Marketing vs. Advertising, the Difference and Why it Matters

Marketing vs. Advertising.
Is there a difference?

Simply put: Content marketing is storytelling where your customer is the hero.
Advertising is purely promotional, with your brand voice leading the way.

Most people believe advertising and marketing are one in the same, two sides of the same coin. During the days of Mad Men – a great show that’s worth your time – this was pretty much the case, but times have changed. 

Now advertising is more of the first stage in your marketing funnel. 

Advertising today is the billboard on the main road, the flyer in the window, or the Google highlight that shows up at the top of the screen when you make a search. Ads are meant to catch your eye, pull you in, make you remember a name. Back before the Internet, this was all people needed to get them to buy. They went into a store, remembered the catchy ad from a magazine and bought that brand. The all-powerful consumer didn’t know better; they bought the most memorable name, not the best product.

Queue the era of strategic marketing.

Today, consumers are much smarter. Plus, they’re just one Google search away from a million options, price points, and information that will help them make their decisions. Ads still have their place – catching someone’s attention – but that’s where it ends. Today’s consumers (and businesses) want to know, understand, and engage with a brand before they ever commit to it

At Pathfinder, we take pride in strategic storytelling. We encourage our clients to understand and share their story in a way that attracts and engages their target customers. Think about why your story should matter to the random passerby – and be honest about it. Consumers don’t care about “Joe Entrepreneur” who they have never met. They don’t want to be sold either. They want to be a part of the story.

How?

  • First – get their attention. We’ve all heard that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover – but we do. If it doesn’t quickly capture our attention, we look onto the next thing. This is where ads come in handy – the clever line, the simple phrase, or the eye-catching design. It should all pull them into the story.
  • Second – engage them before they walk away. You picked up the book and started to skim the summary on the back cover – did it make you want to know more or did it bore or confuse you? Engage your audience by telling them why you exist and why they should care. You only have a few seconds before they’ll move on.
  • Third – make them a fan. You caught their attention, you made them want to know more, and now you need to close the deal. Draw them into the story of your business – what do you do, how do you do it, and why is that so special? Do you have customer service like nobody else? Have something that no one else does? Or provide more value than your competition? What is your story, and why should they buy into you?

We love strategic storytelling.

At Pathfinder, this is how we approach marketing.

We want to tell the stories of our clients to the masses, and we do that with a powerful, well-thought out plan. This approach helps ensure that the stories we tell hit the right audiences, at the right time, in the right place, through the right medium. A plan that not only reaches people, but reaches the right people. 

Your story, your service, your expertise shared with the perfect audience.