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5 Ways Marketing & Business Development Can Work Together for Business Attraction

Business AttractionThough not every EDO or IPA has both marketing and business development functions, utilizing both to their fullest potential by operating them in concert with one another can lead to greater business attraction. As an agency that works with both sides quite often, we always find it shocking when the two aren’t aligning their strategies side by side. It makes so much sense, but so few organizations do it well.

Don’t worry: You’re not alone. Much of B2B sales and marketing across industries operates in a similar siloed capacity, but there’s almost no argument not to collaborate more often. If each can put aside the egos and “territories” they protect in favor of open communication, your community—regardless of size—stands to benefit in the end. Here are five practical ways to do so.

Share Your Prospect Lists

Does the marketing department know which companies the business development team is targeting? If not, that’s an issue. Much can be learned by analyzing your existing prospects, and it can influence messaging, strategic communications and how certain marketing initiatives are planned. Of course, this one comes down to trust–there must be an understanding that specific targets may need to be approved before marketing sends any communications in their direction. Still, that’s nothing a monthly meeting can’t solve.

Develop a Feedback Loop on Company Conversations

Business developers are on the front lines with companies, meeting them at trade shows, organizing regional visits and responding to RFPs. How is that information getting back to marketing, which is more removed from first-hand dialogue? Whether it is updating CRM records (and the marketing department committing to regular reviews of such notes) or offline powwows, that crucial intelligence needs to find its way into future marketing strategies. Win or lose a project, conversations with executives reveal more about how your region is perceived than any other research, so make sure that is being circulated internally and regularly.

Open Up the Analytics for Constructive Review

Likewise, the marketing department should be sharing its analytics and reports with the business development team on a regular basis, with notes about where expectations fell short and where they exceeded. That insight might show the business development team the “big picture” and give them insight into where market trends are heading. It also invites feedback on how marketing programs can be optimized. Either way, the exchange of both granular and “30,000-foot-view” information should generate a productive conversation to help all teams meet next month’s numbers.

Exchange What Other Organizations Are Doing

From the front lines of the trade show floor to the pages of the Journal, what are other groups doing to compete, especially your competitor cities, states or countries? Marketing and business development will both pick up insights on this, but how much is that getting back to everyone else? The competition for company attention is extremely high and demands a keen eye for who’s changing it up, because those other regions may be getting ahead. For both departments to share with one another what they’re seeing in the marketplace is crucial for your organization to strategize, respond quickly and ensure you remain at the head of (or in front of) the pack.

Coordinate Marketing Plays Together

There are a lot of awareness campaigns, big ad spends and “wish upon a star” lead generation campaigns in the industry. We’ll call these “hunting with nets,” and the fish are getting much smarter about how to avoid them. But the EDOs and the IPAs of the future will utilize an Account-Based Marketing approach, where they design strategic, coordinated marketing plays that involve both business development and marketing working closely together. Let’s call this “hunting with spears,” and it’s a sophisticated approach to business attraction (often utilized by the private sector) that targets a smaller number of prospects that can make a bigger impact on your region. It involves a timely mix of digital advertising, direct mail, email and other methods to influence and educate target firms about your region. In football terms, this is a 10-play, 80-yard drive, not a Hail Mary. See our case study with One Columbus for an example of how this works and contact us for more information if you’d be interested in shifting to ABM for economic development.

If we had to sum up all of these in five words, they’d be: trust, communication, transparency, communication (yes, it deserves another mention) and coordination.

Written By

Steve Duncan

Steve Duncan is Vice President of DCI’s lead generation division. Since 2004, Steve has managed marketing programs for a diverse set of city, state and country organizations, from Albuquerque and Houston to Tuscany and Wyoming.

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