Marketing is often seen as a purely artistic field, but the truth is that it’s the perfect mix of arts and science.
To do it well, you need a creative eye as much as a penchant for crunching numbers. And when it comes to terminology, marketing can be downright technical.
Here is a list of important marketing and sales terms and acronyms to boost your business vocabulary – all the way from A/B Testing to SEO and everything in between.
A/B Testing – An experiment comparing how two different versions of a marketing activity (e.g., email subject line, call-to-action copy) perform. The idea is to do more of the more successful option.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) – Treating an entire organization or client/account as a single target market. Allows for more targeted communications to different individuals and sub-segments within the company.
Brand Guidelines – A written summary of a company’s branding elements and rules for use, including logo, typeface/font, colour scheme, imagery, graphic design elements/styles, and other factors.
Business-to-Business (B2B) – Companies that do business with other companies rather than individual consumers. Example: car parts manufacturers.
Business-to-Consumer (B2C) – Companies that sell products or services directly to consumers rather than other businesses. Example: shoe brands.
Buyer Persona – A profile of one or more customer groups a company is targeting or serving, including demographic characteristics, values, pain points, behaviours, purchase triggers, and preferred information sources.
CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation) – Regulations in Canada that protect individuals from misuse of digital technology, including rules businesses must follow for email marketing.
Call-to-Action (CTA) – A button, link, or word/phrase that urges a viewer to take a specific action. Examples: “download now,” “call to learn more,” “subscribe.”
Click-Through-Rate (CTR) – In digital advertising, it’s the number of times someone clicked on your ad compared to how many times the ad was displayed. A higher CTR means an ad is more effective.
Content Management System (CMS) – A digital platform that allows management and creation of digital content, such as websites, blogs, and landing pages. Examples: WordPress, Squarespace.
Content Marketing – Attracting customers to your business by offering content that is valuable to them. Examples: blogging, video, SEO, case studies, podcasts.
Convert – When a sale has closed and the lead becomes a customer.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – A system that tracks and analyzes current and potential customer data. It also has tools to improve the sales process, retain customers, and increase customer loyalty. Example: Salesforce.
Evergreen Content – Marketing content that is always relevant and doesn’t become outdated. It’s recommended to have a mix of timely pieces and evergreen content to drive traffic from search engines.
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) – A law that came into force in the EU in 2018 to protect individuals’ electronic data and privacy. Includes strict regulations for companies regarding email marketing, cookies, and saving and processing personal data.
Key Performance Indicator (KPI) – A metric used to measure whether or not a business objective has been achieved. In marketing, KPIs include website traffic, number of leads generated, social media impressions, etc.
Landing Page – A website page whose purpose is to convert visitors into leads, typically by capturing their information via an opt-in form.
Marketing Mix – The set of factors used by a company to encourage its target market to purchase its products or services. Traditionally, it includes the 4Ps (product, price, place, promotion).
Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) – A system that allows for the tracking, analysis, and management of digital marketing activities such as list management, email automation, social media scheduling, and more. Example: HubSpot.
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) – A lead that has entered the sales pipeline from marketing avenues, such as website visitors, and is deemed more likely to convert to a customer compared to other leads. The goal is to turn MQLs into SQLs (see #28).
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – A form of digital advertising where a company pays when a visitor clicks on their ad. Example: Google Ads.
Positioning – Where a brand falls in the marketplace and minds of customers relative to competitors. Typically depicted as a visual map for marketing strategy and business planning.
Return on Investment (ROI) – The net dollars gained or lost relative to the amount invested. Often used in marketing to determine campaign effectiveness and justify dollars spent based on sales generated.
Sales Funnel – Description of the sales process that depicts the customer’s journey from initial awareness stage (top funnel = visitors) through nurturing (middle funnel = leads) and purchase (bottom funnel = customers).
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – The practice of increasing a website’s organic traffic by improving its performance (ranking) on search engines (e.g., Google). Methods include keyword research, on-page optimization, and link-building.
Segmentation – Dividing your broader target market into categories based on shared characteristics. Segmentation criteria can include geography, company size, industry, stage of the buying process, etc.
Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) – Businesses with up to 499 employees (small being up to 99 employees, and medium being 100-499). In Canada, small businesses comprise 98.2% of all businesses, according to BDC.
Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) – A lead generated by marketing that has progressed down the sales pipeline and is ready to be passed on to the sales team. The goal is to convert them into customers.
Storytelling – A narrative format more effective for communicating marketing and sales information in a way that persuades action.
SWOT Analysis – An exercise (often done in tabular form) used to evaluate an organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats. Helpful for business strategy and planning.
Target Market – A defined group of customers a business is aiming their products or services at. Can be based demographics, geography, psychographics (e.g., interests, values, personality), and behaviour, among other factors.
Thought Leadership – A marketing strategy used to leverage an individual’s expertise and knowledge in their specific field. Used in niche fields to build company and personal brands and attract customers.