The Difference between Marketing, Relationship Marketing, and Advertising
Oh, the dreaded 4 words… The words when put together, scare even the toughest of men.
We found ourselves saying them more & more frequently as new businesses join the world of social media in hopes of staying relevant with today’s consumers.
So, what are these 4 words? ...fair warning, it might be hard to hear, but we've gotta say it.... ready?
Marketing... is... not... sales...
Okay, I can hear the gasps. But really, it's true.
Even if we’ve reallocated our advertising budget from tv and radio budget to do some marketing instead in order to show up on social media.
Still, marketing is not sales.
Now, don't get me wrong. Marketing can increase your sales. But we must understand how it plays a role & how to truly measure the ROI of marketing.. and that the old sales funnel mindset isn’t how it works today.
Let me explain:
Too often, I've been asked "If I spend $X on having you manage our social media marketing channels what can I expect as a return on investment within the next 30 days?"
To which we reply, unless we're adding advertising to your marketing plan, you shouldn’t expect any positive ROI within not only your first 30 days but honestly within the first 6 months - 12 months or maybe ever.
Here's why: marketing isn't sales 🤷🏻♀️
Too often, when brands invest in social media management, they only track the new sales coming in instead of looking at what something like relationship marketing can do.
That's why we're going to break it down to define the difference between advertising, marketing, and relationship marketing.
Magnet > Bullhorn
What if you could use your marketing messages to make your company a magnet vs. just a 📢 bullhorn? Magnet Marketing focuses on attracting your niché, ideal match for clients and focuses on ensuring they’re going to stick with you for the long term as opposed to simply broadcasting your message out to the most people in hopes they’ll hear it and purchase faster.
There are several types of “marketing” even as it relates to online marketing that we want to define so you can understand the role each type plays in the growth of your business.
Branding = Personality of your Business
A brand is an identifier - symbol, name, word, logo, statement - used to set themselves apart from others. A company’s brand identity is that picture someone gets of your organization.
Branding is all-encompassing and more than just that logo alone… it’s the emotional response that’s triggered when someone sees your logo, your symbol, your products. @JessikaPhillips (click to tweet)
Branding doesn’t just happen. Prior to any marketing efforts, you need to dig in and identify an authentic picture of who you are, what you are about, and how you want to show up before any marketing or advertising will work.
Advertising = Transactional Focused aka The Bullhorn
The bullhorn. Advertising is one-way communication and is always paid… never earned. Advertising is “selling-focused” with a short-term, quick goal in mind. Typically advertisers are looking for name recognition and brand awareness with their message.
Traditional advertising are typically your big four:
- Print - newsprint, publications, direct mailers
Campaign results are driven under the concept that $X=X positive ROI. Advertisers are paying for attention vs. it being earned. It’s 100% transactional.
Marketing = Earned Attention aka The Magnet
The magnet. Marketing is building relationships with your audience and in turn, they are coming directly to solve a problem or find a solution, Marketing is focused around the all-important audience member - defining who that is, discovering what they need and getting to know each other over time. Ultimately the goal is to speak the language of your persona and to have them relate to your brand in a way that sparks a conversation. This is where we throw a wrench in the concept that marketing is marketing. And it’s all the same. There are three primary methods to attract and build your audience. Inbound. Outbound. Relationship.
Not All Marketing is created Equal
Let’s break them down a little.
People are searching for solutions to solve their “problem” and they’re finding YOU through the authentic, relatable content you’re creating. It naturally will bring your audience members right to your doorstep… aka website, social channel, online media.
- Search engine optimization
- Content marketing
- People are searching for solution and find you through the types of content/solution you are offering
- Social media marketing
Are you reaching out to someone else or are they reaching into you?
Outbound marketing is typically the communication you are sharing to push out a defined message. Essentially you are reaching out to someone - hopefully though a curated, refined list - to offer a solution to solve for their need.
- Cold-calling - with the intent of serving them | solve a problem
- Community events - participating or sponsoring events, not actively selling but supporting programs that are impactful
Both are earned marketing and earn ROI as you build relationships and earn attention. Neither of these options provides a “quick-fix”. It isn’t a quick 30-day sprint for a return. It’s a marathon and a trust-building process. If done properly you’ll be creating information that should be aligning with customers and ideal personas as the content you’re sharing is resonating with them.
Wanting to be helpful, be a magnet, delight and retention aspect deeper dive from inbound marketing to help grow repeat and referral business for your business.
Advertising does have a place within the relationship marketing cycle. It’s all about balance. Blending paid with organic content to wow your personas. When combining marketing and advertising together, spending dollars to attract new customers, retention isn’t the initial priority… it’s awareness. As you continue to build your advertising funnels you can work that awareness contact thorough the journey to consideration, conversation, and ideally repeat and referral business.
As you keep your customers longer, the less you’ll ultimately be spending on your marketing overtime as happy customers refer others. Thus perpetuating the flywheel we love to reference.
How can you keep those audience members happy?
- Dark social - it’s getting more and more challenging to reach people and your ideal audience so when people are communicating on social it’s happening in the inbox or in Facebook groups versus on the profile feed (direct messages, WhatsAp, Messenger, snap, etc) not privy to the public but someone is giving opinion and thought.
- Personalize message
- Tagging photos and brand/company engaging in the conversation
- Offers the existing audience that “something special,” first look at new “thing” personalized card, etc… engaging in a way that you are making someone feel like a VIP
- Out C.A.R.E. the competition:
- C: CAPTURE ATTENTION not just capturing attention from a branding standpoint, but having that vibe, that feeling, that story/tone/feeling/identity of who you want to work with and how your brand is unique - so you can capture their attention when someone does start checking out your advertising and marketing
- A: ARTICULATE YOUR MESSAGE: make your customer the hero, how are you going to hit on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs - stop making your audience burn “brain calories” to try to figure something out. Simplify.
- R: RELATIONSHIPS: differentiate relationship marketing - people keep coming back, referrals - delight, deliver, do it again - how can we make people feel special: audio messages, video messages instead of just the everyday same-old email - build a relationship for the long-term.
- E: EXCEPTIONAL EXPERIENCE: create a frictionless experience for your customer to business with you… make it easy for them to solve their problems.
So to wrap it all up.
Marketing is considerate and consistent. Advertising is transactional and focuses on selling, not serving. However, they work best when functioning hand-in-hand. They compliment each other and when done right can put your voice and your message into the mouths and conversations of your true, authentic, ideal audience.
Plan in the beginning - what are your goals and then you’ll be able to figure out which method works best or what mix of marketing/advertising/etc.
The evolution of these pieces is the opportunity for growth in relationship marketing and other marketing - technology is letting us do this in a way that we are able to reach new audiences and allows us to connect in meaningful ways.
We love chatting about ways to build your brand! If you would like to stay “in the know” about changes happening in online marketing and be part of conversations to help keep your brand ahead of the competition, join our Facebook Group: Relationships & ROI.