Marketing Vs Advertising: Which Will Work for Your SaaS Product

Marketing Vs Advertising: Which Will Work for Your SaaS Product-feature image
August 4, 2023 7 Min read

While most people use the term marketing and advertising interchangeably, there is a big difference between the two. Marketing is a lot more than just creating ad campaigns, it’s about creating a strategy that builds a relationship with your customers and drives business sales. Advertising is just one tactic that can be used as part of your marketing strategy.

The difference becomes even more evident when it comes to SaaS products. SaaS products are unique as they require ongoing marketing to drive consistent demand. 

So, what will work for your SaaS product: Marketing vs Advertising? Keep reading to find out.

Difference Between Marketing and Advertising for SaaS Companies

Marketing is a long-term approach to enlighten, engage and convert prospects into customers while advertising is a short-term activity to drive in leads and sales. Before we get into the differences. let’s understand marketing vs advertising in detail, but first start with their definition.

Marketing: Marketing is a set of activities and processes carried out to build brand value and communication. It is a long-term, continuous approach to explore, create and deliver value to potential customers. It even includes things like attractive packaging, extended return period, moneyback guarantee, and more.

Advertising: It’s a paid, public announcement of a persuasive message by the SaaS company of its product to their potential and existing customers. Advertising is targeted to a specific group in a specific area. It is a part of marketing carried out by SaaS companies to make sales or generate leads.

Now that we understand the two concepts, let’s explore the marketing vs advertising difference

  1. Marketing is about strategy, while advertising is just a tactic

Your marketing strategy should be built around your goals and objectives. It should consider your target market, customer requirements, competitor analysis, business objectives, and how the organization is planning to get there.

Advertising is just one way to execute your marketing strategy. It just involves targeting the right product to the right buyer in the right market.


Canva and Microsoft provide premium version of their software to students and educational institutions for free. This makes sure that the students have good hands-on training on their SaaS. When these students land into the corporate world, they prefer these tools for marketing they are comfortable with and end up buying the same. This is long-term marketing.

However, running Facebook ads by targeting office managers, small business owners, decision makers and other potential buyers is advertising.

Suggested Read: How Can SaaS Companies Drive Growth with Word of Mouth Marketing

  1. Marketing is about building relationships, while advertising is about making sales

Marketing for SaaS companies is about understanding your customers and building a relationship with them. It’s about providing them with value and creating a connection to make the client/customer aware of the products and services you provide.

Advertising, on the other hand, is about driving sales. It’s about creating an ad that will persuade the customer to click on the ad, fill the lead for or to buy the product.


If a company is selling online accounting software, it involves identifying the pain points of the accounting process, finding solution to the problem, communicating the solution, advertising the product, providing learning resources and training, taking feedback, improvising the software and so on.

While advertising involves showing ads to accountants and auditors through social media, search engines, blog posts or news websites, and generating enquiries.

  1. Marketing is a long-term investment, while advertising is a selling expense

Marketing is an ongoing investment by a business that is strategically implemented over the long term. It’s a way to build your brand and create loyalty among your customers. It helps companies to grow exponentially and boost ROI in the long run.

Advertising is an expense that companies incur to drive sales in the short term. It’s a way to increase revenue and keep the business going. However, direct advertising has a low impact on the long-term growth of the business.

  1. Advertising is one-way communication, marketing is a two-way engagement
Advertising is one way communication, marketing is a two way engagement

In advertising, the marketer creates the message and sends it to the target audience by making their product visible. Digital advertising involves capturing leads and user requirements. However, advertising doesn’t involve two-way communication, collecting feedback or guiding them through the buyer’s journey.

In marketing, the firm interacts with the customer, guides them through the journey, collects feedback, to create two-way communication. The aim is to understand the customer’s needs and build a communication channel.

A compelling marketing plan involves multiple advertising strategies. In short, marketing is a wider term than advertising, and is a long-term approach.

Suggested Read: 14 Digital Marketing Apps & Tools You Will Need | How to Advertise on Facebook: Visual Facebook Ads Guide

A Quick Comparison of Marketing and Advertising

GOALSSearch engine rankingsProduct placement
  Higher conversionsLead capture
  Brand awareness  
KPISNumber of leads and conversionsImpressions and CTR
  Organic search appearancesNumber of leads
  Social engagementsBounce rates
BENEFITSIncreased search engine rankingsDrives sales
  Long term exponential growthQuick returns
  Drives brand awarenessBrand engagement
  Awareness for higher conversions  
CHALLENGESDifficult to measure through metrics 
Requires long-term investment
Costly to scale Less effective in long run

Marketing Vs Advertising Examples

Here are some of the most popular examples of advertising

  • Placing products, services and offers on print media, TV, radio, etc.
  • Distributing flyers, posters, and brochures to the public
  • Running PPC campaigns on search engines, social media, websites, and mobile applications
  • Ad Placement on hoarding boards, Metro coaches and other public places

Here are some of the most popular examples of marketing 

  • Creating campaigns and valuable content on social media for organic growth
  • Relationship building with customers and industry experts
  • Collaborating with other companies for product placement and cross-promotion
  • Creating a press release for media coverage and announcements
  • Targeted advertising based on data analysis and prediction
  • Creating a customer feedback loop for product/service improvisation

Marketing Vs Advertising for SaaS Companies: Which Is Better

Marketing Vs Advertising for SaaS Companies Which Is Better

Both, small and big SaaS companies require a completely different approach to drive sales and branding than other products and services.

Here are some of the things that you should consider before choosing between marketing and advertising.

  • Business owners, managers, and entrepreneurs are the target customers of SaaS. SaaS buyers make informed decisions based on the features of the product rather than just depending on the sales pitch.
  • Organizations don’t buy anything unless it solves their specific problem. Therefore, SaaS companies need to communicate how their product solves a problem rather than just conveying the features.
  • Managers and owners love to do their own research, comparison and analysis and connect to the best SaaS provider themselves rather than being constantly persuaded by companies. Organic marketing and SEO are likely to drive more qualified leads than PPC campaigns.
  • Customer engagement and retention are extremely crucial for SaaS organizations. Therefore, a two-way communication that engages and informs the client is a vital part of SaaS sales strategy.

Suggested Read: 7 Marketing Hacks for Start-Ups on a Shoestring Budget

So, Which One to Prefer: Advertising or Marketing

At first look it must seem like a compelling marketing strategy that involves building trust and relationships in the long run is the right approach. However, SaaS companies have a complex sales cycle and require a high touch approach that needs to be considered before blindly following any one method.

Organic marketing is a long-term approach that requires a lot of investment and time. Companies need to opt for advertising and PPC campaigns for survival, cashflow and stability. Therefore, a hybrid approach that involves both a long-term marketing strategy as well as short term campaigns to gain immediate results is vital for SaaS companies.

How Can Techjockey Help with SaaS Marketing?

Techjockey is India’s largest B2B software e-commerce platform with over 500 thousand website visitors and 16000+ listed software. Techjockey can help SaaS companies with demand generation by

  • Listing the product in relevant categories for better visibility and lead generation
  • Connecting with the right audience through organic searches
  • Creating brand awareness through SEO and content marketing
  • Featuring SaaS on the platform with different tags like trending, popular, value for money, etc.
  • Engaging with customers through success stories, blogs, case studies, webinars, and events.

Related Categories: Digital Marketing Tools | Email Marketing Tools | WhatsApp Marketing Software


  1. Is advertising a part of marketing?

    Yes, Advertising is a part of the marketing landscape. All forms of advertising fall under the marketing umbrella. Marketing also involves organic campaigns, SEO, content marketing, etc., which is not a part of advertising.

  2. Can marketing be done without advertising?

    Yes, marketing can be done without advertising. There are many other ways to market a product or service, such as public relations, content marketing, and search engine optimization. However, when there is the right mix of advertising in the marketing strategy, it helps to reap quick results.

  3. What are examples of advertising?

    Some of the common examples of advertising are TV commercials, radio ads, print ads, social media ad campaigns and billboards.

  4. What is the difference between advertising and promotion?

    Advertising is a paid form of marketing that involves creating and placing ads in media, such as newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, and online. Promotion, on the other hand, is a marketing activity that is used to increase awareness and interest in a product or service.

Written by Rajan Rauniyar

Rajan is pursuing CA with a keen interest in trends and technologies for taxation, payroll compliances, Tally Accounting, and financial nuances. He is an expert in FinTech solutions and loves writing about the vast scope of this field and how it can transform the way individuals and businesses... Read more

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