Pay Per Click — It works exactly as the name implies. Your company pays to have your ad displayed in a search engine’s results or on a social media site, and you only pay when a potential customer clicks on it.
- Display advertising or banner ads is one type of pay per click advertising.
- Social Media Advertising — Running ad campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn all offer the opportunity to reach potential customers on the sites they visit most — social media sites.
- Advertising on Google and Amazon — These methods can help get your message in front of prospective customers.
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Major Differences Between the Two
Still, we haven’t answered the all-important question — what’s the difference between the two?
- Advertising is a one-way form of communication. Its aim is to persuade a potential customer.
- On the other hand, promotion involves offering a potential client an immediate incentive. This can take the form of sales, sponsorships, or giveaways. It usually involves disseminating information about the company’s products or brand.
Both of them have a place in any comprehensive marketing strategy. However, knowing the difference between the two can help you understand the best ways to use each.
With that in mind, here are the major differences.
- Timeframe — They operate on different timeframes. Advertising is a long-term endeavor, while promotions tend to be short-term.
- Price — Ad campaigns tend to be more expensive (though there are free sites that can help reduce the costs of a campaign). On the other hand, promotions can be tailored to almost any marketing budget.
- Results — The long-term versus the short-term difference between the two is also reflected in the typical timeframe for results. With an advertising campaign, you usually expect to have to wait to see your efforts pay off in the form of new customers and repeat business. Promotional activities, on the other hand, frequently drive new business immediately.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Both
It’s important to note that both advertising and promotion have advantages and disadvantages. Neither is right for every situation.
Advertising is particularly beneficial when you’re looking to build your brand. It also helps increase broad customer awareness of your company and products.
By its very nature, advertising is emotional. Your ads should try to capture the interest of a potential customer and persuade them to do something.
This can drive attention and interest to your product or service, which can help you convert them into an actual buyer.
One of the major downsides is that it’s a one-way process. This is where promotion can step in to fill the gap because it allows you to interact with your audience.
The size of your company can also dictate which strategy makes the most sense for you. It’s possible to carry out an advertising campaign on a smaller budget, but it may be risky.
For smaller companies, in particular, the lower cost and more immediate results offered by promotion are great draws.
Keep in mind that while you can launch an inexpensive online ad campaign, carrying out an effective campaign within a limited budget can be more difficult. This is the reason why medium-to-large-sized companies tend to use advertising more — they simply have more to spend.
Advertising is a long-term project. Costs can be high if it turns out that your ads aren’t connecting with your potential buyers or achieving the results you intended.
An unsuccessful promotion, on the other hand, can be addressed more quickly and less expensively.
Advertising and promotion are different. However, it would be a mistake to view them as competing efforts.
Your company should see them as complementary parts of your marketing campaign. The question shouldn’t be whether you should use either, but instead, consider when you should use each to achieve the best results.
How does your company utilize these techniques? Share your tips with us in the comments section below.