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Digital Marketing VS Advertising: Which is better? (+ 17 Examples)

Source: Unsplash.

You could work with us CodeDesign, the leading digital marketing agency.

Digital marketing and advertising seem similar concepts, even synonymous if we wanted to say. But are they similar or are they different things?

For connoisseurs of digital marketing things may be clear, however when we investigate both concepts well we can get clear definitions that differentiate them.

In this article, we will discuss what are the differences between both concepts, what each one is for, and if there is one superior to the other.

We will also explain in detail 16 different examples of each of these areas.

Keep reading!

What is marketing?

As a digital agency, we have this definition clear, but to set the differences between this and advertising, we can go back to a definition. So, according to the  American Marketing Association:

“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Our job as marketers is to identify, predict and meet our customers' needs. By doing this we help our clients to serve their client base while also maximizing their revenue. Depending on your clients, you can work in two modalities which are: Business to Consumer and Business to Business, which is the one we are experts on. 

In both of these modalities, there are various factors we tend to focus on when we create digital marketing strategies, so before getting into the best part we usually evaluate factors like:

  • Target Market: It is the group of clients to whom your product will be able to solve all their needs. Your target audience is studied according to demographics and infographics, taking into account aspects such as age, level of income, and even the area where they live. This makes it easier for us to direct your message to the ideal individuals and not waste marketing efforts on people who are uninterested in your brand.
  • Orientation: This process is about defining the philosophy of your brand, what are the values, and its corporate personality.
  • Mix: This is a model we use to create a decision-making guide for your brand, usually its focuses on the 4Cs:
    • Customer
    • Cost
    • Convenience
    • Communication
  • Environment: The marketing environment refers to all external or internal agents that could affect decision-making within your company.

Once we take into consideration these factors, we can start to evaluate the costs and benefits of methods and strategies we could use - which we'll explain more about lately. This part is crucial for agencies like us since we know that every client needs a strategy that fits exactly their needs, and we don't use two equal strategies for any company.

Source: Unsplash.

Therefore, If we'd want to wrap this into an easier definition we can say that...

Marketing is a process where we study your brand and market characteristics to develop a unique strategy. 

This process will guide you to the next part, which is ...

What is advertising?

Advertising is the practice of paying to publish the message or promotion of your brand in any media, social network, or channel of interest. This practice helps brands generate a corporate culture and branding plus, if you do it correctly, it increases your customer acquisition and will boost your sales.

Unlike marketing, the benefit of advertising is that it is a one-sided channel in which the brand has complete control of what will be promoted while marketing practices have to do with external factors and even public relations.

Advertising allows your business to:

  • Show your customers how your product or services work
  • Convince that your products are better than competitor's
  • Improve customer perception of brand or culture
  • Make customers want your product
  • Show new features or applications of your products
  • Generate new leads
  • Retain existing customer base

Now that we defined both of these concepts and their attributes we can answer... Read this guide on how to improve website traffic and get relevant customers.

What is the difference between marketing and advertising?

Advertising is a product of marketing. Although we usually exchange both, the fact is that both belong to the same family.

Marketing is responsible for building the entire strategy and then investing in it to turn it into different advertising strategies.

So we can say that advertising is part of marketing, but only a few activities of marketing activities are advertising. 

To understand these aspects of marketing in greater depth, let's study the types of marketing and advertising available. Read how meme marketing is used to grasp audience's attention.

Types of Marketing

Before going to the types, there is some key terminology we have to discuss, these are:

  • Marketing Campaign: This is a set of steps and strategies that we use to achieve any goal you want. It's a one-off activity with beginning and end and can be repeated with different goals in mind.
  • Marketing channels: is the set of platforms and tools we use to communicate with your audience, these can be social media or email marketing.
  • Marketing Type: any category of the area which can go from marketing channels, tactics, or techniques. We also have marketing depending on your audience which can be B2B or B2C. 

Now that we know the meaning of these basic concepts, let's study the types of marketing and channels where we can share your brand message.

Pay close attention!

How can you use QR codes for your digital marketing campaign?

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is the process of taking your marketing strategy to any online platform. Thanks to the dominance of the internet as the current communication center, digital marketing is essential for any company today since the world wide web has made the task of marketing much more accessible to everyone.

In recent years, digital marketing is taking more ground worldwide, leaving traditional marketing to one side. 

Among the most effective practices of digital marketing we can find:

  • SEO
  • Email marketing
  • Blogs
  • Website development

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is a derivative of digital marketing, and it focuses on social media platforms. 

As a digital agency, our task is to study your brand to find the most suitable platforms for your business to reach your users more easily. Platforms range from TikTok and Instagram to Linkedin for those specializing in B2B.

Source: Unsplash.

Global Marketing

Thanks to globalization and the internet, more businesses can expand the borders of their business to start dominating new territories in their market. The idea is that by practicing globally your strategy is similar and has the same branding anywhere in the world, yet, adding autochthonous things of the foreign markets where you are heading. This is the reason why when we go to a McDonald's in Italy we can get typical dishes of its gastronomy on the menu because the restaurant maintains its base identity but adds these other items to get closer to its foreign consumers.

In our agency, we've worked with global brands like Nestle and Chicco, in addition to making alliances with customers from Latin America, the United States, and our native Europe.

Source: Unsplash.

Relationship Marketing

When you have a loyal customer base it is great for your business, but loyalty is not achieved specifically by the quality of your products that is only half.

Relationship marketing helps you cultivate closer ties with your customers, since the interaction between brand and consumer becomes more human, and that causes a closeness effect.

Commentaries on social media platforms, direct messages, and even email allow the conversation to be more fluid, generating direct feedback from users and making them feel that you care about their opinion.

Affiliate marketing

This is the practice of promoting another business's product or service for a commission on its sales. With an affiliate program, you can create a payout structure for your partners and implement a system for sign-ups and tracking referrals and sales. The idea is to motivate customers to recommend your products to their friends or audience.

Source: YouTube.

Content marketing

Content marketing is one of the most important in the world of information.

Content marketing allows you to reach followers or customers with the creation of different types of pieces like:

  • blogging
  • Videos
  • podcast
  • tutorials

With content marketing, the idea is to show your dominance in the topics of your niche so that people begin to consider you an authority within the industry. This blog you are reading now is an example of content marketing.

When we create this type of article our goal is to help business owners and entrepreneurs how to understand better digital marketing, so hopefully, you consider us as your best ally in digital business. 

Brand Management

When we assist customers with brand management our goal is to create a link between their customer type and the company's identity. To do this we first have to evaluate your products and services, logo, packaging, and other elements that compose your branding. This marketing practice also relies on studying the target market, direct competitors and how is your relationship with customers.

Source: Unsplash.

Product Development

If you have a business idea but don't know how to sell it we can help you with product development. With the help of marketing concepts and identification of your client's needs we can improve your concept to make it even better, no matter if it's an old or new product.

Conducting a competitive analysis

If you want to stand out as a business, or better yet, discover if you are the first within your business idea, you need to develop a competitor analysis, this helps us to find out what the trends are within your area, what others are doing, and how we can use that knowledge to outperform them in their game.

To perform a competitive analysis we have to:

  • Get background information
  • Analyze competitor's products and services
  • Get familiar with their targeting and positioning
  • Study their communication strategies
  • Do some ghost shopping to check their actual quality
  • Study their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities,, and threats, better known as a SWOT analysis

Types of Advertising

Traditional Advertising 

Traditional advertising refers to all the classic media such as radio or television. Although we said that digital marketing is the fastest growing in terms of popularity, we must clarify that this type of advertising is still effective, especially if we talk about generations that grew up with them, such as generation x or baby boomers. If your audience is within these, it is good that you consider it as a channel for your brand.

Source: Unsplash.

Retail Advertising

Retail marketing seeks to promote the sales of your e-commerce store within any platform using ads or any other extra strategy.

Online Advertising  

This practice refers to ad placement on the intent in media and other websites. The most common practices are contextual ads in search engines, promotional videos, banners on websites, and sponsored content.

Mobile Advertising

Mobile marketing tries to put your ads on any app or social media platform. Smartphones have become a really important part of our lives, nowadays people use their cellphones even more than their computers, because of this it is a vital advertising strategy for your brand.

Outdoor Advertising 

Outdoor advertising is the type of ad we see in heavily-trafficked areas. Examples of these are:

  • Billboards
  • Banners ib the outside of buildings
  • Branded vehicles

Source: Unsplash.

Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising

Pay per click is one of the most used strategies today by digital businesses. This practice consists of paying platforms such as Google Ads or Facebook to mount your advertising pieces on their platforms, and then pay only for each click that is made on it.

At Codedesign we have endless articles on this topic as well as case studies of clients we have helped, check them out to learn more about it.


Finally, we come to sponsorships, one of the most popular and notorious forms of advertising.

When big brands like Nike see the popularity of soccer players like Cristiano Ronaldo, the most effective way to attract new buyers to your brand is to make alliances with the star. When fans see the footballer wearing these shoes a subliminal message is created that to be as cool as him you must wear Nike shoes.

On a smaller scale, this also happens with influencer marketing, where companies sponsorship with these social media celebrities to reach a larger audience.

Source: Youtube.

Which is better? Advertising or marketing?

For companies that already have a long way to go, the reason behind their success as a business comes from the combination of these two practices. Advertising is still the best method to keep your company's image present in the minds of your consumers. Being on social networks, search engines, and even on a street billboard will be a constant reminder that your brand is valuable and continues to be effective for its consumers.

Now, this is not the typical conclusion that both are good and you should always use both. No, there's a little plop twist here, and that is that marketing is still superior for specific occasions.

If you are an emerging brand, spending money on advertising, ads, and PPC is a waste of time for your business. Instead, the best option is to consolidate a strong marketing strategy to start gaining notoriety and a loyal customer base. As you continue to grow, you will be able to make your way into the world of advertising and continue to grow your customer base.

Whatever the case, at Codedesign we have experience in all these areas of marketing and advertising, if you are looking to take your business to #1 contact us, and let's make your business increase its level.

CodeDesign is a leading:

Digital agency,  

Amazon marketing agency, and

Magento Developer

Feel free to contact us to see the unprecedented growth of your business.

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