Difference Between Promotion and Advertising

Last Updated: March 10, 2022
Wondering what you should use for your marketing? Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will quickly learn the difference between advertising and promotion.
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Should you go for advertising or promotion? Learn what marketing technique you should incorporate in your business in this article.

Definition of Advertising and Promotion

Advertising

Advertising is a unilateral, impersonal and controlled communication tool by which an advertiser, through messages paid to the media, addresses a target audience with the aim of informing, persuading or reminding.  It is said to be controlled because, for example, a brand may contact a television network and agree to run an advertisement on that network for 20 seconds. Since the brand is paying for that ad, it has the ability and power to control it. 

Advertising media are newspapers, magazines, television, radio, outdoor advertising and the Internet.

The objectives of advertising are:

  • To inform. To publicize the new product or service being advertised, showing how it works and its benefits. 
  • Persuade. To convince or stimulate the sale by highlighting the characteristics that generate a positioning against competitors, in addition to modifying habits, attitudes or customs in the purchase of consumers. 
  • To remind. To keep the product or service being offered in the consumer’s mind and make him remember it.

Here is an example of the different actions carried out by an advertising agency in case you are thinking of hiring its services.

Sales Promotion

Sales promotion is a communication tool made up of multiple techniques and aimed at both the distribution channel and the end consumer, which allows marketing and communication objectives to be met through the temporary limited addition of a promotional bonus to the product or service, with a previously established communicative objective and with a quantifiable secondary benefit in terms of increased sales. 

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The objectives of sales promotions are to increase awareness of the product or service among users of other brands, encourage product or service testing, raise the level of interest of users currently consuming the product or service, achieve better display at the point of sale, consolidate customer loyalty, increase the frequency and quantity of purchases by consumers, regularize demand…

What Are the Differences Between Advertising and Promotion?

Both advertising and sales promotion are aimed at the end consumer. However, promotions are also aimed at the channel, i.e. wholesalers, retailers and sales force. When a company chooses to do promotions, it is because it is looking for faster results and these are achieved through sales promotion.

With promotions you can address different target groups at the same time, while with advertising, you have to address a specific audience depending on the campaign you do. You can run several campaigns and each one can be directed at a different target group. 

A disadvantage of sales promotion is that it is easy for competitors to follow and copy, and there can be an erosion of average prices and profitability, leading to a price war. This does not happen with advertising. 

What Are the Similarities Between Advertising and Promotion?

Both instruments have a specific duration in time; you cannot be constantly doing promotions or advertising because it is an expense for the company. It is convenient that both are used together with other communication instruments to achieve the objectives of the organizations. The secondary objective of both strategic communication tools is sales. 

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When Should Promotions Be Used and When Should Advertising Be Used?

Promotions should be used when you want to achieve rapid sales results, to add value to the marketing communication mix, to differentiate yourself from your competitors’ actions and to increase the value perceived by the consumer. This is provided that the promotions are consistent with the brand and its positioning, without worsening the brand image and without accustoming consumers to promotional incentives. 

On the other hand, advertising should be used above all to make the product or service known to the public and reach a large number of people. If it is already a recognized brand, but has undergone some modification, has new attributes, has increased its range of products, wants to launch a new line… it serves to make the demand aware of these facts or changes. It is also used so that the brand remains in the consumer’s mind and they do not forget about its existence or buy competing brands. 

We hope that with this content you have been able to know the differences that exist between both strategies when it comes to apply them to your business.

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Written by Allison Langstone

Allison produces content for a business SAAS but also contributes to EarthWeb frequently, using her knowledge of both business and technology to bring a unique angle to the site.