An open book with a magnifying glass, heart and pencil, representing marketing terms
50 Marketing Terms You Need To Know in 2021
An open book with a magnifying glass, heart and pencil, representing marketing terms

50 Marketing Terms You Need To Know in 2021

Uh-oh. You just heard a marketer use a marketing term you don’t know. You look to everyone else, but they just nod somberly as the conversation continues. No one stops them to ask about this new word, and there’s no pause in the conversation to ask the question yourself. Now it’s too late, and you have no idea what everyone’s talking about. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Here are 50 marketing terms you’re likely to hear and what they mean.

Marketing terms: A-F

A/B Testing

A/B testing involves testing two possible options by delivering them to two different audiences and directly comparing their success. For example, a marketing team might create two versions of their website’s home page and drive half of their web traffic to each one.

Account-based marketing

Marketing campaigns and strategies that focus on specific accounts within a target market. Marketers find a company they’d like to have as a client and build a dedicated, personalized marketing campaign for them. Account-based marketing can be used to gain new clients but also to grow a client base within an existing account.

A hyperlink linking one website to another. Marketers often try to get high-quality backlinks from other websites to get more traffic and make sure their website is more easily findable on Google.

Bottom of the funnel

The stage of the sales funnel where a potential customer is choosing between your product and a competitor’s. Usually the last hurdle they need to go over before choosing to buy your product. Also see middle of the funnel and top of the funnel.

Bounce rate

A metric used to calculate how many website visitors leave a website after only seeing a single page. Marketers usually try to keep this as low as possible.

Call to action (CTA)

A call to action is a bit of copy, a button, or some other feature of a piece of marketing content that prompts your audience to do something. Common calls to action include “buy now” and “subscribe.”

Churn rate

Churn refers to customers who stop using your service or buying your product. Churn rate is a percentage used to quickly communicate how many of your customers are churning. This is the formula for calculating churn rate:

(Customers Churned / Total Customers) X 100 = Churn Rate

Click-through rate (CTR)

This is a percentage used to determine how many people click on a piece of marketing content after seeing it. CTR is used for email newsletters, advertisements, and more. Here’s how it’s calculated:

Number of clicks ÷ impressions (how many people see your content) = CTR

Content management system (CMS)

A software platform marketers use to create, edit, and manage online content. A CMS can be used by less technical marketers to make changes to a website or blog without the need to rely on a developer. WordPress is an example of a widely-used CMS.

Content marketing

A marketing term for a discipline that relies on creating and distributing content that brings value to potential and current customers. Examples of this content include blog posts, webinars, eBooks, and more.

Content syndication

A strategy that involves taking a piece of content — usually a blog post — and republishing it on other platforms. A blog post might get republished on other blogs or a dedicated content platform like Medium.

Conversion rate

This metric is used to calculate how many visitors to a website — or any piece of marketing content — perform a desired action. Conversion rates are often used to measure the success of web pages, email newsletters, and ads.

Cost per click (CPC)

Cost per click is used to quantify what every click on a paid advertisement is costing your marketing team. If you paid $500 for an ad on Facebook and only five people clicked on it, your cost per click would be $100. CPC is used by marketers to determine the value of their paid ads. Advertising services use it to bill marketers.

Customer lifetime value (CLV)

Customer lifetime value is the total amount of revenue a customer will spend on your product or services over their entire relationship with you. The simplest formula for calculating customer lifetime value is:

(average purchase value x average number of purchases annually) x years in average customer relationship = CLV

Customer relationship management (CRM)

Customer relationship management is how customer-facing teams and marketers manage relationships between the company and customers, both current and potential. This is done through CRM platforms like HubSpot and Salesforce, among others.

Demand-side platform (DSP)

A demand-side platform is used by advertisers to buy ads on social networks, video platforms, and search engines. With a DSP, an advertiser can bid on keywords and advertisements over multiple platforms at a time.

Digital asset management (DAM)

Digital asset management can refer both to the platforms and methodologies used by organizations to manage assets like photos, audio files, videos, and so on. This includes controlling access, portability, and reporting of these assets.

Earned channel

Part of the owned-earned-paid trifecta of media channels. Earned channels cover instances where the press and members of the public share content you’ve created or talk about your brand. Also see owned and paid channels below.

Editorial calendar

A calendar content marketers use to plan, manage, and deliver content. A single editorial calendar could cover blog posts, webinars, eBooks, and so on, or be broken up by channel.

Engagement

Engagement is a metric used to define how much your audience interacts with your content. The exact method used to determine engagement depends on the platform. For instance, you’d measure engagement on a Facebook post by adding up the number of likes, comments, shares, and clicks it gets.

Marketing terms: G-L

Gated content

Gated content is any content that’s kept behind some kind of paywall or sign-up form. The content itself usually takes the form of an eBook, a white paper, or a webinar. Marketers use gated content to get contact information from prospective customers.

Guest post

A blog post written by an author who isn’t directly affiliated with whoever runs the blog. A guest post on your company’s blog might come from an external expert in a similar field or a marketer from another company. Marketers in your organization might also write guest posts for another blog.

Impressions

A metric used to measure the number of times digital media shows up on someone’s screen. This is often used in social media advertising to track how many times an ad is shown to users. This is usually compared to the number of clicks to determine the click-through rate.

Inbound marketing

This refers to marketing that’s about bringing in new leads and building a relationship with them. This is done by creating valuable content to draw people in, offering solutions to their problems, and supporting them when they make a purchase.

Key performance indicator (KPI)

KPIs are specific, quantifiable metrics used to determine whether an individual, team, or organization hits a pre-determined goal. Examples of KPIs include revenue targets, customer support response times, and marketing metrics like click-through rate.

Landing page

A standalone web page, usually designed to promote a marketing or advertising campaign. Often, a landing page will start with a slogan or tagline, include explanatory information, and end in a call to action.

Lead

A marketing term for a person or company who shows interest in buying the product or service you’re selling.

Marketing terms: M-R

Marketing-qualified lead (MQL)

A lead that’s brought in by marketing efforts. This can be someone who read a blog post, consumed a piece of collateral, or watched a video your company created. They’re usually considered more likely to convert than other leads.

Middle of the funnel

The stage of the sales funnel where a potential lead knows the problem they need to solve and are looking for a solution. Also see top of the funnel and bottom of the funnel.

Owned channel

A channel for marketing content that you have full control over. Your company’s blog, your website, and a YouTube channel you manage are all examples of owned channels.

Paid channel

A channel for marketing content that you pay for. Paid channels include paid advertising, video promotion, and paid blogging opportunities like Forbes’ Technology Council.

Paid marketing

A marketing effort that involves purchasing advertising to drive leads to your product. This includes social media ads, search engine advertising, newsletter ads, and more.

Partner marketing

This kind of marketing is about building relationships with partners or external organizations. These partners can include distributors, agents, resellers, and other companies. These relationships are collaborative in nature. Partner marketers are masters of finding out what they can do for their partners and leveraging these relationships to achieve a marketing goal.

Pay-per-click (PPC)

Digital advertising where a fee is paid each time the ad is clicked. With pay-per-click advertising, marketers place advertisements on social networks, websites, and other platforms to bring in potential customers.

Performance marketing

This type of marketing combines paid advertising and online marketing to bring awareness to a product or service. Performance marketers typically work with an advertising budget and determine where they can spend it for the best impact.

Product listing ad (PLA)

These paid advertisements can be seen when you search for a specific product on a search engine. The ad will usually show an image of the product, a small blurb, and information about the seller.

Public relations

The management of your company’s relationship with the public. Public relations efforts can include writing up press releases and reaching out to journalists for coverage.

Remarketing

Remarketing is a strategy marketers use to try to turn website visitors into leads. Marketers will use social media, search engines, and other platforms to show ads to people who visited their website in the past.

Return on investment (ROI)

Put simply, return on investment is the relationship between how much you pay for something and what you get out of it. The formula for calculating ROI is simple:

(Net return on investment ÷ cost of investment) x 100

To find the ROI of a specific paid ad, for instance, you’d take the amount of revenue the ad brought in and divide this number by how much you paid for it.

Marketing terms: S-Z

Sales-qualified lead (SQL)

An individual or company that’s interested in buying your service or product and is ready to speak to your sales team. An SQL is determined by how ready they are to buy and their previous interactions with your company.

Sales enablement

This term covers an organization’s efforts to help the sales team make more deals. A marketing team can do this by creating content that’s useful for sales teams.

Sales funnel

The sales funnel describes a potential customer’s journey from discovering your company to purchasing your product. Leads start at the top of the funnel, where they become aware of your company and the problem you can solve for them. Then, they move to the middle of the funnel, where they understand the problem and start looking for a solution. Finally, they reach the bottom of the funnel, where they compare your solution to your competitors’.

Search engine marketing (SEM)

Buying advertisements that show up on search engines when potential customers look for keywords associated with your product. These show up at the top of the search results.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

A practice used to make your site more visible to search engines. A blog post can be optimized by including specific keywords in the headline and throughout the text that make it more searchable. Keeping a webpage’s title short enough to display properly in a search result is another example of an SEO initiative.

Search engine results page (SERP)

The page that appears when you use a search engine. These pages include organic search results — which will show up higher the better they answer the searched term — as well as paid ads.

Subject matter expert (SME)

A subject matter expert is someone who is an authority in a specific field. Imagine the person you’d go to with a question on Javascript, performance marketing, or Amazon Web Services. Odds are that person’s a subject matter expert.

Thought leadership

A type of content marketing that relies on the expertise, knowledge, and passion of leaders within your organization. This content could be a blog post written by that leader or a video interviewing them, for example. Thought leadership content can live on your own website, or it can be published on earned and paid channels.

Top of the funnel

The stage of the sales funnel where a lead becomes aware of your organization and the problem you solve. Also see middle of the funnel and bottom of the funnel.

Webinar

A marketing term referring to an online video event hosted by an organization and broadcast to a specific audience. Usually, audience members register for a webinar beforehand. They then become leads that can be marketed to.

White paper

A piece of long-form written content that explores a complex topic and communicates an organization’s opinion on it. For example, a company that sells organic, natural methods for repelling insects might write a white paper on chemical pesticides.

Let’s come to (marketing) terms

Every discipline has its own lingo, its own vernacular, and a list of acronyms longer than your arm. Hopefully, this list has helped to demystify some of the words you’ve heard in your meetings with marketing. Any terms we missed?