Marketers have a lingo all their own.
While we marketing pros tend to keep things clear and simple with our clients, we’ll often use marketing slang terms as shorthand when trading tips with each other online or at networking events.
If you’re new to marketing or just want to sound smarter on LinkedIn, this list of practical marketing slang terms will get you caught up in no time.
An article in a publication that is designed to promote a product or service, but is presented in the style of original editorial content. The brand being advertised foots the bill, and the publication is required to add a disclaimer that what you’re reading is actually sponsored content.
The group of people who you create all your content for, AKA your real bosses (they don’t really know what they want either). An audience is typically defined by their demographics and behavior.
Hyperlinked text that leads to an external webpage. High-quality ones are important for SEO and better search engine rankings because it helps connect a “web” between your website and other related domain leaders. Backlinks show Google that your website is so cool that it hangs out with all the other cool websites so it definitely should be popular.
4. Brand Awareness
The measure of how memorable your company name and/or products are to the general public. For example, your dog knows exactly the kind of high-value experience they’re going to get when they hear W-A-L-K. Marketers work hard to achieve that same level of enthusiastic brand awareness and association around their offerings.
A channel, or lead generation channel, is a platform or content type marketers use to reach consumers. This can be anything from search ads to landing pages to social media.
6. Content Marketing
A strategy that brands use to deliver value to an audience through multimedia content without selling them on anything—at least not explicitly. Content creation (including blog posts, podcasts, and YouTube videos) is one of the most expensive and time-consuming goodwill moves a brand can make. But it has a ton of invaluable benefits, from brand awareness to email acquisition. (See: lead magnet)
CTA stands for Call To Action, which essentially means asking an observer to take the next step, like add to cart, sign up, or follow. CTAs often come in the form of buttons and popups and forms (oh my)!
Click-Through Rate (CTR) is the number of times an ad or link is literally clicked on by viewers then divided by the number of times it’s viewed. High ones make upper management happy because they often lead to more sales.
9. Demand Gen
Demand Gen is a marketing technique that uses a targeted strategy (like landing page conversion optimization or lookalike audience profiles on Facebook) to bring in new business. How is this different from regular old lead generation? Rather than just drum up more leads, Demand Gen makes the need for a product and company more urgent and important while also expanding the idea of who might actually want it then capitalizing on current wins through optimization.
People who love your product or services and promote them on their own without additional incentives or requests. Think of them like groupies for your brand.
A strategy that uses addictive and entertaining concepts from games to attract, engage, and keep audiences interacting with your brand for longer. McDonald’s Monopoly is a classic example, although there are many other examples in the digital era.
How much positive attention something gets, warranted or not. Hype is usually measured by engagement and organic mentions, like when something goes viral.
13. Hyperlocal Marketing
A strategy that targets an audience located in a very precise geographic region; it can be as large as a town or as small as a street. One way to find hyperlocal marketing is by searching for a desired keyword plus the phrase “near me.”
People brands pay to advertise to their personal followers. Contrary to popular belief, influencers exist outside of Instagram in places like Quora and LinkedIn.
15. Keyword Stuffing
Including a ton of repeat keywords into a piece of content in the hopes that it will rank higher. If the language isn’t natural, you might actually get your content banned by Google.
Related: What is SEO content writing?
Individual words or phrases people use to search for queries online. Marketers will often research, strategize, and create content around a set of primary and secondary keywords to improve their search engine results page rankings (see: SERPs) for topics with high business value.
Stands for Key Performance Indicator, a unit of measurement used to define the success of a marketing tactic. Without KPIs, you won’t be able to track, monitor, and adjust how you plan to achieve your goals.
A content technique focused on identifying and covering foundational topics a brand or product needs to have on their website. They’re usually detailed, aimed at beginners, and strategic.
19. Lead Magnet
High-value content that lures in leads by providing valuable insights, tools, or research, in exchange for the visitor’s email address. Also known as “content offers,” you’ll find them advertised on social media, promoted in newsletters, or dropped into the middle of blog posts, just like this…
The best sales email is the one that gets read.
Download the Complete Guide to Writing MUCH Better Sales Emails for over 50+ pro tips on how to make your emails stand out in a crowded inbox.
Lifetime value, or how much money a client will bring into the business during the course of your relationship with them. LTV helps companies figure out projected profits and how much they should spend on marketing and sales to get a new customer.
Descriptive and structural information that helps search engines understand what your webpage is all about. Metadata creates rich snippets of content in search results but there’s even more metadata that site visitors don’t see.
Learn more: Beginner’s Guide to Writing Metadata
A strategy or method that helps you improve the performance of anything SEO related. It often requires you to put your target keyword in the image alt text and in a couple of the section headings. Very basic SEO optimization is a lot easier than people think.
Getting people to find your offerings on their own. This marketing slang term has more to do with website traffic you don’t directly pay for than the quality of your celery.
“People Also Ask,” or the frequently asked questions that come up on Google’s first page of search results. These questions give content marketers a sense of what to answer in their own related content.
25. Paid Search
The top one to five search results that show up at the very top of search results and say “Ad” next to them. Companies pay to appear there when people search for specific keywords. There are two types of paid search: the kind you pay for upfront or ads that you pay for after someone clicks on them. (See: PPC)
26. Pillar Pages
A webpage that groups information from a lot of related topics onto one page. For example, a business may have a Services pillar page that summarizes all the services they offer, while linking out to individual pages that describe them in greater detail.
27. Post and Pray
A delusional approach to marketing in which a person shares a webpage or blog post link on social media hoping it will drive traffic despite not having done any additional strategy or promotion to increase reach.
Pay-per-click, or paid search ads that are displayed for free but charge for every link click. The cost depends on which keywords you choose, with more competitive keywords having a higher price tag.
Learn more: 8 PPC tips to improve your Google Ads performance
29. Product-Market Fit
The act of measuring how well an offer meets the demand of its target audience. An example of great product-market fit is the authentic taco stand that sets up outside of bars at closing time on the weekend.
Return on investment. A measured result of an expense that justifies your marketing spend, and helps you know where to allocate future budget. The goal is to get the most results in terms of customer revenue for each dollar spent.
Search Engine Marketing. Using paid ads to land at the top of search engine result pages. It often helps marketers guarantee their spot at the very top of Google’s first page but beware of ad blindness.
Search Engine Optimization is all about driving organic traffic to your website, preferably from visitors who are actually interested in and qualified to use your products and services. SEO typically involves creating marketing content that’s competitive in search engine algorithms and provides a lot of value to human readers too.
Learn more: What is SEO content writing?
Search Engine Results Pages are what you get when you Google anything. 90% of internet users don’t read past the first one.
34. Teething Problems
The beginning phases of an entrepreneurial venture that’s still growing. Marketers help companies with teething problems by building their brand name over time.
The number of website visitors you have within a given timeframe. Not all traffic is created equally; if your visitors aren’t buying your product or giving you their email addresses, then site traffic is nothing more than a vanity metric.
36. User Intent
What people search for versus what they actually mean. For example, the search term “what is bone broth” provides more links to recipes and flavors than actual definitions.
Take the grunt-work out of email marketing.
Nutshell’s Constant Contact integration syncs your contacts in one click, automatically subscribes leads to the appropriate email lists, measures the engagement of your email marketing, and lots more.
Something that is noticeably successful or skillful. It can also be used to describe a task or event that is very fast-paced. For example, you can have a whizbang Facebook ad campaign or eBook launch. And for all you nerds out there, you may have heard this term used in the digital card game Hearthstone.
38. Zero-Click Searches
More than 50% of users find what they’re looking for at the top of page one of Google without having to click on any links because the information is already available in the text preview. That can be a positive experience for the user—though it’s not great news for the outlets and websites that depend on google for search visits.
With great power…
Marketing slang terms are all well and good when you’re among peers. But there are different types of slang and you need to be greatly responsible for how you use each one when talking to clients.
“In general, I think there’s a difference between ‘slang’ that’s a) technical in nature, where accuracy matters, b) slang used to convey some key brand positioning point, and finally, c) slang used to intentionally confuse or alienate people—and/or just make you look smart at the expense of your customer,” says Tory Gray, Founder, Principal SEO & Digital Strategy Consultant at The Gray Dot Company.
“Slang used to make you sound smart (or someone else feel less smart) is not good or okay in my book. It can be an effective sales tactic. Depends on your customer. But there’s a reason snake oil sales exist—because, at least in some circumstances, it works. Which is obviously a bummer. Slang used to convey your brand and your brand’s positioning can be powerful and meaningful so long as your customers have the same association with those terms that you think they have.”
But when it comes to technical industry terminology, Gray says this is where it gets tricky. Ultimately, you have to really understand your customer’s level of experience with the topic before you start throwing marketing slang terms around or talking down to them. Her advice: “Aim for balancing the explanation in a way that ~80%+ of customers will get it.” She also says to add context and provide relevant, meaningful analogies while you’re at it.
“Ultimately, I think you have to meet customers where they are and communicate with them effectively while setting clear expectations. If slang helps you do that (ethically), then I say go for it. If not…stop it already! You aren’t helping anyone.”