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Advertising vs. Content Marketing: Should You Invest in Both?

Article Describing similarities between advertising and content marketing

With growing platforms and channels, it’s often hard for a brand to decide what marketing strategy should they use. Should the focus be on the old guard with tactics like ads, direct mails, etc? Or should they focus on new trends like content marketing, social media, etc?

Firstly, let’s look at how two of the prominent strategies, adverts and content marketing, work, and their relevance in today’s marketing world. Further, let’s also examine how they compare to each other.

What is Advertising?

Advertising is a daily part of our lives. Chances are, you’ve been exposed to many ad messages during your day today already!

In simple terms, it is a paid marketing effort by an organization to promote the sales of their product or service. They aim to build awareness about the product/ service by grabbing the attention of the brand’s target audience with the help of persuasive messaging.

Why opt for Advertising?


  • Eye Catching: The biggest factor why ads work is how they instantly draw the attention of the user. With the help of catchy slogans, great graphics, etc they grab the reader’s eyes. This allows for brands to put their message directly in front of their buyers and build brand awareness and recall.
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  • Persuasive Messaging: Advertising experts understand the way their consumers think very well. They curate catchy and engaging messages that resonate with the viewers. With the right amount of exposure, consumers can often be prompted to take action like trials, purchases, etc.

    In comparison to content marketing, this offers no value to the consumer. It’s purely promotional.

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  • Evokes Emotion: Emotions are an integral part of ads. The industry knows the role emotions play in eliciting action and the messaging reflects this heavily. Depending on the product category, the ads often make the viewer experiencing joy, sadness, humor, etc.

What Are Its Pros?


  • Fast Distribution: The biggest benefit of advertising is reaching a large audience in a short period. As it specifically centers on a push strategy it can easily reach its target rather than waiting for the users to find them. This is great when a brand is looking to get the word out about a launch or an upcoming event.
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  • Clear messaging: As the ad campaigns run across a defined period, they have a clear message they will give out to the audience. This can help create a very crisp and simple message that can be rolled out. Such clarity is hard to find with content marketing as it is long term in nature.
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  • Edge over competitors: The right advertising plan can provide the brand with better visibility than its competitors. Additionally, this allows for better revenues and a greater market share.

What is Content Marketing?


Content marketing is a new-age marketing strategy that follows a very unique approach vis-à-vis all traditional strategies like ads, sponsorships, etc.

The brand creates content pieces like blogs, podcasts, videos, etc which are relevant and offer value to the audience. Such content allows the viewer to understand the brand’s expertise and create a foundation for trust. When done consistently, this creates a loyal customer base that further turns into profitable consumer actions.

Why Opt for Content Marketing?


  • Value Centric: Content marketing differs from all other marketing strategies in a core way. Rather than being promotion centric, it is value-centric for the reader. It allows the viewer to learn about your product and how it will make their lives easier rather than just asking them to buy it at a deal.
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  • Grow trust and expertise: When an organization creates smart and useful content, the audience starts looking at them as a go-to resource than a mere seller. This creates a sense of trust in their end in the content and the people behind this content. In addition, this establishes the brand as an expert in their field as viewers can see the knowledge they possess.
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  • Higher conversion rates: As this strategy follows a pull method, we find that it also yields better leads and higher conversion rates. As the consumer is actively looking for your offerings, the chances of them buying are also way higher as the intent already exists.

What Are Its Pros?

  • Tailored Content: As the consumers are actively looking and coming to the content voluntarily, the messaging is tailor-made to fit what they are looking for. Such personalization certainly can’t be achieved with a traditional strategy like advertising. Above all, this helps build a long-lasting relation with the viewer.
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  • Self-Publication: Rather than using other host platforms, content marketing uses owned media like social media pages, blogs, newsletters, etc to publish the content. This gives the brand complete autonomy on how it appears and is shared with the viewers.
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  • Limitless Options: As content marketing is self-published, there is no limit to what formats or messaging needs to be followed. From short snappy videos to long format guides, the brand can create whatever they feel might benefit their consumer without the worry of outside restrictions. Such freedom for creativity allows for effective communication with the audience.
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  • Engagement: With content marketing, brands can now interact directly with the users and have a two-way conversation. This is novel as they can get feedback in real-time. This allows the company to make changes as and when needed rather than taking delayed action.

What is the Difference Between Advertising and Content Marketing?

After a careful look at both, both approaches offer their own unique benefits. There is no right or wrong answer about which is better. The deciding factor for this question is the brand goals and missions.

However, a smart marketer will always use a good blend of both that will give optimal results.

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