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55 Marketing Terms You Need to Know

55 Marketing Terms You Need to Know

I remember my first job in marketing. Aside from the environment being extremely fast-paced and deadline-oriented, it was also filled with jargon. Quite frankly, sometimes I felt like I was learning a new language, which didn't make getting acclimated to the industry any easier. 

No amount of marketing coursework in college could have prepared me for all the terms that were thrown around in meetings and calls. Over time, and after many Google searches, I was able to start talking the talk — but I'd be lying if I said I couldn't have used a cheat sheet or dictionary to help me out.

That's why we've created this comprehensive list of marketing terms to know. It's broken down into three categories — general, content, and digital marketing terms — to help you find exactly what you need, when you need it.

We also created The Ultimate Guide To Content Marketing for you to read after you're familiar with all of these terms. 

General Marketing Terms


1. Bottom of the Funnel

The final stage of the buyer journey where leads have identified their problem, selected the solution they want to use, and are close to making a purchase decision.

2. Case Study

An in-depth analysis of work a company completed for a client or customer that highlights the goals, process, and services used, as well as the results achieved through the services.

3. Email Marketing

The process of sending a strategic message directly to a contact or group of contacts via email for the purposes of educating, engaging, and/or encouraging them to take a specific, profitable action.

Email marketing is an essential part of distributing content and engaging your audience. Download The Ultimate Guide to Effective Content Distribution to learn more.

4. Inbound Marketing

A form of marketing focused on creating content that naturally draws targeted audiences in to a company’s website by earning trust and providing value to those specific audiences.

5. Lead Nurturing

The process of educating qualified sales leads through valuable, relevant content delivered via a series of touchpoints before the purchase decision is made.

6. Marketing Funnel

A model illustrating the process companies use to attract visitors, convert them into leads, and nurture them before they finally reach the buying moment.

7. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

A set of quantifiable metrics a company uses to evaluate its performance against its specific, strategic goals.

8. Middle of the Funnel

The stage in the marketing funnel where prospects have officially identified their problem and a need to solve it.

9. Outbound Marketing

A form of marketing focused on pushing a message out to an intended audience by, for example, attending conferences and trade shows, cold calling, and paying for TV ads.

10. Public Relations (PR)

A strategy complementary to marketing that's responsible for positioning a company in a positive light through messages from the company or an individual, which are delivered by third-party sources to boost credibility and earn trust with new audiences.

To learn more about PR and how it plays into your content strategy, download A Guide to Modern PR.

11. Return on Investment (ROI)

A common ratio that helps evaluate profitability and efficiency by measuring the benefit a company gains for the resources it put into a project or investment.

12. Sales Funnel

The process by which individuals or companies discover a problem or need, identify potential solutions or vendors, conduct research, and make a final purchase decision that addresses that specific need.

13. Subject Matter Expert (SME)

A person who has a breadth of experience and knowledge in a particular area, industry, or topic.

14. Top of the Funnel

The beginning of the marketing funnel, where prospects are just starting to identify a problem, look for more information, and learn about potential solutions.

Content Marketing


15. Backlink

An incoming hyperlink from one web page to another website.

16. Blog

An owned media asset that a company or individual uses to publish and distribute high-quality content that educates, entertains, and engages a specific audience.

17. Buyer Journey

The process buyers go through as they research product and service options and educate themselves before making a final purchase decision.

18. Content Management System (CMS)

The software on which a website or blog is built to manage its content.

19. Content Marketing

A strategic approach to marketing that's focused on consistently creating and distributing high-quality, valuable content to attract, engage, and convert a specific audience and drive profitable action. (Learn more about this essential strategy by checking out The Ultimate Guide To Content Marketing.)

20. Content Marketing Funnel

The different stages — from education to purchase — that content strategies take leads through.

21. Content Metrics

Content metrics are the system of measurement that companies and individuals use to determine their content’s success, including traffic, social shares, engagement, conversions, number of leads generated, time on site, page views, etc.

22. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

A system that manages a company’s interactions with current and potential customers by using technology to organize, automate, and integrate sales calls and emails.

23. Content Syndication

The process of republishing content a company has created, such as a blog post, infographic, or video, on third-party sites to maximize reach and, typically, earn a link back to the original post.

24. Contributor

Someone who writes and publishes a piece of content in an external publication or media outlet.

25. Distribution Plan

A mapped-out strategy and process for sharing out a particular piece of content or promo item.

26. Earned Media

Media exposure a company earns organically, often by accomplishing something truly newsworthy and attracting media attention, distributing press releases, securing press mentions, contributing thought leadership content to publications, and achieving word of mouth.

27. Editorial Calendar

The schedule an organization uses to plan content creation, manage content production, and ensure consistent publication each month.

Download our editorial calendar and promotion checklist to organize your content creation efforts.

28. Gated Content

High-quality owned content, housed behind a form, that website visitors can only access by submitting contact information and that fuels a company's lead generation.

29. Guest Post

An original piece of high-quality, expert content, such as a written guest post, infographic, or video, that's contributed to an external publication or outlet to help a thought leader reach, engage, and build trust with a new audience.

30. Infographics

Visual images, such as charts or diagrams, that are used to explain information or data.

31. Knowledge Bank

A customizable template that stores and organizes a thought leader's expertise, audience insights, and industry knowledge to enable consistent, efficient content creation.

Download your customizable knowledge management template to help your team create better content more efficiently.

32. On-Site Content

Any content a company hosts on its own website.

33. Off-Site Content

Any content that is placed on another website.

34. Organic Distribution

A method of distribution by which content is naturally circulated among an audience, such as through social media shares, referrals, and search engine results.

35. Owned Media

Marketing assets a company has control over, including its website, blog, whitepapers, and email campaigns.

36. Paid Distribution

A method of distribution by which content is circulated and amplified among a target audience via paid promotion, such as promoted posts on social media and paid ads on search.

37. Sales Enablement

The process, technology, and content used by marketing and sales to enable the sales process and empower sales teams to sell more efficiently.

Learn how to bring your marketing and sales teams together to create powerful content by downloading The Content Marketer's Guide to Sales Enablement.

38. Thought Leader

An industry expert who shares his or her expertise with a broader, targeted audience with the purpose of educating, improving, and providing value to the industry as a whole and building trust with key audiences. (Check out these resources to learn more about selecting your company's thought leader and building authentic thought leadership.)

Download The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing for Thought Leadership to discover how your company can use content to build its influence.

39. Unique Visitors per Month (UVM)

The number of new people who visit a website in one month.

40. Webinar

An online seminar hosted by a company or multiple companies in partnership that provides value and education to a specific audience and fuels lead generation by requiring attendees fill out a registration form.

41. Website Traffic

A measurement of the number of visits a website receives.

42. Whitepaper

Content, which is usually gated, that educates audiences by providing exclusive and in-depth information, analysis, and research about a particular topic on which a company is an expert.

Download our gated content checklist to learn how to create effective gated content that's worth the download.

Digital Marketing


43. A/B Testing

The process of testing two variations of a specific element, while holding everything else constant, to determine which version creates a better long-term result.

44. Bounce Rate

The percentage of visitors who navigate away from a site after viewing only one page.

45. Call to Action (CTA)

An instruction located on a web page, article, whitepaper, or infographic that’s designed to prompt a user to take a specific action that aligns with a company's long-term goal.

46. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The percentage of people who view a particular link and ultimately click on it.

47. Content Audit

A thorough examination of how existing content is performing on a website, which may lead to making adjustments in order to increase results.

48. Conversion Rate

The percentage of users who complete an action on a company's website, such as downloading a piece of content or submitting a contact form.

49. Keyword

A specific word or phrase that a user types into a search engine to find the information he or she is looking for.

50. Landing Page

A website page that contains a form used for capturing visitor information and converting visitors into leads, often by providing a valuable, gated asset, such as a whitepaper or webinar, in exchange for that contact information.

51. Lead

A potential client or customer for a company.

52. Marketing Automation

Software platforms and technologies designed for marketers to more effectively manage online marketing and automate repetitive tasks.

53. Marketing-Qualified Lead

A lead who is more likely to become a customer compared to other leads based on his or her activity before converting, often determined through marketing automation.

54. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

A form of internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages through optimization and advertising.

55. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The practice of influencing a website’s visibility in a search engine’s organic, unpaid search results through generating backlinks, incorporating relevant keywords, publishing content, and using other techniques.

Now that you're up to speed on content marketing basics, download your free ROI checklist to learn about six actionable steps you can take right now to start seeing content marketing results.

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About Becky Ruyle

I am a wife and mom to two beautiful girls, and I am a big Missouri sports fan and lover of sushi. I have a passion for using marketing to educate, tell stories, and drive business results.


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