Both in the cannabis industry and in business in general, there seems to be a lot of confusion about the difference between marketing strategy and business development strategy. This confusion is the result of a fundamental breakdown in the understanding of what marketing really is and how it works.
Neither marketing nor business development strategy is strictly about sales (although the two can and should work together), but rather demand generation. Demand generation is a process that turns strangers in your business into customers by building trust. Each part of the process is vital and plays its own unique role.
Read on to learn more about the differences between marketing and business development strategy, and why you need both to create a successful demand generation process.
Marketing vs business development strategy
Marketing and business development strategy are not interchangeable, but neither are they completely separate concepts. Instead, they are two elements of a larger process that must work together to achieve the common goal of demand generation.
What is Marketing?
Marketing is the first part of the overall demand generation process, and it is all about creating demand for your product or services. As such, it overlaps positioning and messaging in function.
If you don’t go into marketing knowing you need to create demand, you’re essentially throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. This requires a strong demand generation process and methodology; otherwise, you not only harm your brand, but also your business development strategy.
Of course, every business is unique, but demand generation has a universal basis. Once you lay that foundation, the uniqueness of your brand comes into play in how you approach or approach the key elements in building trust.
What is a business development strategy?
Business development strategy comes into play after marketing has already created demand. Business development It’s not about selling, it’s about designing solutions and getting involved.
Marketing and business development strategies are therefore best when they work together to meet demand, gain permission and build trust in your brand.
6 pillars of the demand generation process
The demand generation process has six basic stages, or pillars, and involves both a marketing and business development strategy. While marketing takes center stage during the first three pillars, it recedes for the fourth and fifth and reappears in the sixth.
Here are the six pillars of demand generation:
- Pillar 1: Curiosity and Intrigue. Start by building brand awareness through positioning and messaging. Pillar 1 requires a one-to-many marketing strategy designed to reach a large audience.
- Pillar 2: Targeted awareness. Pillar 2 focuses on finding an answer to Pillar 1. Based on that answer, you begin to segment and modify the message to suit each segment and build trust through dialogue and sharing. information.
- Pillar 3: Acquire. Acquisition is a one-to-one environment where you seek consent to engage the customer and uncover the potential customer’s vision in a new process. Here, marketing begins to hand over the reins to business development strategy.
- Pillar 4: Design of the solution. At this stage, the business development strategy is introduced and marketing takes a back seat. The two stay in communication as you analyze what works and what doesn’t, apply that data to solution design, and mature the relationship with the customer.
- Pillar 5: Negotiation & Contract. With the client’s permission, you progress to a proposal and contract. We call this a supposed conclusion because before you offer the contract you should have already done all the actual negotiations, so all that remains is to sign.
- Pillar 6: Implementation. Finally, marketing returns to the front of the stage to build the next phase of notoriety. Use the successes of working with the current customer either to generate future business with that customer or to improve your messaging to attract new ones.
Failing to complete a pillar before moving on to the next, or completing them out of order, will hamper the efficiency of the whole process.
Common Failures in the Demand Generation Process
A number of factors can cause the demand generation process to stop. One of the most important is not to “slow down to go fast” – in other words, jump straight to pillar 5 when you get a lead instead of slowing down and making sure pillars 2-4 are built in first. Rushing the process risks creating misunderstandings and breaking trust.
Another breakdown occurs when you don’t understand the separate goals of marketing, business development strategy, and sales — and all three need to work together to move leads through the demand generation process.
Finally, a breakdown occurs when you let sales resort to cold messaging, whether by phone, email, or social media. Cold messaging eliminates trust before you even start building it. And in the cannabis industry, lack of trust is particularly damaging.
Generating demand through trust
Ultimately, the demand generation process is built on trust between prospects and your brand. Fail to build trust – or break it at any stage in the process – and the whole process falls apart.
Seamless collaboration between marketing, business development strategy, and sales ensures that trust is carefully and consistently built, guiding prospects to become customers instead of nudging them before they are ready to give consent to the next step.
Ready to improve your marketing and business development strategy? Contact us to find out how Higher Yields Consulting can help you evaluate and implement a demand generation system that works for you.
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