What is the Difference Between Marketing & Business Development?

Building a business from the ground up entails plenty of moving parts. More than scoping your audience, sourcing products, and employing the right people, there are operational aspects of running a company that are confusing. Arguably, the difference between business development and marketing is in a lofty gray area.  

For most people, especially those who are new to entrepreneurship, business development and marketing are technically interchangeable. However, while they are different, it can be said that they are two sides of the same coin.  

In this article, learn all about the difference between business development and marketing as well as the significant roles that they play in running a business.  

What is the difference between Marketing and Business Development? 

One of the easiest ways to differentiate between marketing and business development involves considering the aspects that are affected by each department.

For the most part, marketing focuses on the external factors that contribute to the success of an operation. This primarily includes the customer. On the other hand, business development revolves around developing internal tactics and strategies that aim to grow revenue.  

Neither one nor the other is more important in running a business. They both play a role in creating an operation that turns a profit. In fact, it is less marketing versus business development, and more cooperation to maximize efforts.  

Importance of Marketing 

As mentioned earlier, marketing is all about the target market. It is the marketing department’s role to understand the needs, wants, and behaviors of the audience and develop strategies to influence their purchase preferences. Their main goal is to capture qualified leads that convert. Most of their work involves the four Ps – product, price, place, and promotion.  

The role of marketing can look different from company to company. Nevertheless, this department plays a vital role in:  

  • Building a brand identity 
  • Finding the right target audience
  • Crafting a message that appeals to the target market
  • Developing design aspects that are in line with the brand identity
  • Creating a customer communication protocol

Importance of Business Development 

While marketing deals mostly with catering to an external audience, business development focuses on the growth of the operation and revenue. It tackles internal operations and develops systematic processes that are efficient and cost-effective. Likewise, it also encompasses the formation of strategic business relationships – be it with a potential partner, supplier, or government regulators.

The business development department plays a significant role in:  

  • Business expansion 
  • Networking, and lobbying 
  • Product management 
  • Internal process management 
  • Cost-cutting measures

How Marketing and Business Development Feed into Each Other  

Again, it can be said that marketing and business development are two sides of the same coin. Both departments aim to grow revenue albeit in diverse ways. With business development, it is all about catering to aspects of the business that go beyond the customer. Consequently, marketing tackles listening to the needs of the market and responding to them.  

Collaboration between these two departments is key to developing a consistent brand message. Whether the company aims to speak to its market or to its main collaborators, the goals and targets of the operation must match to create a strong brand identity.  


In today’s ruthless business arena, gone are the days when departments can work independently of each other. Success in any industry is hinged on proper communication and collaboration between key aspects of the operation.

At the end of the day, a strong marketing team with a formidable business development team is invaluable. If you’re ready to grow your business further, let’s discuss! Contact us today.