Advertising is just one component of a larger marketing program.
Marketing is the overall process of communicating and delivering products to a target audience through the marketing mix of product, price, place and promotion. Promotion is a combination of communication activities that include advertising and public relations. Deciding on what resources to apply to each of these promotion areas is a result of other factors identified in an overall marketing plan.
A business should have a defined marketing plan to successfully develop, communicate, sell and ultimately deliver products and services. Building on research, a written marketing plan identifies potential customers and potential communication media to reach an identified target customer. A budget is then established to fund a communication plan utilizing the elements of the promotional mix, which include advertising and public relations.
Promotion in the marketing mix starts with a business deciding which communication methods to use based on the type of product, market research, distribution channels and an established budget. A company may choose a national advertising campaign if large retailers offer established products to consumers. A small company with a lesser known product may initially opt for a direct sales force to introduce products to smaller retailers.
Advertising is a means of communication to a target audience using mostly paid media such as television, radio, the Internet and print publications. Successful advertising programs include themes that communicate company mission, branding and services as well as specific product information. The media for advertising are chosen based on what market research has identified as the most successful way of reaching a target audience and the financial resources that can be applied to advertising based on the marketing budget.
Public relations is a communication method used by businesses to convey a positive image to a target audience and the general public. Public relations methods can include press releases, community involvement and speaking at public forums on issues important to a target audience. Small companies with small advertising budgets can use public relations as an inexpensive medium to establish the company name and communicate a brand image. Successful public relations programs highlight company accomplishments and positive contributions to community.