Business Development vs Marketing: Which is Right For You?

Business is a popular career choice thanks to its broad nature, the variety of roles on offer and career progression opportunities. Two key areas of business are business development and marketing and communications. Both have many similarities and work closely together, which is why studying both can be an excellent way to ensure long-term employability. Read on to learn more about these business areas and decide what’s best for you and your career. You may find you even want to work in both at different times.

What is business development?

Business development is an umbrella term that comprises multiple activities with a single goal – to develop and grow a business. In most businesses, the plan is to increase profits by generating more sales or onboarding more clients. However, it can also involve growing the business in other ways, such as expanding to new markets or developing new products or services. Business development is a highly strategic role that looks at ‘the big picture’ and then creates plans and processes to implement those development goals.

This sector is highly integrated with other facets of the business, mainly marketing, human resources, finance and operations.

Successful business development professionals need to have a good grasp of the current market, keep an eye on competitors, and consider business goals in everything they do. Due to the need to work cross-functionally, people skills and excellent organisation are required attributes of those working in business development.

What is marketing and communications?

Marketing and communications is another broad term that includes various types of marketing and communications such as digital marketing, advertising, public relations, event planning, and traditional marketing. These activities often have significant crossover with each other. Working in marketing and communications is a highly creative yet data-driven field that is perfect for those who enjoy brainstorming big ideas but are also skilled at working with finer details.

This is a sector that works closely with other areas of the business, in particular business development. Finance and operations are two other areas where crossover may occur, allowing this career choice to act as a launch pad into a variety of other pathways.

A typical day in marketing and communications depends on your specialisation. For example, those working in PR might write press releases, answer media inquiries, and monitor the media for brand mentions. In contrast, someone in digital marketing may create social media content, carry out paid ad buying, or facilitate online market research.

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Business development vs marketing

Both business development and marketing focus on achieving key business goals, whether by increasing sales, market share or expanding the business into new areas. Business development is more strategic in that it sets out the overall business plan and goals, whereas marketing focus on branding and customer acquisition to help achieve those strategic business goals.

For example, business development may be focusing on increasing market share in the 18–25-year-old segment. Marketing would then concentrate efforts on achieving this broader business goal by creating marketing strategies to speak to this audience, carrying out focus groups with this segment, or creating new advertisements featuring younger people. Marketing tends to be more creative, whereas both fields are strategic and data-focused. Both areas require strong written and verbal communication skills, but business development may require more frequent communication with stakeholders about larger-scale operations or goals.

It’s not uncommon for someone to begin their career working in marketing and then progress to business development as they develop their strategy and stakeholder relations skills. Or vice versa, by moving into marketing from business development for a more creative approach to their work, as the skills are highly complementary.

However, you don’t necessarily need to work your way into business development from marketing or vice versa, as many different areas of experience can put you in good stead for success in either role – for example, experience in sales or finance.

Why should I study both business development and marketing?

It is common for people to work in both areas at different times throughout their careers, which is why studying for a double diploma is a clear way to ensure long-term career success. Even if you have a strong preference for one area, there are still many advantages to studying both. Remember, it doesn’t mean your course length doubles. A double diploma is strategically designed by the College for Adult Learning to make the most of crossover units and knowledge, saving you time and money instead of doing the diplomas separately in the future.


Career opportunities

By having two diplomas instead of one, you’re automatically opening yourself up to a broader range of career opportunities. It also gives you scope to move into other areas more easily as your interests or career directions change in the future.

Salary progression

Being highly qualified with two diplomas means that you’re more employable from the outset, improving your desirability to employers and the ability to receive a higher salary or be successful when applying for higher-salaried positions.

Well-rounded skill set

By learning business development and marketing skills, you will possess the ability to excel in your chosen path and work capably in another area, too. For example, you may choose to secure a role in business development upon graduation, but using the marketing knowledge gained during your Diploma of Marketing and Communication (BSB50620) qualification, you’ll be able to deliver high-quality briefs to the marketing team, resulting in a higher quality outcome.

Future-proofed career

Both business development and marketing communications require a wide range of skills centred around strategic thinking, communication, and managing stakeholder relationships. Therefore, the human-centric roles in these areas are well-protected from technological developments that could threaten some industries.

With a varied range of career outcomes and the ability to work in different industries, studying a Diploma of Business (Business Development) (BSB50120), and working in business development or marketing is a wise choice. With a range of study options, such as the double diploma qualification, you can stand out from the crowd and ensure a rewarding career upon graduation and into the future.

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