What is the Difference Between Marketing and Advertising?

A career in public relations helps businesses and organizations communicate their message and image to a mass audience, according to the University of California, Berkeley Career Center. However, there are multiple career fields in the public relations sector. Two fields that are often conflated are advertising and marketing. Both share similar goals in public relations, but both careers are different in terms of tasks and job responsibilities.


A career in marketing is a strategic occupation for companies, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Marketers, particularly marketing managers, are workers who consider the strategies that are needed to reach potential customers. In addition, when considering a new product or service from a company, the marketing team and manager brainstorm how this product or service would best fit certain populations. They also develop pricing strategies so the maximum amount of a population or the targeted population is both attracted to and can afford the good or service. Most marketers work directly for a company. The BLS found in May 2010 that most marketers worked in the professional and scientific sector (about 18%). That means many marketers work to help professional and scientific companies reach specific customers with their products or services. Other sectors that marketers work for include manufacturing, management, finance, and information sectors.


Advertisers perform some different functions compared to marketers. Instead of working on the product itself, the advertising team and manager work on the ways the marketing message gets across to populations. Advertisers work with the media, such as television or newspapers, and the internet, such as through social media or search engine optimization, to get the message of the good, service, or company across to the specific population. Advertisers also have the unique position of often being contractors and liaisons to other businesses. Advertising firms work for different companies and help them to get their marketing messages across the media and to the general population. Because of that, advertisers often need to meet with clients and maintain relationships with businesses as the firm handles the creative and outreach for that client. The BLS verifies this by showing most advertisers actually work for independent advertising agencies (about 22%). However, companies can invest in their own advertising teams that work directly for those companies. The BLS found that the other sectors that employ the most advertisers include information, non-profit, management, and the wholesale trading sector.

Different Forms of Promotion

Marketing and advertising are both forms of public relations. At the same time, many businesses schools may lump the concentrations together into the same major. However, both marketing and advertising work to help a business out in different ways. Marketing helps create the strategies to reach a targeted population, while advertising works with different mediums to get that marketing message across to the targeted population. In addition, many firms exist exclusively to provide advertising insight for clients and companies.

Additional Resources: