By Marwan Mezher
Marketing and Business Development are two branches of business that are used interchangeably; however, differences are remarkable between the two. The two departments contribute in different aspects and strategies to the improvement of business within firms, but each has its unique responsibilities and modes of action. It is essential to identify the difference between them in order to be able to exploit the strengths of each and be able to monitor them simultaneously for surplus of success.
Marketing as a field of business took several concepts. In the beginning, it was simply selling what you produce; however, nowadays marketing is focusing on producing what you can sell at best. In other words, marketing is now involving a strategic plan to meet the mutual sake of the firm and the customers. The strategy implemented by the most successful firms is based on responding to the customers’ demands, targeting the market needs, and choosing the right product in the right settings.
Consequently, a new concept for business advancement and improvement arrives into the attention of firms. Business development is mainly focusing on building partnerships and tactical relationships with a variety of firms that meet at similar targets. Furthermore, business development intends to expand the geographic area of business by establishing new markets and discovering new prospective areas to meet the vision of the company.
In reality, many services-based companies such as construction companies have no products to sell, such companies do not admit of the importance business development, and they resort directly to the authorities and municipalities to finalize their job. However, this is in a way or another, a type of business development because it integrates the concepts of partnerships and relationships explicitly without specifying a unique department for this issue.
I am witnessing companies striving for a minimum of two years to enter a new neighborhood market, employing general manager, secretary, planning manager, accountant, and a total of at least 10 employees paid for two years to bring your mission into existence. Make it smart and time saving; you are few inches from your goal. With my whole respect to the valuable roles of each of the above mentioned specialties, what you need to succeed and expand your work is neither those ten employees nor the two years latent time. You just need one employee who is specialized in business development to complete this mission.
Moreover, companies are now facing a huge turnover decreases and fluctuations. This is mainly because the main focus of project managers is on executing the project in hand on budget and on time, without considering the client approval. This is definitely making the company losing a client per project instead of building a better client/company relationship for future dealings. In addition, companies are sometimes obliged to go through litigation, arbitration or alternative dispute resolutions as a result of the wide distance between the client and the contractor.
However, it is of equally immense importance to consider where to set the Business Development Manager (BDM) within the firm. The BDM should report to the Chief Business Development Officer (CBO) that is of the same level as the Chief Operations Officer (COO) and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Also, the qualities and qualifications of the BDM should meet the responsibilities he is going to hold. Then, he should be well-informed about his tasks to not exceed them in any situation. And as a part of his responsibilities, the BDM should be given choice to seek new markets, Join trade association committees specified in the marketing plans and develop relationships, provide feedback to the project manager and managing partners, assist and evaluate senior professionals on their business development efforts, conduct business development training for firm professionals, and set meetings with professionals on regular basis. In brief, the BDM must know the company core business, and he must have a distinguished managerial and marketing skills. Therefore, business development is the practical implementation of solid management, marketing, and communication skills altogether to ensure exceptional excellence and success to the firm.
In conclusion, the differences between “Marketing” and “Business Development” exceed the similarities, and companies should make the rapid separation between the two departments to deplete confusion, and let each of them contribute to the success in the strategic plan premeditated for it. Nevertheless, business development remains the key branch of business, and marketing is its lock. The two branches should meet at one point to unlock the gate of business enabling the firms to expose their products and services and achieve their goals locally and internationally.