The difference between marketing and advertising

By Byron G. Torres

I was approached by an entrepreneur with an idea. His concept was very compelling and he was very passionate about the idea. For nearly 10 minutes he talked about the features of his idea and about the “cool” factor.

Once he was done I asked him: Who is your market and how are you going to reach them? I was hoping for an enthusiastic and detailed response. To my surprise he gave me a blank stare and simply answered by saying “I’m not sure”.

Actually, I was not very surprised at all. I speak with business owners from various industries on a daily basis and more times than not, they do not understand how to market their business and they don’t know who their clients are. The shotgun advertising shotgun approach seems to be king with small businesses. I find that they confuse marketing with advertising. These terms are very different but are often confused with one another. Here is the definition for each word:

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.


Advertising is the activity of attracting public attention to a product or business, as by paid announcements in the print, broadcast, or electronic media.

Marketing has value compels someone to buy whereas advertising makes them aware that the product exists.

How can you market yourself?
I keep hearing how the real estate and mortgage industries have changed. However, if you stop and think about it, the concept for your potential clients has not changed at all. Your potential clients are still looking for a professional to guide them and provide helpful information so they can make an intelligent decision.

Take advantage of that and introduce yourself as a professional who offers solutions. At the end of the day, what sets you apart from the other originators or real estate agents? You.

Think of marketing yourself as a solution and a resource for your clients and not simply another real estate agent pushing foreclosures.

How do you select professionals? Would you select a dentist that offers you cheap fillings without first taking x-rays of your mouth? Or, would you select the dentist that conducts a thorough examination and then makes a recommendation?

Many of the advertisements that I see in the real estate and mortgage industry are so generic that no one stands out. It’s there for the taking so take it!

Know your audience
Define your perfect client. Be specific.

  • How much money do they make?
  • Are they first time home buyers?
  • Are they experienced investors?
  • Are they cash buyers?
  • Are they young, web savvy professionals?
  • Are they seniors?

If you were trying to reach the seniors market, a mailer would serve you better. If you are targeting young professionals, email and web marketing is your best bet.

If you don’t know who your clients are you will never reach them. Know your audience and remember that marketing yourself puts you much closer to sale.

Byron G. Torres is an established entrepreneur and business coach from Southern California. He is the founder of Pritzer Media, a marketing company specializing in website design, local marketing and videos for the web.

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