Beginner’s Guide to Digital Marketing Terminology

Like many areas of business, marketing uses plenty of acronyms and unique terms. The first step to marketing success is understanding what these words and phrases mean and how they work within a larger strategy. 

Whether you’re newer to digital marketing or ready for a refresh, we’ve gathered straightforward definitions for some of the most common marketing terms and technologies.


Marketing Terms


What is a multichannel marketing strategy?

Multichannel marketing strategy is a plan that includes multiple ways of interacting with your target customer. The term “channels” refers to the various methods of communication or points of interaction, such as through websites, physical stores, emails, catalogs and direct mail, and more.


What is a persona?

A persona is a fictional profile or character that is used to represent a segment of your target audience. A persona is often assigned a name as well as specific demographics, needs, and buying patterns, but they represent a larger group of people who share those characteristics. By creating a persona, a marketing team can better understand how to connect with this target customer on a personal level.


What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation refers to technology that manages marketing tasks automatically. This type of technology allows marketing teams to manage multiple channels and campaigns and target customers with automated messages or information.


What is remarketing?

Remarketing, also called retargeting, is a marketing tactic that involves serving target ads to a person after they visit your website or complete an action that indicates interest in your product or service. If you’ve ever searched for a product or browsed a website and then noticed ads for that product or company on other sites or within social media, you’ve experienced remarketing.


Technology Systems


What is CDP?

A customer data platform (CDP) unifies your customer data from various sources into one centralized, accessible system to create a single view of your customer. A CDP can help you make data-driven decisions that drive business growth. While there are many CDPs on the market, some types will not only create a 360-degree view of your customer but also offer technology to activate personalized customer experiences. Read more about CDPs in the white paper here


What is CMS?

A content management system (CMS) is a software application that helps manage all your website content. In today’s world, content is an important part of a buyer’s journey. A CDP serves as a centralized place to create, manage, update, and distribute content that is accessible to multiple business units or people. This increases efficiency, streamlines processes, and provides consistency across your website. Learn more about content management in this on-demand webinar


What is CRM?

Customer relationship management (CRM) refers to a system for managing interactions with customers and potential customers. Salesforce CRM and Adobe Experience Cloud are two leading CRM platforms. By having a full view of your customer interactions, your marketing and sales teams can organize and view all the information they need to build relationships, increase sales, and provide excellent customer service.


What is DAM?

Digital asset management (DAM) is a system for storing and sharing your organization’s digital assets, including files, photos, documents, logos, and videos. A DAM ensures your digital assets are secure, organized, and searchable. In turn, it boosts efficiency and helps maintain a cohesive brand presence across all channels, even as your brand evolves and your team grows.

Marketing Sales Funnel


What is conversion rate? 

Conversion rate measures the percentage of people who completed an action – for example, how many people clicked through, signed up, or made a purchase. To calculate the conversion rate, you’ll take the number of people who took a specific action divided by the total audience or number of people who reached that decision point. For example, you could look at how many people clicked through a link in your email compared to how many people opened the email.


What is lead generation?

A lead is a potential customer – so lead generation is the process of attracting those potential customers, nurturing their interest, and giving them a way to indicate their interest. This is often done by gathering their contact information through a form or having them enter their email address to receive a download. Then you can move them into the sales funnel and convert them from a lead to a prospect (or qualified contact) to a customer. 


What is MQL?

A marketing-qualified lead (MQL) is a potential customer who has shown interest. The marketing team reviews this lead and decides if they meet specific criteria that indicates they’re more likely to become a customer than other leads. If they are qualified, the marketing team passes the lead to the sales team.


What is SQL?

A sales-qualified lead (SQL) is a potential customer who has engaged with your brand and has met criteria established by the marketing and sales teams. They have shown an intent to purchase or a need for your product or service. Once they are deemed a SQL, they are ready for the next stage of the sales process or funnel.


Search Marketing


What is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website to increase its visibility, or help it rank higher on the search results page, so it is more easily found when people search for relevant content. With solid SEO, you will generate free, organic traffic from search engine results to your website.


What is SEM?

Search engine marketing (SEM) is similar to SEO as it also helps increase your website’s ranking on the search results page – but SEM refers to paid search engine ads. Paid ads appear at the top of the results page. The cost is typically based on a pay-per-click (PPC) fee and will vary depending on the keywords you are targeting.


What is CTR?

In digital marketing, CTR stands for click-through rate. To find this percentage, you’ll calculate the number of clicks on your digital ad divided by the number of impressions (how many people view your ad). These digital ads can be search ads or display ads (image or video-based advertisements shown on websites, social media, apps, and other paid placements). The average click-through rate will vary by industry.


What is CPC?

Cost per click (CPC) is a pricing model used for digital advertising in which publishers charge advertisers each time their ad receives a click.


What is CPM?

CPM stands for cost per mille, or cost per thousand impressions. This is a pricing model in which publishers charge advertisers for every 1,000 impressions (or views) the ad receives.


Performance Measures and Marketing Analytics


What is ROI?

ROI stands for return on investment. This performance measure looks at a company’s profit or loss (return) compared to how much money it spent to generate that profit or loss (investment). In marketing, ROI is a measure of profitability that proves the efficiency and effectiveness of a marketing effort.


What is an A/B test? 

A/B testing, also called split testing, is an experimental process in which advertisers test two versions of an ad, web page, email or other marketing asset and use statistical analysis to find out which one performs better.


What is CLTV?

Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) is a calculation of the value, or revenue, attributed to a customer during their entire relationship with the company. A marketing team can compare the CLTV with the amount they spend to acquire a new customer to ensure they are generating a profit.


What is CTA?

Call to action (CTA) is a prompt that encourages a person to take a specific action – anything from clicking a link or button to making a purchase. The CTA should be clear and engaging.


How many of these terms did you know? How many have you implemented in your own marketing efforts? Understanding this terminology opens you up to exploring new tactics and technology that will optimize your marketing and drive your business forward.


Do you want to take your marketing to the next level? Our marketing practice team can help to create a marketing plan and implement the right technology to better understand your customer and improve the buying journey.

Connect With Me

Mary Schneeberger

Mary Schneeberger leads the Marketing Experience practice at Avionos. She has extensive experience collaborating with clients and is qualified across several digital channels and industries. Her recent projects include work on digital governance strategy, marketing automation strategy, and digital transformation. She’s been featured in several articles about integrated marketing, most recently in Martech Zone. Connect with Mary on LinkedIn.
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