I hesitated to group marketing and business development together. I think the reason for this can be linked to my days as a student, when BD was effectively seen as ‘sales’ which, at that time, was separate to marketing. They were different functions. Perhaps this distinction still stands.
Maybe marketing is best addressed in isolation, while sales are achieved in the absence of any marketing. For me, though, the two are linked, because good marketing enables effective, profitable business development.
Thought leadership campaigns are a great example of this link. The main reason for embarking on a thought leadership campaign is normally externally facing, which more often than not is to win new, or more, business. There are, of course, other reasons and benefits, but normally they bubble down to a desire to grow revenue.
Variables such as the level of base knowledge or the existence of core messaging can influence lead-time but, generally speaking, it’s not a quick process. There are many advantages, though. For one thing, it can be invigorating, forcing you to take stock of what is happening in the market, look at the trends and listen to what clients are saying, both publically, and to you, as a trusted advisor. Agreeing the methodology, who will be involved and key messaging brings focus and clarity to a team. Once the report is ready, the opportunities for communications come to life both internally and externally.
It gives people a reason to contact clients. They can talk about what they have learnt and why it is relevant to them. With this in mind – that is, if marketing is all about ‘identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably’ – then surely marketing and BD are intrinsically linked. At Baked, certainly, we link the two.