Ingenuity Marketing Explain the Difference Between Marketing and Business Development
When it comes to promoting or growing a business, there are certain words that people like to use interchangeably. But it’s just not right. The confusion often begins when a person is hired for marketing services, but quickly learns that the expectation is really to make sales calls and bring in business:
"Maggie just isn't working out. She does a great job on the
newsletter, but we're not getting any business."
The opposite can also occur when a salesperson suddenly has
marketing added to his or her job expectations. We hear: "We need
to place an ad. Tell Sam the sales guy to do that for us."
There are certainly professionals who handle both roles in a
firm - and handle it well - but it can't be assumed that the skills
and strengths for business development and marketing are
interchangeable. Plus, the goals for marketing and business
development can be different even if the end result is new clients.
Let me try to clear this up for you.
Q: Is marketing the same as business development?
A: No, each requires different skills and strengths.
Q: Is marketing the same as public relations?
A: No, but they are close cousins.
Q: Should we focus on business development or sales?
In an ideal world, your firm's marketing, business development
and media strategy are integrated - sharing the same messages that
lead to…yes, SALES. But achieving that ideal world won't happen if
just one person is left holding all the hats. It requires effort
from the entire firm. Just to get things rolling, you may even need
an outside perspective.
Rather than fire or hire another marketing sales media business
development web assistant director manager, let's clear up the
• your promise to the market, crystal clear
• your key differences, tested and validated
• your market position, solidly established
• your ideal clients, qualified and loyal
These four things come into being when marketing is done well.
Marketing is not just about logos, ads, newsletters and holiday
cards. If you think it's about doing stuff, you'll end up with a
lot of scattered ideas and confused [or bored] prospects. If
everyone in the firm is going off in their own directions with
marketing tactics, you waste time and money for very little
Before we even discuss stuff, we need to find out why clients
should be loyal, what sets your firm apart and what you can
promise. It might seem easier to work on a new firm brochure, but
then it won't really be marketing. It will be stuff, and you won't
be certain that your stuff is much different from the other guy's
According to strategic growth consultants L. Harris Partners
(www.lharrispartners.com), professional service firms with a
well-defined market position garner a higher premium fee per
partner and manager than firms that compete mainly on price. These
firms have clearly defined the value they deliver - and their ideal
client base - and they share those marketing messages consistently
in their marketing "stuff."
Business Development is…
• your consistent focus on generating leads
• qualifying leads as good potential clients
• your consistent focus on nurturing prospects
• converting prospects to clients
Once you know who you really are and what you stand for (through
marketing strategy), then you go out and gather the people who want
what you've got. You take your criteria for ideal clients and match
it with the leads you encounter through business development tatics
like trade shows, networking, social media and referrals.
You identify their pain. Then you share your market promise and
key differences either in person or through your marketing stuff
(brochures, newsletters, sell sheets, website content,
Because sales cycles are longer these days, you need to keep
nurturing those qualified prospects with additional touches (see
Rachel's article on 14 touches, next page). Keep your marketing
messages consistent, share stories of similar clients who have
benefited from your service, develop relationships with others who
will refer business. A lead nurturing software solution can assist
in tracking the progress of your efforts and keep everyone informed
on whether a prospect is just warm or is ready to buy.
Now that you see how marketing differs from business
development, but is instead the foundation upon which you pursue
stronger business development, let's add another layer.
Public Relations is…
• media strategy, planned well
• your firm's visibility, magnified
• your thought leadership, shared
• your credibility and integrity, enhanced
Public relations is a close cousin to marketing because it
requires a clear understanding of the value you bring to the market
and your ideal clients. With those established, you can create
messages and content to reach your ideal audience.
Ingenuity recently hosted a webinar about new media strategy and
how it supports your market position (go to http://bit.ly/
INGwebinar_newmedia). By sharing the thought leadership
or knowledge from your firm in various media (e.g. pitched, paid
and proactive media), you magnify your visibility, credibility and
integrity in the market.
So public relations supports marketing and business development
because it provides vehicles to share your message and expertise.
It shares your unique story.
This is important because media vehicles and search engines are
calibrated to the quality of information about companies and how
it's shared online (see article on Google Panda, page 4). Consumers
are also more selective about the type of information they'll
accept or share. To reach them, your messages have to be focused,
relevant and interesting.
And, say it isn't so, but professionals can't just be good at
their jobs. They have to build an image and reputation of greatness
- and deliver on that. That means a focus on clients as well as
marketing, business development and media strategy.
And you thought I was only speaking to marketing and sales
people. I'm talking to any professionals out there who sell what's
in their big brains. You are the marketing department. You are the
sales force. You are the spokesperson.
Get ready to share the hats - and learn what you're wearing. For
any questions about how marketing ties to business development that
ties to media strategy, contact us.
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