If you’re new to the business world, you might think marketing and advertising are terms that can be used interchangeably. It’s understandable, because they’re closely linked, and your approach to each will influence the other. But intertwined doesn’t mean identical— and if you want to solidify your business strategy, knowing the difference between the two is critical.

The Big Picture, Forecasted

Marketing is one aspect of running a business that never stops. Research is a big component of good marketing: figuring out how people respond to what you’re selling, how you promote it, and how you interface with your customers. Marketing strategies have often been distilled down into seven key points, the seven P’s:

Product : what you’re selling

Place : where you’re selling and advertising, and to whom

Price : how competitive is your pricing

Promotion : how you advertise

People : who you have working for you

Process : how your employees talk to customers about what you’re selling

Physical evidence : what tangible benefit people receive by buying your product

Marketing, at its core, is data-driven, with the goal of figuring out how best to serve your customers while bringing in a profit. Looking at these seven factors— and doing the research to understand how you and your business fit into the larger scope of your industry, geographical area, and local economy— will give you the data you need in order to make good choices to further your business goals.

How do you get this data? The answer is a little thing called market research, the process by which you determine the consumer appeal of a product or service— which usually means talking to current and potential customers to find out what they want. In the age of technology and social media, doing this research is easier than ever, and can be conducted on a rolling basis so you’re always aware of the current state of your customers.

Individual Messages for Individual People

Good marketing strategy should inform your advertising every step of the way, like a lesson plan that anticipates who your customers are, the lifestyle or environment your product fits into, the tone of your messaging and communications, and the personality of your company and products. When you have the data to make that lesson plan as accurate as possible, your advertising is much more likely to find its target.

A successful advertising campaign can achieve a number of goals for your business, including but not limited to:

Giving information about your products or services

Showing the superiority of your products or services

Improve opinion of your company’s brand and values

Generate interest for your products or services among new customers

Debut new products or services

Publicize sales or promotions

Retain the interest of your existing customers

If marketing is your overall war strategy, think of advertising campaigns as individual battles. You can (and should) tailor each one to the circumstances at hand: the time of year, the product you’re debuting or promoting, and most importantly, the message you’re sending. Think about successful ad campaigns of the past— from “where’s the beef?” to “breakfast of champions”, the most memorable ads distill the company’s big picture down into one easily digestible bite.

Marketing with My Content Co

My Content Co knows how to create relevant, engaging, and timely digital content, just like you know how to grow your small business. We specialize in creating websites, blogs, social media posts, and newsletters that are consistent with your brand. Partner with us to focus on your marketing strategy so that you can get back to doing what you do best – running your business. Visit us online or contact us today at 410-324-3934 to get started.