Advertising vs. Marketing: What’s the Difference?

Advertising vs. marketing

At AAF Orlando, we pride ourselves on being the unifying voice for advertising and the creative community in the Greater Orlando area. But what's the difference when it comes to advertising vs. marketing — and how do public relations, branding, and digital marketing fit into the mix? Whether you're just starting out in your advertising career or a veteran of the industry in need of a refresher, read on for the full breakdown.

Lesson One: Advertising Defined

Advertising (noun): the action of calling something to the attention of the public, especially by paid announcements.  — Merriam-Webster

With a definition that broad, it's easy to see how one might get confused regarding what exactly advertising is. After all, there are many ways to call a product or service to the attention of the public. Just to name a few, you might use:

  • A television commercial
  • A social media post
  • A 30 sec. radio spot
  • A one-page spread in a magazine
  • A billboard in front of the I-4 Eyesore

...and I could go on! In short, there are plenty of advertising methods to employ. But which of these methods qualify as marketing — and what's the difference, anyway?

Lesson Two: The Marketing Umbrella

The short answer is that all of the aforementioned advertising strategies qualify as marketing. The long answer is that advertising is but one part of what's often referred to as the Marketing Umbrella. In this visualization, marketing serves as the umbrella over a wide range of services. Along with advertising, you'll traditionally find public relations, brand identity, market research & analytics, digital marketing, and sales of services/products under the umbrella.

If umbrellas aren't your thing, it might be easier to refer to the classic squares and rectangles comparison. All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. All advertising is marketing, but not all marketing is advertising.

Lesson Three: An AAF Crash Course

The American Advertising Federation is the unifying voice for advertising, encompassing members across all disciplines and career levels in the field. The organization is headquartered in Washington, DC, with more than 164 local clubs across the country representing nearly 30,000 working professionals — that's a lot of advertisers! In addition, AAF hosts a number of annual programs and initiatives, including the Advertising Hall of Fame, the American Advertising Awards, and the National Student Advertising Competition.

Lesson Four: All About AAF Orlando

As one of the many chapters of the American Advertising Federation, AAF Orlando gives all professionals of any age the opportunity to learn, network, and help forward government initiatives that benefit the advertising community. We host regular programs focused on education and networking, spread the word about local job opportunities, help companies get their requests for proposal into the hands of the best agencies and creatives in town, and offer mentorship opportunities. Each year in February, we host the local level competition of the American Advertising Awards. Winners can go on to compete at the district and national competitions later in the year!

Lesson Five: Advertising vs. Marketing?

To sum it all up, we shouldn't look at it as advertising vs. marketing — because advertising is marketing! If you're on the fence about whether you belong with AAF Orlando, I'll make it easier for you: if you work in, with, around, or near advertising, you have a place with us. Advertising plays a major role in every organization's marketing strategy, so wherever you fall under that fancy umbrella, you can gain something from becoming a member of your local chapter.


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About the Author: Nicole Wills is a communications professional and freelance writer with a passion for storytelling. She currently serves as the Content Chair of AAF Orlando's Communications & Creative Committee. When Nicole isn't writing, she can be found reading, playing video games, and hanging out with her cat (sometimes all at once)

One response to “Advertising vs. Marketing: What’s the Difference?

  1. Keith Bates says:

    Yep, this sums up this page: To sum it all up, we shouldn't look at it as advertising vs. marketing — because advertising is marketing!

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