The content on this page is a glossary of marketing terms. We decided to put this information on our website to define, or otherwise explain, terms often used in marketing but not necessarily correctly or properly by some.
If there are other terms you wish to see define on this page, feel free to let us know by sending us a message here.
The process of identification and assignment of ‘credit’ (importance or contribution) to the marketing touch points that a customer was exposed to prior to their purchase decision or other desired action.
In other words, finding out what marketing efforts attributed to the purchase decision.
Brand and Branding
Your organization’s brand consists of its name, logo, slogan, design scheme, symbol, and any other feature that identifies its offerings as distinct from others with similar offerings. The sum of the brand components is intended to represent the values, quality, ideas, and even the personality of the organization.
Branding is the process involved putting the brand components together, as well as establishing the brand, in order to create a unique and memorable impression for an organization or an offering in the customers’ minds. Branding aims to create and establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains customers.
Brands in general, and successful ones in particular, represent considerable value. Organizations will go to great lengths to protect their brand. Organizations also spend substantial resources to promote their brand through various marketing efforts.
Regardless of the efforts put forth by any organization and its marketing team, the true brand of the organization and its offering is determined by the customers. In other words, what impression the market has of your brand, what people think of it, and what they understand it to be, is the brand.
Brand personality is a set of human characteristics and traits that are attributed to, and associated with, a brand.
Organizations strive to have a brand personality the target market relates to, favorably. Since effectively projected brand personality boosts the brand’s commercial success and adds to the brand’s equity (commercial value), marketers employ various efforts to shape the way people feel about their brand.
Brand personality is a framework of qualitative value-add elements that provokes emotional and logical responses by the target market, with the intention of causing positive actions that benefit the firm.
Over the years, sets of ‘predetermined’ trait categories like the “Five Dimensions of Brand Personality” (Excitement, Sincerity, Ruggedness, Competence, and Sophistication) and mapping techniques have emerged, but we find them all rather restricting and detrimental to the creative process. Instead, we prefer to define the brand personality freely.
A very new term in marketing, “BudLighting” or “BudLighted” (as in “ABC Company really BudLighted that one!”) refers to a company launching an initiative, campaign, or product with subject matter that is mostly seen as controversial or unwelcomed by their target market and/or largest segment responsible for the majority of product sales.
The buyer’s journey is the process a typical buyer goes through starting when the need arises, and goes through the buyer’s experience with the product after the purchase.
Generally speaking, all purchasing decisions go through the six steps listed below:
- Realization of problem or need
- Information gathering
- Evaluation of options
- Decision making
It is important to mention that sometimes buyers go through these steps very quickly, as the case might be with impulse purchases, yet sometimes, the process spreads over a long period of time when they deal with high-ticket items, for example.
Our marketing activities, the platforms we use, and our messaging must fit and address the particular stage the prospect we are targeting might be in. Proper marketing and sales efforts will attempt to identify at what stage of the journey he or she is at, and then usher them through the process by providing them with what they need, in the way they prefer to receive it.
Call reluctance is a term often-used to describe thoughts and feelings that cause a person to avoid making calls to prospects in order to move the sales process forward, and ultimately to close a sale. It is an internal dialog one’s mind anticipating difficult or unpleasant conversation that causes him or her to avoid or delay making the call.
Most people experience call reluctance to a certain degree – Some are so terrified by the thought of asking for an order, that they cannot (and usually do not) engage in ‘sales’ activities whatsoever. Others have developed techniques and the required discipline to help them overcome call reluctance.
Content marketing is a branch of inbound marketing (or initiatives that “pull” prospects in to generate engagement and interest, and, if successful, eventually sales). The content is used to educate potential customers and share the features and benefits of a company’s offerings. Content marketing utilizes resources such as social media posts, white papers, blog articles, webinars, eBooks, events, and search engine optimization (SEO) to drive brand awareness and attract new customers.
Conversion rate is the percentage of members of a certain group who take a desired action. An example would be the percentage of recipients of a newsletter who requested more information. It is important to mention that conversion rate refers to any action you define as the desired action. This distinction is important because, in some circles, conversion rates erroneously refer only to those who make a purchase decision.
Customer versus Client
Do you have customers, or do you have clients? The two words are often used interchangeably, and for a good reason. Both words have similar meanings, but there is a difference between the two. It is important to understand the difference in order to use the most appropriate terminology in your business.
Both a “customer” and a “client” refer to a person who buys goods and services from the company. However, we tend to use the term “client” in the following situations:
- When relationship and transaction between buyer and seller is more long-term or repeated over time
- Business interaction is more formal and often involves a written agreement such as a contract or a lease
- The nature of the transaction focuses on providing more professional-level services than just goods or low-skill help
- Services delivered are more customized and delivered with a higher degree of personal attention
Marketing that utilizes electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and computers is known as digital marketing. Promotional messages may be display advertisements, emails, social media posts and/or ads on those social networks, online videos, and marketing using search engines. The impact of digital marketing, in some ways, is easier to measure than traditional marketing, as companies like Google and YouTube provide robust metrics regarding the performance of online advertisements. These tools can provide insight into the journey from prospect to customer, and may help inform future marketing efforts.
Brands often use many online platforms, but some focus on only one. The strategy that’s right for your business depends on several factors – budget and where your target customers can be found just two of them. How many ever digital marketing channels are used, a goal should be set for each so efforts can be more easily evaluated.
Digital marketing has several specialties including:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Pay-Per-Click, Affiliate, and Influencer Marketing
- Native Advertising (which blends into other content)
- Marketing Automation
- Email Marketing
Both B2C and B2B organizations can benefit from digital marketing. There are some differences in strategies though. Because B2B clients usually have a longer process when making a decision, that also means a longer sales funnel. Building relationships brings more fruitful results in this scenario, whereas B2C companies find more customers by making a sales offer immediately. Reasoning and proof very often drive B2B deals, but B2C is more based on feelings and emotions. More than one person’s opinion or department’s input is usually needed for B2B decisions, which is quite different than how consumers decide to buy.
A drip campaign is a direct marketing strategy in which marketers send out a series of messages (often, emails) to nurture customers, prospects, or leads through the marketing process (or ‘Buyer’s Journey’).
Drip campaigns might include (but don’t have to include) the following elements:
– Based on pre-written copy for the series
– Sent at regular intervals
– Based on ‘triggers’ (i.e., if recipient did “X” email “Y” will be sent)
EDDM stands for Every Door Direct Mail, and is a service provided by and a registered trademark of the United States Postal Service (USPS). Often used by small to medium-sized businesses, this service promotes events like sales, grand openings, new company locations, and coupons.
EDDM utilizes the US Census data to send your flyers, menus, postcards, and discount vouchers to a targeted list. You can choose to send your mailer – which must be flat, and adhere to certain size and weight limits – to just households, or households and businesses. To create a group of recipients, the types of USPS routes are chosen, then demographics from the available census data is appended to the criteria, resulting in the total number of pieces needed for that particular EDDM campaign.
An editorial calendar visually lays out content plans according to a time frame (whether monthly, weekly, or daily). It helps organize and schedule the types of content being released, the channels it will go through, who in your organization will be putting it together, and the planned dates for publishing. Consider it a road map for content creation, which should include topics to be covered, buyer personas to target, the process to approve content, and the frequency of publication that will best support strategy, upcoming events, goals, and other company-specific interests. A simple spreadsheet or calendar event entries can house your editorial calendar, but there are also apps designed for creating and managing them.
Email List Management
Effectively managing your email list consists of certain actions meant to compile data about subscribers and their behavior and email address(es), as well as clearing users that have not interacted with your company in the recent past.
Cleaning your list is vital, as a healthy and current list is critical to email / newsletter metrics, sales activities, and future marketing efforts. Did you know that a higher rate of non-deliverables (for any reason) will have an effect on your entire list receiving your emails?
Email Marketing Automation
An email, or series of emails, that is sent after an email recipient takes a certain action, is referred to as email marketing automation. The specific act taken by the recipient could be subscribing to an email list, opening an email, clicking on a link or button, purchasing a product, leaving a review, or something similar that can be tracked and recorded for future marketing purposes. An advantage of email marketing automation is that it saves you time by having a system in place to automatically interact with a prospect who has shown interest or a contact who has become a customer. As your company grows, these ‘triggered’ communications are able to make each contact feel special, whether you have 100 or 100,000 in your list.
Email marketing automation combines contact lists, specified actions, and tailored responses to create a more personalized communication experience since you choose the sequence, number of emails, and specific subject matter of the communication. As soon as it is created and programmed into your email marketing software, the campaign will be sent according to the schedule you have chosen. It does necessitate some work and advanced preparation though, so you’ll need a well-thought-out plan to get started. Some common examples of email marketing automation include welcome emails, birthday and anniversary emails, monthly newsletter releases, blog article publications, events (such as webinars or monthly educational releases), new product introductions, or asking for reviews.
Fonts and Typefaces – Are They the Same Thing?
The truth is, since we started using personal computers and publishing went to the “desktop”, the distinction between the two terms became insignificant, and most of us use them interchangeably. However, there is a distinction between the two terms, and it was once important when typesetting was done by hand, using metal plates.
In short, a typeface is a set of one or more fonts with common design features, while fonts are the subsets of the typeface, each with a specific weight, style, width, slant, etc.
For example, Arial is a typeface, with the following available fonts:
An icon is a symbol that carries powerful universal meaning, making it instantly recognizable and memorable. In marketing, icons are artistic expressions often used to quickly convey, describe, and remind the target audience of products, services, or actions the company offers in place of lengthy verbiage.
In recent years, icons became very popular, in part because people view websites and collateral on mobile devices, where screen sizes are much smaller than those of computers. Well-designed icons are easy to see and recognize, and making them clickable, works great in the digital world we live in.
Here are a few examples of icons we created for us and our clients:
Lead nurturing is the process and activities focused on developing the relationship an organization has with potential customers, as well as current customers.
Lead nurturing marketing efforts that cultivate, promote, and foster a bond between the organization and its audience are invaluable. These efforts should provide the recipients with information about the organization’s offerings, and help them move along the ‘buyer’s journey’.
Well planned and executed lead nurturing activities will provide the specific information needed by prospects at the particular stage of the ‘buyer’s journey’, and in the form that is most suitable for them.
Most effective lead nurturing activities are ones that are more educational in nature, as opposed to those heavily focused on selling or closing. Educational communication elements typically share features and benefits, answer questions, remove doubts, and offer information about the products or services and the organization.
Lastly, lead nurturing is a strategic effort. It must be viewed, planned, and pursued with long-term goals in mind. Therefore, lead nurturing endeavors are most suitable to offerings where trust is important, long-term relationships are valued, and when buying decisions are weighed more carefully.
The process of identification and assignment of ‘credit’ (importance or contribution) to the marketing touch points that a customer was exposed to prior to their purchase decision or other desired action.
Marketing Automation is a process controlled and managed by a software program for the purpose of taking certain marketing actions based on the prospect’s activities, reactions, and other consumer behaviors.
Ideally, Marketing Automation covers multiple aspects of marketing efforts and activities including, email, social media, website experience, SMS, and more. The purpose of having Marketing Automation deployed is to remove human involvement in repetitive and predictive actions, in order to reduce costs and eliminate human errors.
The marketing mix refers to the set of tactics, efforts, and actions that are used in marketing by an organization to promote its brand or offerings in the market.
The marketing mix is the collection of activities, methods, strategies, and campaigns that an organization utilizes to promote itself, and its brands, products, or services in the marketplace. “The 4 Ps” – Product, Price, Place, and Promotion – are pillars the marketing mix always includes.
Companies benefit the most from having a well-thought-out and robust marketing mix because it allows for better planning in advance, as well as more consideration of different variables and preparing for them (for example, seasonality). Also, aspects of the marketing mix work best when pursued together, as opposed to more random implementation or one-off efforts.
Product, Price, Place, and Promotion are the foundational basics of the marketing mix. Product refers to what you are offering – goods and services – and when contemplating this “P”, businesses often study the competing, substitute, and complementary products already available in the marketplace. Quite obviously, Price is how much the company will charge for their offerings, and also takes into account room for promotions or discounts, and competition, substitutions, and complementary items; it also brings the value of what is on offer into the marketing mix. Where the product or service can be found, including distribution channels and logistics is the Place. Communicating the differentiating elements of the Product and motivating customers to purchase is Promotion. Firms use methods such as advertising, public relations, and events to convey the features and benefits of their offerings.
A marketing plan is a comprehensive document authored to detail the marketing objectives, goals, activities, and resources allocated by an organization to support the overall plans of the organization. Often, the marketing plan is either a section of, or an addendum to, the organization’s business plan.
(Pronounced “niCH” or “nēSH”)
A strategy of focusing marketing efforts on a specific segment or a sub-segment of the market that is often relatively small and has specialized and well-defined interests or needs.
Open Rate and Click-Through Rate of Emails
One of the first and greatest challenges in every marketing email is to get the recipients to open the email they receive. It is a considerable challenge because we are all inundated with countless emails, and standing out is not an easy task!
Open rate refers to the percentage of the email recipients who actually opened the email. Please note that this rate is almost never 100% accurate due to a multitude of technical reasons that prevent senders from recognizing some ‘opens’ and sometimes counting ‘opens’ of some recipients multiple times, even if they actually only opened once.
Example: 1000 emails were sent, and 200 recipients opened it – Open rate = 20%
Click-through rate refers to the percentage of recipients who clicked on any hyperlink embedded within the email. The most common method calculates the click-through rate relatively to those who opened the email.
Example: Out of the 200 recipients who opened the email, 100 clicked on the hyperlink to a landing page – Click-through rate = 50%
Everyone wants to know what’s considered good, or at least acceptable open and click-through rates. The answer is not simple… there are a multitude of variables to consider including industry, content, list used, timing, and many more. Contact us, and we will be happy to help you figure out what your open and click-through rates might mean.
Open Rate & Click-Through Rate
Open Rate is an email metrics used by marketers to determine the interest level recipients have in a particular email. The effectiveness of the subject line is the main factor (though not the only one) that determines the Open Rate. Open Rate is the percentage of the total number of recipients who opened an email campaign.
Click–through rate (CTR) is another metrics used by marketers to further determine the interest level recipients have in the content of a particular email. More specifically, it is the percentage of recipients who opened the email and clicked on a link within that email. CTR is often considered a stronger indicator of interest than the Open Rate.
Primary Versus Secondary Research
In the most basic terms, primary research is directly gathering data (either by the interested party or a 3rd party) while secondary research is compiling data that already exists.
Primary research may be conducted through interviews, surveys, focus groups, or observational studies.
Secondary research is done by gathering materials that have been previously published, and gleaning and/or extrapolating information from them. There are marketing uses, as well as advantages and disadvantages, to each.
Primary research is “pinpointed”, and the methodology is planned and designed to find in-depth answers or solutions to specific questions, issues, or difficulties. Using primary research assures an organization that the information gathered is first-hand, unaltered, authentic, and meaningful. Unfortunately, primary research is often very costly and time-consuming, and there is no guarantee that just one or even the first technique used will be sufficient.
Secondary research requires a smaller budget, takes less time, sources of information are plentiful and accessible, and can even give the interested party an idea of how effective conducting their own primary research may be in the future. It’s important to remember that information found in secondary research was gathered during primary research, and the quality of every aspect of the previous work done may not be known, but will certainly have an effect on the success of any secondary researchers using it. This necessitates making sure the sources are credible, reliable, genuine, and accurate, as well as knowing when the data was collected or last updated.
Product placement, also known as embedded advertising, is deliberately inserting goods or services into a production meant for viewing by a large audience. This inclusion is made possible by renumeration in the form of money, bulk amounts of the product, or services (when applicable) to the production company or studio. This method can even be utilized in long-engagement stage productions, but it is used most commonly in television or streaming shows and in movies. It is usually rather subtle and integration into the show or storyline seamless. The product visual or indirect discussion of the item carries the message, as opposed to, for example, a character facing the camera and deliberately picking up a can of a popular brand of soda followed by saying “[Brand name] is the best soda in the world!”.
The purpose of product placement is to foster in the viewing audience a positive feeling, emotion, or connection with the brand and item or service in a more natural, less contrived way than advertising. Product placement should not be confused with endorsements or sponsorships seen and heard in all types of media, from radio to YouTube videos.
Rebranding is a process some organizations engage in to change their name, logo, slogan, and/or other publicly-facing elements. A decision to engage in such activity should not be taken lightly – All pros and cons should be carefully weighed, and a good plan should be put in place for implementation.
Organizations engage in rebranding for a variety of reasons including a need to better reflect what they do (as we have done with our logo and slogan – see above), to address customer preferences, to keep up with modern design trends, to match and acknowledge shifting cultural sensitivities, and more.
A market segment is a subset of the potential target market that, relatively to your offering, is:
- Similar Within:Refers to the members of the group having some type of commonality (needs, characteristics, etc.)
- Different Without: Those in the particular segment should be different than those in other segments
- Identifiable: The fact there are some people out there with blue eyes and curly dark hair, for example, does not necessarily mean we can identify who they are (and count how many) on your mailing list, if you wanted to promote a particular hair product that’s perfect for them
- Reachable: For marketing to be effective, we should have some means to communicate our message to them
- Significant: The size of the segment should be large enough to be worth the effort and costs associated with directing specific and unique marketing efforts towards it
Short-form videos are typically between 15 seconds and 2 minutes – long enough to convey information but short enough to keep your viewer’s attention and be engaging. This type of content originated on social media; specifically, Facebook and Instagram have begun to favor shorter videos, while Snapchat and TikTok embraced short-form videos as soon as they launched. Companies have also started to upload video snippets to their blogs, websites, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Short-form video production is challenging because marketers must be able to get their point across and make it memorable within a very limited amount of time.
Popular uses of short-form videos include topics like features and benefits of products, how-to or tricks-and-tips, “a day in the life” at your business, interview-style customer testimonials, members of the management team expressing appreciation or sharing company announcements, teasers (upcoming product releases, events, etc.), and live-streaming (commonly from expos, trade shows, conferences, and speaking engagements).
Slogan or Tagline
In marketing, a slogan or tagline is a simple and catchy phrase accompanying a logo or brand, that concisely and succinctly expresses a product or brand’s appeal and makes it more memorable.
Ideally, the slogan should:
- Be short, striking, or memorable
- Express what the logo or name cannot on their own
- Articulate the most important argument and benefits of the (much longer) value proposition
- Become an identifiable and integral part of the brand identity
Unlike company names or logos, it is more acceptable to replace or otherwise modify a slogan or tagline when market conditions or company circumstances make it necessary.
Quantitative Versus Qualitative Data
Simply speaking, ‘quantitative’ refers to information that can be measured and counted, such as information or responses obtained through methods like surveys, polls, or questionnaires. Qualitative information requires observation and establishing motivation, and therefore, can be rather subjective in its interpretation.
Quantitative research aims to collect dependable statistics that can be used to steer important business queries and decisions. Before investing too much time, effort, and other means into an initiative, an organization should know if there is a market for the idea in mind and how widespread the idea’s reach could be.
Relatively speaking, a very small percentage of the world’s businesses can afford to waste resources on a notion without some inkling that the concept has merit. Surveys and questionnaires with close-ended questions, asked of a rather large group of representative participants, are most used to glean the quantitative data needed to give marketers the information they need to make decisions.
For example, depending on the purpose of your research and prospective audience for your product, mobile surveys could leave out an important segment of people, but conversely, landline survey calls automatically leave out almost 67% of homes that use only mobile for their phone service. After quantitative data is acquired, it doesn’t do much good to your company unless it is organized, examined, and shared with the E-suite and other decision makers. Truth be told, businesses that are small- to medium-sized (like the ones we most often help), don’t have the necessary proficiencies or capabilities to analyze and act on the findings in-house.
Qualitative research aims to find deeper insights into behavior, motives, and feelings. While these can be incredibly useful, they aren’t quantifiable, and that means a bit of risk and intuition is involved when making decisions based on these findings. It is often said that if quantitative brings the “what”, qualitative brings the “why”. If you want to know why customers like or dislike certain marketing initiatives or brands, qualitative information could provide the responses needed to re-direct. Usually, this information is obtained through discussions, like focus groups, interviews, and online forums dedicated to the product in question. One very important thing to keep in mind is that the number of respondents in this type of data gathering is much smaller, so keeping a close eye on the proceedings is very important, as is making bias-avoiding adjustments and ensuring the data gleaned brings information as well as insight.
USP vs. UVP
Marketing is more than the message you put in front of prospective customers. It also requires buy-in from the entire company to ensure employees deliver and delight at every touchpoint. There are terms marketers use to differentiate the “inward facing” and “outward facing” positions companies take to separate their offerings from competitors. Respectively, they are the unique value proposition (UVP), and the unique selling proposition (USP).
- Unique Value Proposition (UVP): A statement directed towards employees the defines a company’s goals. Ask yourself: what value can you provide customers through your product or service? What strategy can the company employ to achieve this goal?
- Unique Selling Proposition (USP): A statement directed towards customers that helps differentiate your company’s offerings from the competition. Ask yourself: what is the primary benefit of my company’s product or service versus a competitor? This benefit should be loud and clear in your marketing materials.
A value proposition is a statement containing the company’s promise to its customers of a unique and relevant benefit.
The value proposition is often the core statement from which all promotional content is derived. Its purpose is to communicate to the customer a reason to buy from the company, as well as to guide the company in making decisions aligned with this promise. Unlike the mission statement, which is inward-looking, the value proposition is an outward-looking statement.
Derivatives of the organization’s value proposition exist in different forms and are used in a variety of places – The full version of a value proposition is almost never used ‘as is’ in promotional materials.