Marketing covers a broad spectrum of specialisms and, as such, takes on its own language covering the various terms and neologisms that explain our ever changing and adapting world.
Isn’t it just jargon?
If you’ve ever sat in on a marketing meeting or pitch, you may very well think that most of marketing speak is just jargon invented to throw the client off the scent and make us as marketers sound important and like we know what we’re talking about. In some cases you may even be right. But on the whole this marketing speak has been formed out of a specific need, just like the English language itself, and is kept within the office walls.
Here we attempt to bust through a small percentage of the jargon and offer definitions for marketing terms, both widely used and widely avoided.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
A randomised form of testing that compares two variants; the control and the variable.
A website layout that varies dependent on the screen upon which it is shown. Also see Responsive Design.
A service that connects advertisers to websites that wish to host advertisements.
A marketing approach for project managing high value jobs broken into small chunks or ‘sprints’.
Operates on demand and responds to what people are saying/what’s going on.
The attribution of sales or ROI to a customer action.
When the marketing message is backed up by the practices of a business.
When an ad becomes so ingrained in a site it can appear as “part of the wallpaper” and become ignored.
The exponential growth and availability of data, both structured and unstructured.
Blue sky thinking
Looking at an idea with a fresh pair of positive eyes.
A word or phrase, often an item of jargon, that is fashionable at a particular time or in a particular context. (Or stuff Tom says.)
Communications or Marketing communications. Messages and media used to communicate to a market or target audience.
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. The key word here is “valuable.”
Understanding what your marketing is promoting and in what context you want it to be shown. For example, if you are looking to promote headphones you wouldn’t want your ad appearing on a webpage that says that listening to music can damage your hearing.
Main purpose is to attract attention and to draw visitors to a particular webpage.
Content Management System (a type of web development structure).
Cost per Acquisition.
Cost per Click.
Cost per Impression.
Call to Action.
Mapping the journey your customer makes to purchase.
Linking to a specific webpage rather than a website’s homepage.
A business model that is revolutionising an industry. For example, Uber’s business model has revolutionised the way we look at taxis, transport and apps.
The automatic personalisation of content to increase relevancy for each individual user.
A truly horrible word which describes interesting and insightful content marketing.
Marketing that directly engages consumers, inviting them to participate in an event or action involving the brand and the brand’s promotion.
Pricing strategy where a limited part of a service (often an app) is given free of charge, with payment required for additional content.
The Purchase Funnel or system, which is the path to purchase that a consumer takes. This takes the form of Awareness, Familiarity/Opinion, Consideration, Preference, Shopping, Purchase.
Using elements of game and play in marketing activity.
Hypertext Markup Language. The code used to create web pages.
Is marketing that gains the attention of customers and makes the company easy to be found.
Integrated services covering a range of marketing services under one roof, joining these services and strategies for a seamless campaign.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Connecting devices over the internet.
A type of language that may not be well understood outside of its context.
Junk mail. Mail that is considered spam.
Words that are searched by a consumer that you may wish to target to ensure that your content or products appears or is shown in SERPs for such related ‘keywords’.
Key Performance Indicators.
A website page where a visitor can arrive at, usually through online advertising.
A banner ad that measures 728x90px.
The process of developing and nurturing relationships with consumers at each stage of the buying process.
Putting yourself in the eyes of your audience. For example, ‘Let’s look at this with a consumer lens.‘
When the links on a website no longer work.
Low Hanging Fruit
The most easily achieved set of goals.
A fancy word we call ourselves in order to make us sound more important (and like musketeers)
Software that automatically pushes out certain marketing communications.
Takes the form of an image or video, often with a caption, design to mimic or instil humour. See JJ’s Social Speak Evolution article for more information.
People who reach young adulthood around the year 2000.
When a company thinks critically about its mobile experience and how customers and employees will interact with their media on multiple devices.
Relates to Google’s Algorithm update which meant mobile-friendly websites were more highly ranked with the search engine
Mid page unit – an online display advertising banner, sized at 300x250px.
A piece of advertising that fits with the format in which it is being shown. This can take the form of a sponsored magazine article or a promoted Tweet.
The hub of information or stream of someone’s social profile where ads and promoted messages may appear.
A seamless approach or campaign that markets across several channels.
Out of Home advertising. For example, bus shelters, billboards etc.
Breaking into a new market and gaining sales by setting prices below RRP for a limited period.
Pay-per-Click (you buy visits to your site rather than organically gain them).
Preventing potential competitors from entering a market by dropping price at the detriment of short term profitability.
The automation of buying and selling advertising space through computer programmes.
A lead that has done something to suggest that they are likely to convert.
Marketing based on up-to-date events.
Different to adaptive design, responsive has one web layout that changes dependent on the optimum viewing and interaction experience.
Return on Investment.
Search Engine Optimisation. Marketing used to rank higher in search engine results pages.
Search Engine Results Pages.
A list of pages of a website that can be crawled by a search engine and are accessible to a user.
An online display advertising banner, sized at 120x600px.
Length of time allocated for achieving particular marketing goals, used in Agile project management.
The meeting you have between a brief and a pitch.
Three-Letter Acronyms, like TLA.
UX (user experience)
The aspects of the user’s interaction with a website or service, likely to focus on ease of use and how pleasing the website or service is to use.
Something, often a video, that quickly becomes popular and gains awareness and is widely shared through the internet.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Immersive multimedia that replicates an environment.
Or wearable technology, the term for digital devices that you can wear such as smart watches and fitness trackers.
A software application that you can embed on a website or desktop.
Used in website design to show the blueprint of how the page content should be arranged.
X (Generation X)
The demographic of people born between the early 1960s and early 1980s.
Y (Generation Y)
The demographic, also referred to as millennials, that includes those born between the early 80s and early 2000s.
Year on Year. Data that you compare on the previous year’s data.
Z (Generation Z)
The demographic of people born after millennials, born between the early 2000s and 2025.
The current mood of the population and how that informs your marketing approach.
The future of marketing speak
As marketing continues to grow and evolve, so too does the industry’s language. Follow JJ on Twitter to see the next in the series of marketing dictionaries or suggest terms that you think we have missed.