Marketing is a vast field that meets a new concept now and then but yet few concepts never go old and yet confuse some of the learners; for example, the difference between advertising and promotion.

To clear this ambiguity among learners, this article has been framed with a detailed explanation of the difference between the two along with basic examples for a better understanding. Before we head to our article, one must know that promotion is said to be a marketing technique whereas advertising is a promotional tool.

Definitions and meanings


Advertising in the basic of the definition is a promotional tool which is used with the basic aim to get or draw public attention towards a service or product that a company offers. Advertising of a product or service is done on a certain price that is why we see advertising agencies and firms charging brands on the ad that brand wants to bring in front of the eyes of its customers.

Advertising is a technique that is adopted by various firms. The better the advertising, the more customers get to know about you and your offerings. Keeping this definition in mind, we get to understand the importance of advertising for any company. For example, McDonald’s the famous junk food chain when advertised their famous sundae ice-cream it was a major hit in Europe and even in Asia. How do you know about McDonald’s? Through their advertising techniques.

Please keep this in mind that spreading reviews vocally i.e. word of mouth is also a form of advertising. Other than word of mouth different channels are used for advertising purposes. We have the radio, television, internet, and social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, magazines, billboards, buses, walls, posters and pamphlets.

Advertising requires significant funds and is simply costly. To spend the advertising budget wisely and fruitfully, individuals and companies deeply observe the net impact of advertising on the sale of related product or service during and after their advertising campaign.

In today’s time, the charges of advertising are quite high because of the tough competition among brands. When an advertisement clicks an individual he/she tends to get attracted towards it and purchases. This proves the positive effects of advertisement on people.

The real task comes when a person has to identify the right array of products. Numerous brands are claiming to possess A-grade products and services but can all be speaking the truth? Or selling what they claim? Advertisements can be misleading to the extent that they portrait only the positive side of a product and cover any form of defects or shortcomings it may possess.

It is imperative for a company to keep a check record of the number of ads being released by them. The more advertisements a brand displays, the more chances for the viewer to remember and have an influence. This technique works in the favor of companies then as customer tends to buy the product he/she is seeing or hearing about more.

Advertising works as a reminder as well. For example, Pepsi and Coca-Cola two famous beverages release their advertisements in every 6 months. Everyone knows about them but they yet advertise about their same old flavored soft-drinks.

As the weather gets warm, Coca-Cola comes with some new advertising campaigns. Upon observation, it has been noticed that Coca-Cola has more advertisements as compared to Pepsi and so is considered a tougher competitor in the beverages market.


Promotion is defined as a set or collection of activities that convey the merits of a product or service to persuade the target market or customer to purchase it. In marketing, students are taught a concept called “marketing mix”. Promotion is one of the four p’s that are part of the marketing mix. It is none other but a marketing technique to get more and more clients to your product or service.

Promotion is done to bring awareness among the consumers to persuade them to buy. This is done through various techniques such as offering discounts, distribution of free samples, giving buy-one-get-one-free offers and offering complimentary products, for example, Colgate toothpaste starts giving toothbrush for free. Other effective techniques include rebates, gifts on special festivals, contests and prize distributions, etc. All these techniques are adopted by brands to indulge customers with their offerings and keep them motivated to stay loyal.

Promotion is one of those techniques that give an instant boost to the sales of a company. It is most of the times very fruitful to whoever knows how to conduct in a smart manner.

Promotion, as mentioned above, comprises of persuasive activities thus the following concepts come under promotion:

Direct Marketing:
A promotional technique in which a seller meets the buyer directly without the involvement of any third party. There is direct selling.

Public Relation:
A positive image is delivered to the customer of the regarded company through various channels.

Advertising versus promotion – tabular comparison

A tabular comparison of advertising and promotion is given below:

Advertising vs Promotion
Technique to drive customers’ attention towards a product or service through paid network Set of activities comprised to spread a word about a certain product or service
Aimed to build a brand image and increase sales Done to boost short term sales
It is a promotional strategy It is a marketing strategy
The results are usually slow but can be seen over a certain period of time. The results are instant
It can be really costly. A cost effective marketing tool
Advertising is suitable for medium and big enterprises. Promotion is suitable for all enterprises.


To conclude, advertising and promotion both in the end have same purpose i.e. to attract and retain customers towards a certain service-offering or product. Advertising and promotion both are important concepts in the marketing world.

A smart marketer is the one who knows how to manage advertising within a set budget and opt for promotional offers keeping the know-how about the target market. While the advertising and promotional efforts in right direction can increase sales and be fruitful, the opposite often results in loss of time and money resources.