The difference between Marketing and Advertising

Marketing on 4 wheels!

I speak with plumbers all the time and one theme that constantly comes back to me is “what is the difference between marketing and advertising?” Just about all the plumbers I speak with understand the importance of advertising.  Advertising is the simple function of getting your business name and phone number in front of the consumers who use your products or services.  Advertising can be very basic and boring.  You put an ad out, people see it that need your service and thats it. 

Basic advertising does not take into consideration things like future business, referrals, customer loyalty / customer retention, etc.  Basic advertising is just you need what I do.  Here it is and thats it.  Marketing, on the other hand addresses the big picture.  Marketing is done in many ways, some of which may seem very subtle.  Using the “1-800-PLUMBING” phone number can facilitate very effective marketing because customers remember your number instantly.  Customers now have a tool to easily refer your business to their friends, family, associates, etc.  Customers will also remember your number the next time they need your services even if that is several years from the first call.  Giving out magnets, pens, hats, etc is marketing.  Sending a card to customers on their birthday is marketing.  Using shoe covers, protecting the floor with a mat, wearing a clean professional looking uniform is all part of an effective marketing plan.

Having a phone system with a nice message on hold, voice mail, and a pleasant person answering your phone during regular business hours is part of marketing.  I could and probably will write a blog on each one of these marketing tools.  Proper marketing means investing in things that show the customer you actually care about getting repeat business.  Sometimes the return on investment is not seen immediately, however, you just need to believe that a little more effort on the front end will yield incredibly higher results somewhere down the line.

When considering a marketing strategy, think about what you would want if you were the customer and that should give you a great starting point.

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