Business Development vs. Marketing

Instructor: John Turcic

John’s has a background as a business owner, and a business development, marketing, and consulting professional.

What's the difference between Business Development and Marketing? Well, it probably depends on who you're talking to, what company they work for, and their own background and experience!

Do you remember the last time you were having a discussion, and began to realize that your comments were being misinterpreted? For example, you might be in a conversation and say, 'I saw a great show last night. My favorite critic gave it a thumbs up!' The person you're speaking with might say, 'I didn't know there was a new stage production in town. In what theatre is the performance?' Your respone may be, 'Stage production? I was talking about the new hit movie!' The person you're speaking with could then say, 'Oh, I didn't know you were talking about the cinema.'

Movie, Show, Cinema, Stage, Production...different, the same, similar? We've all experienced this situation at one time or another...different meanings and interpretations for the same word. An example of this situation sometimes happens in the business world, with the use of the terms Business Development and Marketing.

Definitions of Business Development and Marketing

The terms refer to two distinct, but related business disciplines, and they can have a variety of definitions depending on who is involved. One definition of Marketing is a group of activities by a commercial enterprise designed to communicate awareness of, create interest in, and facilitate the purchase of goods and services by targeted customers. Business Development can be defined as the creation of ongoing, sustainable value for an enterprise from customers and market relationships. Plainly put, Business Development is defined by determining how these activities come together to create opportunities for growth.

If your first reaction is something like, 'Wow, those definitions sound kind of similar', you're not really far off. There are similarities. If we also began to discuss the business function of Sales (which is different from both Business Development and Marketing) we might possibly bring even more confusion into the lesson. The key message is that all companies (and non-business entities) are not the same in how they define, structure, organize, and integrate these functions. With that said, let's see if we can help provide some distinctions as well as similarities.

Differences and Similarities between Business Development and Marketing:

• These functions are similar in that they both provide a means of communication between the company and its customers (and in many cases its partners) that provides a favorable impression of the company, and is designed to result in something of value for all parties.

• Behind Marketing's communication sits a variety of objectives, with associated analytical and creative disciplines, that help structure the communication, which is then delivered in a variety of different methods and formats (video, audio, print, broadcast, internet, social media, live presentations, word-of-mouth, etc).

• Business Development also utilizes similar analytical, creative, and communication formats, but with an emphasis on two additional considerations: 1) the utilization of live, real-time, interpersonal contact and communication; 2) a specific objective which concentrates on the development of mostly new relationships and/or related situations that enhance that development.

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