Marketing and business development are terms that are often associated with businesses. The bigger an organisation, the more chances of hearing these words mentioned within its premises. But what exactly is marketing and what is business development? There is still a lot of ambiguity surrounding these two terms.
The difference between the two is still a blur, and the terms are used loosely and interchangeably. But both are used for the same reason – to grow a business. Here is a breakdown of what the difference between the two are; how they are both important to an organisation in their own special way; why marketing is a part of business development, and how they can work together.
FAQ: What is marketing, and what is the role of the marketing department?
Marketing within a business is the process of establishing a relationship between consumers and the product or service that the business has to offer to the market.
Harvard Business Review found that the responsibility of marketing in a company varies from one organisation to the next, and the role of CMOs (chief marketing officers) in these organisations differ, so much so that the skills< required by a CMO varies from one company to the next.
“To put it in a nutshell, marketing should be a strategic enabler of sales, a pipeline generator for the company’s future business, and a function that leads the entire company in positioning itself against the competition.”
Business marketing is a marketing practice of organisations, governments, institutions and even individuals to help them sell their products or services to other companies or organisations that will either resell those products or services or use those products or services to support their own business.
A business’ marketing department is also responsible with branding, participating in publicity events and activities, advertising and customer interaction.
With both small and large businesses vying for the same market space, a business’s marketing efforts alone can either ensure its survival or its fall.
An organisation with a good marketing department will have no problems in gaining consumers’ confidence in its products/services.
Marketing also shapes the image of the organisation and how consumers associate the organisation’s products/services. So, marketing is, directly and indirectly, responsible for increasing revenue and increasing that company’s profitability.
Product launches begin and end with the marketing department – the marketing department establishes the consumers’ needs for a particular product, and after the product has been introduced, identifies whether it meets the consumers’ needs.
Marketing creates customer retention and loyalty. To ensure customers are happy and will remain loyal to their business, the marketing department carries out campaigns and promotions for the benefit of existing customers and also to attract more customers.
The role of marketing in a B2B environment
- Refining and communicating current product and service offerings and identifying new products/services that can be added.
- Providing education and information regarding the company.
- Creating a professional business/brand image and ensuring it is maintained.
- Managing visibility through public relations and marketing collateral.
- Creating, maintaining and monitoring the effectiveness of campaigns.
- Measuring success that would help the department reach its marketing goals.
FAQ: What is business development, and what is the role of business development in an organisation?
Ask organisations what they believe is business development, and you will get several answers. Here are some invasive and vague answers:
- “Business development is sales.”
- “Business development is partnerships.”
- “Business development is hustling.”
The more you ask around, the more varied and contradictory the responses get. The truth is, business development is all this and more. In fact, business development is the creation of long-term value through relationships, markets and customers; the ‘value’ that business development is money- the lifeblood of any organisation or business. But ‘value’ can also refer to anything else that a company needs to grow. Access, power, permissions, prestige and even machinery are all forms of ‘value’ that business development brings to a business.
The value brought in is long-term, which means it stays with the company.
Business development is about creating opportunities to ensure that the “value” brought in stays with the company.
Business development is all about ensuring proper customer awareness. It is about making customers aware of the business’ products/services, the features available on products, about the company that manufactures the products/services.
Business development is about understanding markets and the customers who live in specific markets. It is about understanding customer lifestyles, the buying mindset and the demographics of the area.
All business development efforts rely on good relationships with customers, partners, shareholders, employees and even the press.
The difference between marketing and business development
While marketing directly/indirectly promotes brand/product/service by identifying potential clients or by advancing a corporate message, business development identifies strategic partnerships and opportunities across industries and segments. Some of the opportunities that business development comes by are then passed on to marketing or sales for closing.
Although it might appear that both marketing and business development are the same, they are not. They are two entirely different departments. But they do have one thing in common – they help a business grow.
Now that we have covered what marketing and business development are and what functions they perform, we can get down to the crux of this article.
Why is marketing a part of business development?
The natural question that one might want to ask then is this – if marketing and business development are two separate entities, why then is marketing a part of business development? For marketing strategies to be successful, they should have extensive knowledge about the industry dynamics and also have the ability to think strategically. Marketing should also be able to track the success of completed tasks.
For successful B2B business development, the team must have extensive knowledge regarding the industry dynamics, how to manage time strategically, and how to be resourceful and build connections.
1. One message across marketing, business development and sales
Business development tends to focus on leads, while marketing team members tend to wash their hands off a lead once it comes in and is handed to sales. This attitude can be damaging and cause a disconnect between the language that is used in marketing campaigns and the sales-oriented language that business development tends to stick to. However, when the marketing and the business development teams work together, they can ensure that a single message with a single language style attracts potential customers and converts them to leads.
Likewise, marketing can look toward business development to get an idea of the type of language customers use to describe their requirements and needs. With information on the language customers expect, marketing can create a full-funnel messaging strategy. This strategy will make use of content, events and also special messaging through the entire marketing process to find, capture and nurture leads. There are better sales messaging and support that are in tune with the language and goals of marketing; the result is that of better conversion rates and retention rates throughout the marketing, business development and sales cycle.
2. Setting up slam dunks for sales
Business development is always on the lookout for better leads – or as they say in business jargon – qualified leads. But marketing cannot provide qualified leads without help from sales. Marketing can solve this problem. It can utilise the business development team’s idea and knowledge of what type of lead is considered a qualified lead to create effective campaigns and use these to target key buyers and influencers.
Marketing is a part of business development in smart organisations that know the advantages that marketing can bring to business development and the organisation. Smart business development teams turn to marketing first for messaging, positioning and for a variety of different strategies.
3. Creating a path for the future
Marketing has the advantage of having access to competitive intelligence and activities on various social media sites. This information can help keep a business at the forefront of industry change. Business development can work with marketing to ensure they are on the same page regarding the future of the company and the way forward.
Six ways marketing and business development work together in a B2B environment
We have established that marketing’s goal is to position the organisation for success by warming up the market. Business development, on the other hand, focuses on developing lasting relationships and partnerships to bring in new business to the organisation.
But within a business, there are several opportunities for marketing and business development to work together. When these two departments work together, there is maximum effort to bring in value to the business, and there is less chance of duplicated efforts.
Listed here are some ways that the two departments can work together:
1. Organisation’s messaging – Marketing and business development can together develop the company’s message. The message will depend on how the company is qualified to meet the needs and requirements of the client. The message is also spread across all collateral so that all consumers get the same message – no matter how they access it. The message will detail how the organisation is capable of meeting the client’s requirements.
2. Strategy and planning – Marketing and business development can start coordinating all activities right from the very early planning stages. Good communication, a single organisation message and knowledge on what makes a good client can help both marketing and business development teams. This, followed by a proper follow-up process, can ensure that every campaign is measurable.
3. Content – The content for marketing collateral and business development collateral include articles, blog posts, newsletter, website, webinars – and must be created by the two departments working together. Both teams together can come up with a list of the type of content that the target audience wants and cater to those needs. All content must be accompanied by a call to action (CTA).
4. Hosted events – While marketing must handle the coordination and the promotion of business events, it is the business development team that reaches out to individual attendees after the event. Once the event is done with, marketing and business development, as well as the firm partners, can debrief the event, and through proper coordination, follow up.
5. Client feedback – Both marketing and business development can ensure the company consistently provides quality services and products by ensuring they are aware of the clients’ changing needs and requirements. Marketing can develop the right questions, and business development can have conversations with the clients and ask the questions. By providing feedback regarding their needs, the company can take action and respond to these needs.
6. Speaking opportunities – Marketing can bring in a partner to speak at your organisation for an event. You might have several potential customers attending the event. But just because they attend, does not guarantee that they will reach out to ask for your business. The business development team can be on-site to meet prospects, welcome them to the event, hand out business cards and follow up with them after the event.
FAQ: Can marketing and business development survive without the other?
No, and neither of these teams should have to be put up with the pressure of having to try to survive without the other. Marketing and business development are two essential departments, and while their roles often merge, a business that wants to be successful cannot run with only one of these teams.
When marketing and business development are on the same page, an organisation can have a competitive advantage.
When an organisation embraces marketing wholly but does not consider business development outreach and follow-up activities, potential clients and customers can be lost. The business will lose out on red-hot leads, and there is a danger of the ROI being low.
When organisations emphasise on business development but ignore marketing, there is a very high chance of the organisation lacking one clear and consistent messaging, and a lack of creating brand awareness. This, in turn, leads to failure of the organisation to nurture prospects. There is a risk of rejection and missed opportunities.
There is no doubt that marketing and business development both have skills that complement each other. They can function separately and together support the business. Any organisation that understands the importance of both these teams working together will naturally benefit through streamlined business growth and a very high return on investment.