Understanding the relationship between marketing and advertising

Small Business Advice 13 January 2012

When you run a small business you will be expected to understand how to use marketing and advertising in order to succeed; even if you hire a professional you’re still going to need to know what they’re doing. There are many fundamental differences between advertising and marketing and it is important for you to be aware of this. Marketing is an essential tool in any business and there are a variety of methods professional marketing agencies and individuals use to not only raise brand awareness, but also to analyse the markets and identify ways in which you can improve your business.


Marketing is very much about understanding your customers and promoting your business. A professional marketing agency will not only concentrate on attracting new business through market research, they will also focus on existing customers and improving goods and services in line with what customers want.

Marketing techniques include:

Email marketing to those who have opted into receiving your emails. You have to be careful here to remain within the law.

Networking events are always a good idea if you can afford to host them or attend them. This will put you in touch with other industry professionals from whom you may get valuable information pertaining to your own business.

Researching market trends and your competition.

Ideas for new products and/or services, distribution networks and other ways to improve your business


Advertising refers to specifically advertising your products and/or services via certain media like TV, radio, newspaper, billboards, flyers and many others. Marketing enables advertising in many respects because it’s the market research that informs where adverts should be placed and who to target in many cases. There can sometimes be a very fine line between marketing and advertising when you employ the services of a professional advertising agency, and these professionals often incorporate both.

Some good ideas for advertising include:

Directories – both local and national directories don’t cost much to advertise in and they will also help you raise brand awareness. Yellow pages and the Thompson directory are good ones to be in.

Newsletters to website visitors or to selected businesses and individuals.

Web advertising. Improving SEO so that the search engines find you is relatively easy and affordable.


Hopefully, this article should have gone some way to explaining the main differences between marketing and advertising and perhaps given you a few good ideas how to use them both to improve your business.

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