What Is The Difference Between Marketing And Business Development?

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The two terms “marketing” and “business development” are often used interchangeably but though there are significant similarities between them, they are two quite different entities.

Yet, when there is coordination and collaboration between them, the thing that will reap the greatest benefits is your business. In terms of profitability, brand health and visibility, growth and expansion, the sync between marketing and business development can truly help you scale up faster and more durably.

B2B businesses, especially, use both marketing and business development to fuel growth, and there’s nothing to be gained by using one vs the other.

To understand the different roles that each one of these functions play, it’s a smart idea to get to know each one in detail.

Sales: The sales function is self-explanatory – it’s the job of sales executives to sell the company’s products and services. They deal directly with customers, may be able to negotiate pricing flexibility and terms and work with their colleagues in the company to ensure fulfillment of orders.

Marketing: Marketers look at the bigger picture, and try to understand the way the market responds to their products and services. They focus on segmentation of the market so that they can get to know the customer base. This helps the company to become aware of the customer clusters and the channels of communication to help the company to profit and to compete in the marketplace.

Business Development: is about creating connections and relationships with customers, suppliers, and others connected with the company’s achievement of its goals. They need to know industry dynamics, create strong referrals, and explore new prospects.

What Is The Difference Between Business Development And Marketing?

Ideas: Business development consists of ideas, strategies, business initiatives and related activities. It has an impact on all aspects of the company and that includes sales, marketing, HR, manufacturing, finance, product development and management of vendors and others besides customer management. Marketing refines and communicates the company’s current and prospective offerings. It gives information and educates the general public about your company, its products and services. It is also focused on maintaining a consistent, recognizable and memorable image for the company and its brand.

Direction: According to experts, business development is a “push” function, while marketing is a “pull” function. Marketing is also a cost center for the company, while sales is a profit center. Marketers explore and discover the customer’s location, and where they tend to hang out. Business developers build on these connections and leverage them to establish trust and loyalty and to build better business opportunities.

Focus: Marketing focuses on branding and visibility, content marketing using videos, blogs, newsletters, social media, and PR. Business development functions are centered on referrals and networking, client relationships, building long-term associations, and channelizing the company into community involvement.

Timing: If one looks at when each of these functions happens, marketing usually takes place even before a marketer meets a client. It is the job of the marketer to introduce the client to the company, its products and services. This happens through branding, advertising, social media and any other sponsorship. It is a constant and unremitting effort that’s required, to keep the relationship relevant and memorable. Business development usually takes place constantly.  It showcases what customers are actually looking for.

Roles: Marketers must identify the customers who need your service or product, identify your consumer’s needs, highlight the value proposition for the customer, direct the customer journey and experience. Business development executives’ role is to explore uncharted territories, and scope out new opportunities. They also assess what competitors are doing, providing information that can be used by their company.

Strategies: Business development focuses on higher level strategies, through relationships and partnerships. Marketing focuses on targeting consumer segments and communicating with them. Marketers have their fingers on the pulse of the market, while business development execs have their ear to the ground. While marketing identifies the customer, and sales departments close the deals, business development leverages these relationships to facilitate longer-term goals and revenue opportunities.

Responsibilities: Marketers typically have to develop and manage marketing programs. They have to foster retention of customers, acquire new leads, provide the necessary sales support, conduct segmentation, and manage communication across all channels. Business development executives need to work on creating and applying effective sales and growth strategies. They are responsible for conducting market research, and also arrange and deploy business meetings with both prospective and existing clients.

Key Areas: Marketers work primarily in the area of demand generation, direct marketing, visibility and reputation, thought leadership, PR, SEO. Business development execs are responsible for key account management, developing and strategizing new proposals, social event management, encouraging referrals.

Measurement: Marketing impact is less measurable in immediate terms. It is less easy to predict outcomes of marketing in actual measurable terms. However, digital marketing has changed much of this landscape. On the other hand, business development efforts can be immediately and accurately seen and measured. In marketing, monitoring the effectiveness of a campaign can be challenging, as it may not be immediately visible.  However, with business development, the results are tangible and measurable. Academic experts call marketing “slow burn” that focuses on making sure that investments are made for the future, while business development brings the profits coming in the present.

Scale: Business development is a larger and more diverse set of activities such as scoping out the extent of the business and its amplitude, ensuring that strategies and designs are created to support customer relationships, and developing long-term plans for increasing revenues. It also deals with policies and insights.  Marketing on the other hand has a slightly less broad focus. It concentrates on determining areas of expansion for sales. It focuses on opening channels of communication and information to understand customer needs, preferences, attitude, motivation, budgets and more. The other important area of focus of marketing is figuring out the competitors’ strategies, and staying one step ahead of them at all times. Whatever the perceived or actual differences and similarities, both business development and marketing need to work in tandem for the ultimate benefit of the organization.