If a business is going to be truly successful over the long haul, it has to market and advertise appropriately. Marketing and advertising are the critical one-two punch for any business. It’s public outreach. Whether you’re selling hamburgers, washing machines, drain cleaning, or flight training, the public has to know who you and where you are, and have at least some sense of why they should think about buying your product or services.
Getting your message out into the world in a meaningful way while sticking to a budget can be difficult for many people. In fact many businesses run by people with a real passion for their field but without a business degree or a lot of management experience may not even realize that marketing and advertising are two entirely different things. Different things that work together to achieve a common goal.
You might think of marketing as an engine and advertising as the fuel. Without one, the other doesn’t perform very well. Together, they can move mountains.
In a nutshell, marketing involves creating and then executing a plan. It can be very broad and cost little, or it can be very narrow and quite expensive. It’s entirely up to you and your best estimation of how to make a positive impression on the audience you seek.
Your marketing efforts can include all sorts of activities that will raise your company’s name recognition in the marketplace and make it clear to people what you do. Public speaking at schools or civic clubs is one form of marketing. Hosting an open house is another. Encouraging Boy Scout or Girl Scout groups to come out to tour your facility, or arranging for an engineering class from the local high school or college to come see how theory meets reality in the form of an aircraft are all great examples of marketing. Even joining the local Chamber of Commerce and attending their networking events can be considered part of your marketing plan.
Advertising is entirely different. Advertising describes the purchase of time on television or radio, or space in newspapers, magazines, or even on the Internet to share specific information about your products or services with the listeners, viewers, or readers of a particular product in the media.
You might think of the two this way: Marketing provides an opportunity for you to familiarize others with who you are and what you do. Advertising carries one very specific message about your products or services to a particular audience.
When NASCAR driver Tony Stewart shows up at the local Chevy dealership to sign autographs and take photos, that’s marketing. When General Motors puts his picture on a billboard along with a car and a retail price, that’s advertising.
The key to being successful at marketing and advertising is to make sure your marketing and advertising plans work together. Get the most bang for the buck from a coordinated effort.
Yes, it really is possible to conduct an effective marketing campaign without spending a lot of money, and to target your ads to the specific demographics you want to reach without breaking the bank. If you plan well and execute your plan diligently, your chances of success go up dramatically. And in this case success is measured by the number of new customers who come through your door.