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Pit Stop: Defining Advertising and Marketing

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Advertising vs. marketing: what’s the difference? Is there even one to point out? The answer may surprise you.

According to, marketing is the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and selling, while advertising is the act of calling public attention to one’s product, service, or need, especially by paid announcements in media. So, in essence, paid advertising is just a small part of the whole marketing arena. This is where the confusion sets in. Many shops think marketing is paid advertising, which involves unloading their pocketbooks to get their name out there, but that’s just not the case. Not all marketing needs to cost money, and if you look at it this way, you can save money and put your energy toward more cost-effective, mostly free, strategies.

Bob Coleman, owner of RC Marketing, LLC, has been a marketing consultant, specializing in helping the automotive industry for about 20 years. Throughout his career, he has helped many shops on the most effective marketing strategies. Now, he’s here to help readers like you market smarter, not harder.

As told to Abby Patterson

Advertising is one part of a larger marketing idea. Marketing is the business process of creating a business relationship and satisfying your customers. Marketing is everything from making your store look nice, to customer service, and social media. All of these things that get you business and help retain customers. Advertising is just a part of this. It’s paying to get the word out: paying for Facebook ads, Instagram ads, all targeted at an audience. So, marketing is everything to bring in customers, while advertising is paying for a promotion to bring in customers.

You need to have a unique experience for the customer so they don’t want to look anywhere else. You want to make it very easy for customers to choose your business with great reviews and having customer touchpoints—any way a consumer can interact and communicate with a business—online. Make sure you have your business’s Google and MyBusiness listings are filled out, including as many pictures and videos as possible. Same goes for your shop’s Facebook and Twitter business page—you want your social media pages to be active and engaging for customers. They are going to choose the first place they see that has great reviews and lots of information.

You don’t want to be selling to a customer all the time or they are going to be turned off. It’s kind of like a magazine, you have to have a variety. You have to have interesting content that keeps them coming back for more, while throwing in a couple advertisements here and there. 

Owners can make a mistake with marketing and advertising by not targeting the right customer in the right place. Sometimes, you want to have an ad on social media that you pay for to reach more people. Pay to boost the post. This is just a simpler, cheaper form of advertising for your business. Even better, make a social media ad and target customers in your demographic.

The best way to market your business is through social media, reviews, and optimizing your website to make it convenient and relevant as possible. Even sending out emails, giving away coupons and stickers, writing blogs, maybe even having a free gift every holiday or having a coupon program. It’s much easier to retain a customer than get a new one. Overall, you want to make sure you are getting good reviews and are keeping up with your online platforms. You have to keep up with all social media, making sure it’s accurate and up to date.


Ideas for Advertising and Marketing

Here are some ideas for your marketing and advertising strategies.

Marketing Advertising
  • Start a blog
  • Post a poll on Facebook
  • Give away goodie bags
  • Create an engaging website
  • Add pictures and videos to Instagram Stories
  • Boost a post on Facebook or Instagram
  • Create a paid Google Ad
  • Utilize pay-per-click
  • Have banner ads on other business websites
  • Pay for SEO keywords on your site


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