Marketing vs. Advertising: Define Marketing

Aug 24, 2011

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The Dictionary Definition Stuff

Advertising: The paid, public, non-personal announcement of a persuasive message by an identified sponsor; the non-personal presentation or promotion by a firm of its products to its existing and potential customers.

Marketing: The systematic planning, implementation and control of a mix of business activities intended to bring together buyers and sellers for the mutually advantageous exchange or transfer of products.

Market: A group of customers that the business has decided to aim its marketing efforts and ultimately its products.

Layman’s Marketing Definition

I define marketing as: ‘Helping people who need each other find each other’. That is best accomplished by clearly and effectively communicating who you are to the people you are trying to market to. It implies that you know what your customers need and what problems you solve for them and of course implies that you know who you are in the first place and you know how to communicate effectively.

The difference is that advertising almost always focused on the medium which could be the radio ads, tv spots, internet banner ads, etc etc. Marketing is a broader term defining the strategy behind building income for businesses. In this article, we will focus on marketing and break down some key factors to consider in marketing your business on or offline.

Marketing Keys

Key #1: Market Research

I define a market as a segment of the population that a business decides to target to sell products and/or services to. Market research can be done by gleaning from studies already performed by big market research companies like Forrester. For those who want to do it ‘on the cheap’ there are many places you can go online to find out trends and popular products. Here are a few hints, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Google, etc. These places are great indicators of the viability of a market.

Key #2: Choosing a Target Market

A well-defined target market is a critical element to a marketing strategy or business plan. How do you choose a market? In today’s age there have never been more tools to help prospective business owners identify and connect with a potential market. Its never been easier with social media to choose a target market based on demographic information or location.

Key #3: Knowing the Target Market

A well-defined target market is pales in comparison to how important it is to KNOW the target market. Knowing the target market and what their hot buttons are is quite possibly the most underrated part of marketing. Most businesses just say what they do and don’t realize how the target market perceives the message and how they could craft messages that mean more to the target market. Marketing Messages can’t become meaningless to prospects who are WAITING to be sold for a good reason.

The Next Level

Crafting Messages to Your Market

Most people assume that when you talk about marketing that you’re automatically talking about mediums. These could range from radio ads, tv spots, internet banner ads, etc etc. There is something that is almost always more important than where you place your message. The creative or message side of marketing is the part that gets overlooked. What you say, how you say, who you say it to, and how they interpret it, is almost always more important than the marketing medium where you say it. You have to learn how your potential customer thinks and then draft messages etc that make those potential customers act. You have to read their minds. This sounds crazy, but this is the common theme to all great markers and marketing messages – they know how to get inside of people’s heads and say that right thing to the right person.

Typical institutional advertising doesn’t makes as much sense for most small businesses as it does for Pepsi (for example). This type of advertising focuses on creation or good will, brand awareness, or position. Direct-response advertising is typically more effective and would include things such as a sales promotion, offers and bold statements designed to paint a picture and hit the hot buttons of the target market so that they will ACT and take the next step in the sales cycle.

Website Can Be Your Best Marketing Tool

If the principles that are outlined here are followed and applied to your online marketing or website, your website can become your best marketing tool. The steps outlined above are crucial to turning your website into your best sales tool. Take an inventory of your message that you are sending to your audience on your website. Evaluate whether that message is getting the direct response you want out of it and whether it is appealing to the thoughts and hot buttons of your target audience. In regards to web design, there are times when a website might be a graphic designers dream, but it’s a marketers nightmare. Marketing is about identifying and communicating with a ‘market’ and not just colors and shapes. Certainly colors and shapes have something to deal with identity and communicating with a market but they shouldn’t replace the importance of the message itself, which is indefinitely more important.

Some questions you might ask yourself in this process might be:

  • What is the goal or purpose of the website or the design of the website?
  • What does the Client want users to DO when they land on the website (call to action/offer)?
  • What can we do to make the website seem personal?
  • What can do we do breed trust with the website users (trust marks)?
  • What can we do to make this website sell or convince?
  • How can we make this website converts visitors into leads?
  • What are the USPs (unique selling points) of the clients business?
  • What are the typical hesitations that prospective clients may have when visiting and how can we resolve their concerns?

Notes for consideration:

  • It costs less to improve your message and your conversions that it does to buy more media. It also increases the chance that they will move through the sales process further and become a customer.
  • When you convert well, you don’t have to advertise as much and it makes every lead more valuable and more likely to turn into more cash longer term.

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