You Must Understand Marketing and Business Development
One of my first mistakes as an entrepreneur was my lack of understanding of the relationship between Marketing and Business Development.
Most start-up entrepreneurs confuse marketing for selling and vice versa, hence when they need someone to sell their products they go in search of a marketing officer instead of a business development or sales officer.
Marketing is an organizational function, it is the reason why you are in business. As a matter of fact, as a business owner you are the Chief Marketing Officer. You understand the brand more than every other person, therefore as a small business owner you need to understand marketing and lead the effort.
Marketing is about identifying your key differentiators, developing your message and to position yourself rightly within your market(s). Think marketing, think branding, advertising, event promotion, website content and building thought leadership through public relations – all these are marketing strategies. Marketing promotes the brand, product and or service in a direct or indirect manner usually with the goal of identifying potential clients or advancing a corporate message.
Business development is about making connections. It’s building upon the brand that you have established through marketing efforts to connect your audience to your products and services. It’s prospecting qualifying leads and then converting those leads into clients. Business development is all about creating relationships – think networking.
Business Development identifies strategic partnerships and opportunities within and across segments or industries. Some of these opportunities are transferred to Sales for closing. Sales turn prospects into customers and keeps existing customers with the company. They are the customer advocate within the company and are a strong feedback source for Marketing and Business Development. While Closing is securing a deal.
The mistake most small business owners make is to confuse these roles and more dangerously, focus on their core technical strength and neglect marketing. I dare say, it’s not going to work!