Marketing and Website Glossary

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Algorithm- A process or set of rules that applies to how calculations or other problem-solving operations are performed. The word has become more widely known today as Google’s algorithm updates frequently find their way into the news.

Brand- The sum of all the characteristics, tangible and intangible, that make a product or service unique. Brand is considered to include the expectations which your customers have of your offering based on past performance. Think of it as your “promise” to the marketplace.

Brand Identity- the visual appearance of the brand. It is how consumers will recognize a product/service and differentiate it from competitors. It typically includes your company name, logo, and other visual elements, such as images or symbols, type font, packaging, color scheme, retain trade dress, etc.

Branding- Branding is the intentional process by which both a brand and brand identity are developed. It is based on strategies developed by the brand holder to position and differentiate the product, service or business in the market to its intended target audience. Unintentional experiences may contribute to consumers’ perception of a brand, but that is not implied in the term “branding.”

Business Plan- A detailed document that spells out a company’s expected course of action for a specified period, usually including a detailed listing and analysis of risks and uncertainties. For the small business, it should examine the proposed products, the market, the industry, the management policies, marketing strategies and policies, production needs and financial needs. Frequently, it is used as a prospectus for potential investors and lenders. A business plan should be based on sound research and careful planning following a strategic planning process..

Communication Strategy- Encompasses what and how you communicate about your product or service to prospective customers. Communication strategy should succeed in differentiating you from buyers’ alternative options in the marketplace.

Content Marketing- Content marketing is a strategic approach to marketing that focuses on creating and distributing relevant informational content that targets a clearly-defined audience with the hope of engaging them and influencing their behavior.

Direct Marketing- Attempts to send messages directly to potential buyers without the use of intervening media. This involves contact, typically unsolicited, via direct mail, e-mail or telemarketing. A characteristic of direct marketing is that it contains a specific “call-to-action” where results are trackable and, hopefully, represent a positive Return on Investment (ROI).

Distribution Channel- An organized network of agencies and institutions which in combination perform all the functions required to link producers with end customers to accomplish the marketing task. For a library this would include vendors, publishers as well as library facilities.

Enlightened Entrepreneur- Business leader or owner who practices a holistic approach that integrates spiritual, values-based principles with everyday business life. The enlightened entrepreneur understands there is no separation between the “inner” and “outer” being. He/she sees business as an extension of his/her Divine Self and uses both spiritual and practical skills to attain goals based on the highest good of all concerned.

Institutional or Image Advertising- Marketing messaging where the purpose is to promote the image of a corporation rather than the sale of a product or service. This advertising is also used to create public awareness of a corporation or to improve its reputation in the marketplace. It is distinct from direct marketing, where the direct intention is to generate a lead.

Keyword- a word or phrase entered into a search engine to describe the type of content that the searcher hopes to see displayed.

Local Search- the searcher uses a local identifier (e.g. city, county, zip, etc.) along with other content keywords to narrow the results to local information, typically to find local providers.

Marketing Plan- A written document that details the strategies and tactics necessary to achieve specified marketing objectives. The plan may cover a product or service, a brand, product line or company. It can cover one year (referred to as an annual marketing plan) or multiple years. A marketing plan may be part of an overall business plan, although a good marketing plan is usually far more developed, specific and actionable than the marketing section typically contained in a business plan. (See also Tactical Marketing Plan and Strategic Marketing Plan.)

Mission Statement- A mission statement is a brief description of a company’s fundamental purpose. A mission statement answers the question, “Why do we exist?” The mission statement articulates the company’s purpose both for those in the organization and for the public. It should be brief (easy to memorize and short enough to say within one breath). While the mission statement focuses on the why/purpose, you can always expand on it with bullet points that explain the “how” in greater detail.

Mobile Friendly Website Design– See responsive design.

Off-Site SEO (aka Off-Page SEO)- strategies and tactics deployed elsewhere on the Internet that create links pointing to a website. Examples include video, blogging, articles, link building, social media content, etc. Many off-site activities can be performed by the site owner, such as social media posts containing links to site content. Read our SEO Guide for more information.

On-Site SEO (aka On-Page SEO)- search optimization tactics performed on the website itself, typically by the web designer or webmaster. Read our SEO Guide for more information.

Organic Search- the links listed in priority order based on relevance to your keywords which appear in the main SERP window, and which are not the result of paid advertising.

Paid Search- links on the SERP which are the result of advertisers (sponsors) who are paying Google when someone clicks on them. Paid links appear in a yellow box above the main SERP window and in a column on the right side of the page. Because advertisers pay when someone clicks on their ad, this is also referred to as “pay per click” (PPC) advertising. Google’s branded name for this is AdWords.

Positioning Statement- The expression of how an organization wishes to be perceived by its target audiences. The Positioning Statement states the reason for the brand’s existence and, once successfully established, it should rarely be changed. It provides a blueprint for the marketing and development of a brand.

Positioning Strategy- This refers to the chosen niche a product or service provider will occupy relative to buyers’ competitive options in the marketplace. For example, Volvo has established a safety niche in the auto industry while BMW is known for performance. The Positioning Strategy is expressed in a Positioning Statement (see above).

Qualitative Research- Qualitative research involves collecting, analyzing and interpreting data by directly observing what people do and say. It is conducted through interviews and small focus groups. The nature of this type of research is exploratory and open-ended. It generally yields subjective information that gives the researcher detailed insights into how a small number of subjects think and feel.

Quantitative Research- Quantitative research involves the use of structured questions where response options have been predetermined and a larger number of respondents is involved. By definition, measurement must be objective, quantitative and statistically valid. Simply put, it’s about numbers–objective hard data.

Responsive Design– Refers to contemporary website design standards whereby content automatically conforms to the device platform on which it is desplayed. Preferred by Google, responsive design is also known as “mobile friendly” design.

Return on Investment (ROI)- In marketing, this ratio refers to the gross profit generated by a marketing campaign (typically direct response) divided by the cost of the campaign. ROI provides a basis for evaluating the success of a campaign and enables comparisons to other possible investments.

Search Engine Marketing- the process of gaining traffic and visibility from search engines through both paid and unpaid efforts.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)- Strategies and tactics deployed to increase the chances that a website or page will receive higher ranking on a search engine. See descriptions on this page for on-site and off-site SEO.

Search Engine Results Page (SERP)- The page on which a search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) displays content resulting from a keyword search.

Shareable Content- text, audio or video content with strong potential to engage your audience which is then posted in social media (e.g. Facebook, Google+, Youtube, etc.) along with a “Share” button) so readers can share a link to that content with their friends

Strategic Marketing Plan- A marketing plan for a product, service or company should be developed only once careful thought has been given to the strategic foundation that underlies its position in the market. This includes branding, market positioning, market segments, target customers, distribution channels, communication strategy, etc. A strategic marketing plan is one that incorporates these and other important elements before specifying tactical actions, such as media and promotional activities.

Tactical Marketing Plan- A tactical marketing plan utilizes previously developed strategy. It focuses on media, promotional and other tactical activities to generate leads and communicate to customers and prospective customers. A short way to think about tactical marketing is that it deals with the medium in which a marketing message is deployed.

Tagline- A phrase designed to stay in the customer’s mind that will reinforce the association between a marketing communications piece and the company to which it applies. Ideally, the tagline should relate to the company or product’s value proposition.

Targeting Strategy- This refers to the process of determining what niche you will serve and defining your customers in that niche as precisely as possible. This enables you to better select media that reaches your target market and to create messages that are more appropriate based on his/her characteristics.

Value Proposition- A value proposition is a clear statement of the tangible results a customer gets from using your products or services. The more specific your value proposition is, the better.

Video Marketing- Video marketing can be broadly considered to be the use of video content to promote a brand, product or service. With videos hosted on directories such as YouTube or Vimeo, it has become an important way to improve off-site SEO (see definition this page).

Vision Statement- A vision statement outlines what a company wants to be. It is future-oriented and typically inspirational. Often the vision statement is used as a decision-making benchmark to ensure that proposed actions are on point with the envisioned future.