Comparing Advertising vs. Promotion (With Differences)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 7, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Businesses create marketing campaigns to appeal to their target audience and engage them during the buying process. Marketing experts use advertising and promotion to develop distinctive and engaging marketing strategies for their companies. Learning the differences between advertising and promotion can help you develop a great marketing strategy. In this article, we compare advertising vs. promotion , list the differences between them, and review essential marketing tips.

Related: 10 Effective Strategies for Generating Leads in Marketing

Comparing advertising vs. promotion

If you want to improve a company's brand awareness or marketing strategy, you may benefit from comparing advertising vs. promotion. The primary purpose of these tools is to increase product demand by motivating the target audience to purchase a specific product or service. Here are the explanations of these two marketing methods:

What is advertising?

Advertising is a one-way communication that aims to inform prospective customers about items and services, and how to acquire them. Usually, a business pays to communicate advertising messages to prospective clients. There are four advertising strategies often used by a business, including:

  • Media: It refers to visual advertising techniques where the company displays statics and appealing ads, such as photographs and illustrations. This comprises the use of platforms such as billboards, wall paintings, and banners.

  • Television advertising: Companies also use television advertisements, such as commercials, to tell prospective consumers about their business and goods. These advertisements vary from 15 seconds to two minutes in duration, allowing businesses to tailor their commercial advertising campaigns.

  • Covert advertising: This refers to indirect advertising, which is the way a brand can quietly integrate into a scene. An example might be a celebrity using a company's product or wearing its logo during an interview.

  • Internet advertising: Publishing online banners on their own website or on another company's website, businesses can promote their brand, goods, and services. This also comprises social media ads and e-mail marketing campaigns.

Related: Mass Marketing (With Characteristics and Advantages)

What is promotion?

Promotion is the dissemination of information on a product, brand, or manufacturer. It's one of the four most important aspects of marketing. Promotion is when a business advertises certain items and specific elements or incentives to attract consumers. Businesses use this type of marketing to transmit messages via media channels. Because of the usage of pre-existing media outlets, businesses can launch promotions without using additional resources. For instance, they can post a discount promotion on their websites. There are four sorts of promotional activities, including:

  • Direct marketing: Direct marketing is a kind of digital or internet marketing in which a business addresses a prospective client directly with its offerings. They may sell their items using e-mail and social media.

  • Public relations: This kind of advertising relies on a company's reputation in the community. Companies often promote their values and image by attracting media attention for significant activities, which help them generate and strengthen a positive image.

  • Personal selling: Personal selling occurs when a sales professional contacts a prospective client to stimulate a sale. Typically, sales professionals execute this sort of marketing in person and tailor their approach to match the requirements of individual customers.

Related: Marketing Team Roles, Skills, and Responsibilities

Differences between advertising and promotion

Knowing the distinctions between advertising and promotion may aid in the development of efficient marketing strategies. Evaluate the following list of similarities and differences to enhance your knowledge of these two marketing concepts:


Long-term advertising efforts contribute to the development of a company's brand image. It does this by creating campaigns to reach a market of present and prospective clients. An additional objective of advertising campaigns is to improve sales performance and income. By improving brand recognition, clients are more likely to purchase from a business, increasing sales and company profits.

Promotional campaigns are short-term activities that assist a business in achieving its short-term objectives. Some businesses start these campaigns to achieve their sales, product turnover, or inventory turnover objectives. Typically, these campaigns operate for a certain period or until the organization meets its objective.

Related: What Are Online Marketing Strategy Courses? (With Benefits)


Costs for advertising and marketing activities also vary. Companies often purchase advertising space on billboards, websites, and television. Many organizations use existing media venues, such as social media, to inform clients about current deals, reducing marketing expenses. Depending on the advertising strategies used, a business may incur costs for developing and delivering promotional information, such as in-mail fliers.

Communication method

Typically, advertising allows an organization to communicate one message to a diverse range of consumers. Businesses can do this by launching their advertising campaigns on online search engines, radio stations, tv shows, and newspapers.

Promotions include two-way communication. This allows consumers to ask questions and provide feedback to an organization. Usually, businesses can launch promotions through trial offers, special events, sales promos, and leaflets.

Related: Understanding Service Marketing (Definition and Tips)

Time involved

The time each campaign is active differs across advertising and promotional endeavours. One month to one year is the typical time range for advertising campaigns. Promotional programs are normally active for one day and up to a few weeks. Additionally, businesses observe the effects of each of these operations throughout distinct time periods. The outcomes of a marketing effort occur over an extended period. Managers and other marketing professionals often evaluate the efficacy of a marketing campaign by reviewing sales figures and consumer interaction. Conversely, companies may quickly see the impact of promotions on their performance metric reports.

Nature of appeal

Numerous organizations develop advertising efforts that appeal to clients' emotions. This may assist consumers in forming a relationship with the business, increasing customer loyalty and the likelihood of a sale. Developing an emotional relationship between the consumer and the product might assist customers in seeing themselves using the company's products. Some feelings that companies use in their marketing campaigns are:

  • gratitude

  • joy

  • pride

  • trust

  • happiness

Typically, promotion programs are emotionless sales efforts that urge quick customer response. These campaigns may improve brand recognition, but their primary objective is to entice consumers to buy a particular product from the business. Typical sales promotions include:

  • rebates

  • discounts

  • free products

  • rewards

Essential marketing tips

Usually, keeping your industry knowledge up-to-date and using all available resources might help you create a good marketing plan for a business. Consider the following tips while developing or executing your marketing strategy:

Promote your goods in advance

Even if the product isn't yet available, you may advertise it in advance to generate product awareness. Conduct proactive awareness campaigns to market the benefits of the product or service before it's available. This can help you generate demand, ensuring an audience whenever the company launches the product.

Measure outcomes

Ensure that you can quantify the outcomes of your marketing effort. Establish methods for tracking conversions and execute multiple marketing initiatives in small batches. This enables you to evaluate several marketing channels to discover which offers the most rewards. It also indicates which is effective.

Related: 10 Types of Marketing to Explore (With Tips and FAQs)

Use a data-cleansing process

Help improve your marketing approach by regularly cleansing your database. This enables you to solve data quality concerns that might affect how a customer perceives the company. Ensure that you have reliable information that can assist you in making more smart business choices. Additionally, accurate data can help guarantee a focused marketing plan. To maintain the accuracy of your data, make data cleansing a monthly practice.

Know your customers

Understanding your target demographic is essential when establishing your marketing approach. Consider their profile, living conditions, what they do, and how you might assist them in improving their performance. Create buyer personas to identify your audience's interests and get a deeper understanding of your customers.

Create targeted content

Understanding your audience enables you to provide focused and relevant content for your current and potential consumers. To establish the trust of your audience, you can demonstrate that you understand their requirements and want to help them meet them. To produce focused content, provide them with useful information about the product or services you offer.

Explore more articles