Terms to Know: Your Crash Course in Marketing Speak- Part 1

By February 6, 2013Inbound Marketing

Online marketers seem to have their own language. As a newcomer to the space, you may be feeling a bit lost in marketing speak. That’s okay — you’re not alone. You have your own jargon to worry about. If you’re a doctor, ask your marketer friends to name every bone in the human body. They won’t know where to start. If you’re a musician?  Ask your marketer friends to name more than 10 musical notes. They won’t.

But don’t think that you can ignore marketing speak altogether. These terms are more than just buzz — they’re foundational to your business. That’s precisely why we wrote this blog post — to give you a simple yet effective introduction to some of the key concepts in marketing. It’s part 1 of a two-part series that we’re putting together. Here are 10 of the most popular marketing terms demystified.

Oh, and if you think these terms are awesome — just wait until we publish part 2.

1. Conversions
The bread and butter of online marketing

You’ve probably heard this word in the context of a couple of other disciplines. In finance, you’ve probably heard of convertible bonds. In history, you may have  heard stories of religious conversions. When you’re traveling, you probably convert currencies based on the country you’re visiting. In marketing, the concept of a conversion is simple, but it’s also different in the sense that you’re dealing strictly with people.

Conversions are all about customer acquisition. For instance, a free trial subscriber could eventually convert into a paying customer. A  website visitor could convert into a newsletter subscriber by clicking on a link. Sometimes, conversion rates are directly  related to revenue, but other times, they’re a step apart. What they have in common is that they’re goal-driven, and you can quantify them. Successful conversion rates are context-specific and are specified by individual marketers. Each and every number that you pick should be directly tied to your business’s success.

2. Lead Generation
Interest that counts

This is another important concept in customer acquisition. In online marketing, leads refer to the customers  and prospects who express interest in your business or services. A portion of these leads eventually convert into paying customers — sometimes immediately and sometimes down the road.

Lead generation refers to the process of collecting information from people who are interested in your business. But keep in mind that the process is not as simple as spamming people with a signup form. You need to actively build a rapport with your leads. Sometimes, you need to give stuff away for free — ebooks, video downloads, tutorials, promotional offers, etc.

With this aspect of marketing quality is everything. Rather than reaching out to hoards of random people, you need to make your efforts as efficient as possible by only reaching out to the crowds of people who are most likely to be interested in your products and services. Effective lead generation means that you need to do more than simply cast a wide net. You need to really laser in on your target market by getting to know them, understanding their needs, and appealing to their values.

3. Landing Page
The introductory handshake

If you’re running an online advertising campaign through paid marketing or social media, you need to send your prospects to some destination on the Internet. Rather than pointing everyone to your website homepage, you should consider sending them to a landing page instead. Here, you can provide all the necessary details without the unnecessary information overload. Just focus on the  who, what, where, when, why, how, and what’s next of your business.

According to the landing page experts over at Unbounce, there are 7 types — the one that you ultimately use will depend on your specific marketing goals. No matter the case, your landing page is one of the most important ways to make a good first impression with your prospects.

4. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Your not-so-secret sauce

Believe it or not, SEO is one of the most heated topics in online marketing. The idea is simple — rank high on search engines for terms related to your brand. But over the last few years, marketers have taken that concept to the extreme by engaging in some highly shady practices — trading links, meaningless repetition of keywords, etc.

Today, search engine optimization is all about user experience. The idea is even more simple — create products and content that people will love and trust, and your website will see higher rankings on search engines. Today’s SEO is more of an outcome than a marketing strategy. Instead of chasing an algorithm (aka shady SEO), your goal should be customer acquisition and retention (aka holistic marketing).

5. PPC (Pay-Per- Click)
Your much-needed boost

Pay-per-click is an online advertising model in which marketers only pay for advertisements that receive clicks. Clicks can cost as little as a penny or as much as $10+.  The marketing concept may sound unusual — but you may be surprised to know that PPC advertising has been around for many years. It’s also the bread and butter of major technology companies like Google.

Behind the scenes, the pay-per-click model works like an auction. Advertisers are constantly competing for placements on target websites  — and it’s the high bidders who are able to secure placements.

PPC advertising  is one of the most cost-effective Internet marketing models in the sense that it can take $100 or less to be up and running. Both advertisers and publishers displaying ads benefit — advertisers have the opportunity to secure new business, and publishers are able to carve out new revenue streams. Anyone can be an advertiser or publisher — from large ventures like Target to small businesses and mom & pop blogs.

6. ROI
Your profitability dreams come true

If you’re a business owner, you’ve definitely heard this infamous acronym before. Across industries, the meaning of ROI is universal — return on investment. No surprises. Now, with respect to online marketing, ROI can get a bit tricky. As with other industries, what matters most is revenue. But with online marketing, the revenue benefits of your efforts are sometimes intangible. You can deploy a sophisticated (and expensive) business intelligence plan, but sometimes, you just need to rely on your intuition and gut that your initiative is yielding value.  Now, be careful not to stretch  ROI too far — if you rely too heavily on tweets, shares, and pageviews to measure your success, you risk ignoring your core business model. You need to focus on tangible gains and always be ROI-driven.

7. Social Media
More to it than Facebook

We seriously debated adding this one to the list, but we ultimately decided to do it. The reason being — social media is a living, breathing discipline. It goes beyond big-name platforms like Facebook and Twitter to truly capture how people are interacting with one another and sharing information online. Social media is a sociological phenomenon, not just a technology trend. But where exactly is the line? Is email social media? To an extent. What about blogs? Getting warmer. What about the up and coming niche social networks like Quora, HealthTap, and Doximity — you bet. Over the next few years, social media will become more and more specialized and niche. Prepare yourself by investigating trends beyond Facebook.

8. KPI
Seeing through a  flurry of data

KPI is an acronym for key performance indicator. This is a number that helps to benchmark the successes and growth that result from your online marketing initiatives. These can be conversion rates, click through rates, transactions, or offer sign-ups. If you really wanted, you could sit down and brainstorm a monster list of metrics to monitor. Usually, however, it’s best to pick a handful that are feasible to monitor over time in a straightforward way. In selecting your KPIs, your goal should actually be to avoid the data flurry so that you can integrate your marketing efforts with your company’s bottom line.

9. UX
It’s all about people

These two letters are the bread and butter of your marketing efforts. UX is an abbreviation for “user experience” — a concept that is foundational to business on the Internet. No matter your marketing or business strategy, you need to make sure that you’re creating a positive atmosphere for your customers and prospects. You can’t bug ‘em. You can’t spam ‘em. You can’t beat them over the head with a meaningless marketing message. You need to inspire them to love your brand. So make sure that you always think your UX through before launching any initiative online. This could be as simple as hosting a brainstorming session with your consultants and team.

10.  Reach
Your sphere of influence

Whether or not you have experience as a marketer, you’ve probably heard this term before. All of your marketing efforts should be designed to boost your brand reach. You need to connect with as many qualified prospects and leads as possible to grow your business. The bigger your voice, the bigger your brand reach — and the bigger your profits. No matter your marketing strategy, it should always prioritize reach.

Your Comments

Have any questions about the terms we’ve explained above? We’re happy to elaborate — just leave a comment below. Stay tuned for part 2 of this marketing speak series where we’ll focus on data, ROI, and more. Until then, we’re happy to keep the conversation going. Just let us know what you think!

About TJ Welsh

TJ has worked in the digital marketing space since 2006. He has worked at a number of agencies and and helped hundreds of clients grow their business through SEO, PPC, Social Media and Content Marketing. He currently lives in Lehi , UT and enjoys spending time with his family.


Leave a Reply