40 Marketing Terms for Beginners

As an entrepreneur or small business owner, there are certain terms used in marketing that you should know and understand. If you are not a marketer (e.g. marketing manager, marketing specialist, marketing executive etc.) and you are not really familiar with marketing yet, this article can help you understand some basic terms.

There are over hundred terms used in marketing, and with advancements in technology and digital marketing, new ones turn up all the time. Here I have selected 40 basic marketing terms useful to entrepreneurs and small business owners, which I split into six categories:

For these and many other marketing terms you can find various definitions online. However, in most cases, these are explained using other marketing terms, which are assumed for you to be already familiar with. In this article though, each term is explained in a brief and simple way, to help you understand the meaning, even if you do not have any experience in marketing.

Basic marketing terms

Let’s start with marketing and advertising in general. There are eight important terms you need to know:

  • Advertisement: An advertisement (often shortened to ‘advert’ or simply ‘ad’) is an announcement in a public medium aimed to promote your business, products and services. In online business, advertisements can be done in form of web banners, videos, pages in digital publications, and sponsored social media posts, to name a few.
  • Advertising: Advertising is the activity of promoting your business, products and services with the use of advertisements.
  • Marketing: Marketing is about promoting your business, products and services through various ways and channels.
  • Promotion: Promotion refers to a set of marketing and communication activities that communicate information about your business, products and services to other people or businesses.
  • Marketing Strategy: Marketing strategy is a document with a defined plan of action for promoting your business, products and services.
  • Marketing Budget: The marketing budget is the amount of money you dedicate to spend in marketing activities.
  • Marketing Channels: Marketing channels are the means through which you are able to conduct marketing activities (promote your business, products and services). Examples of marketing channels are email marketing, social media, your website, search engine optimisation (SEO), and many others.
  • Marketing Automation: Marketing automation is about using technology to carry out certain marketing activities automatically.

If you are reading this article because you are planning to prepare the marketing strategy for your small business, in this other article you can find out useful tips and guidelines on how to prepare a marketing strategy for your start-up.

Key branding terms you should know

Another important element of marketing is branding. Here are the five key terms you need to know:

  • Branding: Branding is the process of creating a brand, which includes a name, symbol and/or other graphics that identify or differentiate your business, product or service from others.
  • Brand: A brand is a name, term and/or graphic identifying your company, product or service, which also differentiates it from other companies, products or services.
  • Brand Name: A brand name is the name you give to your business, product or service, or range of products or services.
  • Logo: The logo is the graphical presentation of the brand name.
  • Visual Identity: The visual identity of your brand comprises the brand’s logo, colours, typography, imagery, and creative design.

Differences between a customer, a prospect and a lead

In marketing, there are seven key terms related to your customers, and it is good for you to understand the differences between them:

  • Customer: A customer is a person who buys your products and/or services.
  • Potential Customer: A potential customer is a person who might buy your products and/or services.
  • Prospect: A prospect is a potential customer who has been qualified based on specific criteria.
  • Target Customer: A target customer is a person (or company) that you want to sell your products or services to.
  • Leads: Simply put, leads refer to persons or businesses who might become your customers.
  • Leads List: A leads list is a document or database that includes a list of your potential or existing customers with contact details and other required information.
  • Target Audience: A target audience is a particular group of people which your marketing and communications activities are aimed at.

Product and service-related terms in marketing

With reference to your products and services, it is important for you to distinguish between features and benefits, and to understand the meaning of perceived value:

  • Feature: A feature is a part or aspect of your product or service.
  • Benefit: A benefit is a positive impact your product or service has on your customers.
  • Perceived Value: Perceived value is a customer’s perception of your product or service value, which can be measured in terms of the price the customer is willing to pay for that product or service.

It is also important to understand the meaning and differences between cross-selling, downselling, and upselling:

  • Cross-Sell: Cross-selling refers to selling related or complementary products and/or services to your customers.
  • Downsell: Downselling refers to selling a cheaper alternative the main product or service you are trying to sell.
  • Upsell: Upselling is selling to your customer something additional or more expensive than the main product or service you are trying to sell.

Selling your solution on the market

You also need to understand these five terms related to the market, on which you are promoting and selling your solutions:

  • Competition: Competition refers to the rivalry between two or more companies selling similar products or services in the same market.
  • Competitor: A competitor is another company selling similar products or services to yours in the same market.
  • Competitive Advantage: A competitive advantage is something that you have, which your competitors don’t. This can be related to pricing, a specific product or service, faster delivery times, original solutions, and other aspects of your business, processes, products, and services.
  • Niche Market: A niche market is a small, specialised market, for which you provide a particular product or service, or a range of products and services.
  • Pricing Strategy: A pricing strategy is related to your decision (strategy) of what prices to give to your products and services in order to attract your target customers to buy from you.

In the current digital age, it is also important for you to know what kind of products and services you can sell online. Find out more in the article “What Kind of Solutions You Can Sell Online”. You can also take a look at the IB4SME eBook 40 Solutions to Sell Online to find out more details about the various solutions from your field that you can sell online.

Digital marketing terms you should know

And finally, here are nine key terms used in digital marketing:

  • Digital Marketing: Digital marketing refers to the promotion (or marketing) of your business, products and services using the internet and other types of digital communication.
  • Online Marketing: As a subset of digital marketing, online marketing refers to the promotion (or marketing) of your business, products and services using the internet.
  • Social Media Marketing: Social media marketing refers to the use of social media platforms and social networks to promote your business, products and services.
  • Email Marketing: Email marketing refers to using emails to promote your business, products or services, and increase customer loyalty and satisfaction.
  • Email Marketing Automation: Email marketing automation refers to sending time-triggered or action-triggered emails to your subscribers automatically with the use of a specific software.
  • Landing Page: A landing page is a single web page, on which potential customers come after clicking on search results, an online advertisement, a link in an email, or through other online marketing activities.
  • Call To Action (CTA): Call To Action refers to the link or button leading to the next step you want your visitors or customers to take online. Usual CTA’s include subscribe, reserve your place, buy, download, and other actions.
  • Online Presence: Online presence refers to all the content and activities your business has on the internet, such as your company website, landing page, social media pages, advertisements, press releases, social media posts, and so on.
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): SEO is the process of improving the quality and quantity of visitors to your website or landing page from search engines by optimising your online content.

As mentioned in the beginning of the article, there are many other marketing terms, and you might need some of them too. That depends on your business and your role. However, these 40 marketing-related terms should provide you with a good start and basis to further develop your marketing knowledge.

Apart from marketing terms, as an entrepreneur or a new small business owner, there are also other business-related terms you should know and understand. In the Mompreneurs Online Business Handbook I have prepared simple definitions for over 100 terms related to business and marketing.

Posted in

Mompreneurs Online Business Handbook

If you find this article helpful, take a look at the Mompreneurs Online Business Handbook. This is a practical guide to start a successful online business from home, which I prepared by putting on paper my knowledge, experience and know-how, to help you and guide you step by step throughout the business concept, planning and setup processes of your new online business.

Dr. Natasa Kobal is a marketing and international business expert, who believes in creating solutions that accelerate SMEs’ sustainable growth. She is the Owner and Founder of IB4SME, a business consulting and training brand that empowers SME owners and decision-makers internationally with the skills and support they need to successfully manage their businesses. With a PhD in business management, combined with 15 years of experience in international marketing, Natasa manages all IB4SME business consulting solutions and services.


Sign Up to Keep Up-To-Date with Our Latest Blog Articles

By signing up with IB4SME, you will join business owners and managers across the globe that trust us and take advantage of our digital material and valuable content available only to our subscribers.

As a subscriber, you will receive notifications of the latest articles published on the IB4SME blog.

Depending on your preferences, you can also receive email notifications about new webinars, workshops and courses, notifications and invitations to our online or offline events, as well as special offers and discounts.

Sign up today and get immediately our Business Concept Definition Guide for free. Whether you are just starting doing business online, or you have years of experience, this 15-page guide will help you in properly defining your new business concept.

Scroll to Top