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Business Development vs. Marketing: What Is It & What’s Right for Your Company?

Peanut butter and jelly. Bonnie and Clyde. Business development and marketing.

They make the perfect pairs. And while this blog isn’t about how to create the perfect lunchtime sandwich or Depression-era robbery, it is about an important aspect of your business that you might be missing out on. Hinge Marketing had this to say: “when business development and marketing are in sync, your professional services firm can see increases in visibility, growth, profitability and more.”

If there’s one area of marketing that consistently gets left out, it’s business development. And, while the two are interdependent, oftentimes service companies never coordinate the two. BD is closest to customers and their individual needs, while marketing is positioned to create better messaging and content that will resonate with the market, prospects and current customers. Each area should be informing one another for better overall results from the highest part of the customer research funnel.

What’s the Difference?

Both business development and marketing have a common goal, to grow the firm’s client base. But, each of these areas have separate role functions in order to achieve this same goal.

Let’s define these roles.

Marketing – Marketers understand the needs and wants of the target market and develop strategic plans to establish overall messaging. This includes social media and PR engagement alongside writing proposals and photography.

Business Development – BDs are responsible for identifying, securing and managing relationships with organizations outside of the companies with the goal to bring in new clients.

These areas address the same issue, how to engage prospective and current clients. But, they have different means and reasons for doing so. It’s common for BD and marketing to be disconnected. Some firms have always operated this way since inception, while others are at odds simply because they don’t realize their common goal.

It’s time for business development and marketing to get on the same page.

Align Your Business Development & Marketing Teams for Success

If you want to grow your business the right way (and with tons of momentum!), then BD and marketing need to be focused on the same goal: working in tandem to attract clients who will benefit from your services. There are plenty of ways for these roles to perform cross-functionally, including:

Content Development: While the marketing team is doing the creating, the BD team needs to chime in on what educational content will resonate the most with the target audience.

Strategy Development: BD and marketing need to work together to determine the best strategy for communicating the firm’s message.

Campaign Development: The marketing team is the one doing the work of creating the campaign, while BD reaches out to the target audience for follow-up.

Stand out from the crowd by combining your marketing and business development efforts. When these two areas work together to attract ideal clients, the target audiences are reached, revenue increases and less time is wasted working separately on the same common goal.

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