Marketing Jargon Buster 101: Understanding Business Marketing Terminology

Marketing Jargon Buster 101: Understanding Business Marketing Terminology

Read Time: 15 Minutes


23 Oct 2018

From acronyms to newly coined words and phrases, it’s hard to deny that marketing jargon can get a little confusing. And just when you’ve got your head around one complicated term, another one seems to crop up and leave you scratching your head mid-meeting! You wouldn’t be the first to find yourself frantically researching business marketing terminology to make sense of what you’re reading.

Jargon’s not really our thing here at instantprint – in fact, we go out of our way to make sure everything is as clear as possible. That’s why we’ve created this marketing jargon buster to help you get to grips with some of the technical language you might hear day-to-day as a small or medium-sized business owner. Whether you work in the industry or simply want to understand business marketing terminology, we’ve got you covered.


What is A/B Testing?

Also known as ‘split testing’, this is essentially an experiment where two (or more) variants (A and B) are compared based on performance, e.g., which converts the best. This is great for testing elements of your business’ website, or you could even put a few different marketing email subject headers up against each other to see which gets the highest open rate.


What is Actionable Insight?

An actionable insight is a term used in data analytics to refer to information that can be acted upon or gives enough information that it can influence decisions.


What is Advertising?

Advertising is any kind of marketing communication that targets a specific group of people to inform/influence them.


What is Affiliate Marketing?

This is where an online retailer pays commission to someone else (known as a publisher, or ‘influencer’) who then promotes the retailer’s products on their own website/blog/social media accounts. The publisher gets a portion of the online retailer’s sales as a thank-you for promoting the product.


What is Analytics?

Analytics is the process of discovering and interpreting meaningful patterns in data, which is analysed to help inform future business decisions.


What is B2B Marketing?

B2B stands for business-to-business, and refers to a business whose target market is other businesses and organisations, for example a wholesaler selling to a retailer.


What is B2C Marketing?

B2C stands for business-to-customer, and refers to companies who sell to individuals, usually marketing their products for personal use.


What is Big Data?

Big data is a large volume of structured and unstructured data that’s often too difficult to process using traditional data-processing software techniques.


What is Bounce Rate?

This is the percentage of visitors to a website who navigate away from the site having only viewed one page. When someone visits your site and leaves without clicking through to another page, this is called a ‘bounce’.


What is a Brand?

A business is recognisable by its brand; this all-encompassing term refers to everything from your marketing communications to your website and products, which should all trigger consumers to recognise that it’s your business behind the message. Usually, consumers develop emotional relationships with certain brands.


What is Brand Equity?

This is the word used to describe a brand’s value, with the idea that a well-known brand name can make more money for the business.


What is Brand Guideline?

Also known as brand standards, brand book, style guide and brand bible, a brand guideline is a set of rules outlining how your business presents itself to the rest of the world. Check out our blog for more information on what to include in your own brand guideline.


What is Brand Identity?

This term describes how you want your business to present itself and be perceived by your consumers.


What is Brand Image?

This term describes what consumers actually think about your business, and their perceptions of your brand.


What is Brand Loyalty?

Usually, consumers develop emotional relationships with certain brands, which leads to repeat purchases and your business being chosen over competitors.


What is a Marketing Brief?

A marketing brief is a framework for a task or campaign that gives creative directors and copywriters everything they need to know to complete the task.


What is a Buzzword?

A buzzword is a word or phrase that can be classed as jargon and is generally popular at the time of use.


What is a Call to Action (CTA)?

This is where you call on a consumer to take immediate action, for example by including ‘Shop Now’ at the bottom of an email, or ‘Join for Free’ on a website.


What is Clickbait?

A piece of online content that reveals just enough information to attract attention and stimulate curiosity, encouraging people to click through to a webpage, video, or even to react to something on social media.


What is a Content Calendar?

An effective way of managing marketing campaign content, this is a calendar to help you keep track of what content is needed by when to reach your campaign deadlines.


What is Content Marketing?

A form of marketing involving the creation of online content such as blogs, social media posts and videos, which is distributed to a targeted audience to create interest in a business.


What is Conversion Rate?

This is the percentage of people who carry out a desired action, for example the percentage of website visitors that make a purchase on the site.


What does Customer-Centric Mean?

This is an approach to doing business with a focus on creating a positive experience for the customer. Businesses that adopt this approach make customer service a main priority to gain a competitive edge.


What is Data Mining?

Examining a large volume of pre-existing data to discover patterns and new information.


What is a Demographic?

In marketing, demographic data refers to groups of people identified by certain characteristics and is used in research and statistics. These characteristics include age, race, religion, gender, family size, ethnicity, income and education. A business can segment its marketing using these different characteristics to target its audience more accurately.


What is an End User?

This refers to the person that ends up using a product. The end user can be the same person who buys the product, like someone buying an item of clothing for themselves, or it could be someone else, like a parent buying food for their whole family.


What is Marketing Engagement?

Engagement is about building a relationship with customers through looking at how they behave and how they want to interact with you, this can be through getting likes on social media or creating conversation through blogs.


What does Gig Economy Mean?

This is the idea of an economy where businesses rely more on freelancers rather than permanent members of staff, with a ‘gig’ being a one-off job. Find out more about how the gig economy is your startup’s best friend here.


What is Guerrilla Marketing?

Guerrilla marketing is a marketing strategy where businesses advertise their products/services in an unusual/unconventional, and usually low-cost, way.


What does Hyperlocal Mean?

Hyperlocal marketing is an extremely focused form of marketing that targets customers in a highly specific way, such as ‘near me’ searches – e.g. when someone uses their smartphone to search online for a restaurant ‘near me’.


What does Ideation Mean?

Ideation is a creative process where a team gets together and create new ideas and concepts.


What does Internet of Things (IOT) Mean?

Broadly speaking, the Internet of Things term covers everything connected to the internet, including ‘smart devices’ like smartphones and other devices that can be connected/share data through a network.


What is an Investor Pitch?

An investor pitch, or pitch desk, is a brief presentation (usually created using PowerPoint, Keynote or Prezi) outlining who your company are, what you do, and why the investors you’re pitching to should put their money into your business. Find out how to create your own impressive investor pitch here.


What is a Key Performance Indicator (KPI)?

Key performance indicators are used to measure performance and to evaluate how well a particular project or product is doing.


What is a Keyword?

In SEO, keywords are words and phrases (search queries) people will enter into search engines to find your content. Before writing a piece of content, it’s important to research keywords and phrases to include.


What is a Landing Page?

This is a standalone web page designed for a marketing campaign that’s used to prompt customers to take another action, for example sign up for an email newsletter or register for an event, therefore converting web traffic and generating leads.


What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation is the process of generating customer interest in your business’ products or services.


What is Lead Nurturing?

Lead nurturing is where a business builds a relationship with its customers at every stage of their buying journey until they make their purchase.


What are Lookalike Audiences?

Select social media platforms and some data companies are able to provide you with new prospect customer data, through customer profiling, based on your existing customers. This new data set will have attributes in common with your excising customer base and this new audiences is called a lookalike audience.


What is Low-Hanging Fruit?

Sometimes known as a quick win, low-hanging fruit is a phrase used to describe the tasks/goals that are easiest to achieve.


What is Market Research?

Initial research into your customers’ needs and preferences to gather information that will inform your product/service offering.


What is Market Segmentation?

This is where a business segments their target market into subgroups based on certain shared characteristics to target its audience more accurately with directed marketing.


What is Marketing?

Marketing is the act of promoting and selling your business's products or services, from initial marketing research to advertising.


What is Marketing Automation?

The act of automating repetitive tasks such as emails and social media by using marketing automation software to schedule and plan these tasks.


What is the Marketing Mix?

This refers to the combination of factors a business uses to promote its products/services. Typical marketing mixes consist of the 4Ps of marketing: Price, Product, Promotion and Place.


What is a Marketing Plan?

A document outlining a business’s marketing strategy over a set period of time (usually 1 year), which normally includes: marketing goals, the costs involved and your target customers.


What does Netiquette Mean?

A combination of the words ‘net’ and ‘etiquette’, netiquette refers to the polite way of behaving online, such as respecting rights of privacy and good manners in online communications, for example in emails.


What is Omnichannel Marketing?

This term refers to a seamless experience across different sales channels. For example, the customer experience of shopping instore and shopping online using either a desktop computer or smart device will be integrated.


What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing is when a business reaches out to customers. This can be through trade shows, direct mail campaigns (like postcards and catalogues) and even cold calling.


What are Pain Points?

A pain point is something that bothers people, to which your product/service is the solution.


What is a Company Persona?

A persona is a character that a company creates to represent an ideal customer, which helps them to understand core customer groups. As well incorporating characteristics like age, gender and income, personas also include more specific information like interests and reasons for buying a particular product.


What is Psychographics?

Used often in market research, psychographics refers to categorising people based on psychological criteria such as attitudes, values, opinions and lifestyles.


What is a Purchase Funnel?

This is a marketing model that shows the theoretical customer journey. The order of the model suggests that the customer journey goes in this order: Awareness, Opinion, Consideration, Preference, Purchase.


What are Marketing Quick Wins?

Short-term marketing projects to create immediate impact and drive traffic to your business while larger, long-term projects and campaigns are being worked on.


What are Real-Time Engagements?

Real-time customer engagement refers to interacting with your customers in a quick and personal way. This can be through having short response times for customer requests, by building up a digital community online or even through using customer data/location to provide instant recommendations.


What is Repurposing Content?

Finding new ways of using pre-existing content to help reach a new audience, for example turning product images into Pinterest posts or turning a written guide into a video.


What is Retargeting?

A type of online advertising that targets people who have already visited your website. This technique is commonly used with audiences that have shopping in their online basket. 


What is Return on Investment (ROI)?

Used to measure performance, return on investment measures how much profit is made on an investment in relation to how much money was invested.


What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

This is the process of maximising how visible your website or webpage is in search engine results. There are lots of factors that affect your website’s search engine ranking, including keywords, quality of content and backlinks.


What is Snackable Content?

Snackable content is online content that’s easy for people to consume and share with others. It’s generally something short and visual that a lot of people can relate to.


What is Storytelling?

A way of strengthening a brand, storytelling helps to create an emotional connection with customers. One way of doing this is by telling your own start-up story. Click here for a guide on how to write your own captivating business story.


What is Transparency?

Being clear and honest with customers by creating trustworthy, authentic content, where actions speak louder than words – if you claim to be a customer-centric brand, show it by offering top-notch customer service and building up a supportive community around your business.


What are Unique Selling Points (USPs)?

This is what differentiates your business or its products from your competitors. This could be anything from low costs of products and services to showcasing the more customisation options available.


What is User Experience (UX)?

How easy or pleasing the overall experience of using a business’ website, app or product is for the customer. UX design is the art of making this as pleasant as possible.


What is User Generated Content (UGC)?

This is any content that’s been posted by users of online platforms, such as social media and forums. This includes influencers, celebrity endorsements or fans of a particular product.


What is Viral Marketing?

A piece of content that’s been circulated widely on the internet. There’s no specific number of views or shares that determines whether a piece of content has gone viral; it’s relative to the platform and the user.


What is a X-Post/Cross Post?

Sharing a piece of content across multiple channels at once, for example sharing the same message on Twitter and on Facebook at the same time.


What is a Zero Cost Strategy?

A marketing activity which requires very little or no outlay from the business.


Need Further Guidance?

Didn’t find the term you’re looking for in our marketing jargon buster? Email us at and we’ll gladly add your business-related word/phase and a definition to this blog post!

If you need help understanding the business marketing terminology we’ve used in our post or you’d like to create a marketing jargon buster of your own, contact us here. A member of our friendly team will do everything they can to assist you.


About the Author

Hi, I’m Ally and I’m instantprint’s PR Lead. I enjoy writing content to help small businesses succeed and inspire them to get creative with their print marketing.