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popular marketing terms and definitions

101 Popular Marketing Terms & Definitions

Jacob Brain


We’ve all been in the meeting where there were countless acronyms or terms used that no one had any idea what they were talking about. Marketing and sales meetings are just as bad, so knowing these marketing terms can help your team stay on the same page and have more productive meetings. Here are 101 popular marketing terms and definitions you

Sales Terms

  • Lead – A company or person who’s shown interest in a product, service, or idea.
  • Prospect – A potential customer/client who has buying authority, the financial capacity, and willingness to buy.
  • Suspect – Everyone in your target audience who could potentially buy.
  • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) – A prospective customer that has been researched and is deemed ready for the next stage in the sales process.
  • Close Rate/Ratio – The number of deals you close compared to the number of presentations you make.
  • Deal – The product of reaching an agreement with a client.
  • Opportunity – A potentially favorable condition in which a business can capitalize on a changing trend or an increasing demand for a product by a demographic group that has yet to be recognized by its competitors.
  • BANT – Acronym for Budget, Authority (meaning decision maker), Need (prospect has a problem/need for your solution), Time (prospect has a time frame for solving their problem/making the purchase decision). This is a system for ranking leads.
  • Sales Pipeline – A visual representation of sales prospects and where they are in the purchasing process.
  • Sales Dashboard – An easy-to-read graphical representation of sales data that’s intended to enable sales managers to make better decisions.
  • CRM – Acronym for Customer Relationship Management. CRM is a term that refers to practices, strategies, and technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle, with the goal of improving business relationships with customers.
  • Call-to-Action – A type of web link that encourages a website visitor to visit a landing page and become a lead.
  • CMS – Short for Content Management System. CMS is a web application designed to make it easy for non-technical users to create, edit, and manage a website.
  • CPL – Acronym for Cost-per-Lead. The amount it costs your organization to acquire a lead.
  • Dynamic Content – A way to display different messaging on your website based on the information you already know about the visitor.
  • Lead Nurturing – The practice of developing a series of communications that seek to qualify a lead and keep it engaged.
  • Lifecycle Stages – These divisions serve as a way to describe the relationship yo have with your audience, and can generally be broken down into three stages: awareness, evaluation, and purchase.
  • LTV – Acronym for Lifetime Value. A prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer.
  • Offer – Content assets that live behind a form on a landing page to help marketers generate leads for your business.

Marketing Terms

  • Analytics – The discovery and communication of meaningful patterns in data.
  • B2B – Short for Business-to-Business. Describes companies that sell to other companies.
  • B2C – Short for Business-to-Customer. Describes companies that sell directly to customers.
  • Blogging – A core component of inbound marketing, traditionally includes regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, photos, videos, etc.
  • Business Blogging – Keeps the elements of regular blogging, but adds marketing strategy in an effort to drive traffic to a certain website or to create leads.
  • ROI – Acronym for Return On Investment. A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency and profitability of an investment, or to compare the efficiency and profitability of multiple investments.
  • Closed-Loop Marketing – Being able to execute, track, and show how marketing efforts have impacted bottom-line business growth.
  • Content – Information that exists for the purpose of being digested, engaged with, and shared. Usually comes in the form of a blog, video, social media post, photo, slideshow, or podcast.
  • Ebook – Ebooks are a common type of content that many marketers use, often to generate leads. Generally a more long-form content type than blog posts, and go into in-depth detail on a subject.
  • Engagement Rate – A social media metric used to describe the amount of interaction – such as likes, shares, comments – a piece of content receives.
  • Top of the Funnel – Refers to the very first stage of the buying process. Leads at this stage are just identifying a problem that they have and are looking for more information.
  • Middle of the Funnel – Refers to the stage that a lead enters after identifying a problem. The lead is usually looking to conduct further research to find a solution.
  • Bottom of the Funnel – Refers to a stage of the buying process leads reach when they’re just about to close as a new customer. They’ve identified the problem, have shopped around for possible solutions, and are very close to buying.
  • Inbound Marketing – Refers to marketing activities that draw visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects’ attention.
  • Inbound Link – A link coming from another site to your own website.
  • KPI – Acronym for Key Performance Indicator. A type of performance measurement companies use to evaluate an employee’s or an activity’s success. Marketers look at KPIs to track progress toward marketing goals.
  • Microsite – Used when marketers want to create a different online experience for their audience separate from their main website.
  • Mobile Marketing – Refers to the practice of optimizing marketing for mobile devices to provide visitors with time- and location-sensitive, personalized information for promoting goods, services, and ideas.

Email Marketing Terms

  • CTR – Acronym for Click-Through Rate. The number of clicks on an ad divided by the number of times the ad is shown (impressions), expressed as a percentage.
  • ESP – Acronym for Email Service Provider. A specialized organization that offers bulk email marketing services.
  • Tracking Pixel – Process of using a 1×1 pixel transparent gif to track a visit or event on a web page, to track ad impressions or to track opening for an email.
  • Responsive – Quality of a business process which indicates its ability to respond to changing conditions and customer interactions as they occur.
  • Open Rate – Based on a number of variables, the open rate for an email sent to multiple recipients is them most often calculated as the total number of “opened” emails, expressed as a percentage of the total number of emails sent or delivered.
  • Sender Score – Email marketing term that refers to a reputation rating from 0-100 for every outgoing mail server IP address.
  • Bulk Mail – Large scale email marketing sends in which the same content goes to a large group of people.
  • Email Campaign – An email or series of lead nurturing emails designed to accomplish an overall marketing goal.
  • House List (or Retention List) – A valuable asset, a house list is a permission-based list that you built yourself with opt-in subscribers.
  • Read (or Open) Length – A measure of the length of time a person opens the email until they close it.
  • Blacklist – A list that denotes IP addresses as spammer IPs, impeding email deliverability.
  • Whitelist – A list that includes IP addresses that have been approved to deliver email to a recipient.
  • Native Advertising – A type of online advertising that takes on the form and function of the platform it appears on. Its purpose is to make ads feel less like ads, and more like part of the conversation.
  • NPS – Acronym for Net Promoter Score. NPS is a customer satisfaction metric that measures, on a scale of 0-10, the degree to which people would recommend your company to others. NPS is derived from a simple survey designed to help you determine how loyal your customers are to your business.
  • QR Code – Abbreviated from Quick Response code, a QR code is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) that is readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and certain phone apps.
  • Responsive Design – Practice of developing a website that adapts accordingly to how someone is viewing it. Instead of building a separate, distinct website for each specific device it could be viewed on, the site recognizes the device that your visitor is using and automatically generates a page that is responsive to the device the content is being viewed on, making sites always appear optimized for screens of any dimension.
  • Social Media – Media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Popular social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, etc.
  • Social Proof – Refers to a psychological phenomenon in which people seek direction from those around them to determine how they are supposed to act or think in a given situation. The idea is that if others are sharing something or following someone, it must be good.
  • Unique Visitor – A person who visits a website more than once within a period of time. Marketers use this term in contrast with overall site visits to track the amount of traffic on their website.
  • UX – Short for User Experience. The overall experience a customer has with a particular business, from their discovery and awareness of the brand all the way through their interaction, purchase, use, and even advocacy of that brand.
  • UI – Short for User Interface. A type of interface that allows users to control a software application or hardware device.
  • Viral Content – Also known as something “going viral,” the term describes a piece of content that has become wildly popular across the web through sharing.

SEO Terms

  • SEO – Short for Search Engine Optimization. Methodology of strategies techniques, and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine.
  • SERP – Acronym for Search Engine Results Page. The web page that a search engine returns with the results of its search.
  • Keyword – A word or set of words that exemplify the brand, its services, or products.
  • Indexing – Search engines’ process for collecting and storing data across the web.
  • Canonical URL – Used in cases where there is duplicate content.
  • On-Page Optimization – Based solely on a web page and the various elements within the HTML. Ensuring that key pieces of the specific page (content, title tag, URL, and image tags) include the desired keyword will help a page rank for that particular phrase.
  • Off-Page Optimization – Refers to incoming links and other outside factors that impact how a web page is indexed in search results.

Google Analytics Terms

  • Google Analytics – A web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic.
  • Google AdWords – Google’s online advertising service that presents advertisements to users on Google’s own and third-party websites and mobile devices.
  • Dimension – One of two types of data Google Analytics collects, a dimension is an attribute or characteristic of your users and their interactions with your site or app.
  • Advanced Segment – Filtering the data displayed in a report, a segment can be configured to include data for only a particular set of users and/or user sessions. Creating segments and applying them to report in Google Analytics allows for more detailed analysis of particular types of user interaction.
  • Bounce – A user session in which only one pageview is recorded.
  • Campaign Name – Typically the name of an AdWords campaign you are running or the name of a general marketing campaign you are running which you have embedded in links to your website.
  • Event – An arbitrary action, occurrence, or other interaction with your website that you wish to track. These interactions can be sent to Google Analytics as events, with up to three dimensions (the ‘category’, ‘action’, and, optionally, ‘label’) and an optional metric, the event ‘value.’ Events can be monitored in standard reports and can be used to define goals.
  • Goal Value – A dollar value that can be specified in Google Analytics when creating a goal; in the case of goals based on events, the value can be picked up from the ‘event value’ metric.
  • First-Click – Refers to the marketing channel or source that first brought a user to your site.
  • Last-Click – Refers to the marketing channel or medium that brought the user to your website or app in that session.
  • Source – Along with medium and campaign name, one of the three main dimensions for reporting and analyzing what brought users to your website. The source is subordinate to the medium and identifies more precisely from where your traffic came.
  • Medium – The broadest of the dimensions. Identifies the type of source for your website traffic, such as paid search, organic search, a referral from a third-party website, etc.
  • Organic Search – In the context of website traffic acquisition, refers to users following naturally occurring links in search results pages on Google and other search engines.
  • Metric – One of two types of data that Google Analytics collects, a metric shows a count, percentage, or another number. Metrics are the primary means of summarizing the data collected in Google Analytics, but they can be broken down into one or more dimensions.
  • Page Value – Measures the extent to which each page contributed towards goal completions and e-commerce conversions allowing for the contributory value of pages to be compared.
  • Regular Expression (or RegEx) – A powerful method of pattern matching in text strings, regular expressions can be used in many places in Google Analytics including view filters.
  • User – A distinct individual brower to your website. One user can have visited your site in more than one session, each of which may have had several page views and other hits.
  • User ID – A per-person unique identifier (such as a customer number in your CRM system) that can be sent by your site to Google Analytics to allow the service to associate sessions as being from the same user even on different browsers and devices.

PPC Terms

  • PPC – Short for Pay-per-Click. The amount of money spent to get a digital advertisement clicked. Also an internet advertising model where advertisers pay a publisher (such as a search engine, social media site, or website owner) a certain amount of money every time their ad is clicked.
  • AdGroup – A subset of a PPC campaign comprising an ad or group of advertisements that target a specific set of keywords. An AdGroup typically represents specific areas, themes, or products being advertised.
  • Bid – The maximum price an advertiser is willing to pay for someone clicking on an advertisement for a given keyword.
  • Campaign – A series of typically related AdGroups with a shared budget on a PPC network.
  • Click Fraud – Any click that is made on a PPC ad with malicious intent, including the intentional depletion of a competitor’s pay per click advertising budget.
  • CPA – Short for Cost per Acquisition, an alternative pricing model that based fees on conversions rather than clicks.
  • Geotargeting – A method of targeting visitors based upon their location, such as country, region/state, city, metro code/zip code, etc.
  • Keyword – Words or phrases commonly used by people to search for information via a search engine.
  • Keyword Insertion – A tactic that enables the dynamic insertion of the actual keyword searched for into either the headline or description of your ad text. This will place the keyword in bold which can increase click through rates.
  • Impressions – The number of times an advertisement is shown by a PPC network within a given period.
  • Negative Keyword – A word of phrase added to your campaign that will stop your advertisement being shown if it is included in a search term.
  • Broad Match – A keyword matching option that will show an ad for a wide variety of related terms to the original term.
  • Exact Match – A keyword matching type used within PPC advertising. Exact match is the most targeted match type. It will only show your ad to people who search for exactly how you entered the keyword.
  • Phrase Match – A keyword matching type that is more targeted than broad match but more forgiving than exact match.
  • Content Network – Websites that have agreed to show PPC ads on their site, served by an ad network, in exchange for a share of the revenue generated by those ads.
  • Conversion – Occurs when a web visitor takes an action that the advertiser judges to be valuable (usually a purchase, but it can also mean a visitor signing up for a newsletter or completing an inquiry form.)
  • Quality Score – A numerical score assigned by Google AdWords which essentially measures how relevant a keyword is to its associated advertisement and the page with which you directed it. When you set up a new keyword, Google provides an estimate of its quality score, which is later refined via real world click through data.

I hope that helps clear the air on these marketing and sales terms. There are so many more, but this will help you navigate those industry conversations and help you understand the discussions happening in your marketing department.

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