Common Marketing Terms and What They Mean

So, the CTR of the CTA on our downloadable guide’s landing page is performing below the outlined KPIs… If you’re new to marketing and advertising, the last sentence was probably Greek to you.

So, the CTR of the CTA on our downloadable guide’s landing page is performing below the outlined KPIs…

If you’re new to marketing and advertising, the last sentence was probably Greek to you. But the confusion stops here! Whether you’re a business owner experimenting with marketing or a new marketing professional, knowing the lingo is essential. We’ve compiled a list of key marketing terms to learn and love.

General Marketing Terms

Sales Funnel

The sales funnel or sales cycle is a term that’s been used for years. It breaks down the steps that a customer goes through when they are looking for a solution to a problem. There are many different versions of this idea, but mainly, the customer begins by realizing or becoming aware of a problem, considering the different solutions that are out there, deciding on a solution, and finally buying into a solution.


In modern marketing, the buyer’s journey is normally visualized through a funnel and each stage of marketing is labeled as Top of Funnel (TOFU), Middle of Funnel (MOFU), and Bottom of Funnel (BOFU) efforts. You want to keep each stage of the funnel in mind as you are crafting your ads and content in order to reach your target audience.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

This term is pretty much synonymous with goals. The main difference between goals and KPIs is the specificity of Key Performance Indicators. Setting goals is never a bad idea, but setting Key Performance Indicators provides the opportunity to isolate exactly where your marketing plan may be succeeding and where it may need more work. KPIs are a group of numbers that show exactly how each tactic is performing.

Some common Key Performance Indicators are:

Recency, Frequency, Monetary (RFM)

This acronym helps measure the total value of a customer. Recency: How recently did this customer purchase something? Frequency: How often do they tend to purchase from you? Monetary: How much do they spend? This customer information can be analyzed and used to determine who your best customers are.

Return On Investment (ROI)

ROI is what you get from what you invest. For example, if you spend $100 on a project and end up making a total of $120, your return on investment would be $20. ROI can also be calculated for leads generated, visits to your site, or impressions, which can be of value even if they are not direct sales.



The action of a user clicking (or tapping) on your ad or post.


An advertising platform that allows you to place your ads around Google’s organic search results.

Click Through Rate (CTR)

For an email campaign or online advertising, the click-through rate will measure how many people clicked your link compared to how many total impressions or views your link received. A high click-through rate is a good indicator that the ad or email was compelling.

The action of a user clicking (or tapping) on your ad or post.

Cost Per Conversion (CPC)

How much did you pay to have a potential customer move to the next step of the buyer’s journey? *See TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU.

Cost Per Thousand (CPM)

This term refers to the cost per each thousand impressions (views) your ad receives.

Display Advertising

Ads that appear on websites. These can be still images, animated gifs, or even HTML5 mini websites.


Leads are customers that have shown some interest in what you are doing. The most common way to gain leads is by form submission.


There are three main types of media that your business could have in their marketing plan: paid, earned, and owned. Typically if you hear the word media at an advertising agency, they will be talking about paid media. Paid media is something you directly pay to use, display ads, commercials, or conduct paid search. Owned Media is media that you create. Owned media are things like your website, organic search rankings, blog content, and content on your social channels. Earned Media is typically viewed as the best kind of media because it does not require you to invest time or money directly into generating it. Earned media can include things like word of mouth awareness or endorsements and reviews that your product or brand has gotten online.

Pay-per-click (PPC)

Refers to a form of internet marketing where the cost of an advertisement is determined by the number of clicks your link or ad gathers. It is typically used when trying to get people to view your site if you are not well established and are not getting many views organically. This is an extremely useful tool when working closer to the top of funnel or starting to work with a new message.


A persona is a fictional character you create, with insight you have gained by running your business or through market research, to better understand the target audience for your advertising efforts. The more detailed, the better. Think beyond demographics and dive deeper into behavior and mindsets to really get the most out of your persona. You can use this to help you determine what message to focus on and what your ideal customer will likely want to see your marketing efforts. Marketing strategies are often formed around multiple personas with KPIs attached to each one.


For many marketing professionals, marketing is a way to get in front of as many eyes as possible. With remarketing it allows you to get in front of the eyes of people that have already expressed interest in your brand or company.


Call to Action (CTA)

A CTA is a short sentence that gives your audience instructions on what they should do next. It is important to include a call to action on your social media posts, blogs, or even through a button on your website to drive people to where you want them to go. If you want someone to read your blog post after seeing it promoted on Facebook, include a CTA such as “Check out our latest post here: (link).” This way, a reader will feel more compelled to click on it, and from there you can guide them to other pieces of your website.

Influencers and Influencer Marketing

There have been influencers in the marketing realm since the beginning. In today’s world, influencers tend to be bloggers, YouTube content creators, and other digital content providers. These influencers tend to have built strong relationships with their audience that you can leverage for your own brand by paying them to feature or review your product or service. This type of marketing has become incredibly useful when you are trying to reach a younger target market but is becoming more relevant for all audiences.

Lead Generation (Lead Gen.)

Lead generation refers to the creation of interest in your product/service. Normally lead generation is accomplished by offering something of value in exchange for an email. Examples of valuable items would be guides, worksheets, or other large format pieces of content.

Lead Nurturing

Once you have generated some leads, you need to be able to move them through the funnel to get them to buy into your product or service. The actions that nudge those who have expressed interest in your content or product are called lead nurturing. These actions could be emails, social posts, or retargeting ads.

 Landing Page

A landing page is a single webpage you create for a specific topic or piece of content. Much of the time, the landing page has some sort of form for the user to input their information. You could create a form for consumers to fill out with their name and email address if they want to receive email updates from your blog. Link this landing page on your Facebook and you can get conversions.

Qualified vs. Unqualified Leads

Qualified leads are the leads that match your personas very closely. Determining which leads are qualified can be difficult and might take some tweaking as you learn more about your customers. Once you have figured out which leads are qualified you can send them more information about the brand and direct them to view more of your content. The unqualified leads are still useful as they may become qualified leads down the line.

Workflows or Drip Campaigns

A workflow or drip campaign is an automation you can set up to make almost any online marketing task a breeze. If you are trying to gather leads through a landing page, you will hopefully collect a lot of email addresses. If you want to send an email to a qualified lead and a different email to an unqualified lead, you can set up a workflow to automatically sort these leads into their respective categories and send out the correct email. Programs like HubSpot, Pardot and Infusionsoft make these tasks pretty simple to set up. You will get the best response from your efforts if the right audience is seeing your content, so using workflows will help you get the most out of your marketing efforts.


Responsive Design

This is something that is non-negotiable in today’s world as it is increasingly run by smartphones and tablets. Responsive design on a website means that no matter what screen or device the page is being viewed on, the site will be useful and visually attractive. If your audience is reaching your page but cannot use the site easily, they will navigate away before they have learned anything about your brand.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO is all about making sure all your website or landing page can be found through the most popular search engines. Having good SEO will help boost your page up in the rankings of a Google search so that you will get more clicks organically. To improve your SEO, you should make sure you have quality content with relevant keywords included. All pages should have relevant meta-descriptions, or the descriptions that explain what is on your page to those searching for something. It’s also important that your content is updated frequently, because this shows search engines that it’s more likely to be relevant. SEO can seem intimidating, but if you start with these simple things, you will be on the path to a great search ranking.


Public Relations (PR)

Managing the public’s view or opinion of a brand, individual, or company with minimal advertising efforts. Think articles, news stories, interviews and managing or preventing negative press.
Hopefully this list helped you get a better grasp of some of the most popular marketing jargon. You’re no longer a newbie, welcome to the world of marketing!