Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Is it Marketing or Advertising

We aren't trying to pick on Stuart Elliott, advertising columnist at the New York Times, but we noticed an interesting headline, in Tuesday, Feb. 21st's column, Marketing Budgets Rise for Some Giants.

For the most part, the article discusses how much more money some consumer products companies will be spending in 2012 on advertising of all types. Most of our authors who are experts in marketing and market research would tell you that money spent on advertising in social media, print media, on television and radio is not marketing. Marketing and market research is what should come before advertising spending decisions are made, and after the advertising money has been spent to see if the campaigns were effective.

What seems to be a problem is that companies and journalists (especially headline writers) often confuse advertising and marketing, assuming they are one and the same.  Companies may budget for marketing when what they are really doing is budgeting for advertising without getting the fundamental research they need to make the best decisions about how to spend their advertising dollars.

M. Isabel Valdes and the experts who collaborated with her on the book, WIN! the Hispanic Market argue that too little is spent on market research about Hispanics to validate advertising decisions. They also say that much of the Hispanic market passes through the "leaky bucket," with companies not aware of the actual size of the market, again because inadequate resources are allocated to gathering the data needed.

Similarly, in her forthcoming book, Black Still Matters in Marketing, Pepper Miller says that much of the research conducted on Blacks is not relevant because researchers don't bother to go where Black consumers are.

It would be helpful if the terms advertising and marketing were not used interchangeably in the C-suite and the boardroom. Then executives would be able to better understand what their dollars are going for and why they are sometimes not being spent effectively.

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