The same can be said for the business development and marketing functions at credit unions. All too often, credit unions lump business development and marketing into the same department and expect stellar results. While the two fields certainly complement each other and should work closely together in order to maximize efficiencies and results, they're simply not the same animal.
- Business development. This animal is all about making connections. Business development professionals should be out of the office the majority of the time, building upon the existing brand of the credit union and connecting potential audiences (select employee groups, civic organizations, neighborhoods) with select products and services. Business development staff are like gold prospectors — they should spend most of their time in the stream, actively panning for the gold represented by new members, connections and business.
- Marketing. This animal is all about developing messages, establishing branding positions and identifying the best ways to put those in the minds of existing and potential members. Marketers are more about content building and content presentation.
In many ways, business development and marketing not only complement each other but also depend on each other. But again, this does not make them the same animal.
Successful credit unions increasingly view these roles as equally important but divergent enough to treat as separate line items on the organizational chart. For example, some credit unions now require branch managers to work as business development professionals. Or, alternatively, they may require that business development staff report directly to branch managers instead of to marketing.
Whichever way your credit union decides to set up its business development and marketing dynamic, be aware of the fact that both are different animals and should be treated as such.