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Promotion of a product, service, or message by an identified sponsor using paid-for media.

Above the line

Advertising for which a payment is made and for which commission is paid to the advertising agency. See also 'below the line' and 'push promotion' .


ACORN (A Classification Of Residential Neighbourhoods) is a database that divides up the entire population of the UK in terms of the type of housing in which they live.

Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE)

A commonly used PR measurement of the value of the space secured by PR executives had they bought that equivalent amount of space in advertising.


An advertisement which is designed to look like an editorial. Advertorials are normally labelled as "Advertising" or "This is an advertisement". Similar in practice to an infomercial.

Advocacy Advertising

Advocacy advertising expresses a viewpoint on a given issue, often on behalf of an institution. Very common in the third sector.


Attention, Interest, Desire, Conviction, Action: a model describing the engagement model that marketing communication is intended to initiate in the mind of a prospective customer.

Ambient Media

Originally known as 'fringe media', ambient media are communications platforms that surround us in everyday life - from petrol pump advertising to advertising projected onto buildings to advertising on theatre tickets, cricket pitches or even pay slips. See also 'buzz'.

Ambush Marketing

A deliberate attempt by an organisation to associate itself with an event (often a sporting event) in order to gain some of the benefits associated with being an official sponsor without incurring the costs of sponsorship.

Ansoff Matrix

Model relating marketing strategy to general strategic direction. It maps product-market strategies - e.g. market penetration, product/service development, market development and diversification - on a matrix showing new versus existing services along one axis and new versus existing markets along the other.

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Banner Adverts

Adverts on web pages used to build brand awareness or drive traffic to the advertisers own website.

Below the line

Non-media advertising or promotion when no commission has been paid to the advertising agency or media owner. Includes direct mail, point of sale displays, giveaways.


Contraction of two words: web + log. An internet publishing device allowing an individual or company to express their thoughts and opinions. Businesses can use blogs as a marketing tool.

Boston Matrix

A product portfolio evaluation tool developed by the Boston Consulting Group. The matrix categorises products into one of four classifications based on market growth and market share. The four classifications are:
Cash cow – low growth, high market share
Star – high growth, high market share
Problem child – high growth, low market share
Dog – low growth, low market share


The set of physical and emotional attributes that form the identity of a company, product or service.

Brand Extension

The process by which a company develops new products to be marketed under an existing brand name.

Brand Mapping and Brand Maps

Mapping the relative position of competing brands based on perceptual mapping of consumer perceptions of the brands.

Brand Personality

The collection of attributes giving a brand a recognisable unique quality. It may be the result of contrived marketing action or an accident of market perception.

Brand Equity/Value

The value which a brand would be given if represented on a company balance sheet.

Business-to-Business (B2B)

The sale of a product for any use other than personal consumption. The buyer may be a manufacturer, a reseller, a government body, a non-profit-making institution, or any organisation other than an ultimate consumer.

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

Relating to the sale of product for personal consumption. The buyer may be an individual, family or other group, buying to use the product themselves, or for end use by another individual.

Business Plan

A strategic document showing cash flow, forecasts and direction of a company.

Business Strategy

The means by which a business works towards achieving its stated aims.


Buzz marketing uses 'word-of-mouth' advertising: potential customers pass round information about a product. See also 'viral marketing'.

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Cause-Related Marketing

Partnership between a company or brand and a charity or 'cause' by which the 'cause' benefits financially from the sale of specific services.


The different ‘pathways’ (internet, face-to-face, literature) used to communicate and interact with your audiences.

Chartered Institute of Marketing

The world’s leading marketing organisation and the only place that can award chartered status.


Charity collectors who accost people on the street and attempt to sign them up as donors on the spot.


The act of a user clicking on an internet advertisement or link that directs them to an advertiser's website.


Companies that sell products or services in the same market place as one another.

Competitive Advantage

The service, proposition or benefit that puts a company ahead of its competitors.

Concept Boards

Visual and/or verbal stimulus presenting an idea for a product, service or advert.


An individual (not company) who buys and uses a product or service.

Consumer Behaviour

The buying habits and patterns of consumers in the acquisition and usage of goods and services.

Conversion Rate

Measure of conversion of enquiries or replies to an advertisement, or mailing shot, to sales.


Small data file downloaded on to an end-user’s computer which allows a web site to identify the visitor. Cookies can be used to build profiles of repeat users of a website.


The law that protects an author's original material, usually (in the UK) for 70 years after the author's death. Similar law covers logos and brand names.


The creative process by which written content is prepared for advertisements or marketing material.

Corporate Identity

The character a company seeks to establish for itself in the mind of the public, reinforced by consistent use of logos, colours, typefaces and so on.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

A commitment by business to behave in an ethical, social and environmentally responsible way, and to have a positive impact on the local and global environment.

Cost per Acquisition/Action (CPA)

Online advertising payment model in which payment is based solely on qualifying actions such as sales or registrations.

Cost-per-click (CPC)

A specific type of cost-per-action program where advertisers pay for each time a user clicks on an ad or link.


A piece of technology used by a search engine to match user’s search enquiries with relevant websites.


A person or company who purchases goods or services (not necessarily the end consumer/audience).

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

The coherent management of contacts and interactions with customers. This term is often used as if it related purely to the use of IT, but IT should in fact be regarded as a facilitator of CRM.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

The profitability of audiences during the lifetime of the relationship, as opposed to profitability on one transaction.

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Data Cleaning

Correcting or removing old, corrupt or inaccurate data.

Data Fusion

Combining information from different sources to obtain information of greater quality for the end user.

Data Mining

The use of powerful software to analyse data to identify patterns or relationships in that data.

Data Processing

The obtaining, recording and holding of information which can then be retrieved, used, disseminated or erased. The term tends to be used in connection with computer systems, and today is often used interchangeably with 'Information Technology'.

Data Protection Act

A law which makes organisations responsible for protecting the privacy of personal data. The current act (Data Protection Act 1998) is the United Kingdom's response to the requirement to implement National legislation in accordance with the European Directive 95/46/EC.

Database Marketing

Where customer information, stored in an electronic database, is utilised for targeting marketing activities. Information can be a mixture of what is gleaned from previous interactions with the customer and what is available from outside sources. See also 'CRM - Customer Relationship Management'.

Deep Linking

Hyperlinking to a page, file or image on a website that bypasses the website’s homepage.

Demographic Data

Information describing and segmenting a population in terms of age, sex, income and so on, which can be used to target marketing campaigns.


The process of getting the goods from the manufacturer or supplier to the user.

Direct Marketing

All activities which make it possible to offer goods or services or to transmit other messages to a segment of the population by post, telephone, e-mail or other direct means.

Direct Mail

Delivery of an advertising or promotional message to customers or potential customers by mail.

Direct Response Advertising (DRA)

Advertising incorporating a contact method such as a phone number, address and enquiry form, web site identifier or email address, with the intention of encouraging the recipient to respond directly.

DRIP Framework

Differentiate - Reinforce - Inform - Persuade. A marketing communications model.

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E-Commerce (Electronic Commerce)

Any business transaction that takes place via electronic platforms.

E-commerce or E-marketing

Marketing conducted electronically, usually over the Internet.


Interactive online tutorials, accessed via the internet or a company intranet.


Affirmation, usually from a celebrity, that a product/service is good.

Ethical Marketing

Marketing that takes account of the moral aspects of decisions.


Search engine specifically for the third sector.

External Analysis

Study of the external marketing environment, including factors such as audience, competition, and social change.

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Fax Preference Service (FPS)

A database of business and individual telecoms subscribers who have elected not to receive unsolicited direct marketing faxes.

Field operations

The management of sales staff working remotely.

Focus Groups

A tool for market research where small groups of customers are invited to participate in guided discussions on the topic being researched.


Calculation of future events and performance.

Full Service Agency

Advertising agency offering clients a wide range of activities and expertise over and above the normal creative and/or media facilities. Such services will include marketing research and planning, merchandising and below-the-line sales promotions, press and/or public relations, packaging, etc.

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Grey Market

Sometimes called 'silver market'. Term used to define population over a certain age - usually 65.

Guerrilla Marketing

The strategy of targeting small and specialised customer groups in unconventional ways.

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Horizon Scanning

Exploration of future developments, opportunities and threats. Horizon scanning may explore existing issues and trends, as well as identifying new or potential issues.

House to House Distribution

Delivery of goods or literature to the consumer's front door or mailbox.

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Incentives offered to overcome resistance to purchase, for example 'special offers', discounts or money-back guarantees.


Development of new products, services or ways of working.

Inside-out branding

The process of building a brand based on the reality of the people who work for it.

Inter-media comparison

Rarely used comparison of the cost effectiveness, advertising effectiveness, target demographics, etc of various media (eg television Vs radio, newspapers Vs magazines) to ascertain their overall effectiveness.

Internal Analysis

The study of a company's internal marketing resources in order to assess opportunities, strengths or weaknesses.

Internal Audiences

Employees within an organisation viewed as consumers of a product or service provided by another part of the organisation - products or services which the employees need to do their own work. For example, the marketing department could be internal audiences of the IT department.

Internal Marketing

The process of eliciting support for a company and its activities among its own employees, in order to encourage them to promote its goals. This process can happen at a number of levels, from increasing awareness of individual products or marketing campaigns, to explaining overall business strategy.

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Key Success Factors (KSF)

The factors necessary for success in a given market. That is, a company that does poorly on one of the factors critical to success in its market is certain to fail.


The popular words and phrases that internet users use in order to find what they’re looking for via search engines.

Keyword buying

Advertisers paying for links to their websites to appear on internet search engines along side search results, sometimes as ”sponsored links”, based on keywords entered into the search engine. See ‘Search Marketing’.

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Ladder of Loyalty

A marketing communications tool that aims to move a consumer along a path from a prospect (“not yet purchased”) to advocate (“brand insistence”) through customer (“trialist”) and client (“repeat purchases”) by using integrated marketing communications techniques. As a consumer travels up the ladder they become increasingly loyal to the brand.


A graphic, usually consisting of a symbol and/or group of letters, that identifies a company or brand.

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Mailing Preference Service (MPS)

A database of individual home addresses where the occupiers have elected not to receive unsolicited direct (marketing) mail.

Market Development

The process of growing sales by offering existing products (or new versions of them) to new customer groups - as opposed to simply attempting to increase the company's share of current markets.

Market Follower

A firm that is happy to follow the leaders in a market place without challenging them, perhaps taking advantages of opportunities created by leaders without the need for much marketing investment of its own.

Market Leader

Seller of the product or service with the largest market share in its field - see also 'market challenger' and 'market follower'

Market Penetration

The attempt to grow one's business by obtaining a larger market share in an existing market - see 'market share' and 'market development'

Market Share

A company's sales of a given product or set of products to a given set of customers, expressed as a percentage of total sales of all such products to such customers.

Market Research (or Marketing Research)

The gathering and analysis of data relating to market places or customers; any research which leads to more market knowledge and better-informed decision-making.

Market Segmentation

The division of the market place into distinct subgroups or segments, each characterised by particular tastes and requiring a specific marketing mix. See also 'marketing mix'.


Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.

Marketing Audit

Scrutiny of an organisation's existing marketing system to ascertain its strengths and weaknesses.

Marketing Communications

All methods used by a firm to communicate with its audience and prospective audience.

Marketing Metrics

Measurements that help with the quantification of marketing performance, such as market share, advertising spend, and response rates elicited by advertising and direct marketing.

Marketing Mix

The combination of marketing inputs that affect customer motivation and behaviour. This traditionally encompass four controllable variables 'the 4Ps': product, price, promotion and place. The list has now been extended to 7Ps, with the additions of people, process and 'physical evidence'.

Marketing Myopia

Lack of vision on the part of companies, particularly in failing to spot audience' desires through excessive product focus. Term derives from the title of a seminal article by Theodore Levitt published in Harvard Business Review in 1960.

Marketing Plan

A written plan, usually in-depth, describing all activities involved in achieving a particular marketing objective, and their relationship to one another in both time and importance.

Marketing Planning

The selection and scheduling of activities to support the company's chosen marketing strategy or goals. See also 'marketing strategy'.

Marketing Return on Investment (MROI)

See Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI).

Marketing Strategy

The set of objectives which an organisation allocates to its marketing function in order to support the overall corporate strategy, together with the broad methods chosen to achieve these objectives.

M-Commerce (Mobile Commerce)

These are e-Commerce transactions using mobile or wireless devices.

Media Neutral Planning

A customer focussed review of media options during communications planning based on research, analysis and insight, not habit and preference.

Mission Statement

A company's summary of its business philosophy and direction.


Multimedia Message Service. Text, audio, graphic and video messages sent by mobile phones, or other compatible devices, over a wireless network.

Mood Board

A visual illustration tool used either to represent the atmosphere or feel of an intended advertisement, or to research a consumer’s experience of a brand or product.


Geodemographic segmentation model made famous by New Labour for classifying neighbourhoods into lifestyle types.

Mystery Shopping

Employing individuals to visit or contact retailers or service providers anonymously in order to evaluate customer service, display quality, prices, etc.

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National Change of Address (NCOA)

Database that helps locate forwarding addresses.

National Readership Survey (NRS)

A commercial organisation which provides estimates of the number and nature of the people reading UK newspapers and consumer magazines.

New Product Development (NPD)

The creation of new products, from evaluation of proposals through to launch.

Niche Marketing

The marketing of a product to a small and well-defined segment of the market place.

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A company's defined and measurable aims for a given period.

Omnibus Survey

Continuous survey that is used to cover a number of topics at the same time. Companies offering this facility invite sponsors to commission a limited number of questions that would not alone justify setting up a separate research study.

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Pareto Principle

Also called the 80/20 rule. The principle says that about 80% of the outcomes will come from about 20% of your effort.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Marketing

Technique of encouraging audiences to promote your service to one another, particularly on the Internet. An example might be a web site that offers users a discount on services in return for recruiting new audiences for the site.

Performance Prism

A performance measurement and management framework. It addresses all of an organisation’s stakeholders - principally investors, audiences, intermediaries, employees, suppliers, regulators and communities.

Personal Selling

One-to-one communication between seller and prospective purchaser.


Term used to define the broadcasting of multimedia files to iPods or other MP3 players and other similar devices. Subscribers are able to view or listen to podcasts online.


Automatically launched internet advertisement that appears in a small window behind another webpage. See ‘Pop-up'.


Automatically launched internet advertisement that appears in a small window in front of another webpage. See ‘Pop-under'.

Portfolio (and Portfolio Analysis)

The set of products or services which a company decides to develop and market. Portfolio analysis is the process of comparing the contents of the portfolio to see which products or services are the most promising and deserving of further investment, and which should be discontinued. The portfolio is also known in agency circles as a ‘book’ – with examples of creative works and campaigns.


The creation of an image for a product or service in the minds of audiences, both specifically to that item and in relation to competitive offerings.


Poster Audience Research - the UK Outdoor advertising industry audience measurement organisation.

Product Placement

The use of a product or service within a television or radio programme, or a film: an example would be the appearance of a leading coffee brand on a table in Eastenders. There are strict guidelines as to the payments that can be given for such appearances.

Promotional Mix

The components of an individual promotional campaign, which are likely to include advertising, personal selling, public relations, direct marketing, packaging, digital and sales promotion.

Promotional Plan

Detailed plan describing promotional objectives and activities involved in achieving the role of promotions as laid down in the marketing plan.

Public Relations (PR)

The function or activity that aims to establish and protect the reputation of a company or brand, and to create mutual understanding between the organisation and the segments of the public with whom it needs to communicate.

Pull Promotion

Pull promotion, in contrast to Push promotion, addresses the customer directly with a view to getting them to demand the product, and hence "pull" it down through the distribution chain. It focuses on advertising and above-the-line activities.

Push Promotion

Push promotion relies on the next link in the distribution chain - eg a wholesaler or retailer - to "push" out products to the customer. It revolves around sales promotions - such as price reductions and point of sale displays - and other below-the-line activities.

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Qualitative Research

Market research that doesn’t use numerical data but relies on interviews, 'focus groups', etc. Usually results in findings that are more detailed but also more subjective than those of 'quantitative research'.

Quantitative Research

Market research that concentrates on statistics and other numerical data, gathered through opinion polls, customer satisfaction surveys and so on.

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R & D

Research and development.

Reference Group

A group with which the customer identifies in some way, and whose opinions and experiences influence the customer's behaviour. For example, a horse rider might buy a brand of equipment from a favourite animal charity.

Relationship Marketing

The strategy of establishing a relationship with the customer which continues well beyond the first purchase.

Return on Investment (ROI)

The value that an organisation derives from investing in a project.

Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI)

The value that an organisation derives from investing in marketing.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication)

Software that allows electronic content to be sent to websites or compatible devices as soon as it’s updated or posted.

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Sales Promotion

A range of techniques used to engage a purchaser. These may include discounting, coupons, guarantees, free gifts, competitions, vouchers, demonstrations, bonus commission and sponsorship.


The use of a statistically representative subset to represent an entire population - for example in order to facilitate quantitative market research.

Search Marketing

Promoting a company’s website using internet search engines. Either getting a company website listed in search results (unpaid) or as a listing on the same webpage as the search results (paid).


The division of the market place into distinct subgroups or segments, each characterised by particular tastes and requiring a specific marketing mix. See also 'marketing mix'.

SMART objectives

A simple acronym used to set objectives is called SMART objectives. SMART stands for:
Specific – Objectives should specify what they want to achieve.
Measurable – You should be able to measure whether you are meeting the objectives or not.
Achievable - Are the objectives you set, achievable and attainable?
Realistic – Can you realistically achieve the objectives with the resources you have?
Time – When do you want to achieve the set objectives?

SME (Small to Medium Enterprise)

Usually defined as organisations with fewer than 250 employees, with medium businesses having 50 to 249 employees and small businesses having up to 49 employees. Small businesses include micro businesses, which can be separately defined as having up to five employees.


Short Message Service. Text only messages sent by mobile phones, or other compatible devices, over a wireless network.

Social Marketing

The application of marketing concepts and techniques to propagate ideas and behaviours for the social good.

Socially Responsibly Marketing

The concept that marketing should not harm the social environment and that it should work to benefit society in the long term.


Specialised form of sales promotion where a company will help fund an event or support a business venture in return for publicity.


An individual, organisation or community that has an interest in the strategy and operation of an organisation. Stakeholders may include shareholders, employees, customers, government, local communities, opinion formers, suppliers and partners.

Supply Chain

The network of suppliers, manufacturers and distributors involved in the production and delivery of a service.

SWOT Analysis

A method of analysis which examines a company's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Often used as part of the development process for a marketing plan, or to feed the results of a marketing audit back into a revised plan.

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Target Group Index (TGI)

A continuous survey of adults in which their purchasing habits in detail are related to their media exposure, thus facilitating accurate media planning.


The use of 'market segmentation' to select and address a key group of potential purchasers or stakeholders.


The marketing of a product or service over the phone .

Telephone Preference Service (TPS)

A database of business and individual telecoms subscribers who have elected not to receive unsolicited direct marketing calls.

Test Marketing

Making samples of a new product available to see what representative consumers think of it.

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Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

The benefit that a product or service can deliver to customers that is not offered by any competitor: One of the fundamentals of effective marketing and business.

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Virtual Community

A community that exists and interacts online.


The long-term aims and aspirations of the company for itself.

Viral Marketing

Spreading a brand message using word of mouth (or electronically - 'word of mouse') from a few points of dissemination. Typical techniques include using email messages, jokes, web addresses, film clips and games that get forwarded on electronically by recipients

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Web 2.0

Concept of the World Wide Web's transformation from a collection of websites to a computing platform supporting web applications, harnessing (pooling) the intelligence of its users and allowing users to define how they interact with organisations and each other.

Weblogs (ie. blogs)

An internet publishing device allowing an individual or company to express their thoughts and opinions. Businesses can use weblogs as a marketing communication channel.


The spreading of information through human interaction alone. Some campaigns have used this as key element - for example, the British Gas privatisation's 'Ask Sid' promotion. See also 'viral marketing'

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Youth Market

Young audiences viewed as a marketing opportunity. Typically the term denotes those aged 16 to 24, but various age ranges are in use, from '12 to 24' to 'under 35'.


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