Marketing Definitions and Terms

This page will continue to grow as we add more terms, so check back often.  It's a good page to bookmark and use as a quick reference. 

AdSense is an advertisement application run by Google. Website owners can enroll in this program to enable text, image, and video advertisements on their websites. These advertisements are administered by Google and generate revenue on either a per-click or per-impression basis. 

Advertising is a form of communication that typically attempts to persuade potential customers to purchase or to consume more of a particular brand of product or service.

An advertising specialty, also called an ad specialty or promotional product, is a product imprinted with or carrying a logo or promotional message from your company.  Think a pen with your logo on it.

An advertorial is an advertisement that either fully or partially appears to be a news article or editorial, in a print publication. 

AdWords is Google's flagship advertising product and main source of revenue. AdWords offers pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and site-targeted advertising for both text and banner ads. The AdWords program includes local, national, and international distribution.

A banner ad (also known as a web banner) is a form of advertising on the World Wide Web. This form of online advertising entails embedding an advertisement into a web page. It is intended to attract traffic to a website by linking to the website of the advertiser.

A blog (a contraction of the term weblog) is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

A brand is a collection of perceptions in the mind of the consumer about a company, a product, service, person, or an other entity.  It can be positive or negative.

Brand architecture is the way in which the brands within a company's portfolio are related to, and differentiated from, one another. The architecture should define how the corporate brand and sub-brands relate to and support each other; and how the sub-brands reflect or reinforce the core purpose of the corporate brand to which they belong.

Brand equity refers to the marketing effects or outcomes that accrue to a product with its brand name compared with those that would accrue if the same product did not have the brand name.

Brand management is the application of marketing techniques to a specific product, product line, or brand. It seeks to increase the product's perceived value to the customer and thereby increase brand franchise and brand equity. Marketers see a brand as an implied promise that the level of quality people have come to expect from a brand will continue with future purchases of the same product. This may increase sales by making a comparison with competing products more favorable. It may also enable the manufacturer to charge more for the product. The value of the brand is determined by the amount of profit it generates for the manufacturer.

A business plan is a formal statement of a set of business goals, the reasons why they are believed attainable, and the plan for reaching those goals. It may also contain background information about the organization or team attempting to reach those goals.  It includes accounting, engineering, manufacturing, personnel and product development data and goals.

Business to business advertising or business to business marketing, also know as B2B advertising or B2B marketing is advertising or marketing directed to other businesses, rather than to consumers.

Click-through rate or CTR is a way of measuring the success of an online advertising campaign. A CTR is obtained by dividing the number of users who clicked on an ad on a web page by the number of times the ad was delivered (impressions). For example, if a banner ad was delivered 100 times (impressions delivered) and one person clicked on it (clicks recorded), then the resulting CTR would be 1 percent.

C ommercial research refers to any effort to gather information about markets, customers, technology, profitability and competition.

Competitive analysis is identifying your competitors and evaluating their strategies to determine their strengths and weaknesses relative to those of your own product or service. A competitive analysis is a critical part of your company marketing plan. With this evaluation, you can establish what makes your product or service unique--and therefore what attributes you play up in order to attract your target market.

Competitive intelligence (CI) is the action of gathering, analyzing, and applying information about products, domain constituents, customers, and competitors for the short term and long term planning needs of an organization. Competitive Intelligence (CI) is both a process and a product. The process of collecting, storing and analyzing information about the competitive arena results in the actionable output of intelligence.

Contextual advertising is a form of targeted online advertising for advertisements appearing on websites or other media. The advertisements themselves are selected and served by automated systems based on the content displayed to the user.  A contextual advertising system (like Google AdSense) scans the text of a website for keywords and returns advertisements to the webpage based on what the user is viewing.

Cooperative advertising, also known as co-op advertising is a system in which ad costs are divided between two or more parties.  Co-op advertising programs are usually initiated and managed by a manufacturer, and costs are shared with their wholesalers, retailers, distributors, agents or manufacturers reps, as a means of encouraging those parties to participate in and increase overall advertising exposure.

Cost per click (CPC) is the amount of money an advertiser pays search engines and other Internet publishers for a single click on its advertisement that brings one visitor to its website.

Cost per inquiry is the cost of getting one person to inquire about your product or service.  Its a standard used in direct response advertising.

Cost per thousand, also known as CPM is the cost, per 1000 people reached, of buying advertising space in a given media.

Creative strategy is an outline of what message should be conveyed, to whom, and with what tone.  It provides the guiding principles for copywriters and art directors who are assigned to develop an advertising or other creative message.  Within the context of that assignment, any ad or marketing piece that is then created should conform to that strategy.

Database marketing is a form of direct marketing using databases of customers or potential customers to generate personalized communications in order to promote a product or service for marketing purposes. The method of communication can be any addressable medium, as in direct marketing.

The distinction between direct and database marketing stems primarily from the attention paid to the analysis of data. Database marketing emphasizes the use of statistical techniques to develop models of customer behavior, which are then used to select customers for communications. As a consequence, database marketers also tend to be heavy users of data warehouses, because having a greater amount of data about customers increases the likelihood that a more accurate model can be built.

Digg is a social news website made for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the Internet, by submitting links and stories, and voting and commenting on submitted links and stories. Voting stories up and down is the site's cornerstone function, respectively called digging and burying. Many stories get submitted every day, but only the most Dugg stories appear on the front page.

Direct mail, also known as advertising mail, junk mail, or admail, is the delivery of advertising material via the post office, Fedex, UPS or other direct physical delivery service.

Direct marketing is a sub-discipline and type of marketing. There are two main definitional characteristics which distinguish it from other types of marketing. The first is that it attempts to send its messages directly to the end-user, without the use of intervening media. This involves commercial communication (direct mail, e-mail, telemarketing) with consumers or businesses, usually unsolicited. The second characteristic is that it is focused on driving purchases that can be attributed to a specific "call-to-action." This aspect of direct marketing involves an emphasis on trackable, measurable positive (but not negative) responses from consumers (known simply as "response" in the industry) regardless of medium.

Direct response marketing is a form of marketing designed to solicit a direct response which is specific and quantifiable. The delivery of the response is direct between the viewer and the advertiser, that is, the customer responds to the marketer directly. This is in contrast to direct marketing in which the marketer contacts the potential customer directly.

Distribution (or place) is one of the four elements of marketing mix. An organization or set of organizations (go-betweens) involved in the process of making a product or service available for use or consumption by a consumer or business user.

Email appending is the process of merging a database of customer information that lacks e-mail addresses for the customers with a third party's database of e-mail addresses in an attempt to match the e-mail addresses with the information in the initial database. A typical e-mail appending scenario involves a business that has name, address and telephone data on its customers to do business through mail or over the telephone, but the company wants to expand into e-mail communication and pays a third party that has a database of e-mail addresses in order to merge the data together.

An end-user is the person who actually uses a product, whether or not the are the one who purchased the product.

Eye tracking is a research method that determines what part of an advertisement readers look at, by tracking the pattern of their eye movements.

A focus group interview is a research method that brings together a small group of people to discuss a topic, under the guidance of a trained interviewer.

Folksonomy (also known as collaborative tagging, social classification, social indexing, and social tagging) is the practice and method of collaboratively creating and managing tags to annotate and categorize content.  It describes the bottom-up classification systems that emerge from social tagging. 

A full service agency is an ad agency that handles all aspects of the marketing communications including advertising, public relations, sale promotion, internet, direct marketing, etc., including planning, creation and design, production, implementation and measurement.

Horizontal publications are business publications designed to appeal to people of similar interests or responsibilities ina variety of companies or industries.

Image advertising promotes the image or general perception of a product or service, rather than promoting its functional attributes.  Its commonly used to differentiate brands of parity products.

Industrial advertising is a form of business to business advertisng, that is directed at manufacturers.  It typically involves the promotion of parts, equipment and raw materials used in the manufacturing process.

Integrated Marketing Communications is a management concept that is designed to make all aspects of marketing communications such as advertising, public relations, sales promotion, interactive and direct marketing work together as a unified force, rather than permitting each to work in isolation.  Its practice ensures consistency of message and the complementary use of media.  A company develops its integrated marketing communication program using all the elements of the marketing mix (price, place, product, and promotion).

An integrated marketing communications plan has all parts of your tactics working together. For example, if your marketing communications plan calls for print advertising, the same theme of your print ads should be reflected on your web site. If your customer gets the same message and visual clues in both places, they are much more likely to comprehend your marketing message. By doing this, you will build your brand with that customer who will remember you when they are ready to buy.

Internet marketing, also referred to as i-marketing, web marketing, online marketing, or eMarketing, is the marketing of products or services over the Internet.

An Internet service provider (ISP, also called Internet access provider or IAP) is a company that offers its customers access to the Internet. The ISP connects to its customers using a data transmission technology appropriate for delivering Internet Protocol datagrams, such as dial-up, DSL, cable modem or dedicated high-speed interconnects.

An intranet is a private computer network that uses Internet technologies to securely share any part of an organization's information or operational systems with its employees. Sometimes the term refers only to the organization's internal website, but often it is a more extensive part of the organization's computer infrastructure and private websites are an important component and focal point of internal communication and collaboration.

Key success factors are the factors that are a necessary condition for success in a given market.

A leave behind is a premium left with a prospective customer, usually by a sales person, to remind them of the product or service being sold.

Market research is research on products, trends, and markets, usually to increase sales. The research can either be primary or secondary. Secondary research involves collecting existing information from various sources in order to compile a report about a new or existing product. Primary research involves doing original field research, both qualitative (e.g. focus groups and interviews) or quantitative (e.g. surveys). The advantages of secondary research are that it is relatively cheap and easily accessible, but it can be limited by its lack of specificity, bias, and unvalidated data. Primary research can provide current, relevant, and specific information about the product, but it can be expensive and time-consuming to collect the information, and requires a large sample to be reliable.

Market segmentation is the process of dividing a market by a strategy directed at gaining a major portion of sales to a subgroup in a category, rather than a more limited share of purchases by all category users.

Marketing is defined by the American Marketing Association as the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.  We loosely define it as creating an atmosphere conducive to sales, and it includes product, place (distribution), price and promotion.

marketing communications plan is a written document that defines how a company will build awareness of a business, its products, and its position through customer-facing promotional and communications tactics.  It includes a budget and time-frame.  It supports the objectives laid out in your business plan, and can be part of or a subset of a marketing plan.

A marketing firm is a business that affects the the distribution and sales of goods and services from producer to consumer or end-user; including products or service development, pricing, packaging, advertising, merchandising, and distribution.  (All of the 4-P's).

The marketing mix is generally accepted as the use and specification of the four p's (product, price, place, promotion) describing the strategic position of a product in the marketplace.

A marketing plan is a written document that details the necessary actions to achieve one or more marketing objectives. It can be for a product or service, a brand, or a product line. Marketing plans cover between one and five years.  It includes information regarding positioning, distribution, service, competition, pricing, prospects, customers and marketing communications.

Market research is the  systematic gathering, recording, analyzing, and use of data relating to the transfer and sale of goods and services from producer to consumer, influencer or end-user.

Marketing strategy is a process that can allow an organization to concentrate its limited resources on the greatest opportunities to increase sales and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. A marketing strategy is most effective when it is an integral component of firm strategy, defining how the organization will successfully engage customers, prospects, and competitors in the market arena. 

Media strategy is plan of action by an advertiser for bringing advertising messages to the attention of consumers, influencers and end-users through the use of appropriate media.

New product development (NPD) is the term used to describe the complete process of bringing a new product or service to market. There are two parallel paths involved in the NPD process: one involves the idea generation, product design, and detail engineering; the other involves market research and marketing analysis. Companies typically see new product development as the first stage in generating and commercializing new products within the overall strategic process of product life cycle management used to ma intain or grow their market share.

New product launch: Once a product is developed, the product launch phase becomes the next critical step to its success. The product launch activities must address all the steps necessary to start volume production, plan and execute marketing activities, develop needed documentation, train sales and support personnel (internal and external), fill channels, and prepare to install and support the product.

New product process (NPP) is essentially those steps, activities, and decision points that a new product project follows from idea, through development and launch, to post-commercialization.  Benchmarking studies have shown that the most successful companies have a defined process.  This process generally includes forming cross-functional teams, emphasizing early market and technical assessments, and strict decision making points.

Objectives are the desired or needed result to be achieved by a specific time. An objective is broader than a goal, and one objective can be broken down into a number of specific goals.

Offline marketing channels are traditional print (newspaper, magazine), mail order, public relations, industry relations, billboard, radio, and television. 

Online marketing channels include any e-marketing campaigns or programs, from search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click, affiliate, email, banner to latest web related channels for webinar, blog, RSS, podcast, and Internet TV.

The Open Directory Project (ODP), also known as DMOZ (from, its original domain name), is a multilingual open content directory of World Wide Web links owned by Netscape that is constructed and maintained by a community of volunteer editors.

Parity products are products within a category where several brands possess functionally equivalent attributes, making one brand a satisfactory substitute for most other brands in that category.

Pay Per Click (PPC) is an Internet advertising model used on search engines, advertising networks, and content sites, such as blogs, in which advertisers pay their host only when their ad is clicked. With search engines, advertisers typically bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target market.

Portfolio management is a dynamic decision process where a company's list of current and development projects is constantly reviewed.  New projects are evaluated, selected and prioritized; exisiting projects may be accelerated, dropped, or de-prioritized; and resources are reallocated to the chosen projects.

Positioning has come to mean the process by which marketers try to create an image or identity in the minds of their target market for its product, brand, or organization. It is the 'relative competitive comparison' their product occupies in a given market as perceived by the target market.

Primary research involves doing original field research, both qualitative (e.g. focus groups and interviews) or quantitative (e.g. surveys). Primary research can provide current, relevant, and specific information about the product, but it can be expensive and time-consuming to collect the information, and requires a large sample to be reliable.

Product differentiation is the development of unique product differences with the intent to influence demand.

Product life cycle is a a marketing theory in which products or brands follow a sequence of stages including : introduction, growth, maturity, and sales decline.

Product lifecycle management (PLM) is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from its conception, through design and manufacture, to service and disposal. PLM integrates people, data, processes and business systems and provides a product information backbone for companies and their extended enterprise.

Product management is an organizational lifecycle function within a company dealing with the planning or marketing of a product or products at all stages of the product lifecycle. Product management (inbound focused) and product marketing (outbound focused) are different yet complementary efforts with the objective of maximizing sales revenues, market share, and profit margins. The role of product management spans many activities from strategic to tactical and varies based on the organizational structure of the company. Product management can be a function separate on its own or a member of marketing or engineering.

Product position is the consumer's, influencer's or end-user's consumer perception of a product or service as compared to it's competition.

Promotion includes all forms of communication other than advertising that call attention to products and services by adding extra values toward the purchase. Includes temporary discounts, allowances, premium offers, coupons, contests, sweepstakes, etc.

A promotional mix consists of advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, public relations, and sometimes direct marketing.

Public relationsoften referred to as PR, gains an organization or individual exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment. Because public relations places exposure in credible third-party outlets, it offers a third-party legitimacy that advertising does not have.

Publicity is the deliberate attempt to manage the publics perception of a subject. The subjects of publicity can include people, products, services, capabilities and companies.  From a marketing perspective, publicity is one component of promotion. The other elements of the promotional mix are advertising, sales promotion, and personal selling. Promotion is one component of marketing.

Qualitative research is a method of research that emphasizes the quality of meaning in consumer perceptions and attitudes; for example, in-depth interviews and focus groups.

Reverse append is the process of generating a name and postal address from an email address.

Sales promotion is one of the four aspects of promotional mix. (The other three  are advertising, personal selling, and publicity/public relations.)  Media and non-media marketing communication are employed for a pre-determined, limited time to increase consumer demand, stimulate market demand or improve product availability.

Search engine marketing, or SEM, is a form of Internet marketing that seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs). According to the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, SEM methods include: search engine optimization (or SEO), paid placement, contextual advertising, and paid inclusion.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via "natural" ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results.

Secondary research involves collecting existing information from various sources in order to compile a report about a new or existing product. The advantages of secondary research are that it is relatively cheap and easily accessible, but it can be limited by its lack of specificity, bias, and unvalidated data.

A service mark, identified by the symbols SM (not yet registered) and ® (registered), is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization or other legal entity to identify that the services provided to consumer originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or services from those of other entities.  A service mark differs from a trademark in that the mark is used on the advertising of the service rather than on the packaging or delivery of the service, since there is generally no "package" to place the mark on, which is the practice for trademarks.

A social network service, or social networking focuses on building online communities of people who share interests and/or activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Most social network services are web based and provide a variety of ways for users to interact, such as e-mail and instant messaging services.

Sticky content refers to content published on a website, which has the purpose of getting a user to return to that particular website or hold their attention and get them to spend longer periods of time at that site. Webmasters use this method to build up a community of returning visitors to a website.

Strategic market planning is a planning process that yields decisions in how a business unit can best compete in the markets it elects to serve. The strategic plan is based upon the totality of the marketing process.

Strategic planning is an organization's process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy, including its capital and people.  Various business analysis techniques can be used in strategic planning, including SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) and PEST analysis (political, economic, social, and technological analysis) or STEER analysis involving socio-cultural, technological, economic, ecological, and regulatory factors and EPISTEL (environment, political, informatic, social, technological, economic and legal).

SWOT Analysis is a strategic planning method used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats involved in a project or in a business venture. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieving that objective.

Target audience is a specified audience or demographic within a target market, for which a marketing message is designed.  For example - manufacturing engineers at automotive parts manufacturing plants.

Target market is the specific group of customers that a company aims to capture. They have been identified as organizations or markets with needs or wants that can be met with the products or services from the company.

A trademark or trade mark, identified by the symbols TM (not yet registered) and ® (registered), is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization or other legal entity to identify that the products and/or services provided to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or services from those of other entities.

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length which are displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers). Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow anybody to access them. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications.

Vertical publications are publications whose editorial content deals with the interests of a specific processing, material handling, machine tools, paints and coatings, etc.

Web 2.0 refers to a perceived second generation of web development and design, that facilitates communication, secure information sharing, interoperability, and collaboration on the World Wide Web. Web 2.0 concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities, hosted services, and applications; such as social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies. 

A web banner (also known as a banner ad) is a form of advertising on the World Wide Web. This form of online advertising entails embedding an advertisement into a web page. It is intended to attract traffic to a website by linking to the website of the advertiser.

Web traffic is the amount of data sent and received by visitors to a web site. It is a large portion of Internet traffic. This is determined by the number of visitors and the number of pages they visit.

The webmaster, also called the web architect, the web developer, the site author, the website administrator, or (informally) the webmeister, is the person responsible for designing, developing, marketing, or maintaining a website. On community websites, webmasters are able to change and manipulate any comment that the users make.

A wiki is a collection of Web pages designed to enable anyone with access to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites. The collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia is one of the best-known wikis.  Wikis are used in business to provide intranet and knowledge management systems.

The Yahoo! Directory is a web directory which rivals the Open Directory Project in size. The directory was Yahoo!'s first offering. When Yahoo! changed to crawler-based listings for its main results in October 2002, the human-edited directory's significance dropped, but it is still being updated. The Yahoo! Directory offers two options for suggesting websites for possible listing: "Standard", which is free, and a paid submission process that offers expedited review. Payment is required when suggesting a commercial site.