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Marketing Terms Dictionary: Defining Lingo and Acronyms

Andrew Siskind

If you frequently find yourself asking what all the marketing jargon that you run into means, you’re not alone; it’s happening to a lot of people these days. Fortunately, you can get on top of the terminology quickly -- using this post as your reference. Below is a dictionary of core marketing terms to help you understand some of the most important and frequently used lingo. Enjoy!


General Marketing Terms

  •         A/B Testing – A formal testing method used to compare two different versions of something (a marketing campaign, direct mail piece, web page, etc.) to see which one performs better.
  •         Demand Generation – A systematic marketing practice that simultaneously generates demand for your products/services and bridges the gap between your marketing and sales teams.
  •         Lead Generation (also known as lead gen) – The process of attracting qualified sales prospects and then capturing their contact information so that your sales team can convert those sales leads into closed sales and revenue.
  •         Lead Nurturing - A consistent and structured way to stay in touch with potential sales prospects who aren’t yet ready to buy a product or service in order to continue to build trust and cultivate a relationship with them until they are ready.  

Types of Marketing

  •         Affiliate Marketing – A type of marketing in which a company relies on third-party affiliates to market and promote its products and services, and send its website visitors and customers in exchange for some type of reward or incentive.
  •         Content Marketing – A strategic approach to creating and sharing valuable and relevant content (e.g., white papers, blogs, videos, etc.) in order to attract and engage potential sales prospects.  
  •         Digital Marketing – An umbrella term for a variety of online/electronic marketing tactics including search engine optimization, social media, pay-per-click ads and more used to attract and convert potential sales prospects into customers
  •        Inbound Marketing – Marketing designed to attract and drive people to a company’s website who are already on the internet searching for information or answers about a related subject. In this marketing model, companies rely on website copy, blogs, social media updates, videos, podcasts, ebooks and other informative materials to help potential sales prospects to find the company themselves.
  •         Outbound Marketing – Marketing in which a company researches and proactively markets itself to potential sales prospects in the real world via in-person trade shows and events, TV and radio ads, outdoor billboards, direct mail pieces, and more.
  •         Remarketing – The process of remarketing a company’s products and/or services to sales prospects via online ads who’ve previously visited the company’s website and showed interest in a specific product or service, but didn’t buy it.  


  •         Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)­ – The total amount of business/revenue that you expect to make from a single customer over the entire course of your relationship with that customer.
  •         Cost Per Lead (CPL) – A metric used to measure the cost effectiveness of marketing by taking the total amount of money spent to generate sales leads and dividing it by the number of leads acquired.
  •         Cost Per Thousand (CPM) – The price an online advertiser pays per 1,000 advertising impressions on a webpage.

Customer-related Terms

  •         Buyer Persona – A research-based archetype of a target customer for your business, including information on who they are, what their needs are, pain points, challenges, and more.
  •         Buyer’s Journey – The process that a sales prospect goes through to buy a product or service from you, all the way from their initial awareness through making a purchase.


Digital Marketing

  •         Google AdWords – An online advertising program offered by Google that enables you to display your ads on Google’s search engine whenever an internet user uses a search term directly related to the ad and in Google’s advertising network.
  •         Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – An online advertising model in which advertisers only pay a fee for their ad when someone actually clicks on it.
  •         Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – A series of strategies, tactics, and techniques used to increase the amount of traffic to your website by obtaining the highest possible placement ranking on a search engine results page.
  •         Search Engine Results Page (SERP) – The web pages displayed after an internet user types in a specific word or phrase (i.e., a search query) into a search engine, such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo, and the search engine then presents him or her with the results.

Website-related Terms

  •         Form – An online form that allows you to capture a website visitor’s contact information.
  •         Landing Page – A stand-alone page that visitors “land” on after clicking on something to obtain more information. Landing pages are designed to help a company accomplish a specific conversion goal, as well as capture a website visitor’s contact information. For example, a custom landing page might promote a single ebook and invite website visitors to complete a form in order to obtain a copy of it.
  •         Microsite – A separate, independently branded website that resides outside of a company’s main website. Its purpose is to support and/or anchor a brand. One example includes Red Bull’s “Red Bulletin” site.
  •         Thank You Page – A webpage that appears once a website visitor has completed a specific action (e.g., made a purchase, downloaded an ebook, etc.) in order to thank them for taking that action.

Website Measurement  

  •         Bounce Rate – The percentage of a website’s visitors who leave after visiting only one page, typically the page on which they originally landed.
  •         Click Through Rate (CTR) – The number of people who see an ad or link and click on it to get more information.
  •         Conversion Rate – The percentage of all of your website visitors who take a desired action, such as buying a product or service, downloading an ebook, or subscribing to your newsletter.
  •         Conversion Rate Optimization – The practice of improving a website’s performance to significantly increase the number of visitors who convert into customers.

Website Traffic

  •         Organic Traffic – Web traffic that comes to your site from unpaid search results.
  •         Paid Traffic – Website traffic that comes to your site as a direct result of paying for either online or traditional advertising.


Link Types

  •         Backlink (Otherwise known as an inbound link) – An incoming hyperlink from one website or web page to another. For example, a hyperlink included in a news story, a social media update, etc. that refers people to a different website, or a hyperlink on your own website that directs website visitors to another page on your website.
  •         Hyperlink (Otherwise known as a “link”) – A word or phrase on a website typically highlighted and/or underlined in blue within the text that a visitor can click on to go to another, related page.
  •         Outbound Link – A link that directs a website visitor away from the website or web page they are on to a different, third-party website. Companies often include outbound links on their website in order to enhance the overall value of the content and copy on their website.

Sales Enablement  

  •        Sales Enablement The strategic, ongoing practice of providing your sales team with the information, tools, processes, and technologies that they need to consistently increase both their efficiency and effectiveness in engaging and converting sales prospects into buyers. In other words, the goal of a formal sales enablement program is to create a more predictable, scalable, and repeatable sales process.
  •         Sales Prospecting Support – Marketing programs such as lead generation, lead nurturing, sales process development, etc. specifically designed to help sales teams find and connect with more sales prospects.
  •         Sales Enablement Materials – Marketing materials specifically created to support your sales team’s efforts, such as reusable templates for sales proposals, estimates/quotes, and contracts; sales battlecards, and other marketing content.
  •         Credibility Tools – Materials and tools such as customer case studies, customer references, etc. that a sales team uses to boost its company’s credibility with a sales prospect.
  •         Sales Enablement Training – Training provided to a sales team on a company’s product, competition, and buyers.

Which marketing term has you stumped? Let us define & contextualize the jargon.
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