Marketing Industry Terms and Definitions
A/B testing—or split testing—is the process of creating and comparing two variations of a single variable (web page, email, page element, etc.) and determining which performs best. The resulting information can improve marketing efforts, and what variation leaves the maximum impact and drives business.
An algorithm is a group of rules or calculations used to solve problems and deliver results. Social media uses algorithms to provide content to the user. Algorithms select the content shown to you in your newsfeed based on your interests, activities, and interactions with the platform.
Application Programming Interface (API)
APIs are a set of programming code that allows an application to extract information from a service and use it either in their own application or in data analyses. Like a phone, an API calls one application and gets information for you to use in your software. APIs provide the data needed to deliver solutions to customer problems.
Audience segmentation is a marketing strategy that identifies subgroups within a primary target audience to deliver a more direct and tailored message.
Automation refers to creating and utilizing technology applications to produce and deliver goods and services with minimal human intervention. The use of automation allows for improved efficiency, reliability, and/or speed of many tasks and business processes.
B2B simply means business-to-business and refers to any transaction between businesses. This includes ones involving manufacturers, wholesalers, or retailers.
B2C means business-to-consumer, and it describes companies that deal directly with their consumers.
Bottom of the Funnel
The bottom of the funnel refers to the stage of the buying process where leads are about to become new customers. After a problem has been identified and solutions have been researched, buying is the next step.
This is the percentage of visitors who only visit one page of your website and leave (bounces) without clicking on anything or navigating to another page. Since they aren’t staying on your site long enough to engage with content, a high bounce rate can lead to poor conversion rates.
Brand awareness is used in marketing to describe how familiar or recognizable your brand is to consumers or your target audience. Establishing brand awareness is an essential step in marketing and promoting your company and its products or services.
Brand congruency and alignment measure how well a brand fulfills its promise: it is the definition of authenticity. Alignment happens when internal operations and external clients understand a brand’s purpose—and act accordingly.
Branding is a way of marketing a product that identifies it and distinguishes it from other products through a name, symbol, or design.
A buyer persona describes specific sorts of people or ideal customer bases on market research and real data. It’s heavily psychology-focused as it considers the demographics and psychographics of the individual you’re targeting.
Call To Action (CTA)
A call to action (CTA) is a marketing term that refers to the action a marketer would like the audience or read to take. A CTA is used to move your audience along to become a consumer. For a CTA to be effective, it should be obvious and follow the marketing message immediately.
A marketing case study allows a business to illustrate and elaborate on how it achieved success in a specific situation. A basic marketing case study may include subject, goals, strategy, implementation of strategy, and results.
Churn rate can refer to both the rate of customer churn and employee churn.
- Customer churn is the rate at which customers stop doing business with an organization
- Employee churn is the rate at which employees leave their jobs within a given period
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
The click-through rate (CTR) is a metric used by advertisers to measure the number of clicks they receive on their ads per impression. CTR indicates how successfully an ad has captured a user’s attention. The higher the CTR, the more successful the ad.
A content calendar organizes and schedules content across media platforms. This tool is commonly used in social media and is helpful for understanding and managing the long-and short-term goals of your strategy.
Content Management System (CMS)
A content management system (CMS) is a software application used to build and manage content. A CMS allows for multiple contributors to create, edit, and publish. Users can develop and manage a website without having to code from scratch.
Content marketing positions businesses as experts and gives prospects the information they need to make an educated purchasing decision.
Content Optimization System (COS)
Content optimization systems (COS) use a software platform to apply content marketing best practices to boost your ranking in search engines. Optimized content allows for a fully personalized web experience for customers.
A conversion is an interaction with your business that leads to a call, an email, a sale, or even filling out a contact us form. It is the action that results from someone viewing your brand and then wanting to interact with or employ you. Conversion is the moment when a recipient of a marketing message performs a desired action. Essentially, conversion is when someone responds to your call-to-action.
Copy refers to a category of writing marketers use to inform, persuade, or entertain an audience. It can help businesses achieve their marketing goals by driving readers to take specific actions.
Cost-per-click (CPC) is an online paid advertising term that describes the costs advertisers pay to publishers for every click on an ad. CPC is a key consideration when choosing bidding strategies and conversion bidding types to maximize clicks relative to the budget size and target keywords.
Cost-per-lead is a metric that measures how cost-effective your marketing campaigns are based on the number of qualifying leads generated. This metric helps provide insights on a tangible dollar figure of how much money is appropriate to spend on acquiring new leads.
CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheet. CSS formats the layout of Web pages. Table sizes, text styles, and other features of web pages can be defined using CSS instead of HTML code.
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the amount of money a company spends to acquire a new customer. Measuring client growth efforts with this metric can help measure the return on investment.
Customer Experience (CX)
Customer experience (CX) is the impression your customers have of your brand at every step of their buying process. As a result, you impact their perception of your brand and factors related to your bottom line, including revenue.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Customer relationship management (CRM) refers to the practices and guidelines a business follows to retain current customers, increase its spending, and convert prospects into new customers. CRM systems are used to manage information such as interactivity data, indicators of purchase intent, and purchase histories. CRMs ultimately improve the customer’s experience.
Earned media refers to any material written about your business that you have not paid for or created yourself. Though earned media is always published by a third party, there are ways marketers can position themselves to take advantage of these opportunities.
Ebooks are electronic books and are fast becoming a significant content trend. Initially popularized by authors to publish their books, brands are now creating ebooks to create long-form content for their customers. Unlike traditional books, ebooks have a low entry point to publishing, are cheaper to produce, and can be sold at wholesale price.
Engagement refers to any form of interaction with content. This simply means giving attention to something in any form by clicking on anything the marketer wants you to click on. It can also refer to engaging with prospects, colleagues, and customers on social media.
Evergreen content is SEO content that is frequently relevant and stays fresh for readers. Like evergreen trees, this type of content is considered sustainable and lasting. Unlike a traditional blog post, it maintains relevancy with search traffic growing over time.
In marketing terms, exposure refers to the extent to which marketing communications about a company’s products or initiatives reach its target market.
A ghostwriter is a writer that works for hire and does not assign their name to the content they’ve produced. The ghostwriter gives up copyright to their employer in exchange for payment. Ghostwriters are highly trained professional writers that can be found in almost every industry.
A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#). They’re used within a social media post to identify a keyword or topic and facilitate a search for it. A hashtag helps other people interested in a specific topic find more information about it.
Impressions are when a user sees an advertisement or digital media. An impression occurs every time a user opens an app or website and sees an advertisement. Impressions are not action-based but merely defined by a user seeing a potential ad or content.
Inbound links refer to links from another site that points to yours. Inbound links are also known as backlinks because they refer back to your site.
Instead of marketers going out to get prospects’ attention, inbound marketing refers to any marketing activity that draws visitors in. It focuses on earning customer attention by making the company easy to find online and using helpful and engaging content to attract customers to your website.
Infographics are all about making information visually appealing and are proving to be a popular form of content. You can present a vast deal of information—research, statistics, and other data—in a way that’s engaging, shareable, and digestible.
Keywords are topics that define what the content on your page or post is about. For SEO, they are the words and phrases that people enter into search engines—also called “search queries.” A keyword or phrase is what you want to rank for on Google with a particular page.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) help companies measure or evaluate company success or business objects. In marketing, KPIs track progress toward marketing goals and assess performance against industry standards.
A landing page is a standalone page on your website that has been specifically created for customers to “land” on when they click through from an email, ad, or other digital location. Landing pages are generally designed with a single focus or CTA. In most cases, they aim to capture information in exchange for something of value.
A lead refers to anyone who has shown interest in a brand’s products or services and is considered a potential customer.
Lead generation and its strategy focus on converting an interested audience into leads through direct outreach using multiple channels.
A lead magnet describes a free item, service, or resource that’s given away or used to attract potential customers and gather contact details. Lead magnets can include trial subscriptions, samples, e-newsletters, white papers, and free consultations.
Lead nurturing is the process of developing, engaging, and reinforcing relationships with prospective buyers at every stage of the buyer’s journey. As part of a lead nurturing program, marketing and communication efforts focus on listening to prospects’ needs and answering questions in a way that builds trust, increases brand awareness, and maintains a connection until prospects decide to buy.
Generally done in three phases—collect, convert, and create—lifecycle marketing is the process of providing your customers with the communications and experiences they need, want, or like to go from prospects to customers and, eventually, advocates.
- Collect Phase: In the Collect Phase, you want to get the consumers’ attention who will buy your products or services. The stages include Target, Attract and Capture Leads.
- The Convert Phase: The second phase of Lifecycle Marketing, Convert, is where your strategy works to make your product or services the obvious choice for those who have already been attracted and are ready to buy. The Convert Phase stages are Engage, Offer, and Close.
- The Create Phase: This third phase is straightforward and involves three key stages Deliver and Wow, Offer More, and Referral.
Marketing automation uses software to manage and automate tedious marketing processes and work. Email marketing, social media posting, and even ad campaigns can be automated.
Marketing Mix/ Four Ps
The marketing mix describes the actions and tactics a company employs to promote its brand or product. The four Ps in the typical marketing mix are Price, Product, Promotion, and Place.
Middle of the Funnel
Middle of the funnel refers to the stage of the buying process that focuses on education and engagement with the goal of isolating high-quality leads.
Mobile marketing refers to any advertising or promotional activity promoting products and services on mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. Mobile marketing uses modern features such as location services, push notifications, and mobile-optimized ads.
Mobile optimization refers to the process of ensuring that a website is accessible to visitors using mobile devices. The process involves ensuring content displays correctly, works properly, and provides a user-friendly experience.
Native advertising is paid advertising designed to match the look, feel, and function of the media design in which they appear. In contrast to display ads or banner ads, native ads don’t look like advertisements. Instead, they appear as a natural part of the content. It’s important that native advertising is not disruptive—it exposes readers to the advertising content without making them feel as if they are being bothered.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric used to measure customer experience and help predict business growth. Using an index ranging from -100 to 100, the NPS scores are measured with a single-question survey where a high score is desired.
No follow links are links with a rel=“nofollow” HTML tag applied to them. There is no benefit to a page from a no follow link because it does not boost its PageRank or boost its ranking in SERPs.
Objectives and Key Results (OKR)
OKR is the abbreviation for Objectives and Key Results and is a collaborative goal-setting methodology used by both teams and individuals to develop ambitious, challenging goals with measurable outcomes. Using OKRs allows you to track progress, create alignment, and build engagement around measurable goals.
Off-page optimization refers to SEO outside of your website, including incoming links, social media, and other factors impacting how a webpage is indexed in search results.
On-page optimization (on-page SEO) consists of optimizing individual web pages for search engines, so they rank higher and send more relevant traffic to the site. On-page includes improving the meta description and title tags and efforts to optimize the content.
Organic search, also known as natural search, is the unpaid results that appear on a search engine results page after a query.
Owned media applies to digital marketing channels that are under the complete control of the business.
Paid Media describes any type of media that a company pays for. Social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook offer paid advertising opportunities to help boost exposure. Google and similar search engines also have numerous paid advertising options to target users online.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
In contrast to organic search, pay-per-click advertising (PPC) refers to an online advertising model that has advertisers pay every time users click on one of their ads.
Responsive design is the website design approach that considers the different types of devices that a user may be using to access the site. This method works to smoothly adjust and reformat the website for various screen sizes, allowing visitors to easily interact with your site.
Return on Investment (ROI)
Return on Investment (ROI) is a measure used to evaluate the performance and efficiency of an investment. ROI is expressed as a percentage and tries to directly measure the return on a specific investment in relation to the initial investment cost. To calculate ROI, the return of an investment is divided by the cost of the investment.
SaaS stands for software as a service. One of the most popular cloud computing categories, SaaS software is hosted by third-party providers and delivered to customers via the internet as a service.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of designing and improving your website to increase its positioning in organic search results. A good SEO strategy is vital in attracting attention from prospective and existing customers to your business.
Segmentation allows you to take large segments of people or potential buyers and shape them into different groups or segments with common needs or wants who may respond similarly to a marketing action (e.g., you start with a cow and make a steak). Digital marketing starts with one person, and you reaggregate them into many people (e.g., you start with mincemeat and make a hamburger). Both still make sense.
Sender Score is an algorithm that scores the reputation of every outgoing mail server using a scale of 0-100. Sender Scores fluctuate depending on your email sending habits and your recipients’ responses.
Service Level Agreement (SLA)
A service-level agreement (SLA) is a contract that sets the expectations between the service provider and the customer. The agreement can exist between a business and its customers or within a business between one department and another.
Authority in SEO refers to the value a search engine assigns to a web page. The scores range from one to 100, with a higher score corresponding to a great ability to rank on search engine result pages (SERP).
Social listening is the tracking of your brand’s social media channels for mentions, conversations, and direct mentions of your brand. This also includes analyzing specific keywords, topics, competitors, or industries related to your brand to gain insights and opportunities to act on.
Social proof can help increase conversions by demonstrating to potential customers that a product or service is popular and other people have found value in it.
A tagline acts as a catchphrase for your brand and is a short, memorable description that clearly communicates your brand message. A tagline builds brand personality and helps the positioning of your brand in the market.
Thought Leadership involves increasing the visibility of specialized expertise and accelerating market influence to achieve marketing goals—for instance, building brand strength or generating new business. Thought leaders are experts in their fields: they are pros that deeply understand their industry and share their knowledge with a broad audience. They also strive to improve their business and add value to it.
Top of the Funnel
Top of the funnel refers to leads just entering the first stage of the buyer’s journey. Leads from this portion of the funnel can be generated by inbound and outbound marketing.
The term “unique visitor” refers to visitors who visit a website at least once during the reporting period and are counted only once. If the same IP address accesses the site many times, it still only counts as one visitor. Analytical programs ensure visits from spiders, crawlers, and other bots are not included in reporting.
User Interface (UI)
User Interface (UI) refers to anything a user may interact with to use a digital product or service. The list includes everything from screens and touchscreens to keyboards, voice interfaces, and lights.
A white paper is an authoritative, in-depth report or guide that presents a problem and provides a solution. It’s supposed to help your readers with three aspects: understand an issue, solve an issue, and make a decision. White papers educate, persuade, and inform readers without having a sales pitch.