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Lucas HamonMar 9, 2015 5:30:00 AM4 min read

Marketing VS Advertising for your Start-Up

Marketing VS Advertising: What's the right answer for your Start-Up?

You're at a critical stage in the lifecycle of your early to mid-stage start-up, and it's time to decide whether you should invest your resources into marketing or advertising. Doing both may be too resource intensive, so you must choose... but you must choose Wisely.

Thankfully I have seen many scenarios wherein each succeeded and failed in their own right. Some of it was execution. More of it was miappropriated resources. The conclusion I came to is that marketing should be first and foremost. Without it, advertising is like farting in the wind. 

5 Reasons Why Your Start-Up Prefers Marketing

First off, advertising isn't all bad:

I am a firm believer that there is value with advertising, and I integrate it at many levels. But without marketing, all advertising is going to do is shine a light on you for a brief moment in time so people can see all of the problems your company has. Yes, PPC advertising will drive traffic to your website faster than a sound SEO strategy initially, but what happens when guests arrive and are completely underwhelmed by the way you present yourself?


So, here are 10 compelling reasons why you should focus on marketing first and never let it go. 

1. Marketing Builds Character; Advertising is Quick & Easy

What happens when we get everything we want without having to work for it? We get lazy. And you cannot afford to get lazy when you're running a start-up.

With marketing, you focus on building your company's personality. Everything from your logo to your email signatures to your website... all of that is about developing your voice as an organization, and because you're a start-up, finding the right voice is critical to your success. If you can drive organic traffic using legitimate SEO strategies  versus paying for each and every click, you'll be building an actual brand, not just eyes on your deliverable.

2. Marketing Drives Real Results; Advertising Fakes Them

As I mentioned earlier, advertising has its place, and I think you should be considering PPC ads from the outset, but more to gage the pubilc and help focus your marketing efforts. If you don't put any effort into having a nice looking website with compelling text and visuals, then all of that traffic is going to lead to nowheresville.

And what about having a content marketing strategy for your visitors so you can collect contact information and actually have a way to interact with them? That doesn't exist without some time, energy, and possibly a little money invested into marketing.

That 100% bounce rate will haunt you.

3. Marketing Stays With You; Advertising is Fleeting

Your logo, your website, your downloadable content, your flyers, your blog... these will stay with you and work for you even when you're on vacation. Advertising, however, has zero impact on driving traffic the minute you shut off that ad.

That blog you posted 3 years ago could drive traffic to your website that converts into a customer TODAY because of Google or perhaps somebody sharing it on social media. But if your ad isn't going at that exact moment your perfect client is looking for you, they simply aren't going to find you.

4. Marketing Provides Valuable Feedback; Advertising is a One Way Street

This is definitely an argument for inbound vs outbound marketing, because with inbound you actually have contact with your buying markets. You're on social media, and you provide lead conversion paths all over your website that illicit real interaction. This valuable  intel will help you pivot before investing precious resources into the wrong channels and help you mitigate risk when going all-in on a new project.

When you're just broadcasting your message, however, especially on the radio, print, or television, you're essentially just shouting among a sea of others doing the exact same thing. And remember what I said earlier about building character?

With marketing you get live feedback that will help you avoid making the same mistakes more than once.

5. Marketing Creates Custom Experiences; Advertising is One Size Fits All

The path to lead conversion is no longer linear as it once was. This is why advertising is losing grip every single day. People find you through random searches and coincidences. Maybe they're seeking answers to a business problem they are having, and they use Google to search solutions on it. And maybe you happen to have a blog topic that covers this exact situation

Maybe YOU were searching for answers on what the differences are with marketing and advertising and what the right path is for this stage of your start-up. The point is, you found me through one of my favorite marketing techniques, which is blogging for business.

Marketing can help you find your way through these start up years.

Best of all, it will help drive viable leads to your doorstep that you can use to fuel your growth. Advertising will provide boosts while your marketing takes hold, so I recommend that you use both, and base your allocation on your current stage and working assets.

Learn more about inbound marketing HERE:

Download this free guide to getting started with inbound marketing for your business!


Lucas Hamon

Over 10 years of B2B sales experience in staffing, software, consulting, & tax advisory. Today, as CEO, Lucas obsesses over inbound, helping businesses grow! Husband. Father. Beachgoer. Wearer of plunging v-necks.