stock image showing a group of corporate employees sitting around a table doing business development

Business development and marketing are two different ways to improve business and gain attention from the desired target audience and the general public.

While they work together to earn revenue and new sales leads, they have different processes.

Any business interested in making the most out of its marketing tactics and influence approach will want to focus on growing and strengthening both departments.

If you’re currently interested in creating a winning marketing strategy, it’s worth learning more about the differences and similarities to discover how to utilize both to your advantage.

Business Development vs. Marketing: Basics

The definition of business development is the ideas, activities, and proposed initiatives that improve the position and growth of a company.

Whether that is business expansion or furthering communication skills amongst its salespeople and customers, a solid business development plan provides the foundation for the sales pipeline to follow.

On the other hand, marketing refers to any activities used to promote a company or its products.

A strategic marketing plan places the customer first and builds toward achieving loyalty.

This can take place in person or through any type of media.

Both business development and marketing departments usually report to the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer).

What Is Business Development?

Business development focuses on the overall improvement of a business’s profitability and the development, improvement, and implementation of relationships.

While business development may not seem to generate revenue in as direct of a way as marketing, it plays an essential part in a successful business strategy through relationships and professional growth.

Improving Relationships

Relationships help to enhance a customer base which marketing can then move to sales.

Business development tasks itself with developing new business relationships and strategic partnerships, which help bring in new leads, improve metrics, and give sales new professional contacts.

Business development professionals, alongside the business owner, work towards alliances as well through business partnerships to open up new markets for the sales reps.

Encouraging Growth

While marketing’s role focuses on the customer experience, the business development process focuses on growth, whether that is the acquisition of a new business or a growth strategy to strengthen the business’ visibility in the community through activities like trade shows.

Marketing and the sales department can be included in the overall view of business development, delivering on their strategies, such as lead generation from new markets.

Other business segments included in business development include market development, product development, and projections for future growth.

Essentially, any ideas or actions taken within the company to further growth on the business plan and improve negotiations between businesses fall under business development.

What Is Marketing?

Marketing is the portion of a business that handles all the interactions with customers and works to build visibility and produce interest in a brand and its product through various media and promotions.

This department is responsible for many tasks related to the target market the company operates within.

Some duties a marketing department or company include the following:

Content creation

Radio advertisements

  • Blogs
  • Promotions
  • Events
  • Social Media

Marketing works to improve visibility and momentum by connecting with the public about their products and services.

Business Development vs. Marketing: Roles

There is seemingly an overlap between the roles of the marketing department and the business development department, but while the two areas have tasks in common, the scope of their work is different.

Marketing focuses on building the customer experience, and business development further the reach of the company.

person holding out their hand for a handshake for business development vs marketing post

Role of Marketing

Anyone who works in a marketing department or for a marketing company may have various roles.

Some can include monitoring social media and posting content and updates.

They also interact with the public or answer inquiries via social media.

Some may create and publish content, such as blogs using the latest content strategies to gain leads and visibility.

Some other highlights of working in marketing include the following.

  • Promotions
  • SEO
  • Branding
  • Email campaigns
  • Mobile technology

While marketing has a wide range of responsibilities, especially for a large company, its duties focus on increasing a brand’s reach and reputation.

Role of Business Development

Business development can mean working on various projects in several departments of a company.

Unlike marketing, business development encompasses several areas and departments of a company.

Some who work in business development may handle relations or projects with third parties.

This can include mergers, partnerships, or expansions in one or all departments of a business.

The various responsibilities can vary greatly, and some who work in this field have many skills and qualities that produce good results.

Business Development vs. Marketing: Staff

The business development personnel work with marketing team members to help make sure things run smoothly, and goals are met over time.

They exchange information and support one another smoothly. But they also work in close relation with other areas of the company.

Marketing managers focus on working with other marketing team employees to complete tasks and meet deadlines.

Marketing Managers

Marketing managers reporting back to the CMO are responsible for overseeing the marketing team’s activities, ensuring they reach individual goals and meet deadlines.

They’re usually employed to strengthen and widen the customer base and relay decisions from the business development members to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Their responsibilities also include managing the brand and all the products and services associated with it.

If it can be marketed to clients, then the marketing manager ensures it’s presentable and reflects the company’s message.

Business Development Managers

The goal of a business development manager, who also reports to the CMO, is to oversee all aspects relating to the business’ growth and ensure business development goals are met promptly.

These goals may relate to expanding the reach of the business, creating more opportunities both for other departments and the company overall, and executing projects that come about as a result of their work, such as strengthening partnerships.

Managers may be called on to implement projects that could bring in other businesses or mend broken relationships.

Business development managers also work on any activities related to furthering the interests of the entire company and the company’s community image.

These managers work with and oversee the marketing department’s activities, especially where the activities of the two departments overlap.

The Overlap Between Marketing and Business Development

overlap between business development and marketing

Part of developing a business is generating interest on a public scale.

Business development oversees marketing’s activities to encourage the public to want their product and services, but these professionals also look at the big picture and develop strategies to push the company forward, whether relationships or company growth.

While a business development team might work with marketing on a larger scale, they leave the fine-tuning up to the marketing team.

They stay in contact, monitor the progress of big projects, and help relay information and plans, so they have the information they need to move forward with goals.

Is Business Development Better Than Marketing?

Business development is a different area of a company but isn’t better or worse than marketing.

If you’re interested in business relationships, growth strategies, and furthering the business’ possibilities, business development is probably an attractive option.

However, if creating buzz for brands is your expertise, marketing is the best place to use your talents.

Is Marketing Involved in Business Development?

Yes, marketing is a part of business development.

Although the roles are different to some degree, marketing is an essential part of growing and expanding a company.

This department or field is more specialized and focused on outreach to the public and generating visibility for a brand.

Is Business Development a Good Career?

Business Development is a lucrative career. There are many jobs available in this business area, and top companies are always looking for qualified candidates to help lead their brand to success and meet goals.

Is Marketing a Good Career?

Working in the marketing field is a great career path for those who have a passion for helping companies succeed.

Anyone with the drive and desire to work in this role has many opportunities to make a lucrative career.

Suggested Step: Look into Becoming a CMO with yorCMO

If you feel you have the skills and desire to work in business development or marketing, you can get a great opportunity to work as a fractional chief marketing officer with yorCMO.

We provide top talent to companies who want to outsource their CMOs to save money and improve functionality.


If you want to improve your business’s reach and growth, you need to focus on business development and marketing.

These two are not the same thing, but their work often overlaps, and together they improve a company and can help them reach its goals.

If you’re currently in need of some assistance with determining if these are a good career path for you, contact us, and we can get you started.

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