The difference between marketing and advertising is a very insightful question to ask in 2018, as many marketers are blurring the lines.
“Marketing” has arguably taken a different form in the last few years, especially online.
A great definition that will really help you understand the situation is:
Disruptive vs. attractive
Advertising is disruptive;
Marketing is attractive.
When you’re watching TV, what happens as soon as the advertisements roll? You want to skip past them. Because you’ve just been disrupted.
TV and radio adverts are both highly disruptive. Not only do people want to skip past these adverts, they actively annoy us. We just want to get the end of the content we had actually chosen to watch.
Marketing, when done properly, is highly focused and targeted. This is especially true of content marketing, which every brand worth its salt is doing online. People love this because they chose to read it, and it’s addressing their personal needs. Amazing.
Broad vs. targeted
Advertising addresses the masses with the hope of attracting the few.
Great content marketing addresses one person with a solution to one problem.
Bad content marketing strays into advertising territory. Pop-up ads. Badly written sponsored posts. Online press releases. They all fall into this category.
With great content marketing, your aim is to establish competency in your reader by showing them something new. They’ll appreciate that and recognize your expertise when you do this. They’re more apt to buy from you in the future because you’re relating to them. They feel more connected to your business and that’s crucial for priming customers for a sale. There’s ZERO connection when you’re disrupting people from their course of action.
Which should you be using
There is a place for advertising. If you’re just aiming to boost brand awareness or trying to sell a product that is desired by the masses.
If your main target audience are viewing platforms which only offer short advertising slots, this may be your only port of call.
When you can only afford a 15-second slot on television, you don’t have time for traditional content marketing. You need to get straight to the point and SELL SELL SELL.
However, if you’re trying to reach people online, content marketing is the way to go. You’re not limited by time or space.
Whether you’re running PERM recruitment ads for an employer or selling clothes for a high-end fashion brand, you’re much better off building that connection with your audience through content marketing.
The key to great marketing
Every target audience has a problem that needs solving. They could be an immigrant looking for a job in a new country. They could be an Instagram model looking for the hottest new swimsuit. Your job as a content marketer is to learn who your audience is, what their problems are, and how to solve them.
Do this consistently through blog posts, videos, podcasts, or whatever medium you see fit, and you can look forward to connecting with more people.