Our recent post was titled Brilliant Advertising. As you see, this one is still about brilliant, but it’s about marketing rather than advertising. What’s the difference? According to the American Marketing Association, marketing is brilliant“the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, advertising is “the action of calling something to the attention of the public, especially by paid announcements.” Maybe the best way to explain the difference is that marketing is the parent discipline, and advertising is one of its children. Or to put that another way, advertising is part of the “communication” element of a marketing plan.

The real reason for this post, though, is not to define terms, but to extend the main idea from our last post — that you should be paying attention to what other companies are doing when they’re trying to market their products to you. Look beyond the graphics and try to figure out the underlying strategy. Follow the “call to action” to see where that takes you. As we noted last time, there are companies that spend millions of dollars on marketing and advertising, both on their agencies and in hiring top-level “internal” talent. We get to see what all that money buys, at essentially no cost. That’s a pretty good deal, especially if we see a way to adapt it to our own marketing challenges.