Small Business Marketing Q&A: Does My Company Need Advertising, Marketing or Lead Generation?

EAG, February 17, 2022

Many of our client relationships begin with a request. They need a <fill in the blank> campaign. Usually, that blank is filled in with one of three terms: advertising, marketing or lead generation. Like mobile device and smartphone, advertising, marketing and lead generation are used interchangeably—treated as synonyms. However, they are different, and your small business marketing company will listen to your business goals and develop and execute the right strategy to achieve them.

True, some of our outsourced marketing clients prefer to see results rather than “learn how the sausage is made.” But, others find understanding the differences between advertising, marketing and lead generation helps them better connect to their target audiences with products, services and their selling points.

We’ll Start with Marketing

A textbook definition of marketing strategy includes product, place, price, and promotion. AKA: the four Ps. Marketing involves research to discover who the perfect audience is for your products and services. It reveals consumers’ expectations of a brand that sells certain products and services. In the process of that research, much is learned about your target buyers that is turned into value propositions (why people should care about your offerings) and marketing strategy (how to get your message to them). That strategy, depending on where your company falls in the business life cycle (startup to legacy), guides ideas for everything from the company name and new product and service lines to pricing, as well as features and benefits that resonate with consumers.

Why did we define marketing first? It’s the umbrella under which advertising falls. In other words, advertising is a component of marketing.

What is Advertising?

It’s been said by many advertising experts that the easiest way to differentiate marketing from advertising is that if you spend money on something that your target audience sees or hears, then it’s advertising.

For example, some of our Kansas City small business marketing clients have a marketing manager or lean in-house marketing staff who have developed a strategy. What they need are creative experts to design and write collateral, which will end up being seen and read by prospects. The creative work (advertising) can range from logos, taglines, billboards, TV and radio commercials, social media posts, videos, digital and print ads to websites, blogs and brochures, etc. It’s the marketing strategy that guides what the mix of advertising is and the channels through which advertising will go.

What is Lead Generation?

A lead is someone who shows interest in your product or service, but not necessarily your company. For example, you attend an industry trade show. The association or organization hosting the trade show shares registrants’ contact information with exhibitors. These registrants become leads for the exhibitors. Even though the registrants may not know the exhibitors by name, through their trade show attendance, you know they are interested in your products and services.

Marketing strategy determines how you will reach potential leads. Advertising is the message you put in front of your leads’ eyes and ears. Lead generation is using marketing strategy and advertising messages to compel a lead to become a customer. Lead generation campaigns can be executed on social media, email, digital ads, radio and TV ads, and most likely a combination thereof.

EAG is an Advertising and Marketing Agency

Whether you are a fast-growing small business, a mature, multi-generational brand, or somewhere in between, we can help you better manage everything about your marketing, backed by comprehensive advertising services. Our clients are assigned a veteran professional who serves as their CMO and develops strategy. An account executive manages the process of turning strategy into action. EAG has a team of creative experts to execute advertising pieces. Our full-service outsourced marketing and advertising services include:

Graphic Design · Digital Marketing · Website Development · Content Creation · Lead Generation · Brand Strategy · Staff Augmentation · Search Engine Optimization · Video Production

Ready to grow your business through lead generation based on solid marketing strategy and award-winning creative advertising work? Let’s talk.


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