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38 Basic Marketing Terms Every Business Owner Should Know

If you are a digital marketer or a business owner, it’s important to know some basic marketing terms & slangs to avoid being embarrassed in front of clients, meetings or in an interview. We made a comprehensive glossary defining digital marketing terms, often used when working with clients to metrics, website traffic, paid social metrics, and Google Ads.

If you’re a newbie to this whole digital marketing thing, then there are maybe lots of other fundamental marketing terms & slang that you don’t even know. It’s never fun to run into unfamiliar jargon in the middle of an important meeting. Whether you’re working with an agency, hiring marketing staff, or trying some strategies on your own – these are some great, basic terms and phrases to know by heart.

This list is based on many meetings where clients have stopped us to ask, “wait, what does that mean?” It is a mixture of language we use to describe general marketing, content marketing, Google platforms, your website, social media, email marketing, and more. Feel free to bookmark this blog and come back to it when someone uses language you don’t understand.

Let’s start with some general marketing terms

KPI (Key Performance Indicator)
As a famous educator and author Peter Drucker once said, “What gets measured gets done.” KPI’s are strategic indicators used in business to measure success or progress towards a final, calculated result. They help provide focus and keep marketing efforts on track.

ROI (Return on Investment)
A performance metric that measures (or tries to measure) the amount of return on particular marketing investment, relative to the cost of said investment. To calculate ROI, subtract the cost of the investment from the sales proceeds to get the benefit. Then divide the benefit by the cost to get the Return on Investment. The result is expressed as a percentage. ROI works well for analyzing manufacturing costs but becomes less reliable when calculating the value of brand awareness campaigns (like on a billboard).

Sales Funnel
The process through which a company finds restrains, and sells its products to buyers. It can also be defined as the “buying process.” Though the process varies from sale to sale, the funnel typically begins at awareness, moves through interest and evaluation, reaches a sale, and eventually resolves as the ultimate goal: brand loyalty. A potential customer may get stuck at any point in the funnel, and it’s up to the marketing team to figure out where and why.

Target Audience
A predetermined audience based on demographic data or sales data that is intended to be reached through advertising and marketing dollars. A target audience may be broad, like people who need plumbing, or specific, like college students who prefer an organized schedule. Each ad campaign reaches out to its target audience, where and when they’re looking.

Qualified Lead
A person that has started the sales funnel and is likely to purchase, join, or otherwise create a sale. A customer who just arrived on your website looking to make a purchase is a qualified lead. A non-customer who calls your sales team to make their pitch is also not.

CLV (Customer Lifetime Value)
The lifetime value of the average customer. It’s important to understand the lifetime value of a customer vs. the profit made on a singular purchase or sale. This number is likely much larger, and more valuable to a company. It also helps to give a more accurate estimate of what a cost per acquisition (CPA) should be.

Marketing Strategy
A plan of action designed to promote and sell a product or service. Generally, this term is used to describe a “high level” plan, e.g. the voice, imagery, slogans, and marketing channels used throughout each campaign.

Marketing Campaign
Similarly, a campaign is a course of action to promote and sell a product or service. Campaigns tend to be specific, shorter-term action plans, usually contained to one marketing channel (see below). Many individual campaigns can play into a larger, overall strategy.

Marketing Channel
The media on which a marketing campaign takes place. Examples include TV ads, word of mouth, promotional events, and digital marketing channels such as YouTube Ads and viral marketing.

Find content marketing, creative, common Google tools, website management, and email marketing terms below.


Content Marketing
A type of marketing that includes creating and sharing written and creative materials online. This includes video, blogs, social media posts, ebooks, infographics, webinars, paid content, and more. Often, content marketing supports other direct marketing in that it does not directly promote a brand but instead increases brand awareness and interest in its products and services.

Editorial or Content Calendar
A calendar used to organize and schedule content to be shared across different media channels over time. A good editorial calendar also helps marketing and editorial teams coordinate better to maximize impact, allows stakeholders to target reader interests, and helps teams to consistently produce high-quality, engaging work. Learn how to make a simple content calendar.

Blog post / Guest post
A piece of writing posted to your blog. Blog posts give readers or customers fresh, new info to find on your website, increase keyword rankings, and create content to repurpose throughout other marketing channels like social media and email. A guest post is written by someone not on your team, like a thought leader (see below) or specialist in the field.

Thought Leader
An individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought after. Thought leaders are commonly asked to speak at public events, conferences, or webinars to share their insights with a relevant audience.

Case Study
A record used to showcase positive results or progress over a given period. A case study can be used to demonstrate the effects of a certain campaign, multiple similar campaigns compared side by side or an overall marketing strategy. Here are some examples of case studies we’ve done in the past.

A fun, visual representation of information or data. A well-implemented infographic can improve trust in your brand, as well as create viral content.

An electronic version of a book. eBooks are often used as a way to showcase thought leadership in a field or as a content marketing tool. Note: An eBook does not have to be the length of a traditional book.

A seminar conducted over the Internet, typically as part of a content marketing strategy. A webinar can be used to communicate a pitch to multiple potential clients at once, with a personal touch that comes from performing live.

Creative and Design

Adobe Creative Suite
Popular software used by photographers, videographers, graphic designers, illustrators, and special effects artists. The creative suite includes Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, Dreamweaver, AfterEffects, and more.

The different styling of printed letters and numbers used to create fonts. The typography helps to set the tone, draw attention to certain details, and establish a brand.

Logomark vs. Logotype
Logomark is a recognizable symbol used to identify a business. It does not typically contain the business name. A logotype is a font or typography used to create the business name.

Style Guide / Brand Guidelines
A guide created for the sake of consistency across all marketing and promotional materials as well as departments within a company. Typically, a style or brand guide includes fonts, logo, brand colours, layout specifications, and more, to create a standardized look.

Image or Asset Descriptions
The features of an image of size and resolution. Here is a guide we wrote on image definitions such as resolution, compression, dimensions, and more

Basic Google Tools

When working in digital marketing, Google is king. Find descriptions of essential tools and services below. 

Google Analytics
A web analytics service that tracks and reports website traffic and data. You can track referral traffic, paid google ads traffic, paid social media traffic, organic social media traffic, direct traffic, organic search traffic, and more. Google Analytics also offers demographic data, behavioural data, top landing pages, goals, and much more.

Google Ads
Google Ads is an online advertising platform developed by Google, where advertisers pay to display brief advertisements, service offerings, product listings, video content, and generate mobile application installs within the Google ad network to web users.

Google Tag Manager
A system used to manage JavaScript and HTML tags used for tracking and analytics on websites. It’s most often used to install Google Analytics and track conversions from different online ad campaigns.

Google My Business
A Google Search feature that hosts profiles for every business location. Keeping your Google My Business up-to-date with keyword targeting, new posts, quality images, and responses to customer reviews helps promote it above the competition.

Google Search Console
A platform used to measure and report on a website’s search traffic and performance, check indexing status and optimize visibility in search results. Use it to see what customers are searching to arrive at each page of your website.

Website Management

Web Host
A business that stores websites on a server so they’re available to customers 24/7. Popular examples include Bluehost, GoDaddy, and Google Cloud.

HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. It is the method a web browser on your computer uses to exchange information with the server hosting the website. HTTPS is HTTP with encryption. HTTPs uses SSL to encrypt normal HTTP requests and responses, making it more secure for users. When a user opens a website in HTTP, they see a warning that the website is not secure.

Software used to make designing and managing a website faster and easier. Popular Content Management Systems for websites include WordPress, Drupal, Squarespace, Shopify, Wix, and Weebly.

Not just a chewy treat, a cookie is a small piece of data that a website stores on the user’s computer for a wide variety of uses. When a user logs in to a website, the server checks the cookies to see if they’re using a familiar device. When a shopper leaves halfway through browsing, the cookies remember what was in their cart. Untrustworthy websites may also use cookies for spyware, which is why affordable cybersecurity is our friend.

Facebook Pixel
Similar to a cookie, a pixel is a snippet of code that is placed on a website to help collect data on customer activity. A Facebook pixel is used specifically for Facebook, to optimize ads, build target audiences, and track conversions. Other popular sites that use pixels or snippets of code are Google Ads, Linkedin, Callrail, Crazy Egg, and FOMO.

Domain vs. URL
The name was chosen to represent one or more IP addresses for your business. A URL is an address given to that domain name on the World Wide Web. For example, publiictymantra.com is the domain name. The home page URL is https://www.publicitymantra.com

Email Marketing

Email Marketing
A channel of marketing where promotional messages and information are sent via email to active and potential customers. Rather than sending unsolicited emails, we recommend having customers sign up on an email list and other email marketing strategies.

Email Welcome Series
A pre-planned campaign of three to four (ideally automated) email campaigns delivered to a new subscriber over 1 week. Studies show this is the best time to thank new customers for subscribing, show them why your brand is relevant and unique, and otherwise lead them further along your sales funnel. Read our blog here on welcome series best practices.

A/B Testing
A technique in which two identical ads are delivered with only one variable different, allowing the marketing team to see which version outperforms the other. In email marketing, A/B testing can be used to test content, subject lines, teasers, and other factors down to subtle changes in font and wording. A/B testing can also be used to test landing pages of websites, in Google Ads, and Paid Social Ads.

Open Rate / Click-Through Rate (CTR)
In email marketing, open rate describes the percentage of subscribers that opened a given email. Click-Through Rate (CTR) describes the percentage of people that opened, and then clicked through your email, to a predetermined landing page. CTR is also used to describe how often an ad is clicked in other digital marketing campaigns.

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