Marketing is about building and promoting a brand that attracts people to what you do. It’s everything your company does and how the world views you.
Advertising is about interrupting people at expected times. Running TV commercials or Facebook ads are great ways to spend some money to interrupt people when they are expecting it. As Seth Godin says, these are “socially acceptable, scalable announcements”. We don’t often like them, but we know they’re part of the deal.
Spam is interrupting people out of the blue. This is cold email and LinkedIn connections that jump directly to a pitch. This is never socially acceptable and shouldn’t be treated as such.
Keep them separate. Build a great brand that people love, advertise when needed, but if you find yourself buying an email list to pelt people with your message, it might be time to go back to the drawing board and figure out where you went wrong.