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What’s the difference between marketing and Business Development and why does it matter?

Marketing and business development, or BD, whilst similar in many ways, are actually quite different. 

Marketing is about establishing who you are, what you sell and what makes you different – that is your brand - and communicating that to your target audience as often as possible. If you’re in marketing, your job is to get people to know your company exists, understand what you do and how it could benefit them and most importantly, keep you top of mind when they are making purchasing decisions. 

Within organisations focused on business to business selling, marketing often isn’t enough to get people to buy from you – for that extra push you also need BD. 

BD’s focus is to generate revenue and involves targeting individuals or companies and building relationships with them so you understand their business and what your organisation can do for them (and they trust you to deliver that). BD is more singular in its objectives than marketing, which tends to be based on broadcasting a message or messages to audiences. BD is about building trust that your company can deliver what they need. 

But why does this matter? 

In my experience, BD won’t generate revenue without marketing and vice versa. They are two sides of the same, very important, coin and work best in organisations where they share common goals, approach and working practices. If they become too separate, their effectiveness diminishes. They also need different skills and experience from their practitioners – some very strong marketing people are poor BD people.

Having a clear sense of how the two work best together is key to building a successful marketing and BD strategy to deliver your commercial goals.

Click here to read this article as it first appeared in the Guernsey Press and click here to follow Estera on LinkedIn.


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