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The similarities between advertising and promotion include a focus on ensuring a profitable sales strategy, and stimulating the appetite for a company's goods or services. In both cases, the marketing department generally has extensive involvement in advertising and promotional activities. Each area usually employs the company's brand and reputation to increase sales revenue, whether this is done through advertising or by promoting the company. The main difference between the two is in the strategic timeline, with advertising driven by a longer-term vision, and promotion often being of a shorter duration.
For-profit companies often spend significant resources to ensure sales are sufficient to keep the company's operations profitable. The advertising and promotion staff of a company both have a critical role to play in stimulating sales, and both generally work together to enhance the company's offerings in the eyes of its customer base. Advertising campaigns may broadcast promotions intended to stimulate demand for particular products. At other times, advertising may sometimes focus more on brand awareness than increasing immediate sales. Both advertising and promotion may be used in tandem to tout the company's reputation, too.
Marketing managers often oversee advertising and promotion activities for a company. It is generally wise to have a manager oversee both activities to ensure consistency in executing the company's marketing strategy. For example, an ad campaign touting a company's historic past may be paired with a temporary promotion offering a historic souvenir that reminds customers of the original founder. This could be a special mug handed out when a premium drink is purchased at a restaurant, for example.
Consistency in using a brand is something that both the advertising manager and the promotions manager generally keep at the forefront of their respective activities. When one plans a promotion, the other may prepare a media release to accompany advertising materials that may be produced according to standards that the marketing department has set in place. Management may determine branding standards and public relations policies for both departments to ensure advertising and promotion activities work in tandem.
What sets the two activities apart is the scope of the strategy, with one being oriented more toward a long-term investment, and the other often geared toward a big splash, with a quick push toward moving certain merchandise. Advertising strategies often seek to implant a brand's reputation in a person's mind, regardless of how the company's product line may change over time. It is frequently used to sell the company's brand identity. On the other hand, when the company releases a new product, management may launch a promotional campaign to stimulate demand for that product.