The marketing dictionary for non-marketers

The Marketing Dictionary for Non-Marketers - Engage Content Marketing Agency Dublin

Every industry has its buzzwords and the world of marketing is no different. CTA, SEO, CSS, CTR, SERP – all acronyms that fly with ease from the marketer’s mouth, but all too often to the befuddlement of their clients. Whose fault is it? In this case, we’re sorry to admit it would be the marketer’s. More than likely they’re not trying to bewilder their clients, but if they don’t explain themselves clearly then they are not doing their job right. Marketers are meant to be masters of communication after all!

We take this title (that we have just graciously bestowed upon ourselves) very seriously, and so we thought we’d create a dictionary of terms that we find trip people up the most. If there are any infamous examples of marketing jargon that you think we’ve missed, just send us a quick text on WhatsApp and we’ll add it to the list. Are you ready to dive into the mind of the marketer?

Jump to a section: General marketing speak | Social speak | Content speak | Data speak | Website speak

General marketing speak

What is inbound marketing?

This is our favourite marketing strategy for generating leads! Inbound marketing works by providing helpful, engaging content that answers your target audience’s needs, thus attracting them to your website. Methods of inbound marketing include SEO (see SEO below), social media campaigns, blogging, and website content.

What is outbound marketing?

This marketing strategy involves actively seeking out and initiating engagement with customers, often through more traditional marketing methods and paid channels. Examples of outbound marketing would include advertising, trade shows, cold calling, and event sponsorship.

What is a buyer journey?

The buyer journey is the different stages a person goes through during the buying process, beginning at the initial awareness stage, moving to the consideration stage, and finally to the decision stage. This traditional funnel has been revised over time to be a continuous circle because very often customers will return. However, this updated version of the buyer journey does not reflect the reality that customers may revise their decision-making process in light of their last buying experience and by evaluating competitors in the market.

What are touchpoints?

This term refers to all points of contact through which people interact with your company – before, during and after they buy from you. Many of these will be under your control, such as phone calls, emails, adverts, brochures, or surveys. Others will be not under your control, for example, word of mouth or a Google review.

What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It involves optimising your website so that it ranks as high as possible in search engine results for specific customer queries. The aim here is to drive organic (see organic below) traffic to the website.

Social speak

What are social channels?

Social channels are the various social network websites on which you can create a profile to share your content, grow your audience, and direct traffic to your website. Popular social channels here in Europe include Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest.

What is a feed?

No, we’re not talking about food! This is a design feature used on many social networks to provide users with the most up to date or popular content in a streamlined fashion. You’ll probably be familiar with the term as used by Facebook. On the Facebook homepage, you’ll find the “News Feed” which you scroll through to see the most recent posts from people you follow. A feed is sometimes referred to as a timeline.

What is social proof?

Companies know that their customers use the internet to research and evaluate their buying decisions. By having social media channels, companies can legitimise their business in the eyes of the potential customer and start building a trusting relationship. When a company does not have a social media presence, it can be harmful to their brand because new customers searching for them online are presented with an information gap.

What is going viral?

On social media, when a piece of content suddenly receives an unusually high amount of engagement, it is described as having gone viral. One example of this in Ireland would be the video of Fenton the dog chasing the deer in the Phoenix Park to the dismay of his owner!

What is dark social?

Yes, what is dark social? Apparently, 84% of social media sharing is ‘dark sharing’ – or sharing that cannot be tracked by people like us. We’ll let Justine cover this one because she’s written a comprehensive blog on the subject: What is dark social? A how-to guide for marketing in the unknown.

Content speak

What is a blog?

You’re reading one! Chances are you know what a blog is, but because blogs are the pièce de résistance of inbound marketing content, we thought it is only right to include it in the list. A blog can be a website or a subdirectory of a website that is regularly updated with informative, entertaining, conversational and/or instructional content. Although blogs are primarily text, they can include multiple formats of content and should be always constructed with a clear SEO strategy.

What is a listicle?

Again, you’re reading one! This blog is formatted to appear as a list and each item on the list has some extra information attached, which is the general definition of a listicle. Listicles are very popular on the internet because people are busy and easily distracted these days, so condensed bite-sized chunks of information go down a treat.

What is collateral?

If you outsource a marketing agency, the agency will probably ask you for collateral. This term refers to the collection of media content you have available to use for sales and marketing purposes, such as images, videos, eBooks, product fact sheets, case studies, press releases, etc.

What is an infographic?

Infographic is a compound of the words “information” and “graphic” so, as you would expect, it is a visual representation of information. Infographics are effective for presenting complex information in a more friendly, consumable format.

What is gated content?

This is a lead generation strategy that involves withholding high-value content by asking those interested in accessing it to provide some form of contact information. This information often includes an email address, but depending on your business you might want to know their name, company name, job title, or industry. For consumer markets, you might be looking for information such as location, buying habits, age, or household type.

What is a webinar?

Whether you call it a webinar, a webcast, or a web seminar, it is all the same thing. A webinar is an online event that is held in real time. It involves people, possibly from all around the world, participating in one online meeting. There is a presenter who organised the event and they are usually visible via webcam. People get involved by asking questions and providing feedback in the chat box. You can record webinars and share them afterwards with those who missed the live event.

What is a podcast?

A podcast is when one or more people record themselves discussing a topic, conducting an interview, or telling a story and then upload the audio file to the internet for people to have access to. Podcasts are typically presented as a series which has a general theme.

What is a vlog?

Vlog is a compound of the words “video” and “blog” and it consists of one or more people uploading a series of videos about particular subjects. Just like a traditional (text-based) blog, the aim here is to provide informative and/or entertaining content for your target audience.

What is a newsletter?

This is a regular email that is sent out from an organisation to multiple people who have voluntarily subscribed to receive this kind of communication. It is often used to promote products or services, share interesting content, and keep people up to date with company activities. This is sometimes referred to as mass email.

Data speak

What are analytics?

Whether it is your website analytics, your social media analytics, or your newsletter analytics, it all does the same thing – collects, analyses, and presents data. Analytics are your window into how people interact with your digital presence, so it’s very worthwhile to pay attention to and use to make informed business decisions.

What is a conversion?

Conversions are goals that you want your online visitors to complete when they interact with your company. It could be signing up for a newsletter, submitting a contact form, or purchasing a product. You can track how many conversions you are getting with analytics software.

What is a lead?

A lead is a prospective buyer who has shown an interest in a company’s products or services but hasn’t bought yet. Prospects, or leads, are considered to be in the middle of the buyer’s funnel, as explained earlier, and with the right attention should convert into a customer.

What is bounce rate?

In your website’s analytics, you will notice the metric “bounce rate”. The bounce rate refers to how many people visited a page on your website and left without engaging any further. A high bounce rate can suggest a number of things, such as your page did not satisfy the visitor’s needs so they promptly left or simply that there was no CTA (see CTA below) on the page to bring the visitor to another part of the website.

What is a click-through rate (CTR)?

CTR stands for click-through rate and this metric shows the number of people who have clicked on a link compared to the total number of people who saw it. This is a particularly useful metric to keep an eye on if you are using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

What is organic reach?

This is the inbound marketer’s goal – to attract organic traffic. If you remember our definition for inbound marketing, then this will be an easy one. Organic traffic refers to website visitors who are not paid for but rather naturally come across your company because of high-quality content and SEO.

What is a Search Engine Results Page (SERP)?

SERP stands for search engine results page, and it is a term commonly used in reference to SEO strategies. For every query a person types into a search engine, there is a SERP. You’ll recognise this from Google as a list of pages on websites that relate to your search query in some way. Websites compete to rank high on SERPs that relate to their product and service offering.

Website speak

What is a landing page?

Also known as a “lead capture page”, this is an online page that is designed to attract leads and/or drive conversions. These pages generally have one specific objective and are designed to influence the visitor to take a particular action.

What is user experience?

This refers to a user’s overall experience with a digital product, particularly with regard to how easy and pleasing it is to use. You can find more information about how user behaviour impacts content creation and design in our blog: User Behaviour: Why Your Content Needs To Adapt.

What is a call to action (CTA)?

CTA stands for call to action and it is essential for effective communication online. CTAs are used to tell people what to do next, essentially directing them like a signpost to the next part of their journey. CTAs are a great prompt for action and can be all that’s required to turn a passive visitor into a viable lead!

What does “above the fold” mean?

This is a web design term that describes the section of a page which is visible when a visitor first lands on it – before they start scrolling or clicking. It is an important element of design for marketers to be aware of because we always want our content to be positioned correctly, attracting attention at the optimum point in the user experience.

What is a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS)?

CSS is short for cascading style sheets. Although marketers are not necessarily web developers, it’s in our interests to be able to communicate in their language! CSS refers to how coded elements of websites and apps are styled or presented. The appearance of headers, subheadings, links and the very text you’re reading now is all described in CSS.

What is responsive design?

Are you reading this on a computer or a smartphone or a tablet? We have numerous ways to access the web today and all these smart devices have their own screen sizes. Responsive design is about creating flexible website layouts so that no matter what device they are viewed from, the user experience is not adversely affected.

What is an XML sitemap?

This is a list of all the URLs that make up a website and it is kept in an .xml document. While an HTML sitemap might be included in your site navigation to help users find what they’re looking for, an XML sitemap is primarily an SEO tool because it enables search engines bots to correctly index all the publicly available pages of your site (even if they don’t appear in menus) and show them in SERPs.

Ready to work with a marketing agency that speaks in your language? Get in contact with us today and we’ll be happy to answer all of your burning questions!

Maria O'Brien

Author Maria O'Brien

Content Marketing Experimentalist at Engage. I am a content writing craftswoman and Google Ads whizz. My passions include creative writing, SEO, travel, live music and yoga. Motto: love Instagram, love food more. Never let a dish go cold for a foodstagram…

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