The marketing acronyms you need to know
Updated: Sep 5
Welcome to Bloom's Definitive Glossary of Marketing Terms.
Us marketers like to turn a thing into a concept, and turn that concept into an acronym. If there's a set of letters you've come across and not known what it means, you can bet a marketer came up with it!
At Bloom, the leading marketing agency trusted by the UK's best startups, we're all about no-nonsense, straight-talking, busting the industry jargon. Because, guess what, our clients aren't the marketers; we are.
So in this blog post, we've collated all the marketing terms and acronyms that you may have seen before but been too embarrassed to ask what they mean, or simply want to scrub up on your marketing lingo.
In alphabetical order:
ASO 'App Store Optimisation'
As mobile device usage increases, and more of us are using apps on a regular basis, our marketing efforts need to reflect this user behaviour. In the same way we optimise web performance for clients, the ranking of apps on the App Store or Google Play also need to be reviewed. This takes into consideration the content, copy, and visuals of the app listing on the App Store and/or Google Play to increase visibility, smoothen the user journey, and improve the chance of download.
CRM 'Customer Relationship Management'
Ever noticed when you sign up to something but don't fully complete the onboarding process, and receive a reminder email to finish? Or when you add something to your online shopping cart, then leave the page and receive a reminder on your phone? These actions are typically handled by a CRM system, or, a Customer Relationship Management platform. Of course, the powerful tech available to us marketers here isn't just based on these triggers, but helps us to understand more about our customers once they've converted (this could mean when they've bought a product, downloaded an app, or purchased a service).
CRO 'Conversion Rate Optimisation'
Each customer touchpoint is identified and defined, tracked and measured, and then optimised to an inch of its life! CRO, or, Conversion Rate Optimisation, is the practice of increasing the likelihood of a customer actually converting (this could mean different things for different businesses; a conversion to one business could be a purchase, to another it could be an app download). with enough visibility and knowledge of customer behaviours, CRO can take into account factors such as speed, ease, price, or otherwise, to help get that prospect over the line.
CTA 'Call To Action'
A call-to-action is simply a direct instruction you are giving people on a specific action you want them to take. This could be something like 'Download app,' 'Sign up here,' 'Press this button,' or, everyone's favourite, 'Buy now!'
CTR 'Click-Through Rate'
A click-through rate is the measure of how many people have clicked through a form of digital marketing to your website. This could be clicking from a post or an advert they've seen on social media, or from a newsletter. Basically, wherever one can click, there will be a CTR!
CPA/C/M/I 'Cost per Acquisition / Customer / impressions per Mille / Install'
This is abbreviation is for measuring the cost of an action via paid digital marketing, like social media advertising. 'Cost per acquisition' is an all-encompassing term, which states the amount of money required to achieve any sort of customer acquisition. 'Cost per customer' is largely the same, as it's a target who has been "acquired," therefore converting into a customer for the business. 'CPM' is specific to measuring impressions of a piece of digital content, again like a social media post or advert. This is per thousand impressions. 'Cost per install' is a term used for mobile apps, and it means how much out of the marketing budget spent actually went on achieving that person to actually install the app.
CX 'Customer eXperience'
This is a set of principles related to the overall management of your relationship with a customer over the duration of time. Often confused with customer service - which is a single touchpoint for your customer in the business - the customer experience encompasses the entire relationship between your product/service and your customers.
TOP TIP: By focusing on customer experience as a brand, you stand a higher chance of success when it comes to retention, loyalty, advocacy, which in turn results in word of mouth referrals and a lower churn rate.
GTM 'Go To Market'
This abbreviation is used for a business that's either in pre-launch phase, looking to roll out a new product or service, or even expanding into a different geographical territory. 'Go To Market' does pretty much what it says on the tin, involving a launch strategy taking into consideration the marketplace, competitors, customer trends, and internal company resources.
HXC 'High eXpectation Customer'
Most of us are aware of what a target audience means, but much less of us have heard of HXC before. Not to be confused with an "early adopter," think of your HXC (or, high expectation customer) as your "demanding diva." Essentially, if you meet every single one of your HXC's demands, then you're guaranteed to surpass the expectations of everyone else. This is a way to push every aspect of your business - from product to delivery, from branding to customer service - to be the best it can possibly be. Think about your HXC as the strictest teacher at school; if you made them happy then you had everyone else in the bag.
ICA 'Ideal Client Avatar'
Marketing is nothing without a market to target. Your Ideal Client Avatar is essentially the profile of your dream client or customer, including their demographics (age, profession, location, gender, etc.) and psychographics (interests, dreams, problems, etc.).
KPI 'Key Performance Indicator'
KPIs are not exclusive to the marketing industry, as these are general business measures used in lots of different aspects. These are ways to ensure that progress is on track with an associated business strategy that's been previously mapped out. For example, if a particular strategy in the business is to generate more app downloads, then a KPI translated for the digital marketing team would be to look at the App Store rankings, relevant web traffic, or sentiment on social.
KOL 'Key Opinion Leader'
Think of a 'KOL' as a broader and more elevated term for the word, 'influencer,' which has become a little dirtied over the years. A Key Opinion Leader has a loyal following cultivated via trust and thanks to their subject matter expertise - independent of a specific social media channel or particular area.
MVP 'Minimum Viable Product'
Ok, so this is a tech acronym, but as we work predominantly with tech startups (95% of our client base) this is an important one that comes up a lot. Your minimum viable product is basically the most stripped back version of your dream goal (which will take lots of time and money) for you to start testing it out, tweaking, finessing, and finding your PMF. On that note...
PMF 'Product Market Fit'
This is another tech term, but one that's heavily related to marketing. Gaining 'product-market fit' for your business is a step further along from proof of concept, where you've not only identified a gap in the market and the problem you're solving, but there's a healthy demand for your product or service which, in turn, also provides a deeper understanding of your audience for a solid marketplace position. (These customers will typically be your early adopters at this stage).
PPC 'Pay Per Click'
Closely associated with the simple term, 'Google Ads,' this is how online advertising works with search engines, where you only pay for the clicks generated by the ad to your site. As you don't pay for the ad space like you would in traditional media (like a press ad or a billboard, for example), you are only charged for the clicks generated. Hence the term, Pay Per Click.
ROI 'Return on Investment'
This is a general finance term that refers to what you get back on what you put in. For example, if you nabbed a vintage dress in a second hand store, and sold it on client Vestiaire Collective's site for double the price, you've made a 200% ROI. The same principle applies to marketing, and not just digital (although this does make it easier to track and measure). A marketing example could be spending £1,000 on paid social, which directly generated £5,000 in sales, resulting in a 5x ROI. Or an event that cost you £20,000 to produce, but resulted in a brand deal worth £60,000, is a return of 300%.
SEO 'Search Engine Optimisation'
This term often goes alongside PPC, as they are both methods to increase ranking/visibility and therefore traffic to your site. The difference is that SEO is organic, as opposed to PPC which is paid (you are paying for the Google Ads). SEO generally involves ensuring your website has a clean sitemap, tidy URL tails, image file names, copy related to your target key words or phrases, has a fast loading time, keeping it regularly updated, and contains relevant, genuinely useful information.
TLO 'Test, Learn, Optimise'
A digital marketing term that means purposely trying out a set of ads (A/B testing) to gain a particular insight, from which to learn. A hypothesis that needs testing, if you will. For example, running two ads with the exact same messaging/copy, special offer, CTA (you know what this is now!), and just changing one ad from red to blue. If the results of the red advert show a higher amount of impressions, clicks, and/or conversions compared to the blue, then the insight discovered thanks to this test is that the colour red is a better choice than blue. Of course, this is oversimplified, but you understand us! The optimising stage is then taking that finding and using it again in another set of ads, until everyone is satisfied we have achieved "peak optimisation!"
TOV 'Tone of Voice'
A brand isn't just about what you look like; it's also about what you sound like. Your Tone of Voice is underpinned by a set of guidelines, in the same way you'd have Design Brand Guidelines. A brand Tone of Voice can be active or passive, respectful or irreverent, formal or informal, serious or humorous... Take a look at some examples of our Brand Tone of Voice work for clients like Rosecut or Havn.
UGC 'User Generated Content'
A catchy term used in a social media marketing context, where people create a piece of social content (a Facebook post, a tweet, or an Instagram Story, for example) which features some element of your brand. If you have a physical product, it could be a photo of them using it. If it's to enter a competition, it could be the usage of a dedicated brand hashtag within the post caption. Or, if it's an event, they could tag you and the location while in attendance. This is a satisfying form of customer engagement, where the fan feels compelled enough to create their own content on their social media platform to their own followers, thereby forming a mini army of ambassadors for your brand - at least for a moment.
WOM 'Word Of Mouth'
The holy grail of customer acquisition! Getting customers or clients without actually having to spend any money or do anything - hallelujah! This means your product or service was so good, that your existing customers are telling other people about you. (On this note, there's an interesting video by the master, Scott Galloway, on why businesses should be apportioning more of their budget to the 'post-purchase' end of the customer cycle. Watch it here.)
Are there any other marketing acronyms you've come across that you've never heard of before? Let us know!
In the meantime, we hope our glossary boosts your confidence when talking about marketing, and be sure to pepper in some of these terms in your next conversation for some instant kudos ;)