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197 Ways Law Firm Marketing and BizDev are Different

197 Ways Law Firm Marketing and BD are Different

Upwards of 90% of legal marketing and business development (BD) professionals believe there is a distinction between “law firm marketing” and “law firm business development. That’s according to a recent survey of 400 legal professionals in the industry.

More importantly, these two functions require different skillsets.  The data is interesting, but it doesn’t justly serve the passion that goes along with it.  The passion of professionals working in these two functions – during an incredibly challenging and competitive period of time for law firms – was evident on an open-ended question.

Of the 90% who said marketing and BD were different, we asked one follow up question: Please describe how marketing and business development are different? The response was incredible – more than 323 respondents wrote in answers.

Legal Marketing and BD Pros in their Own Words

Here is a sizable sample of some of the answers we received.  We have edited some of these answers but strictly for grammar and spelling – without altering the meaning or intent.  The emphasis in bold is our addition, and for no other reason than we find the commentary interesting, and think you might too.

There is no intent to convey a ranking of answers on this list — the answers are presented in the order in which they were received.

  1. Marketing tends to be tactical in nature and business development is based on intelligence gathering and relationship building.
  2. I think marketing is more about messaging and collateral about the firm, whereas business development is much more about individualized material production for a small group of attorneys going after a particular client.
  3. Marketing is general brand awareness and perception among clients and contacts. Business development is the act of getting new business; it’s sales and sales support.
  4. The priorities and mindset (shotgun vs. targeted) is different. Most importantly, while different they need to work as a cohesive team. In my humble opinion, that is not being done well.
  5. While marketing and business development can be both strategic and tactical, marketing tends to be more focused on firm collateral and branding, whereas I see business development as involving research, understanding the client’s or prospect’s needs in the near-term or mid-term in order to effectively pitch capabilities, and to be forward looking as to where does the industry appears to be going and how can the firm position itself to assist clients.
  6. Marketing includes branding, brand awareness, internal and external communication and advertising. Business Development enhances these efforts, focuses them and ultimately converts leads to clients; it also focuses more on building the internal capacity to close more sales, cross-sell more effectively and keep the best clients.
  7. Marketing functions include all outward expressions of the firm. Marketing provides the base layer for which BD to launch. BD is the next level, taking the message to the street and directly impact and close new business through a variety of channels.
  8. Marketing is one tactic within the broader business development strategy. Business Development is includes research, analysis, relationship building, and etc. whereas marketing is more of strictly an outward promotion of a firm’s capabilities. They obviously both need to be strong, but it’s a like a square and rectangle. Marketing is business development, but business development is not always marketing.
  9. Marketing is traditional PR, sponsorships, social media, websites, newsletters, etc. Marketing focuses more on brand recognition and staying front of mind with your audience. Business development may use marketing tactics, but is more about data, developing client relationships, and focuses more on ROI. Business development is about keeping the business you have and gaining new business.
  10. Business development is, to my mind, a sustained and deliberate prospecting effort on the part of the attorneys. Marketers can assist in this effort, but the key activities must be performed by the attorneys. Marketing provides the tools and opportunities for attorneys to enhance/focus/bolster their business development efforts.
  11. Marketing efforts should be integrated into and support the strategic business development effort of the lawyers, groups and firm as a whole.
  12. Business development should drive marketing efforts but in many firms this is reversed.
  13. Marketing involves understanding the best practices today of branding, advertising, web, SEO, email, design, CRM systems and more. Business development is all about being a sales coach and knowing how to get attorneys to focus, plan, follow up and say or do the right things.
  14. Marketing is about identifying your key differentiators, developing your message and establishing a positioning within your market(s). Think advertising, event promotion, website content and building thought leadership through public relations – these are all marketing strategies (or at least first cousins to marketing). Business development is about making connections. It’s building upon the brand that you have established through marketing efforts to connect your audience to your products and services. It’s prospecting (think networking events), qualifying leads and then converting those leads into clients. Business development is all about creating relationships.
  15. Marketing is more project and task oriented, accomplishing objectives to get the firm’s name out in the marketplace and establish a strong reputation for the firm and specific practice areas. Business development is targeted to retaining specific work, requiring research on the prospective client, and training and preparation for the involved attorneys.
  16. Marketing is more of the planning and preparation and research in getting the leads and finding what strategies to take. Business Development is implementing those strategies and building relationships using the marketing. BUT the functions MUST work together to be successful.
  17. Marketing is focused on building your profile and increasing market awareness. Business development is focused on building a strategy to grow your business targeting specific companies, industries, geographical markets and determining your relationship expansion plan to turn relationships into work. The two disciplines should work together, but they are different functions.
  18. Marketing focuses on the firm’s brand – it’s an outward presence including technology such as websites or social media, media relations, use of databases and tracking of efforts, the research function, events, operations, etc. All of this should support and underpin the business development function. The business development function drives the efforts for new business generation through research, industry knowledge, gap analysis relating to experience within the firm, coaching and advising of attorneys in pitching and other client meetings, positioning of key practices and personnel based on the devised strategy.
  19. Marketing is a one-to-many sport responsible for developing and implementing materials and programs that generate brand and offering awareness and familiarity. The best marketing activities also make it easy for the target audience to find the right people or resources to meet their needs and giving them ready access to pertinent information and expertise content through multiple marketing channels. These steps help to engender trust. Once established, trust can lead to client acquisition, affinity, retention, third-party endorsements, and referrals. Business development begins after a marketing plan is put into play. Business development is (or should be) responsible for forming strategic partnerships and relationships with referral sources and others to bring in new clients, drive or support the proposal process, develop new markets or targets, and help attorneys make new connections with a clearly defined target market. It’s more of a one-on-one game.
  20. I believe marketing is more of a “behind-the-scenes” endeavor while business development is a more client-facing activity. In restaurant terms, marketing is the cook staff and business development is the wait staff.
  21. Marketing should focus on defining the market and identifying strategies to position the firm in front of that market. It should also focus on branding. Business Development should focus on the strategies to help lawyers and practice groups connect with clients, build relationships and drive revenue.
  22. Marketing is to make a splash and get noticed; BD is a targeted activity on a particular industry or prospect.
  23. Marketing is about branding our firm in the communities and areas we serve; creating a name for ourselves so potential clients recognize our firm as a leader in our industry. Business Development is about landing new business or cross selling. Attorneys are the sales force for our firm and they need to be aware of all the firm can offer new and existing clients – outside of their practice area.
  24. Marketing = communications; business development = sales.
  25. Business development is focused on the sales cycle and support for it: analytics, related technology, reporting, intelligence, pitch support. Marketing is focused on raising visibility and brand perception. The skills required are different and are rarely found in the same individual.
  26. Marketing focuses on branding and communications. Business development focuses on individual contact with clients and prospects.
  27. Marketing is how you get the name of your firm and attorneys out there and keep the name fresh in clients’ minds. Business development is the continuous process of relationship building for the purpose of generating more business.
  28. Marketing encompasses passive activities such as branding and communications. Business development is active and includes relationship building and sales. Both overlap in that they should have similar messaging and goals that support overall firm growth.
  29. Business development is a more proactive, customer facing role.
  30. Marketing is brand development. Business development is selling the “brand.”
  31. Marketing is about the message whereas business development is more about strategy and targeting.
  32. Marketing is about promotion, about communicating the value of our services. Business development is about identifying and developing growth opportunities and strengthening existing relationships. Both need to be strategic but the paths are different. The end goal, however, is the same – revenues.
  33. Marketing is firm-wide in that it includes brand management, advertising, community involvement, etc. Business development happens more at the practice group level and includes tactics and strategy specific to the particular audience or industry. Of course there is overlap between the two.
  34. In law firms marketing has become synonymous with website branding, collateral materials, public relations. Business development deals more with growth planning, selling strategies, and market and competitive intelligence.
  35. I think of business development as a proactive, rather than reactive, process wherein professionals work with attorneys to strategically identify and pursue new opportunities. Marketing, to me, encompasses marketing communications; however, I believe traditional marketing supports business development efforts.
  36. Business development is about creating relationships, selling and generating business leads while marketing aims to bring in business but is more about building a brand, being creative, telling a story, and promoting your message.
  37. Marketing is more tactical – project based where business development is more strategic and forward thinking.
  38. Marketing is about maintaining the brand of the firm while business development is about promoting the firm.
  39. Law firm and professional services marketing and communication involves creating awareness and staying top of mind of buyers of services, while business development tends to be the sales process (understanding the business climate and challenges; competitive intelligence; knowing what the client needs and offering solutions – sometimes before they know what’s needed). Both should work together, but are indeed different.
  40. Marketing = building/monitoring tools used for business development (PR, branding, website, social media, accolades, etc.) Business development = literally developing business aka activities tied to landing new work (client meetings, RFPs, etc.)
  41. BD: Strategy, data-driven pin-pointing of opportunities. Marketing: Branding, strategic execution.
  42. Both marketing and business development cover similar ground, but there are slight differences in the tools, processes and approaches. Marketing is more of the overall branding, messaging and communication of the firm and all the materials, both internal and external, that support that — website, collateral, events, etc. Business development is more about building on the marketing of a firm by researching the market and competitors, as well as building strategic relationships and partnerships.
  43. Marketing is a function of positioning a firm and its attorneys in the marketplace. It’s about getting the word out. Business development is a planned set of activities to get people physically in front of prospects and those that can refer prospects and a process for how to develop, cultivate and pursue business opportunities. Marketing & business development are very different functions, requiring different skill sets. They can and should be run and managed in coordination with each other because they can, if done properly, feed off each other.
  44. Marketing is more firm positioning and branding while business development is focused on attorney training and bringing in new business.
  45. Marketing consists of items like the web site, advertising, event sponsorships, etc. BD to me is much more strategic in nature and involves working with multiple people across numerous departments to actually develop and implement strategies that can assist with new business generation.
  46. With Marketing the push is to propel the brand and maintain a good public image and in BD the push is to help lawyers use strategies to win work.
  47. Business development requires a direct relationship with attorneys and focuses on helping the attorneys developing their business. Marketing encompasses events, PR, technology – the “other” aspects of the department.
  48. Business development is the activities done in order to gain new business. Marketing is creating awareness in the industry/field/community; not necessarily in pursuit of clients, etc.
  49. They represent different parts of the marketing-sales cycle in the buyer’s journey. Marketing is about driving awareness and differentiation; BD is about driving preference and demand.
  50. Marketing is about brand awareness, advertising and influencing how people feel about the firm. Business development is about adding to the bottom line, advising specific and actionable tactics to develop new clients and increase current work from clients, and involves a lot of one on one coaching and attention. It is a purely sales function as opposed to a marketing communication function.
  51. Marketing develops the strategic plan to establish the firm’s overall message, benefits, and capabilities for the target audience. Business development begins after the marketing plan is in place. BD is responsible for forming partnerships and strategic relationships with referral sources and other professional contacts in target markets in order to bring in new clients. These two groups need to work together to be successful.
  52. Marketing and public relations includes keeping your firm visible in front of a variety of potential referral sources and developing relationships. Business development is finding creative ways to work with other companies other than law firms, trust officers, financial advisors, senior housing, other professional associations and trade organizations.
  53. Business Development is client facing – proposals or RFPs, events, conferences, etc. Marketing is more the back-end functions, like the website, collateral, and PR.
  54. The two do intersect very frequently, but are slightly different functions. Business Development requires more direct strategy for winning specific clients and improving specific relationships. Marketing, though it can be segmented, tends to be broader and doesn’t measure as closely wins on a specific client or relationship level.
  55. Marketing is creating awareness and business development is direct client or target contact.
  56. I think of marketing more on a firm-wide level, trying to market the firm as a whole. Whereas I think of business development more on a client to client basis – more targeted. But marketing and business development are very much related.
  57. Marketing is a tool to establish your position within your market. Business development is a tool to take your marketing – taking your messaging and brand recognition established through your marketing and making connections with your audience.
  58. Business development is sales; marketing is branding and communications.
  59. Business development requires more reliance and working relationship with the attorneys than marketing does. Marketing is the more involved with the overall brand of the firm and the components that fall under branding the firm – whether with clients, prospects or internal targets. Business development is focused on clients and prospects.
  60. Marketing: REACTIVE, communication, website, generic brochures, positioning of firm, practices, maintenance of CRM system, PR, execution and logistics of events, conferences, etc. BD: PROACTIVE, client relationship development, sales, long and short term strategies related to clients, business (practice) areas focus including allocation of resources, partner support or buy-in, etc.
  61. Marketing is more tactical in nature, business development is more about relationship building, coaching the attorneys on how to find potential leads and develop relationships
  62. BD focuses on actually securing new business through RFPs and etc. Marketing focuses on elevating attorney visibility in the marketplace.
  63. While both marketing and business development cover similar ground and have the same goal in mind – growing the firm’s business, each have distinct responsibilities. Marketing’s role is focused on: creating and maintaining a professional and consistent image for the firm through public relations, the website, and other marketing collateral; measuring success toward reaching marketing goals; and monitoring the effectiveness of campaigns. Business development is focused on bringing in new business through pitches, RFPs, strategic analysis, etc.
  64. Marketing is doing what the attorneys would like you to do. Business Development is doing what attorneys need you to do – coaching, planning, strategizing and holding them accountable.
  65. Marketing is client development and sustaining the status quo, while business development is winning new business.
  66. Marketing is more of a “brand and name awareness” item where business development is actually the attorneys on the front lines and creating and nurturing relationships – not just maintaining them. BD is creating a specific plan of identifying the “ideal client;” finding out ways to not only get in front of their ideal client (don’t stop at speaking gigs for instance) but actually meeting them and creating a relationship with them and following a proven sales process to get the business. The BD process also includes a heavy concentration on taking nurturing and growing existing clients as well.
  67. Marketing is building awareness of the firm and its lawyers through traditional branding activities. Business development is obtaining business through purposeful sales activities.
  68. Business development encompasses the acquisition of new business and development of skills of attorneys, while marketing encompasses branding and overall effectiveness of firm itself.
  69. Marketing deals more with the message and brand of the firm, while business development deals with the service offerings and clients who use those services.
  70. Marketing is about bringing in leads, business development is about closing the deals and maintaining relationships with existing clients.
  71. In my limited experience, marketing plans are rolled out each year (typically only tweaked from the year before) and business development is expected to plug into the opportunities created. In my humble opinion, a marketing plan should be built around the business development plan, which in turn should be built around the overall strategy plan for the firm. So marketing should SUPPORT the business development within a firm, not the other way around.
  72. Marketing refers to vehicles (print, digital, etc.) that are designed to carry the message and brand of a firm or organization. BD is the process of identifying and developing new and current clients through targeted relationship building.
  73. Business development is more focused – pinpointing growth areas and honing in on them. Marketing is more promoting the brand as a whole to a larger target or audience, in my opinion.
  74. Marketing can be thought of as the vehicle for business development, dealing with the delivery, presentation, and style of materials aimed at business development.
  75. Marketing focuses more on the things you see — website, brochures, pitch books, etc. Business development is working on relationships behind the scenes.
  76. Business development deals with specific practices and practice groups, while marketing tends to be the overarching umbrella which assists BD efforts but concentrates on the firm as a whole.
  77. A good branding or communications person does not necessarily understand how to conduct a sales conversation or personally move the ball forward in developing a client relationship over time. HOWEVER, the strong split between the two functions in law firms today is reactionary, short-sited and doomed in the long run. These two functions need to work synergistically to help law firms succeed.  Marketing people help brand the entity and business development people help lawyers brand themselves, and there is not such a great difference between these two activities.  People think there is a great difference, perhaps because in the 90s firms like [editor’s note: firm name redacted] equated branding with a brochure or a logo, which we know today is not true.  In reaction against expensive logos and marketing trinkets, law firms threw the baby out with the bathwater and put all of their eggs in the business development basket (to mix metaphors).  Have you really talked to a mid-level business development manager at a law firm lately?  They are nothing but mid-level marketing people who put together marketing packets and prepare Chambers submissions.  It is mostly a joke to think they are ‘business development’ people in the true sense of the word.  You are asking the wrong question and the repetition of this question is perpetuating an oversimplification and misuse of the entire discipline of marketing within law firms.  Change the conversation rather than retweeting it LexisNexis!
  78. Marketing is the general push of information, whether for the firm, a practice group, or an individual attorney. BD is the specific focus on a practice group or attorney to focus no their skills to acquire new business.
  79. Marketing is more about communications and business development is about keeping clients and bringing in new clients. They are closely related – but different.
  80. I think marketing is more about your day-to-day, your brand building, your internal communications, and your tasks that help bring in business, while BD is the big picture and strategies that help develop the business being brought into the firm capitalizing on the tasks of marketing.
  81. Marketing encompasses collateral material, media, events, website, and support functions. Business development includes research, cross-selling, pitches, RFP’s, and anything to directly increase business.
  82. Marketing is more about reaching audiences and ultimately about execution – more technical in terms of communication or messaging, technology, etc. Business development is about identifying and building on specific growth opportunities; strategic and long term initiatives; and client development of both segments and individuals.
  83. Business development focuses on the sales process and cycle. Marketing involves collateral, advertising, promotion.
  84. Marketing is the hook and business development is catching the fish.
  85. I view marketing more as brand awareness and promoting a business. While business development is more about obtaining new business and lead conversion.
  86. Business development requires more of a sales approach and how to source clients. Marketing is more about communicating with those clients.
  87. While they go hand-in-hand to support one another, the motivation is different. Marketing focuses on branding, promotion and creating awareness of a particular person, practice group, event, etc. Business development focuses on building personal relationships through different types of activities.
  88. Marketing is about identifying what makes you stand out. It’s about developing a message and establishing positions in your market. Business development is about making connections. It builds on the brand that marketing has already created.
  89. Marketing is more mass focused-building reputation, name recognition, thought leadership, etc. Business development is more focused on particular clients and cross-servicing.
  90. Marketing includes “traditional” activities such as advertising, PR, communications, etc. Business development encompasses things like training, forecasting, prospecting, etc.
  91. Boiling it down to bare simplicity, one involves writing and presenting skills — telling a story, generating excitement about your knowledge and experience; the other involves interpersonal skills and knowing how to strategize among contacts.
  92. Business development is based on relationship building and targeted pitching. Marketing is getting your name out to the world.
  93. “Business development” requires a 1) thorough understanding of both the market and the firm’s or attorneys’ capabilities, and 2) the savvy to match those capabilities to viable opportunities in the marketplace. It is highly relationship-based. “Marketing” remains focused on advertising, communications, content development, and the like. There is some overlap between the two functions, of course, and the degree of overlap will vary among law firms.
  94. Marketing appears to be more closely associated with the communications and public relations of a firm. Business development appears to be more specifically about financial growth.
  95. Marketing has a lot to do with communicating your capabilities and brand to the marketplace. I see marketing communications such as PR, advertising and events falling under this umbrella. Business development deals a lot with research, strategic practice development and pitching clients based on their needs, relationship building and pricing.
  96. Marketing is more aligned with PR and improving your brand visibility and recognition. Business Development focuses on actual strategies for keeping and growing client relationships, including understanding pricing, matter management, and the practice groups.
  97. You can attach ROI to BD. Much harder to do that with marketing.
  98. Marketing functions focus on visibility and shaping client perceptions of your firm and attorney brands. Business development focuses on targeting and pursuing specific clients or projects from clients.
  99. Marketing is branding and building recognition to a target markets or demographics. Business Development is cultivating personal relationships with individuals employed at the firms target clients.
  100. While they exist to achieve the same goal (more revenue), marketing is the function for loading up the “toolbox” that business development uses: website, collateral, PR, branding, etc. Business development is more equitable to sales.
  101. Marketing and business development connect to each other, but marketing is more the face and administration of what we do in business development in order to grab more opportunities from a more “superficial” way. Business development is strategic and you then tie marketing activities into those strategies often times.
  102. To me, BD involves focus on client acquisition and retention. Marketing relates to the tactics involved with branding and raising visibility of the firm or attorney. They are closely related and should be combined in an overall strategy but separate in their own ways.
  103. Marketing is helping to build a brand or profile with an audience who doesn’t yet know you or doesn’t know you very well. Business development is focusing on a specific opportunity to win business. You need both to work well.
  104. Marketing is about branding and brand promotion which support business development. Business development is based on relationship building and establishing oneself as an expert.
  105. Marketing handles the brand’s identity and graphic look where as business development deals directly with potential clients and develops opportunities for potential business.
  106. Marketing entails keeping firm in the public eye, protecting the image. Business development is going after potential clients.
  107. Prior and existing relationships are the deal-makers or breakers. Rather than a general marketing effort, legal marketers need to understand long-term relationships in order to pursue the most profitable avenues. For example, I can find 50 companies in an industry where my law firm has considerable recognition by farming LinkedIn. But where any one of these have been adverse to our existing clients may overlap beyond industry lines. Conversely, where do some of my attorneys have existing relationships within any one of these organizations – but again, likely outside of the particular practice area I’m currently focusing on. The network inside my firm is just as important as networking to clients and referral sources.
  108. Marketing tends to be more reactive and focused on the law firm – promoting our successes and the like. Business development tends to be more proactive and focused on the client – developing relationships and understanding the client’s goals and needs and developing your messaging and strategy around those goals and needs.
  109. Marketing can help raise the visibility or profile of a partner or practice group or firm, leading indirectly to new matters. Business development is targeted directly at generating new matters.
  110. BD relies on analytics, research. The person needs to be able to quickly obtain information and distill it into actionable information for the attorney. They also need be a great writer.  The marketing team needs to have skills in PR, graphic design, website UI and content, project management. They also need to be great writers.  If built the right way, the two separate skill sets will complement each other and the department will be an asset to the firm.
  111. To me, marketing is about getting the firm name and brand out there generally. Business development is a more customized, tailored strategy for each attorney and how he or she can best generate new business for the firm.
  112. Marketing is creating awareness so that our firm is top of mind when prospects start to look; business development is “selling” and more importantly “closing” the deal with a strong lead.
  113. Big picture they are the same. I see marketing professionals looking into customer retention, SEO, SMM [social media marketing], website design, data management, etc. and I see business development professionals achieve clients through events, associations and networking. Goal is the same but the path focus is different.
  114. Business Development is truly about gaining new clients; marketing is more about our brand, collateral materials, website development & design, etc.
  115. Marketing encompasses the tools used to communicate to a target audience about your value and capabilities. Business Development is about building relationships and personal selling.
  116. Business development is an ongoing, ever-changing process. Marketing tends to be the same type of routine functions.
  117.  Marketing is the promotion of the firm, it’s attorneys, practice areas and services whereas business development is finding and acting on new strategic opportunities from customers, existing relationships and prospects that create long-term value for the firm.
  118. Marketing occurs prior to and supports business development. Business development requires accountability and follow-up.
  119. Marketing: outward facing messaging of what your firm does or can do. Business Development: internally developing relationships or plans within “swim lanes”.
  120. Business development involves connections: Helping put the right people in the right place with the prospects that are ready to buy. It involves relationships and trust. Marketing are the tactics needed to support business development. It is the promotion piece to the strategy. 
  121. Marketing is more about getting the firm’s name and people in front of the right audience. Business Development is going deeper into that audience and making personal meaningful relationships that creates a client relationship.
  122. Business development is identifying your target. Marketing is taking that target and deciding the best way to approach them. 
  123. I think it depends on the organization and the expectations of the role. They are certainly in the same skill set, but one is more focused on deliverables (advertising, sponsorships, etc.) and business development is more about working with the attorneys to identify opportunities and the best strategies to convert those opportunities into clients.
  124. Marketing’s purpose should be to position the firm’s brand and services globally and support the function of the firm’s marketing (events, CLEs, marketing materials, community outreach, web site development & maintenance, etc.). Business development should work alongside marketing and directly with the firm’s practice groups and partners to help them understand how to sell and win business by conveying the firm’s offerings, crafting RFPs, articulating the firm’s value directly to clients and by sustaining existing client relationships. Business development should include active sales training and coaching for the firm’s attorneys.
  125. Marketing is more outward facing and general while business development is more focus and personalized. I think they should work together, but they are not the exact same thing.
  126. Marketing, in general, is advancing the reputation of the firm overall. Business development is a strategic effort to gain and expand personal relationships with specific clients.
  127. Business development involves working with potential and current clients to attain or expand upon matters. Marketing involves the overall branding and strategy of promoting the firm in a certain way. Marketing is the organization promotion, where business development works on specific proposals, matters, and clients.
  128. I see marketing largely (and over-simplistically) as brand management and promotion. BD involves using the brand to get more sales. They are fundamentally related, though each involves distinct skill sets. I think it’s a mistake though to separate marketing from BD – that seems to result in unnecessary lack of integration. The firms that are most successful in BD appear to have achieved balance with this relationship with marketing, and the most successfully marketed firms benefit from understanding exactly how their promotion efforts support BD.
  129. Business development is more relationship driven and requires more of attorneys’ time and investment. Marketing can be done by a marketing department more independently.
  130. In a nutshell, marketing encompasses branding, market positioning, content and technology. Business development involves market-facing activities, schmoozing, prospecting and selling.
  131. Marketing is the function of promoting a firm’s brand and who they are; business development is about figuring out a business strategy, leveraging relationships, and generating business from those relationships.
  132. Marketing is about bringing attention to the firm and its expertise. Business development is about relationships.
  133. The marketing function should support business development efforts. Business development is the sales process – finding prospects, engaging with them, setting up meetings with individuals who require our services, and closing deals. Marketing supports this by providing tools (materials, opportunities for engaging with prospects, outreach through online and other channels that reach the target individuals, etc.) that the business development professionals need to be successful.
  134. Both require creativity but business development requires one to be more ingrained in the business community.
  135. Marketing is more focused on the brand of the firm and business development is more focused on a specific practice group within the firm.
  136. Marketing: Branding of capabilities that include public relations activities (speaking engagements, article placement, social media presence), marketing collateral, presentation decks, and events. Business development: Pitch training, coordinating dry runs, finding opportunities through market trends analysis, negotiating partnerships with organizations that will establish know-how platform, coaching, attending pitches and coordinating detailed and timely follow-up, active networking on behalf of firm at industry events.
  137. Marketing encompasses event coordination, advertising, and other various methods for getting a brand in front of its intended audience. Business development is coaching and taking direct action to bring in new business.
  138. I see BD and marketing as similar, but not the same. Business development is the pursuit and acquisition of new work and new clients. This job function involves a lot of research, analysis and strategic planning of what type of work and clients the firm is pursuing. Marketing involves branding, profile raising and PR activities.
  139. Business development works closely with partners to ensure that they have a plan to create and pursue an opportunity pipeline. It also includes the strategy needed to accomplish these business development goals. Marketing supports those efforts by managing the firm brand, providing collateral, and coordinating events and other opportunities to build relationships.
  140. Marketing is what the marketing department does. Business development is what the lawyers do when interacting with or courting clients.
  141. While there is definitely a good deal of overlap, business development is a component of the overall marketing strategy where (to oversimplify) marketing maintains the overall brand and business development helps attorneys get in front of potential clients through a variety of channels.
  142. Marketing is just how a firm presents itself; BD is trying to earn new business and also maintaining what we already have. It’s a continuation of the marketing process. Once we earn the business, we need to maintain it. 
  143. Marketing is about brand and creative (behind the scenes), while business development is about strategy (on the front line).
  144. Marketing is the beginning of the pipeline efforts. BD is the end. The work in tandem.
  145. Marketing is reaching out to others with the aim of gaining new clients, while business development is working with the attorney to teach him or her how to market themselves as a commodity.
  146. Marketing includes “non-personal” activities such as advertising, public relations, sponsorships, direct mail and websites. Business development includes teaching attorneys how to sell. 
  147. Business development deals with the actual sales cycle and supporting the attorneys in developing new business. Marketing concerns credentialing and brand awareness. Marketing indirectly influences business development, but they are not the same.
  148. Business development is similar to sales, without the commission. Marketing is more focused on branding – what you look like, how the firm is perceived, etc.
  149. Marketing is about identifying your key differentiators, developing your message and establishing a position within the marketplace. Business Development is about making connections and creating relationships.
  150. Marketing is the message – creating, promoting and communicating. Business Development is the activity of selling the service.
  151. Marketing is making sure the potential client knows who you are. Business development is actively going after those potential clients and turning them into clients. 
  152. Marketing uses a lot of “tried and true” steps or methods, while business development requires constant strategizing and creativity.
  153. Marketing is one to many and business development is one to one or one to a few. Business development is more the relationship and marketing is more the awareness.
  154. Marketing is how we brand and credential our law firm and our practices. Business Development is developing, nurturing and sustaining relationships with clients and prospects. BD is a lot more focused on the individual level.
  155. Marketing is about having the “stuff” with which to sell (collateral, web presence, public relations, etc.). Business Development is about the strategy and activities one undertakes to sell the stuff (planning, pitches, meetings, entertainment, events, pricing, making/growing/cultivating relationships).
  156. Business development is focused on promoting the attorneys via the law firm. Marketing is focused on promoting the law firm via the attorneys.
  157. Business development is the sales team who finds the business, connects the relationships. Marketing is everything else that goes into supporting the firm and lawyer brands.
  158. Speaking generally, of course, marketing lends itself more to the creative mind and business development lends itself to the objective thinker. Both require analytical and strategic skills. 
  159. Business development deals with the direct strategy of gaining a client, whereas marketing creates the ecosystem in which BD activities can take place.
  160. Today’s business development professionals need to be sales-savvy and client-facing. Marketing professionals still focus on the overall messaging, content and visibility, but work more behind the scenes.
  161. Marketing provides the strategic thinking and approach and the support infrastructure for the firm or department. BD provides the targeted coaching analysis.
  162. Attorneys are trained to do law, not marketing. It’s completely different tactics and focus.
  163. Marketing positions the firm and its attorneys and staff in the legal marketplace. Business Development strategically looks to gain the right clients and strengthen or expand business or personal relationships with current clients.
  164. Marketing lays the foundation for clients or prospective clients to know who you are. Business development is fueled by marketing. Clients won’t buy if they don’t know who you are or what you do.
  165. Business development is the strategic component of working with lawyers to identify and pursue opportunities, develop pitches, RFP responses, and support the ongoing strategic planning and client relationships. Marketing is the tactical support of the brand, the messaging, the creative, and all print and digital marketing collateral. These are two completely different roles. Marketing supports BD.
  166. Marketing is about establishing an image for the sale; creating a known firm that clients feel comfortable considering; includes branding, collateral development, thought leadership, web and e-marking; CRM, PR. Business development is the act of identifying client targets, new markets for legal services, crafting specific sales messages, and coaching attorneys to identify and win new clients.
  167. Marketing is a one-to-many approach and needs to be more generic, understanding what applies to the masses. Business development focuses on the nitty-gritty details of one-on-one personal relationships and analyzing those relationships.
  168. Marketing is geared toward current clients and the firm’s face to the outside world. Business development uses the goodwill that marketing generates to try to develop new clients.
  169. Marketing focuses on the masses, whereas business development is refined and more specified.
  170. Marketing promotes the firm and the individual lawyers in a general way, to build awareness. Business development takes it to the next level. BD promotes the firm and the individual lawyers to strategically picked targets and opportunities.
  171. Marketing is primarily responsible for strategy, communications, and the like. Business development is primarily responsible for pitching, assisting attorneys in pursuing new business, helping to create opportunities, and in some (but limited) situations, actually working directly with clients to pursue new business.
  172. Marketing is 1 to many; BD is 1 to 1. 
  173. Marketing is about creating a general awareness of your existence. Business development is getting in front of someone who has a problem you can solve and the authority to hire you to solve it.
  174. Marketing in law firms has become tending to the brand whereas BD is focused on supporting attorney efforts to attract, retain and grow practices.
  175. Marketing focuses on the fundamentals of getting ones name out there, including branding, PR and communications. Business development is sales, meaning the direct face to face client meetings that lead to new business.
  176. Marketing is brand image. BD is relationships.
  177. Marketing is the art of building your brand and reputation and business development is based on revenue and growing your business.
  178. Marketing is the creation of a demand or preference for a firm over its competitors. Business development is turning that demand into actual paying clients. Business development is the reason we market. 
  179. Business development requires extensive knowledge on the work that is being done. Marketing only requires knowledge of brand image.
  180. Business development supports attorney driven initiatives to obtain business; marketing promotes the name or image of the firm and has little or no accountable payback.
  181. Marketing is just getting the clients’ attention; business development is actually communicating with the clients.
  182. Business development needs to be at the table with clients. Marketing does not.
  183. Marketing is focused on brand development and stewardship. BD is focused on client development and engagement.
  184. I think of marketing as putting together supporting material and information. BD is the face-to-face or person to person interaction with clients.
  185. Marketing is about the brand and tapping into new areas for growth; BD is more about cross-selling within your existing client inventory.
  186. Lawyers are not good a selling or marketing themselves, you need professionals for that. They need to focus on practicing law. 
  187. Marketing is about gaining name and brand reputation and recognition, which gets you in the door. Business development is about turning your brand and reputation into business and revenue.
  188. Business development is responsible for working with the attorneys in order to form partnerships and strategic relationships in targeted areas in order to bring in new clients.
  189. Marketing involves brand recognition and lead generation while business development should concentrate on practice education and client retention.
  190. Business development requires more relationship development than marketing. Non-lawyers can do marketing, but lawyers must do business development.
  191. Marketing requires someone to go to specified public groups and make a pitch to people you do not know. Business development usually requires going to people you are familiar with (and may already represent) and convince them to send more business. Both skill sets are completely different from what it takes to practice law.
  192. Marketing is show-casing the firm in the public eye. Business development is developing skills and tools to proactively go after business.
  193. One spends money, the other makes it. [gets the zinger award!]
  194. Marketing is about the product, placement, price, promotion and profit. It is numbers-based and easy to analyze, it does not account for the touchy-feely aspect in business development. BD is about creating and maintaining client relationships and is very individualized and doesn’t have a number tied to each activity, it is longer term.
  195. The goal of marketing is centered in establishing a message that strengthens your position with the specific area of business. However, business development is about making as many connections and building relationships to effectively connect to your audience in the particular business one is engaged.
  196. Marketing is the day-to-day tasks that must be done to keep the firm united as one. Business development can require more in-depth projects and research to get at the root of what the client or potential client needs and wants.
  197. Marketing is more of an art form, whereas BD is about relationships.

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The LexisNexis® InterAction® team is hosting a complimentary webinar covering these survey results on October 27, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. (EST) which will walk through the survey results and identify how legal marketers and business development professionals are capitalizing on the data. Sign up here: http://bit.ly/Law-Firm-BD-Webinar.

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Photo credit:  Flickr, Giulia, #9: difference (CC BY 2.0)

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About Frank Strong

Frank Strong
Frank Strong is the communications director for the LexisNexis software division located on NC State’s Centennial Campus in Raleigh. In this capacity, he leads communications efforts in support of software products for law practice and law department management and also litigation tools – across large law, small law and corporate counsel segments. With more than 15 years of experience in the high-tech sector, Strong previously served as director of public relations for Vocus, which developed marketing, PR and media monitoring software. He has held multiple roles both in-house with corporations, ranging from startups to global organizations, and has also endured the rigors of billable hours, having completed gigs at PR firms including the top 10 global firm Hill & Knowlton. A veteran of two year-long deployments, Strong has concurrently served in uniform in reserve components of the military for more than 20 years, initially as an enlisted Marine and later as an infantry officer in the Army National Guard. Strong holds a BA in Film and TV production from Worcester State University, an M.A. in Public Communication from American University, and an M.B.A. from Marymount University. He is a PADI-certified Master Scuba Diver and holds a USPA "B" skydiving license.
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