Salvaging Millions

Climbing above the competition:
Marketing vs. advertising
Part 1 of 5

How do you promote your company? There is so much noise out there in the form of advertising that you must have a good answer to this question, or you won’t climb above your competitors. If people don’t know about you and your business, you won’t be in a position to be considered when they need the products or services that you sell. This is just as true for an e-commerce website as it is for a shop on the street.

Are marketing and advertising the same thing? Many people believe they are. The typical small business makes this assumption. Some small business owners don’t think about marketing.

That’s too bad. A clear understanding of the difference between marketing and advertising is something every businessperson should have.

Marketing is the crafted means of letting people know you are in business and where they can find you. Advertising is paid promotion of your products or business. You might channel revenue into marketing, perhaps even contract a marketing firm, but that’s not the same as advertising.

A good location can compensate for a poor understanding of marketing, but that’s an exception to the rule. On the flipside, properly run and marketed businesses routinely excel in poor locations. Marketing has many, many forms. It’s press releases, magazine articles, newspaper articles, and interviews. It’s company participation in public events. It’s participation on a private level on public boards. Marketing is contacting people who can influence others and help create awareness of your market presence. Effective marketing is even having your banker speak favorably of you when you are not present. Marketing is having a customer refer your business to a friend.

How are these things achieved? Do they happen because your doors are open between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.? No. Marketing does not just happen. It is a calculated effort that comes from careful planning.

Before the first plans are made, every entrepreneur should grasp the key difference between marketing and advertising. Not only that, but it is equally important to know which of the two is more important. Start your marketing efforts by asking yourself who your customer is and where your market is. If you answer: everyone is a potential customer, that’s a hint that you need to sharpen your marketing focus. In the auto-recycling industry, not everyone driving a car is a potential customer. In the floral industry, not everyone is a potential customer to buy flowers.

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Remember, only you can make BUSINESS GREAT!

Ron Sturgeon is past owner of AAA Small Car World. In 1999, he sold his six Texas locations, with 140 employees, to Greenleaf. In 2001, he founded North Texas Insurance Auction, which he sold to Copart in 2002. In 2002, his book “Salvaging Millions” was published to help small business owners achieve significant success, and was recently reprinted. In June 2003, he joined the new ownership and management team of GreenLeaf. He also manages his real estate holdings and investments. You can learn more about him at He can be reached at 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117, or 817-834-3625 ext 6#.