Basic Marketing Terms You Need to Know

Updated: October 31, 2022
Basic Marketing Terms You Need to Know

Ready to level up your brand’s online presence? From connecting with new customers to better engaging with current brand evangelists, digital marketing is one of the fastest ways to grow your business, solidify your position in the marketplace, and boost sales.

Whether you’re in the B2B market, selling direct to consumers, have a brick-and-mortar shop, or a sales team and an eCommerce store, knowing basic marketing terms and principles will give you a boost when it comes to starting your own marketing efforts. With more than a few online tools and platforms available to help even new business owners get started with budget-friendly marketing, we thought it was about time that we walk you through the basic terms.

Read on to learn more about the most common terms, best practices, and platforms you’ll likely come across when first starting out. Whether you’re determined to hack your first marketing projects alone or want to leverage the expertise of a marketing agency, knowing how to have a meaningful conversation about your businesses marketing will give you a leg up from day one.

Why All Businesses Should Kick Start Marketing Efforts

Before we dive in–we wanted to make a quick note about the importance of kick starting your marketing as soon as possible, regardless of your business stage or growth.

Why? At its most simple, marketing can:

  • Help you find, connect with, and engage with more potential customers
  • Turn leads into paying customers and sales
  • Solidify your position in the marketplace as a reputable seller, retailer, service provider
  • Start collecting real-time user data about your leads and consumers.

This last point is particularly important–regardless of which marketing strategies or platforms will connect best with your audience, collecting and analysing the data gained from the same will give you incomparable insight into your audience. Although the first several marketing campaigns can seem like educated guesses, additional marketing can be refined and defined based on real-user insights and data gained from tools like Google Analytics, search engine optimisation results, and more.

More on these in further detail below.

Top Level Digital Marketing Terms

Before we dive into detail, let’s look at a few top-level marketing terms that you’ll come across in just about every discussion, article, and How To guide you can find online.

  1. Marketing Strategy

Marketing Strategy refers to the strategic marketing initiatives, tools, platforms, and projects that will be actioned to support and achieve larger business goals. From brand awareness to specific sales targets and audience identification, a business Marketing Strategy includes a detailed overview of the products or solutions offered by your business, the audience or audiences your business targets (also known as ideal customers), the platforms you will leverage to connect and engage with them, and what intended business goals connected to each project, effort, or campaign.

While first–time business owners and early-stage start-ups may have limited insight into their entire marketing plan, starting by fleshing out what you offer and who your ideal customer is is a great starting point. From there, start to consider where you’ll best find, connect with, and convert these potential customers into paying consumers–then write it down. There’s your first look at a beginner marketing strategy!

  1. Customer Relationship Management

Commonly referred to as CRM, Customer Relationship Management means being aware of and actively encouraging engagement, connecting, and an ongoing relationship with potential or existing customers. While some CRM platforms are best suited for finding new potential customers (leads) and nurturing them down the sales funnel (see below), others may be better suited to engaging with and maintaining good relationships with existing customers. Most CRM platforms will allow you to track customer interactions with your website, social media posts, emails, and even online purchases so you can continue to tailor and better ‘how’ you interact with your customers to keep them happy over time.

  1. Marketing Qualified Lead and Sales Qualified Lead

Often abbreviated to SQL and MQL, a Marketing Qualified Lead includes a potential customer who has shown or expressed interest in your company, product, or service. After some nurturing and ongoing engagements or interactions, this ‘lead’ could become a Sales Qualified Lead–meaning they’re ready to talk to a rep (you!) in your sales team or only need some additional nurturing to become a paying customer. (A sale!)

  1. Digital Marketing and Marketing Campaigns

Referring to your ‘Marketing Strategy’ above–a Digital Marketing Campaign is a marketing effort, initiative, or project you produce that directly connects to a specific goal for the company. This may include advertising a new product or service offering–and targeting your campaign and marketing tactics toward the specific ideal customer or buyer through a platform they’re most likely to engage with. Digital Marketing simply refers to the tools and platforms marketers and businesses use to market, advertise, or connect with their customers online.

  1. Sales Funnel

Remember this one in reference to the CRM system?  The ‘Sales Funnel’ refers to the journey a customer takes from new lead (relatively unfamiliar with or inexperienced with your brand) through to become a paying customer. While secondary sales funnels can be designed to walk existing customers back through the ‘sales funnel’ to purchase a second product, service, or product upgrade, let’s leave this simple for now. The ‘sales funnel’ looks like an upside down triangle–at the top (the widest side) there are many ‘potential customers’. At the bottom (the narrow tip) there are fewer customers who are going to actually pay for your product–but they’re highly relevant to your brand.

Detailed Digital Marketing Tools, Platforms, and Keywords

Now that you’ve grasped the basics and can see how and why you would want to start considering a ‘Marketing Strategy’ for your potential customers and how you can engage with them through a CRM, let’s look at more defined marketing terms that you’ll likely come across in the marketing space.

  1. Inbound Marketing versus Outbound Marketing

Wondering if there’s a difference? At a top level, outbound marketing means to push marketing and sales efforts out to your ideal clients. (From emails to cold calls, social media campaigns, and more!) This is often the go-to solution when first starting your business or brand. Once you have traction, existing or returning customers, or increased brand awareness, inbound marketing means managing, reengaging with, or selling to customers who approach your brand or are already in the sales funnel. (A great CRM system will come into play here!)

  1. Customer Acquisition Cost

A commonly used term in the marketing space, CAC (customer acquisition cost) refers to the amount an organisation spends to acquire new customers. (It should be noted here customers means paying customers, as opposed to leads who are potential buyers who haven’t crossed over to paid consumers yet.)

Customer acquisition cost is a key metric that usually totals all marketing and sales efforts (including personnel, platforms, and campaign spend) and divides it by the number of new, paying customers gained through the same efforts or time period. Being able to track ‘how’ your new customers came to your brand will be a pivotal metric at this stage. By knowing how effective your campaign efforts were at converting leads to customers, you can better understand your CAC and which campaigns, tools, or platforms show the best ROI.

  1. Search Engine Optimisation

This is a big one–you’ll likely see it referred to as SEO. Search engine optimisation means optimising your online presence–including websites, landing pages, and marketing campaigns–with best search engine practices to drive more traffic, leads, and potential buyers to your brand. An effective way to connect with new audience members and increase brand awareness, SEO can be a highly detailed, complex project area–but it doesn’t have to be. Check out some of our other blogs about the basic SEO considerations you can consider and action to get your website ranking high on search engine results pages.

  1. Key Performance Indicator

This is a term that is used across multiple industries–and means much the same in marketing. Key performance indicators (KPIs) simply identify the metrics by which a person’s role, responsibilities, or project outcomes can be measured. For example, a successful marketing campaign may judge its effectiveness through a key performance indicator that includes 100 new social media followers or 10 new sales. By clearly identifying your goals, you can measure the success of your efforts and resources spent–whether it’s a person or project.

  1. Content Marketing, Content Management System

A type of marketing that has increased in popularity in recent years (and shows no sign of slowing down any time soon) content marketing refers to written marketing pieces (like long-form on-page copy, blog posts, and articles) through to filmed and audio content (like video testimonials, vlogs, and podcasts). A way to engage potential customers with topics they’re interested in, content marketing delivers valuable, relevant content to your target market–and a content management system (CMS) helps to organise, manage, and track the same. If you’re interested in producing high volumes of content marketing pieces, we recommend considering the implementation of a CMS to help you monitor the ROI and effectiveness of your efforts.

A Final Note About Actioning New Marketing Projects

Before we go, we felt it important to leave you with one note–just because there are an endless number of resources, tools, best practices, and algorithms to consider in the marketing space, doesn’t mean you have to action them all from day one. On the contrary, we recommend reviewing the existing tools mentioned above and selecting 1-2 efforts that balance your audiences wants and needs with your internal budget and capacity.

In this, we mean budgeting your resources for 1-2 platforms or tools that you believe will best connect with your audience and show the best ROI. While long-term marketing campaigns can return significant data that help you better refine and define your marketing tactics over time, the first few trials will be educated guesses–and we recommend minimising your risk by deeply understanding your audience before actioning any campaigns.

If you have the resources, consider reaching out to a marketing expert or team to discuss which marketing efforts make the most sense for your business or brand at this time. For the solopreneur or those business owners who need to hack it alone for the time being, check out a few online resources that dive further into the basics of SEO, how to design a landing page, and social media marketing to see what you can leverage for free.

Boost Your Marketing Automation Efforts with Edge Marketing

Edge Marketing is one of Australia’s go-to marketing agencies–and we know what it takes to position your brand best online. With a team of search engine optimisation experts, PPC managers, web developers, and social media gurus, we deep dive into every one of our client’s businesses and target markets to understand how we can best leverage your budget and reach your marketing goals.

If you’re just starting out and not ready to outsource your marketing efforts just yet, read the Edge Marketing blog each week. We regularly deep dive into the basic terms, best practices, and free online tools that you can leverage to kickstart your marketing in-house. From blog ideation to content marketing strategies, how to design social media posts, and customer acquisition tools, we can help you decide which marketing efforts will be worth your time and help give your brand a boost online.


Mira -

Head of Paid Media

1300 558 659 -

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