The simplest definition for these two misunderstood terms is that marketing involves customer interaction i.e. human contact, whereas advertising is a non-contact form of information transfer. You can read a multitude of professional definitions, academia literature and talk to just about any marketing graduate and you’ll get a lot of different definitions of these two terms.
Focus groups in business are membership organizations with similar businesses that gather together to share financial and production information. By sharing this information, members can identify issues and make corrections based on what works well.
I often wonder how a business could get better if it didn’t know what being the best meant. How could a small business entrepreneur determine he was indeed performing at or above the industry standard if there was no information available to say what was the best, average or poor? There isn’t any real performance standard, that is financial standards, for any particular small business operation.