Marketing VS. Business Development | What’s the Difference?

Most A/E/C industry companies have employees in both Marketing and Business Development, but do you know the difference in these two?

Marketing is often viewed from an operational perspective, rather than a function that adds value to the business.  That standpoint can be crippling to the true value of marketing.

When most people hear Marketing, they think social media, when in fact there is much more that goes into it. Marketers hope to help create their company’s awareness, branding, reputation and presence. This could be through social media platforms, a website, news relations, signage or even word of mouth. Those in the A/E/C industry also help create company brochures, presentations, and proposals.  In general, marketing involves anything that helps convey the company brand or reputation.

Some may ask well what about trade shows? While some marketers also attend expos, annual conferences and events; a large part of that comes in to play with Business Development.

Business Developers work to create and build client relationships, find new leads, and close the deals. A large part of the job in the A/E/C industry is finding the up and coming projects.  The best way to do this by creating and establishing those relationships to find out about those projects first. Truly adding value to a project early on really take place when establishing loyalty and trust with an owner, architect, or engineer.

Business developers hope to create these relationships from events, phone and face-to-face meetings and social networking. The more you create these relationships the more opportunity it brings your company.

Marketing and business development go hand and hand with each other for the same goals of growing the company, but in different avenues. Can one person be both your marketer and your business developer? Sure, but do they succeed more as different positions? Absolutely.

Marketing should be strategically carried out to enable the sales process and generate opportunities for the pipeline of future business. Marketing creates the strategy that leads the entire company in positioning itself against the competition. Marketers can and should influence, measure, and interact daily with each potential market. Ideally, they should leverage their expertise to guide the future course of the business.  However, marketing is often forced into smaller boxes in the bigger corporate picture.

One of the areas where Marketing commonly gets left out is business development. Most service companies don’t see the value in aligning the two areas. But how can either be successful without the other?

Business development 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. Collaboration between the two disciplines results in better results from initial awareness to closing the deal.

Realistically, we need to leave behind the idea of Marketing vs. Business Development and replace it with the concept of Marketing + Business Development.  The second concept shows promise of add and not competing for success.