Advertising is a one-way communication whose purpose is to inform potential customers about products and services and how to obtain them. Promotion involves disseminating information about a product, product line, brand, or company. It is one of the four key aspects of the marketing mix. Advertising may be one form of promotion.

Comparison chart

Advertising versus Promotion comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartAdvertisingPromotion
Time Long term Short term
Definition One-way communication of a persuasive message by an identified sponsor, whose purpose is non-personal promotion of products/services to potential customers. A Promotion usually involves an immediate incentive for a buyer (intermediate distributor or end consumer). It can also involve disseminating information about a product, product line, brand, or company.
Price Expensive in most cases Not very expensive in most cases.
Suitable for Medium to large companies Small to large companies
Sales Assumption that it will lead to sales Directly related to sales.
Example Giving an advertisement in the newspaper about the major products of a company Giving free products, coupons etc.
About A type of marketing tool A type of marketing tool
Purpose Increase sales, brand building. Increase sales.
Result Slowly very Soon

Differences in Timeframe

Promotions are time specific and may be short term while advertising may be generically long term. For example: ABS company may start a promotion of giving free drinks at a mall for a day during the festive season, while the same company may advertise much before about their drink at the start of the festive season and extend it during and beyond the season. Advertising is aimed towards the long term building of the brand while Promotion is aimed at the short term tactical goal of moving ahead in sales.

Types of promotion and advertising

Promotion is generally divided in two parts:

Advertising can be of the following types:

Relationship of Sales with advertising and promotions

Typically promotions are directly linked with sales while advertising is an assumption that it may lead to sales. For example: Giving 20% discount on products may attract a customer and induce instant sale while giving a general brand creation advertisement in the newspaper may not induce immediate sale.

Cost of advertising vs promotion

Promotions are directly linked to sales and hence for small companies it may be easier to use promotional methods. Advertising may be more expensive for small companies and it may not be feasible for them while in advertising it is being assumed that adverts will lead to sales.

For example: A store may give 20% discount on its products which may increase sales while the same shop may find it difficult to advertise this in various medias.


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"Advertising vs Promotion." Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 16 Feb 2017. < >