It’s a surprisingly common understanding that marketing and advertising are one and the same, and understandably so – they both exist within the digital space and the traditional space, they both are promotional tools, and they both exist to further sales for companies.

Despite these similarities, though, marketing and advertising can’t really be classed as the same thing. What is probably more accurate is that advertising is part of the larger process of this big thing we called ‘marketing’.

This blog post is going to run you through the marketing process as a whole and look at how advertising eventually fits into it all, so you can see once and for all what the difference between these two seemingly identical concepts is.

Looking at the big picture – how marketers help their clients

Marketing, broadly speaking, is the business of helping another business isolate the best possible way they can serve their client base and maximise revenue. A lot of the marketing process happens before an advert even hopes to reach your local bus stop, billboard or TV screen.

The marketer must first orient themselves around the guiding principles of their clients. This could be anything from the company’s business philosophy and culture, to its target audience and demographic. This allows the marketer to orient themselves around the company, to understand what it is trying to achieve and for whom and to identify the best channels with which to do this.

Read also: 10 Marketing Skills You Need to Survive 2021 and Beyond

In other words, marketing is the focused planning, implementation, and control over a company’s activities in a way that encourages and influences buyer habits towards their product. It involves hours of research from marketers to understand how the client’s customer base works, what makes them tick, what makes them buy, what makes them happy, sad. Marketing can do its best to find it all out.


So we know now that marketing is the larger process under which advertising comes, but it may intrigue you to know that marketing can be done entirely without advertising. It’s called Inbound Marketing and is the practice of bringing your customers to you without ever using advertising. Advertising can be distracting, in the way, and more and more people are becoming aware of it, especially with the rise of online adverts.

What inbound marketing does is make the potential target audience think about a problem they’re having as a business and let them come to you as a possible solution. Not only did the customer not have to come across your company by virtue of it being stuck right in their face, but because the approach to the marketer was on their terms, the customer feels more comfortable around them that they can provide a solution.

In other words, it’s much more organic and can pay dividends for both the customer and marketer, as relationships build much faster and stronger and business is much smoother for everyone involved. And when things go smoothly, the quicker the money comes in.


Inbound marketing works best when clients know what they want from their marketing agency. Framework Marketing is a one-stop inbound marketing solution for construction brands looking to grow within the industry. If you’d like to know more, get in touch here.

How advertising fits into the marketing process

So, where does advertising come into all of this? If marketing is this big process, then surely the advertising part comes fairly early on, right?


If like many other people, you thought this then you’d be surprised. Advertising is actually one of the last parts of the marketing process. And this makes sense if you think about it. The marketer could have an incredible advert idea for the client company early on in the research process but if they went through with the ad without any further research on who is going to see it, how those people might react, and which new customers they want to attract with it, then that is a huge waste of money (and advertising is a costly affair)

The implementation of advertising in the marketing process comes so late on because it is essentially the result of the thousands of hours of research put in by marketers to ensure the best possible outcome for their client – remember marketing is about helping another business isolate the best possible way they can serve their client base and maximise revenue. We want you to be rolling in it, essentially!

In its simplest form, advertising is just a piece of messaging or branding placed…somewhere. Location varies but for maximum effect, locations are chosen based on the number of eyes that will go past it. That’s why billboards are big and common – advertisers know that thousands of drivers and pedestrians will go past and see the advert and, for the smallest time, have that brand at the back of their mind. It may result in an immediate or short term purchase, or it may be part of a more long-term marketing strategy that looks to increase overall customer numbers that are likely to return instead of the few isolated purchases.


This is an important part of the marketing process that they bring forward to their clients – do you want more immediate revenue over a short term, or a more loyal, consistent, and long-term customer base? They can provide either – or both if they’re good enough – but this is down to the client and is why prior research is such an important part of the process.

We know that advertising is a tool used by companies to promote their products and services, establish their brand and culture to customers, and drive customer acquisition and sales. Unlike inbound marketing specifically, it is an impersonal, one-way channel of communication to a very general and mixed audience that may or may not hit, depending on the people looking. Advertising has several other purposes though:

  • Educating customers (new and old) on the nature of their product/service.
  • Convince customers (new and old) that their product/service is better than the rest of the competition
  • Generate a want/need within the customer’s life. Make them think that this is the right thing for their life right now.
  • Show off a new way that their product/service can be applied or used
  • Publicise a product/service to potential customers or those who are on the fence between brands.
  • Retain and keep a hold of an existing customer base.

What are the different types of media that advertising exists on, then?

Paid Media

Paid media involves paying a publisher to place their advertisements on their platforms – examples include billboards, broadcast and print ads, search engine ads, social media ads.

Owned media

Owned media is when a company will use the channels and platforms that they already own to promote their other products – think retail merchandising, websites and business blogs, brochures, press releases.

Earned media

Probably the best type of advertising if you want goodwill within your customer base. Earned media is any third-party message about your product/service that you haven’t paid for, and comes directly from their point of view. Online reviews are the most common; newspaper/magazine articles are big, social media endorsements are the most recent iteration in the earned media realm through the use of influencers using your product or service organically and recommending it to their follower base.


So there it is. Mystery solved. They’re similar, but marketing is the larger umbrella which advertising stands under. Whilst consumers may think that the adverts do all the work, then they are yet to realise behind every good advertisement is an equally effective marketing team that has predicted dozens of social, personal, demographic and cultural factors to make the advert the best it can be.

Framework Marketing is a digital marketing agency rooted firmly in the construction industry. Using our knowledge of SEO, content creation, and website design, we can provide help at each and every step of a company looking to expand its brand. Is this you? Get in touch here.