Marketing is the process of promoting the benefits of your products or services to new or existing customers. But this definition only scratches the surface of what a typical marketing team does every day. Marketers must understand how to create a marketing plan, determine which channels will best reach the target audience, track the success of campaigns, and much more.
As a member of a marketing team, it is important to know the common terms used in the industry. But if you are new to marketing, attempting to master the vocabulary of an experienced marketing team may seem daunting.
So we created this dictionary to get you started, along with links to additional content to help strengthen your understanding of core marketing concepts.
Comparison of two versions of a variable (e.g., a call to action or email subject line) to determine which performs best.
Marketing strategy that targets specific prospects rather than large segments of the market.
Marketing strategy focused on gaining new customers rather than communicating with current customers.
Approach to marketing that prioritizes frequent iteration and improvement based on the results of each campaign, project, or piece of content. Read more about agile marketing.
Process of influencing the opinions of analysts at industry research and consulting firms.
How well customers recognize a brand, product, or service.
A link from one website to another.
Blogging is a common component of content marketing. A blog is a centralized collection of articles written from the perspective of individuals within an organization. Blogs give organizations a platform for sharing best practices and commentary on topics relevant to customers.
Blue ocean strategy
Based on a book by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, blue ocean strategy is a marketing strategy in which organizations seek new market space to create demand and eliminate competition.
Bottom of the funnel
Final stage of the marketing funnel. At this stage, buyers have identified a problem, researched and compared solutions, and are close to making a final purchase decision.
Percent of visitors to a website who leave without navigating to other pages on the site.
Process of defining the identity of a company. Brand marketers are responsible for aligning the company and its products with the right message in an effort to generate brand loyalty among customers.
Organization that primarily sells and markets to other businesses.
Organization that primarily sells and markets directly to individual consumers.
Detailed profile that represents an ideal customer, including key characteristics like needs, likes, dislikes, and challenges. Buyer personas help marketing teams deliver relevant marketing campaigns and content. Read more about buyer personas.
Call to action
Brief marketing message that asks the user to take an action (e.g. sign up for a trial or download a piece of content).
Organized and strategic effort to promote a product or service through a combination of channels, such as social media and digital advertising.
Medium for communicating to and engaging with customers (e.g. blogs, websites, social media profiles).
Percentage of customers who stop doing business with an organization during a set time period.
Click through rate (CTR)
Percentage of people who click on a link on a website or within a marketing message.
Content management system (CMS)
Application that enables marketing teams to write, edit, and publish website content without deploying code.
Marketing strategy focused on the creation of content that reinforces important company messages and attracts customers. Content marketing can include blogs, videos, social media posts, eBooks, white papers, and more. Read more about content marketing.
Percentage of people who completed the desired outcome of a marketing message (e.g., signed up for a trial or filled out a form).
Cost per lead
Amount it costs to acquire a prospect.
Document used to inform the implementation and final delivery of a marketing campaign. Creative briefs connect creative work to business goals. Read more about creative briefs.
Cascading style sheets (CSS)
Code that defines the fonts, colors, and other style used on a website.
Marketing strategy designed to create interest in a company's product or service. The goal of demand generation efforts is to create relationships with new prospects, often through content marketing or digital marketing.
Internet-based marketing efforts, such as search marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and online display advertising. Read more about digital marketing.
Advertisements placed on third-party websites.
Publicity that a company does not pay for, such as social media mentions among influential audiences or articles in important media publications.
Digitized books that marketing teams use to reinforce key messages relevant to their customers. eBooks can be used to engage with current customers or attract prospects through content marketing efforts.
Schedule that marketing teams use to define the type of content to be created, key topics to cover, and when each piece will be published.
Marketing method that involves sending relevant promotional messages via email to a segmented group of prospects or customers.
Metric used to measure the effectiveness of marketing messages. On social media, engagement could be used define the amount of interaction a post receives (e.g., likes, shares, comments). In email marketing, it could be open or click-through rates.
Fields on a webpage where visitors can submit their information, often in exchange for an offer (e.g. a trial or a piece of content).
Concept that ranks the interactions a buyer has with a company or the company's marketing materials before making a purchase. A buyer's place in the funnel determines the appropriate messaging strategy for them.
Marketing strategy focusing on how a company will bring new products or services to users.
Web analytics tool that tracks and reports website traffic. Marketers use Google Analytics to track the effectiveness of marketing efforts, such as digital advertisements.
Used on social media to link individual posts into larger groups by topic. Hashtags are formed by typing the # key, followed by keywords or phrases — with no spaces or punctuation. Marketers can use hashtags to monitor and join conversations on social media.
Hypertext markup language (HTML)
Code used to mark different types of web content (e.g., text, images or videos) so a web browser can display them correctly.
When an advertisement or other form of digital marketing renders on a user's screen.
Marketing activities aimed at drawing customers in (e.g. content or social media) rather than pushing external advertising messages (e.g. commercials).
Programming language used to create and manage dynamic website content (e.g., anything that moves or refreshes on a screen).
Journey (or buyer experience)
The steps a customer takes when making a purchase with a company. Unlike the marketing funnel, this journey is from the user's point of view. Read more about buyer experience.
Key performance indicator (KPI)
Metric used to evaluate the success of a marketing campaign or track overall progress towards marketing goals. KPIs could include website traffic, conversions, or social media engagement.
Search term that results in a list of relevant webpages in a search engine. Marketing teams can optimize website content based on relevant keywords as part of an inbound marketing strategy.
Individual page on a website where users arrive after clicking through advertisements or other marketing materials. Landing pages often contain forms for capturing customer information in exchange for an offer.
Plan that includes all of the cross-functional activities required to support a new product or release — including marketing, sales, and support. Read more about marketing launches.
Lifetime value (LTV)
Estimate of the revenue from a customer throughout their entire relationship with the company.
Process of collecting information about target audiences, industry trends, or competitors. Market research is used to determine the viability of new products or services and inform marketing campaigns.
Percentage of the market controlled by a specific company.
Document showing the work a marketing team will do to achieve a marketing strategy. Marketing plans help organizations establish what they want to accomplish and the timing to get there. Read more about marketing plans.
Marketing plan template
Pre-made example plan that marketing teams can reuse and customize. Many marketing teams use one template to create consistency across different bodies of work. Read more about marketing plan templates.
Timeline that captures high-level company strategy and shows the marketing work required to achieve it. It is a visualization of how your activities will meet a set of business objectives. Read more about marketing roadmaps.
Defines marketing goals, objectives, and tactics for gaining competitive advantage. A marketing strategy is created before any work is completed. Read more about building a marketing strategy.
Abbreviation of "marketing technology," martech broadly refers to any technology designed to help marketers execute their marketing strategies.
Foundation for what an organization consistently says about a product or service externally. It usually consists of a few statements that communicate and reinforce the positioning to customers. Read more about messaging.
An HTML tag that provides a short summary of a webpage or media.
Middle of the funnel
Stage in the marketing funnel that a prospect enters after identifying a problem but before vetting possible solutions that that problem.
Process of designing and formatting a website so it is easy to read and interact with on a mobile device.
Online advertising that takes the form of the website it is located on. Native advertising is designed to blend in with surrounding content and look less like an advertisement.
Net promoter score (NPS)
Metric for defining customer satisfaction and loyalty. NPS specifically measures how willing a company's customers are to promote its product or service to others.
Process of maintaining relationships with prospects throughout the marketing or sales funnel. Lead nurturing typically involves reaching prospects with targeted content or advertising based on their position in the funnel.
Results of a search engine search for a keyword. Marketers can use relevant keywords to write web content in a way that increases their ranking in organic search results.
Any social media activity that is not a paid promotion.
Marketing messages pushed out to potential customers. Outbound marketing is designed to reach customers by interrupting them. It could include cold calls or digital advertisements.
Marketing content a company creates on channels that the company itself owns, such as a blog or a social media page.
Paid search ads appear on the top of a search engine results page when someone searches a keyword on that advertiser's keyword list. Pay-per-click refers to the amount a company pays to promote search ads and generate clicks.
Social media advertisements that an organization pays to promote to social media users with targeted interests or demographics.
Internally focused exercise that helps organizations articulate the unique benefit of their product or service and why their solution is better than the competitors'. Positioning informs messaging but does not dictate the words marketing teams use in external communications. Read more about positioning.
Process of communicating the value of an organization's product to potential buyers and internal teams. Product marketing requires a deep understanding of both the product and potential buyers. Read more about product marketing.
Automated way of bidding for online advertising space based on the organization's target sites and audiences.
Process of managing the spread of information from the organization to the public. The goal of public relations is to maintain a positive public image by controlling the information that flows out of the organization.
Contact or prospect that has opted to receive more information from an organization and fits the profile of an ideal customer.
Digital advertisements targeted at customers who have already interacted with the company in some way (e.g., visited the website or filled out a form).
Process of gathering and promoting positive online reviews to influence potential customers' buying decisions.
Return on investment (ROI)
Metric used to determine the profitability of an investment. In marketing, ROI can be calculated for any marketing spend.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Process of increasing a website's visibility and ranking on search engine results pages to boost traffic. SEO can include the strategic use of keywords in web copy, regular creation of quality content, improvement of website UX, and more.
Search engine results page (SERP)
Webpage that a search engine displays after a user conducts a search.
Process of dividing a market of customers into groups based on similar characteristics (e.g. age or purchase behavior) so marketing teams can reach them with tailored, relevant marketing content.
Social media marketing
Combination of organic and paid marketing efforts used to reach and interact with potential customers via social media platforms.
Social media plan
Document that defines the work a marketing team will do to achieve their social media goals. Social media plans help organizations establish what to post on social media and when.
Content that describes how customers are achieving goals and deriving real benefits by using a company's product or service. Success stories can provide social proof for potential buyers.
Group of customers that is most likely to use a company's product or service. Marketing teams typically focus efforts and messaging towards target markets.
Content marketing tactic in which marketing teams work to build expertise and credibility within a certain industry or specific topic. Marketing teams can build thought leadership with blogging, social media, or long-form content like eBooks.
Top of the funnel
First phase of the marketing funnel. During this phase, prospects are unaware of the company or how it can help them solve a problem. Marketing teams might target top-of-the-funnel customers with general awareness campaigns.
Offline marketing efforts such as radio, TV, or newspaper advertisements.
User-generated content (UGC)
Content about a company created by the company's customers. UGC can be shared on social media or on a company's owned channels.
Content marketing tactic in which marketing teams use videos to establish valuable messages for customers.
Someone who loads a website in their browser.
Real-time insights into customer behavior on a company's website. Web analytics help marketing teams continuously optimize website content and digital marketing efforts.
Live educational event that is held virtually. Marketing teams use webinars to relay key messages to audiences, engage with customers, and capture customer information.
An educational report or guide on a particular topic often used in content marketing programs. Marketing teams use white papers to establish or reinforce their expertise.
Marketing tactic in which organizations motivate customers to positively discuss their products or services with peers or others in their network.
Extensible markup language (XML)
Text-based markup language that stores, transports, and organizes data in a way that is human- and machine-readable.
Year over year (YoY)
Comparison of one year of data to the previous year of data. Marketing teams can use YoY data to show growth in share of voice, market saturation, or social media engagement.
Marketing tactic that does not have any costs to execute. Some word-of-mouth marketing efforts are zero cost.
Zero moment of truth (ZMOT)
The moment when a customer first researches a product. ZMOT is often a customer's first interaction with a company and can heavily influence the customer's perception of that company moving forward.