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Difference Between Advertising and Promotion

Advertising and promotion are two key pillars in the marketing world. Both are marketing strategies and are necessary for any organization to remain in the market for a long time.


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Test your knowledge about topics related to business

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_________ is an important consideration for setting up an office.

2 / 10

Cash flow is:

3 / 10

A valid definition of a business purpose is to ______.

4 / 10

Who is the servant of the firm with a share in the profits?

5 / 10

Individual Ownership is called as?

6 / 10

Productivity means how much was done compared to what it took to do it.

7 / 10

Which of the following countries are part of the WTO?

8 / 10

The method of evaluating the efficiency of workers is termed as _________.

9 / 10

Overall and strategic planning is done by the ___________.

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Your score is


Even though both of them look identical, there is a significant difference between advertising and promotion.

While I am pretty sure that most of you have a bit of information about Advertising, not many of you will be aware of what promotion is all about.

Key Takeaways

  1. Advertising is a paid form of communication to promote a product or service to a broad audience.
  2. Promotion includes various marketing activities to increase sales, such as advertising, personal selling, public relations, and sales promotion.
  3. Advertising is a subset of promotion and focuses specifically on paid communication.

Advertising vs Promotion

The difference between Advertising and Promotion is that advertising generally refers to sending out controlled messages by paying to the media, while promotion can include both paid and free marketing activities. Advertising is applicable to all mediums to a large organization whose primary objective is to build the brand image.

Advertising vs Promotion

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Promotion is about mentioning your new product, brand, etc., through free and paid marketing activities.

In case, if your organization is involved in small businesses, the promotion seems to be an ideal choice and cost-efficient one for an increase in sales.

In this guide, we are covering all the essential details for you to understand the difference between Advertising and Promotion


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonAdvertisingPromotion
DefinitionAdvertising is defined as one-way controlled communication and is paid to media in order to build a brand image for potential customers.Promotion involves mentioning the brand or new product launch through both paid and free marketing activities.
ParticipantsMedium or large-sized companies.Small-sized companies
ObjectiveBrand Building, Brand Switching, Brand Recall, etc.Rewarding Loyal Customers, Increasing the Sales of the Organization, Attracting potential customers through schemes, and Increasing Repurchases.
NatureAdvertising often portrays emotional appeal. Mostly advertisements are created so as to create a brand image in the mind of customersPromotions don’t portray any emotional appeal; these are usually done to change the rational thinking of customers. For e.g. giving discount coupons on a product can make the customer buy that because of less price
End ResultThe effect of advertising takes time. Hence end result is slowAs compared to advertising, the end result is achieved very fast
CostAlmost in every case, This is ExpensiveNot much expensive as Advertising


What is Advertising?

Advertising is defined as one-way controlled communication, and the relevant cost is paid to the media in order to build a brand image for potential customers.

Since being a little costly, it is most commonly being used by medium to large-sized firms in order to meet the objective of building a positive brand image and an increase in sales.

However, small firms can also find some innovative ways to advertise by paying a relatively lesser amount with the help of digital marketing. It is thought that by paying for advertisements, the Organization will see an increase in sales, but it takes longer to achieve those sales results.

Thus they should be well aware of the following objectives of advertising;

  1. What is the trial period for advertising?
  2. What should be the continuity duration of the advertisement?
  3. Can advertising aid in Brand Switching?
  4. Can advertising lead to Brand Recall?

The various advertising options that the organization can choose from are;

  1. Above-the-line advertising (ATL)
  2. Below-the-line advertising (BTL)
  3. Through-the-line advertising (TTL)

Also, it is our duty to make you understand that the above advertising options are taken by organizations based on the level of awareness and penetration.

Therefore, it is equally important to know to carry out any advertising activity using different advertising mediums.

Thus, it is required to understand that advertisement is a marketing strategy used by several firms in order to build brand image and position the brand in the minds of customers.


What is Promotion?

Promotion involves mentioning the brand or new product launch through both paid and free marketing activities

In promotion, the organization influences the customer to purchase the new products or services launched or can also contribute to brand switching.

In order to increase sales, Organizations give special offers, discounts, or gifts to their customers. All these are part of the promotions.

The best part about promotions is that it increases sales, i.e. by providing 50% off on Shirts in a Garment store, the Store manager can see the surge in sales, which couldn’t have been possible without Promotion

The various types of promotions that the organization uses are;

  1. Sales Promotion
  2. Trade Promotion
  3. Personal Selling
  4. Public Relations etc.

As per the requirement or in terms of achieving specific objectives, the Marketing team of any organization can choose from the above-mentioned promotion techniques at their convenience.

Thus, organizations should comprehend their target customers and how to best reach them. A different set of customers may respond well to different promotions.

Hence selecting which promotion to be used is solely based on management’s decision.


Main Differences Between Advertising and Promotion

Although both these marketing strategies are beneficial for the organization to meet its objectives, there are many differences between Advertising and Promotion when it comes to sales, outreach and brand development.

  1. Promotions offer fast results like increased sales, brand switching, etc., and advertising offers brand development, although it impacts sales, but is slower when compared to Promotion.
  2. Promotion is relatively less costly when compared to Advertising.
  3. Advertising doesn’t directly lead to sales, but Promotions directly impact sales conversion.
  4. The advertising approach is always unique to a product or service, whereas Promotion is not unique; it can be for multiple products or services.
Difference Between Advertising and Promotion
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2 thoughts on “Difference Between Advertising and Promotion”

  1. So I have a question. If I post on other websites and ask people to come and visit my online business, then it is not advertising right?

    1. Yes, you are right. Advertising is attached with some form of payment in exchange of promotion as in TV, Radio or Pay per click ads.

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