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Debunking the “Marketing is Advertising” myth

#WOCinTech Chat

Advertising is not marketing. As a marketing professional I encounter clients who usually do not understand that although all advertising is marketing, not all marketing is advertising. Marketing is an all-encompassing practice, made up of various elements such as strategy, customer research, trend investigation, public relations, social media promotion, product design, pricing techniques, promotional campaign activities, distribution management, competitor research, innovation, concept and service design, content creation, copywriting, and so much more. All of these efforts need to be working together to build a successful product or service. Advertising on the other hand is really only one form of marketing but that which everyone actively notices. It is the promoting of brand awareness to a large target audience via mass media, such as television, print and radio. Let me try to simplify this Think of marketing as a box of crayons with different colors, while advertising is just one color in the entire box. To create a masterpiece that isn’t lackluster, you need to play around with the different colors in your box of crayon. I thought it was important to establish this because I encounter quite a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners who think that because they have a Facebook or IG page, they are ‘marketing’. While social media is a fantastic marketing tool, it is but one in the arsenal of tools that are available to you. Nonetheless, advertising works The big brands have proven this over and over again. They have also proven the fact that advertising needs the support of other marketing elements to deliver good results. So while you would be serenade by Power Oil sachet jingles on radio on your way to and from work (Advertising), you would also find that Power Oil sachet at almost every street corner (Optimized Distribution). More importantly, advertising alone would not solve all of your marketing problems. So for example, you can choose to invest your limited funds in a radio campaign or on Facebook sponsored posts but all of these efforts would yield little or no results if you do not have a product that solves a real consumer need. However, the process to dimensioning & understanding these needs is a marketing process called customer and market research (and definitely not advertising)! Another example is the lady who sells packaged food items (Say 5kg at ₦8000) and wants to increase her sales. She might not necessarily need to spend money trying to set up a billboard along the third mainland bridge. What she could do is launch smaller variations of her product (let’s say 2kg @₦4000) that students and other low income earners can afford. This would help her appeal to more people and broaden her market space. Am I making sense? The lesson today is single minded: Marketing is much bigger than advertising. And to be very honest, marketing is a tough concept to get your arms around but that is why I am here. To help you get the hang of it such that you would get actual returns on all investments (time, money and effort) made into this very vital aspect of your business.