Friday, October 5, 2007

Initial Thoughts on differentiating between Advertising and Marketing

It seems in the 21st Century, companies do not understand the difference between marketing and advertising. With their goal to reduce costs, they have combined the two disciplines into one.
Traditional Marketing involves the four “P”s: Product, Price, Place, Promotion
Advertising involves how to reach and communicate with the customer
They collaborate in determining product Features (marketing) and Benefits (advertising); target customer

I believe the industry itself has blurred the lines between marketing and advertising. Marketing should be weighted towards product development. Advertising should be weighted towards developing and executing the brand communication voice. The two disciplines interface on strategic direction.

The 21st Century has also lost focus on the customer and develop strategic plans that fill their own needs (i.e. company profit goals, meaning build it and they will come). Advertising has become competitive in manipulative methods to get the consumer to buy. They use countless data points and then develop an esoteric message, like cars driving on the edge of a building. Fine work for the CG team, but most people buy a car to drive on real roads not those in Second Life. This is not to stifle creativity, but the message must connect the consumer to the product.

Under the “Features and Benefits” school, advertising should appeal to filling a consumer need, real or perceived. From the customer’s point of view, it’s called, “what’s in it for me?” Both disciplines need to think like consumers.

Marketing should research and define the customer needs and develop the appropriate products. These products must be better than the competition. If they can’t be better, then they must differentiate themselves from the competition.

Marketing will define the target market. Advertising must do the research on how best to reach this market, speak their language and determine the channel(s) of communication. They must be creative, without missing the message. There is definitely a partnership and synergy between advertising and marketing.

Companies need to engage or reengage both disciplines.

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