Advertising is just one slice of a much larger marketing pie. Marketing consists of all human interactions involved in doing business and making sales. Marketing can be broken down into three simple stages – Inviting people in, making them comfortable, and sending them on their way happy with more than they expect. Repeat.
Of these three stages, advertising is just a part of stage 1; inviting people in (or enticing people back in). Advertising is any activity which let’s people know what you sell, what you do, where you are, or offers a special reason to check you out (for the first time or the 7th time). Advertising is the initial invitation as well as the ongoing reminders of who you are and what you offer. Marketing is everything else you do to keep visitors or customers informed, involved and happy.
Put another way, advertising is for stimulating action, and marketing for stimulating a re-action. marketing is about repeated behavior, mind share, familiarity, and building and maintaining ongoing relationships. Advertising is the invitation – marketing is the party.
The difference between marketing and advertising may not always be clearly defined. Promotional stickers for example may be used to “advertise” a product or brand, but they may also be used effectively in the other marketing activities like encouraging word of mouth, used as gifts and incentives, informative labeling, or general identity building.
Are you too focused on the “advertising” portion of the marketing pie? If so, it can easily lead to an unsustainable business model. Focus on throwing a great party and don’t worry as much about the invitations. Positive word of mouth marketing is the secret sauce for success. Focus on having people talk about the product, the experience… the party and perhaps you won’t even need to bother with traditional “advertising”.