Part II: The ABC’s of Marketing Terminology

January 11, 2018

20 mins

This is part 2 in our marketing terminology series. In the first installment of the series, we discussed Website Terminology (you know, all those crazy acronyms that people throw around like a football during meetings? Yep. That).

Back before the digital revolution when marketing terms were simple things like: advertising, sales, product management, supply, demand, distribution, pricing, and positioning we could pick this terminology up in an afternoon of reading Marketing 101 books.

Then Google made its debut in 1998, social media exploded between 2003-2006, and as social media usage became mainstream, marketing automation became the go-to for companies. All of this has changed the marketing game, and terminology, forever.

So here is a helpful list of old and new terms to get you up to speed on all things marketing.

A/B Testing

Known as split testing or bucket testing because it bulk-tests different versions of content. It is a method of comparing two versions of a web page, landing page, app, or content from advertisements against each other to determine which one performs better.  It allows marketers to experiment with content that has two potential variants, A and B, to determine which one performs better.

Ad copy

The main text of a radio, print, tv, or clickable advertisement that is designed specifically to catch and hold the interest of a prospective buyer to persuade them to purchase a service or product (e.g., make a buying decision). With digital ad copy, this is either a contextual or a pay per click ad. The headline of ad copy is key and short copy is most typically seen within these advertisements.

Here are three examples of great ad copy for print, digital, and television.


The amount of money spent on advertising for a product, service, or activity.


Analytics in its most basic sense is simply the systematic computational analysis of data or statistics. Within marketing, both web analytics, social analytics, and marketing analytics may be tracked to obtain information that helps marketers determine return on investment.

Marketing analytics measure business metrics like traffic, leads, and sales, and which events (both on and off your website) influence whether leads become customers. Marketing analytics includes data not only from your website, but also from other sources like email, social media, and even offline events. Marketing analytics are also usually people-centric, featuring the prospect, lead, or customer as the unit of focus, whereas web analytics usually regard the page view as the unit of focus in its reports.

Web analytics is the collection, reporting, and analysis of website data that focuses on identifying measures based on organizational and user goals. Once the data is collected it is then used to determine the success or failure of those goals and to drive strategy and improve user experience.

Business-to-Business (B2B or BtoB)

B2B is when one business makes a commercial transaction with another. This type of transaction typically occurs if a business is sourcing materials for their production process (e.g. a restaurant purchasing food products).

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

B2C companies conduct transactions directly between themselves and consumers who are the end-users of its products or services.


This is short for web log or weblog. An individual or group of people usually maintains a blog. A personal blog or business blog will traditionally include regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material, such as photos and video.

Blogging is a core component of inbound marketing, as it can accomplish several initiatives simultaneously — like website traffic growth, thought leadership, and lead generation.

Business Blogging

Business blogging retains all the attributes of “regular” blogging, but adds a layer of marketing strategy on top. It helps marketers drive traffic to their website, convert traffic into leads, establish authority on certain topics, and drive long-term results. Business blogs include posts that are replete with keywords and educational material to appeal to target audiences. Typically, these blog posts should be actionable (by providing an opt-in, downloadable offer), as to provide a metric for the effectiveness of the business blogging.

Buying Cycle (or Customer Journey)

The buying cycle or customer journey is the series of touchpoints an organization will have with a customer as they progress through the buying lifecycle. Touchpoints typically occur before, during, or after the transaction and can be with an actual person (physical), or through an automated process (digital).

Call to Action (CTA)

This is a piece of content, an image, or a line of text that prompts your visitors, leads, and customers to take action. It calls the visitor to take some action. Examples of CTAs are below.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The percentage (the number of unique clicks divided by the number that were opened) of recipients that click on a given URL in your email.)  CTR is metric that measures the number of clicks advertisers receive on their ads per number of impressions. Click-through rate is important to your account because it directly affects your Quality Score. Average click-through rate will vary by industry (see below), and your expected CTR depends on your ad’s position, among other factors.

Conversion Rate

This is the percentage of visitors to your website who complete a desired goal, called a conversion, out of the total number of visitors to your site. High conversion rates depend on several factors such as the interest level of the visitor, the attractiveness of the offer, and the ease of the process.

Digital Marketing

This is the promotion of products, services, or brands via one or more forms of electronic media. It encompasses all online marketing efforts and channels such as Google search, social media, email, and websites.

Drip Campaign

Often called drip campaigns but known by many other names—drip marketing, automated email campaign, lifecycle emails, autoresponders and marketing automation—the concept is the same: they’re a set of marketing emails that will be sent out automatically on a schedule. Perhaps one email will go out as soon as someone signs up, another will go out 3 days later, with one more going out the next weekend. Or, the emails can be varied based on triggers, or actions the person has performed like signing up for your service or making a purchase, which is why they’re also sometimes called behavioral emails.

This is how a drip campaign works:

Elevator Pitch/Elevator Speech

This is a quick synopsis of the primary benefits and value of your product or service. It’s called an elevator speech is because you should be able to present it during a brief elevator ride.

Evergreen content

This is SEO content that remains relevant and fresh for readers. It is forever interesting because it remains relevant and fresh. Both internal and external sources regularly link to it and so it increases the SEO of a site. An evergreen page on your site, for example, could be a blog post that becomes a “pillar” that other resources link to like the example below:

According to Hubspot, evergreen content marketing “uses ideas and techniques that are sustainable and lasting over time.”


Used on social media sites such as Twitter, a hashtag a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic. In 2007, developer Chris Messina proposed that Twitter begin grouping topics using the hash symbol. Twitter initially rejected the idea. But in October 2007, citizen journalists began using the hashtag #SanDiegoFire, at Messina’s suggestion, to tweet updates on a series of forest fires in San Diego. The practice of hashtagging took off; now users and brands employ hashtags to cover serious political events (#Cairo) and entertainment topics (#MileyCyrus) alike.


A link URL records an impression when it appears in a search result for a user. Whether or not the link must actually be scrolled into view or otherwise visible depends on the type of search element that contains the link. Impressions are when the particular form of digital media appears on a user’s screen. Impressions are not action-based and are merely defined by a user potentially seeing the advertisement.

Inbound Marketing

This encompasses the varying techniques organizations use to draw customers to products and services via content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization and branding.


A keyword, in the context of search engine optimization, is a particular word or phrase that describes the contents of a Web page. Keywords are intended to act as shortcuts that sum up an entire page. Keywords form part of a Web page’s metadata and help search engines match a page to with an appropriate search query.

Landing pages

This is any web page that a visitor can arrive at or “land” on. Hubspot defines a landing page with 2 characteristics:

  1. has a form
  2. exists solely to capture a visitor’s information through that form.

Two examples of landing pages are below.

Lead Generation

This is the action or process of identifying and cultivating potential customers for a business’ products or services. It is how you attract and convert visitors into a qualified prospect.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation refers to the software that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions. Many marketing departments have to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions. The technology of marketing automation makes these tasks easier.

Hint: This great resource from Hubspot gives an A-Z detail on how marketing automation works.

Marketing automation is on the rise because statistics have shown that businesses using marketing automation software see the following results:

  • 451% increase in qualified leads
  • 14.5% increase in sales productivity
  • 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead


The practice of capitalizing on the popularity of a news story to amplify your sales and marketing success. The term was popularized due to David Meerman Scott’s book Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage.

A great example of companies jumping on the wagon was during the #bendgate episode in 2015 after users discovered that the brand new iPhone 6+ was so flexible, it actually bent if you put it in your pocket (oops!) Here are some of the classic advertising newsjacks that resulted from that sad moment in Apple’s history.



A cluster of users who exhibit similar behavioral patterns in their purchasing decisions, use of technology or products, customer service preferences, lifestyle choices, and the like. Behaviors, attitudes, and motivations are common to a “type” regardless of age, gender, education, and other typical demographics. Personas vastly span demographics.

This should always be the first step in developing any type of marketing, ad copy, or messaging. Our friends over at Wayfind Marketing have even developed a free guide to help you determine your buyer personas. Check it out!


Positioning is how you differentiate your product or service from that of your competitors and then determine which market niche to fill. Positioning helps establish your product’s or service’s identity within the eyes of the purchaser. For example, here are how different companies position themselves within the marketplace.

Pay-per-click (PPC)

Also known as cost per click (CPC), is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which an advertiser pays a publisher when the ad is clicked. Pay-per-click is commonly associated search engines because it allows you to improve your search results by paying for ads.

Check out our blog that covers PPC in detail.

Proof points or Social Proof and Testimonials

Proof points are elements that inspire trust in the mind of the consumer. A prospect needs to know that he won’t waste his money when doing business with you. A proof point demonstrates to the prospect that you have helped other clients succeed and they were pleased with the experience. There are a variety of proof points you can use, but the most effective ones are:

  • Testimonials
  • The logos of the clients you’ve served
  • Infographics outlining how you’ve helped customers/companies
  • Awards

This is an example from Hubspot:

Quality Score

Quality Score is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. Higher quality ads can lead to lower prices and better ad positions. It is Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of both your keywords and PPC ads, it is used to determine your cost per click (CPC) and multiplied by your maximum bid to determine your ad rank in the ad auction process.

Google explains that you can see your Quality Score (Quality Score is reported on a 1-10 scale and its components (expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience) in your keywords’ “Status” column. The more relevant your ads and landing pages are to the user, the more likely it is that you’ll see higher Quality Scores. Quality Score is an aggregated estimate of your overall performance in ad auctions, and is not used at auction time to determine Ad Rank.

Retargeter Ads

Behavioral retargeting (also known as behavioral remarketing, or simply, retargeting) is a form of online targeted advertising by which online advertising is targeted to consumers based on their previous Internet actions. It is a form of online advertising that can help you keep the elements of your product or service of customers who have bounced from your website.

Search Marketing (SEM)

Originally called “search engine marketing,” the shorter phrase “search marketing” is now often used as the umbrella term over SEO and SEM. The longer phrase “search engine marketing” — or SEM — is now typically used to describe paid search activities. SEO and SEM are defined as:

  • SEO: Earning traffic through unpaid or free listings
  • SEM: Buying traffic through paid search listings

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO helps you get found in search engines. It is the set of link building and onpage optimization activities that your organization can use to optimize your website for the different search engines. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to page ranking because the search engines are constantly changing their algorithms. Generally speaking, SEO is a game where the rules are always changing, and it’s up to SEO experts to find out how to make their companies’ sites rank well. Fresh content and consistent updates are often the most effective way to boost your SEO.

Organic SEO is the different tools and tactics used to obtain a natural placement on organic search engine results pages (SERPs).

Value Proposition

In marketing, a value proposition encompasses a product, service, or feature intended to make a company or product attractive to customers using benefit language.

According to an infographic from QuickSprout, a great value proposition tells your audience:

  • How your product or service solves/improves problems
  • What benefits customers can expect
  • Why customers should buy from you over your competitors

Here are some examples of great value propositions from MailChimp, Uber, and Infusionsoft.

Bonus: We also recommend these spectacular posts by Hubspot filled with more terms and acronyms for you:

  1. Marketing Acronym Glossary
  2. Email Marketing Terms
  3. Content Marketing Terms
  4. Sales Terms
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