Marketing dictionary for writers who don’t speak marketing


Many content marketing writers (like me) don’t come from a marketing background. But when you’re part of a content marketing project, you’ll likely find yourself on calls and in email threads with experienced marketers.

They speak a different language than you and me.

Hubspot Academy’s excellent Inbound Certification helped me learn some of the lingo, but I still find myself stumped—and sometimes amused—by some of the lingo. CX? Isn’t that cyclocross bike racing? Isn’t a pain point what happens when I fall while running on the trail? Not in marketing world.

To help you become more fluent in marketing speak, I put together a short list of terms, translated into plain English. Got any you’d like to add to the list? Comment below!

ABM – Account-based marketing. A marketing strategy geared toward one or more key customers or potential customers.

B2B – Business to business. Content produced by a business for businesses. Or, companies that sell to other businesses.

B2C – Business to consumer. Content produced by a business for consumers, aka, regular people that buy stuff. Or, companies that sell directly to consumers.

Brand – A company’s image. Brand encompasses a company’s name, logo, image and mission. A company’s content should align with its brand.

BDR – Business development representatives. If you write emails on behalf of clients, you may have to compose “BDR” emails.

C360 – Customer 360. A data marketing strategy that attempts to get a holistic customer view. They do this by gathering and analyzing all the data they can about the customer.

CTA – Call to action. It’s the thing at the end of most marketing emails, landing pages, web pages, blog articles and other content. What do you want the reader to do? “Download X/subscribe to our newsletter/get your free copy today!”

CX – Customer experience (not cyclocross racing). The customer’s feelings and attitudes about working with and/or interacting with a company’s products or services. CX encompasses everything, from the website and mobile app to tech support on the phone or the sales clerk at a store.

Discovery call – Introductory call companies, including marketing agencies, have with a prospective new client. If they land the client, a kickoff call often follows.

Gamify – To make a game out of marketing. Examples include giveaways, games (duh), quizzes and prizes.

High-touch – Very important. A potential customer or existing customer that needs a lot of attention. The company considers that potential client as a big win, so it’s willing to email, call and/or snail mail them periodically, systematically over a long period of time.

Hop – Get. As in, “let’s hop on a call.” Do not use. It’s annoying.

Lead gen – lead generation. The act of acquiring potential clients. Someone who visits a company’s website and downloads a white paper, might, whether they like it or not, get a “lead gen” email soon after. That starts the process of pursuing the white paper-downloader as a potential customer.

LOB – Line of business. What a company offers. If a company sells widgets and oranges, they have two LOBs.

Marketo – A popular type of marketing software. For a while I thought this was slang for marketing. Now we know!

Metrics – Stuff you measure with data.

Pain points – Stuff customers complain about.

Personalization – Personal. Using a customer or potential customer’s name in a piece of marketing material. Personalization also means delivering individualized messages to customers based on what the company knows about her wants and needs. The company that congratulated me on my new baby committed a personalization fail. (I don’t have kids.)

Personas – Fake people marketers create as model clients or customers.

Thought leadership – Content where companies share their knowledge on a given subject, usually related to what they sell or serve.

Touchpoints – Ways customers interact with businesses; e.g., a website, mobile app, social media, on the phone or face-to-face.

Use case – A scenario that describes how a product, service or system will achieve a business goal for the customer. Used in product development. In the tech industry, it means something totally different.

UX – User experience. The customer’s feelings about working with or interacting with a company based on his digital experience. For example, using a mobile app.

Vertical – Market. One company might market to police officers, new moms, and professional athletes. That’s three verticals.

What marketing terms have gotten you stumped? Tell us in the comments below!

Photo courtesy of Chris, Flickr

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