Marketing Terms: A to Z Glossary

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn more about key terms from the field of marketing and what they mean.

[Featured image] A smiling young woman, wearing a tropical print blouse, stands in a marketing office holding a tablet.

Marketing is the practice of conveying a brand’s value through messaging distributed across an array of channels. Often, this messaging is done with the aim of increasing sales for a business’s products or services, but it can also achieve other goals, including bolstering brand visibility and customer engagement. 

Marketing is a large term that encompasses an array of types, strategies, and efforts. In this article, we’ll go over common marketing terms worth knowing when you’re working in the field—or interested in beginning a new career. 

Common marketing terms 

Below, you’ll find common marketing terms listed in alphabetical order. 

A/B Test

An A/B test is a way of comparing two options to see which does better. This can be especially useful in digital marketing, such as testing two email subject lines. 

Advertising agency

An advertising agency is a company that a marketing team can hire to produce advertising efforts across a variety of channels, like TV, radio, and print. 

Affiliate marketing

A big part of digital marketing, affiliate marketing involves a third-party referring visitors to a product or service on a digital platform, like a blog or podcast. They earn a small commission if that referral leads to a sale. 

B2B marketing

B2B marketing (short for business-to-business marketing) is a strategy that entails marketing to businesses rather than individual consumers. 

Bounce rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave a web page without performing an action. 

Brand equity

Equity refers to value. Brand equity is a way of thinking about a brand’s value in the larger marketplace and more specifically with its customers.  

Brand loyalty

Brand loyalty is when customers prefer a brand and continue to purchase its products or use its services over time. These customers typically don’t require significant marketing efforts because the brand already has their allegiance. 

Brand manager

A brand manager is a key marketing role responsible for developing strategies to distinguish a brand from competitors and building lasting relationships with customers. 

Brand marketing

Brand marketing entails developing marketing strategies and campaigns that earn a brand—and subsequently its products and services—more attention. Instead of focusing on sales, brand marketing is about fostering a relationship with potential and existing customers. 

Buyer persona

A buyer persona is a fictional representation of a brand’s target audience to help guide and set marketing strategy. It often incorporates specific demographic details and behavioral traits based on research. 

Churn rate

Churn rate is an important marketing metric that tells you the percentage of customers you’ve lost over a specific period of time. 

Competitor analysis

A competitor analysis—sometimes called a competitive analysis—is a process that involves researching a brand’s main competitors to analyze their branding, marketing, and products. Understanding these elements can lead a brand to develop more specific and distinctive marketing strategies.   

Content marketing

Content marketing is a facet of marketing that aims to develop relevant, authoritative content through blogs, podcasts, videos, and other types of media in order to attract and engage a target audience. 

Content strategy

Content strategy is a plan to develop, publish, and maintain content, such as blogs, podcasts, and videos. Developing a strategy often involves, among other things, researching your target audience, deciding which content types to implement, developing a process for creating content, and measuring each content type’s success. 

Conversion rate

Conversion rate is an important marketing metric that tracks the percentage of people who complete an established goal, such as sign up for a newsletter or complete a purchase. In these instances, potential customers move closer to becoming paying customers and therefore “convert.” A high conversion rate signifies an effective marketing strategy or advertising campaign. 

CTR (clickthrough rate)

CTR (clickthrough rate) is a marketing metric that tells you what percentage of people perform an action after seeing an advertisement or webpage. It’s usually measured in relation to impressions, which refers to the total number of people who see an advertisement.   

Customer acquisition

Customer acquisition is a process that involves attracting customers to purchase your products. More than simply getting their attention, the process typically requires nurturing potential customers (leads) over time. 

Customer lifetime value

Customer lifetime value (CLV) is a key metric that determines how much revenue a business might earn from each customer over the course of their relationship. Having a high CLV can help you lower customer acquisition costs because you don’t have to spend as much to attract new customers when you have loyal customers who return regularly to make a purchase. 

Customer segmentation

Customer segmentation is the process of grouping customers by distinguishing features so you can develop more specific marketing strategies to reach and engage them. 

Digital marketing

Digital marketing is a form of advertising that uses digital channels, such as SEO and social media, to connect and engage with customers. See also: online marketing.  

Direct marketing

Direct marketing is a way to reach customers by sending them messages directly through channels such as mail, e-mail, or text messages. Rather than using other types of indirect media to reach a broad array of customers, direct marketing communicates with individual customers in order to generate a more immediate action, like a purchase.   

Display advertising

Display advertising is a method of digital advertising. It features ads on websites that typically appear along the sides or near the top or bottom.  

Earned media

Earned media is another way to think about publicity. Essentially, it’s media that refers to your business—and therefore advertises or promotes it in some way—that you haven’t paid for. 

Email marketing

Email marketing is a marketing channel, usually housed under digital marketing, that uses email to reach customers and promote current products. 

Facebook marketing

Facebook marketing refers to the act of marketing your business on Facebook, which remains a popular social media platform with nearly 3 billion monthly active users. On the site, you can use a balance of organic and paid advertising to reach potential and current customers. 

Four Ps

Successful marketing relies on the four Ps, which include product, price, place, and promotion. The four Ps are considered a “marketing mix” or an essential framework for developing a marketing strategy and plan. 


Geofencing is a way to target customers who enter a defined area. It is location-based marketing that involves using digital tools, like GPS or wi-fi, to set up a digital parameter around a certain area and trigger an action, like a text message offering a coupon, when a person enters the area. 

Google Ads specialist

A Google Ads specialist is someone who manages Google Ads campaigns, usually by researching, planning, and implementing a campaign. 

Go-to-market strategy

Go-to-market (GTM) strategy is a plan that businesses design and implement when they’re getting ready to launch a new product or service. It usually includes target market profiles, a marketing plan, and a concrete sales and distribution strategy. 

Growth marketing

Data drives important insights and that’s especially true when it comes to marketing. Growth marketing means using data to analyze marketing campaigns and continue developing effective strategies based on real information and insights. 

Guerilla marketing

Guerilla marketing is a cost-effective strategy that involves using the element of surprise to attract brand attention or promote a product. 

Inbound marketing

Inbound marketing is a strategy that uses content and experiences to attract consumers and pull them “inbound,” so that they eventually transition from consumers to customers. 

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is a strategy in which businesses collaborate with well-known people who have a strong online presence (often called “influencers”) to promote their products or services, or bring greater visibility to their brand.

International marketing

International marketing refers to the strategy of marketing to any potential customers that fall outside of a domestic target audience. 

Local SEO

Local SEO is the process of improving visibility for local businesses that need to reach more targeted markets in a specific geographic area. 

Market analysis

A market analysis is a detailed analysis of a business’s target market and major competitors, and it’s essential when it comes to positioning and promoting goods and services. Conducting a market analysis means understanding as much as possible about a target market, including its size, prices consumers are willing to pay, and major trends. 

Market research

Market research is a process wherein businesses gather a detailed understanding of consumers’ behaviors and needs by conducting surveys and interviews, and tracking other qualitative and quantitative data. 

Market segmentation

Market segmentation is the process of segmenting prospective customers into groups to better understand their unique needs—and market to them. 

Market research analyst

A market research analyst is someone who uses data to understand key areas such as target markets, competitors, and consumer behaviors, to help marketing teams develop or strengthen their strategy.  

Marketing analyst

Often conflated with a market research analyst given the similarity in terms, a marketing analyst is someone who uses data to discover key insights to improve a marketing team’s overall efforts. 

Marketing analytics

Marketing teams use data to understand what’s working and what’s not. Marketing analytics refers to marketing-specific data that teams can track to explain a range of efforts, including engagement, bounce rate, and conversion rate. 

Marketing channel

Marketing channels are the pathways through which you advertise a business’s products and services. There are several different types of marketing channels, including email, content, direct, and social. 

Marketing funnel

The marketing funnel describes the journey that a customer typically takes. It’s broken down into stages that include becoming aware of a business’s products and completing an action. It’s often used to help marketers understand how they should engage and support customers at each stage. 

Marketing plan

A marketing plan is a roadmap that organizes a marketing team’s various efforts by laying out the concrete actions they will take to implement their larger marketing strategy. 

Marketing strategy

A marketing strategy is a broad overview of a business’s long-term marketing vision that outlines its value props to customers. 


MarTech refers to the marketing technology industry. It largely comprises software that marketing teams use to optimize their efforts to achieve their objectives, such as email marketing platforms like MailChimp or social media platforms like Hootsuite. 

Media planning

Media planning is the process of identifying where a marketing team should focus its advertising efforts before launching a new campaign. This can include analyzing channels, platforms, and audiences. 

Network marketing

Network marketing is a process wherein independent contractors market and sell a business’s products and services, often through lead generation. Their efforts help grow a business. 

Niche market

Niche markets refer to highly specific groups of consumers—often within a larger customer segment—who share certain qualities, behaviors, or needs. Niche markets differ from mass markets because they tend to be narrowed and more focused, but they often encompass customers who are more likely to make a purchase. 

Omnichannel marketing

There are many touchpoints that a customer might experience as they interact with a brand across various channels, such as web, e-mail, social media, and in-person. Omnichannel marketing is a way to create a seamless experience across those touchpoints.

Online marketing

Online marketing is another way to describe digital marketing, and refers to the use of online channels, such as SEO, social media, and e-mail, to connect and engage with customers.   

Owned media

Owned media refers to all of the media channels that a business has direct control over, such as e-mail, newsletters, and blogs. Unlike earned media—or publicity—owned media is something a business oversees and therefore must invest in. 

Paid media

Paid media is any digital marketing effort that features a paid advertisement. These can include video ads, banner ads, and search ads. 

Paid search 

Paid search is a digital marketing strategy wherein businesses pay search engines to place their ads in more visible positions. Doing so can drive additional traffic to a business’s website. 


Pay-per-click (PPC) is the most common type of paid search. It means paying to have your ad appear on the top page of a search engine results page (SERP). Often, the fee you pay is connected to how many people click on your ad. 

Price elasticity

Price elasticity is an economic concept that refers to the change in demand for a good when its price changes. 

Pricing strategy

Pricing strategy is a methodology used to determine a business’ ideal prices for its products and services. It’s an important process because setting goods too high or too low can result in weak sales. 

Product marketing

Product marketing is the process of launching and promoting a new product. 

Product marketing manager

Product marketing managers focus on conveying a product’s value to its target market. They often sit at the intersection of product development, marketing, and sales. 

Promotional marketing

Promotional marketing is one of the four Ps of marketing. It’s a process that entails sharing knowledge about a brand, product, or service through various marketing channels to increase awareness. 


Oftentimes, marketing is about engaging with new potential customers. But remarketing involves engaging customers who have already interacted with your business in some way and prompting them to complete an action. 


Return on ad spend (ROAS) is an important marketing metric that determines the success of an ad campaign. By quantifying how much a business spent on ads compared to the increase in sales that those ads generated, they can determine the success of a campaign. 


The return on investment (ROI) of a marketing campaign compares the cost of the campaign to how much money it brought in. 

SEO marketing

SEO marketing—or search engine optimization marketing—is a facet of digital marketing that entails optimizing your website and its content for greater visibility on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. 


Search Engine Results Pages or SERP are the results that a search engine—like Google, Bing, or Yahoo—displays after a user conducts an online query. They are typically displayed in order or relevance. 

Skim pricing

Skim pricing is a strategy that involves pricing a product higher at first in order to eventually lower it once competitors enter the market.  

Social media manager

A social media manager is someone who typically oversees a business’s or brand’s social media accounts. They are often responsible for setting content strategy and driving engagement, as well as for tracking and analyzing efforts to ensure ongoing success.  

Social media platforms

Social media platforms are different online networking sites—such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn—that businesses can use to promote goods and engage customers. 

Target market

A target market is a group of potential customers who are most likely to purchase a business’s product or service. 

UI designer

A user interface (US) designer is someone who designs the graphic interface of an app, website, or device. 

User journey maps

User journey maps are a way to visually represent a user’s experience and can be especially helpful to UX and UI teams as they set about working on designing or redesigning a product. 

UX designer

A user experience (UX) designer is someone responsible for making a product or service usable, enjoyable, and accessible. 

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