What’s the Difference Between Marketing and Branding?

Often times, marketing and branding are blurred together. If they aren’t actually the same, what is the difference?

In short, marketing is the tactical approach companies use in every stage of business. From product development to distribution, marketing plays a role in the process and outcome of these procedures.

In order for a marketing team to adequately promote and sell products and/or services, they need to first examine consumers’ interests, wants, and priorities. Marketers follow the “Marketing Mix”, a term coined by former Harvard Business Professor Neil Borden that assesses the controllable factors of marketing in order to identify and target a specific market. The Marketing Mix covers four categories: product, price, place, and promotion.

Product is exactly what it sounds like, and then some. It covers what the product or service is, but also tackles the details of the product or service like quality, warranty, packaging, accessories, and name. Product also assesses the why of the product or service. What need is the product or service satisfying? Why is it necessary to supply?

Price refers to the price point that consumers would be willing to spend balanced with the price point which would be most profitable for the company. Price assesses competitors’ price points, in addition the affluence of the target market.

Place, or placement, is all about the where of the product or service. Where is the most viable location to promote and sell the product or service? Place also considers what stores the target market is likely to shop and where competitors are placing their product or services within these stores.

Promotion refers to the specific communication about the product or service. What advertisements will best promote the product or service for the target market? When is the most advantageous time to promote and with what incentives?

As said by The Branding Journal, a brand is the feeling or experience a consumer has attributed to a company. Branding is the strategy that elicits those feelings or experiences.

Marketing can certainly impact the branding process, but the two are far from the same. Rather than being focused around calculated tactics to best construct, promote, and sell a product or service, branding strategically maps out what actions the company should and does take to produce a positive idea of the company in their consumers’ minds.

Similar to marketing, the first step of branding is to research the consumers’ interests, wants and priorities. However, a branding team focuses on building the relationship between a company and consumers, not a product/service and consumers. The purpose of branding to create a lasting positive impression in a consumer’s mind ensuring the longevity of their relationship with the company.

Article by Megan Lenskold
Channel Communications Intern