Apples and Oranges: Understanding the Difference Between Advertising and Marketing in Small Business


One of the most crucial aspects of running your own business is learning. Entrepreneurs must continually search for the next bit of information that can help. Knowing the difference between advertising and marketing can be a critical tool for growth. Each comprises a necessary component of an enterprise’s outreach plan. However, neither is necessarily a replacement for the other. Successful businesses must understand how a proper mix of both can create measurable results.

Online Advertising vs Digital Marketing At A Glance

Let us just say you are now convinced that your small business will need both marketing and advertising. What is exactly the difference between the two?

In simplest terms, advertising is about purchasing ads. In today’s digital world, small businesses may choose to advertise with companies such as Google, Bing, LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram. However, enterprises with a mostly local customer base may still benefit from advertising with local media.

Marketing, on the other hand, is a more holistic approach to connecting with anyone who has a potential interest in your company. A marketing plan would include managing social media pages, blogging, and optimizing your web presence for search engines. A well-organized small business would have a marketing plan that includes a strategy for advertising.

Why You Need Advertising

Recruiting potential customers has two basic stages. The first stage is casting the initial impressions. For consumers who are not currently your customers, advertising is how you introduce them to your company and products.

Paid advertising using search engines can help to generate awareness in people searching for the value you provide. The metrics involved in paid advertising can also help you to test potential outreach methods and messages. Facebook, for example, lets you directly track the number of people who saw your post, and how many were convinced to click the link.

Advertising is the best way to let consumers know you exist.

Critical Internet Marketing Tools

Once the consumers know you exist, the second stage of recruiting customers is to convince them to contact your organization. This is accomplished using a number of techniques, including:


Using your website or social media vehicle, blogging involves writing regular articles for consumers. The articles help to draw new customers to your website through search engine results. Once they visit the site, the blogs also help to establish your expertise and help consumers envision your services. This is also an efficient way to improve your SEO and enable your website to rank higher in search results.

Social Media

Many companies find connecting with potential customers through social media rewarding. Social media provides a powerful tool for real-time interaction with customers and interested parties. Unfortunately, social media must be carefully monitored to prevent inflammatory language or personal attacks from marring your image.


Like any other useful tool, both marketing and advertising are most effective when wielded by professionals. Creating the perfect mix of both can help you build awareness, and convert that awareness into revenue. Contact L7 Advertising today to discuss creating a comprehensive digital marketing plan for your company!

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