15 Marketing Acronyms Every Business Professional Should Know

Last modified 13 December 2022
Categories: Marketing
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
15 Marketing Acronyms Every Business Professional Should Know

How often have you found yourself in mid conversation with someone on your marketing team when they start throwing out seemingly random strings of letters you’ve never heard before?

All business functions can be guilty of using their own insular jargon, but marketing acronyms often take this tendency to a whole new level. Particularly when it comes to digital aspects of the discipline, marketers can be very comfortable talking to each other using acronyms that are extremely opaque or unfamiliar to non-marketing people in the organisation.

15 Marketing acronyms you should know

Whether you work closely or just occasionally with marketing professionals, having a basic understanding of the following list of common and perhaps not so commonly used marketing acronyms can help you not only keep up, but to ask the right questions.

1. AIDA: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action

When marketers talk about attracting potential customers, they tend to describe them in terms of how close they are to being ready to take an action that generates value for the business, such as making a purchase. The closer they are to action, the more value they potentially have, but these potential customers can be more difficult and costly to acquire than others. AIDA is one framework for this:

  • Awareness: at this stage, (potential) customers are just becoming aware of the business, or the problem or need that will eventually lead to action.
  • Interest: customers are starting to explore solutions to address their need.
  • Desire: customers are actively seeking a solution.
  • Action: customers are ready to commit to a solution.

2. BOFU: Bottom of Funnel

Technically an abbreviation rather than a marketing acronym, BoFu is short for “Bottom of Funnel” and is another way of describing potential customers who are ready to take action. This term likens the customer journey to a funnel. At the Top of Funnel (ToFu) are lots of potential customers, MoFu (Middle of Funnel) contains fewer but slightly more serious potential customers and BoFu is the smallest end of the funnel, containing the fewest but most serious potential customers.

3. CAC: Customer Acquisition Cost

The most scatological-sounding of the marketing acronyms, CAC – or Customer Acquisition Cost – describes how much it costs to acquire a customer. An important financial metric for measuring marketing performance, it’s usually applied as an average and may include just direct advertising costs, or also include salaries and wages and other less direct marketing costs.

4. CPL: Cost Per Lead

In many types of businesses, marketing don’t have full control over the sales process and instead provide leads to salespeople to convert into customers. In cases like these, marketing are more interested in measuring their performance against Cost Per Lead – or what it costs, on average, to acquire each lead they are able to pass on to sales.

5. CMS: Content Management System

Websites and apps are essentially pieces of code, but a Content Management System, or CMS, is an interface designed to let non-technical users create, edit and manage the content on a website with relative ease without the need for coding. It’s likely that any new content added or edited on your website was done through a CMS rather than having a developer edit the code.

6. CRM: Customer Relationship Management

A CRM is the software that marketing (or sales) teams use to manage the relationships between their business and their customers or potential customers. These platforms can help manage customer contact information, enable communications (for example through marketing emails), help track the status or value of customers and in some cases facilitate personalised marketing with customers.

7. CRO: Conversion Rate Optimisation

Marketers need to do more than just attract potential customers – they also need to inspire customers to take value-generating actions, like making a purchase or submitting an enquiry form. A conversion rate measures the percentage of people “attracted” who complete such an action (e.g. who “convert”). Conversion Rate Optimisation is therefore the practice of increasing that percentage through data-driven changes in marketing tactics.

8. GTM: Go-To-Market or Google Tag Manager

Depending on who uses it and why, this marketing acronym could have very different meanings.

Traditionally, it stood for “Go-To-Market”, which refers to a business’s strategy for taking their products or services to customers.

From the mouths or keyboards of digital marketers, however, GTM is more likely to stand for Google Tag Manager – a platform that allows marketers to integrate different measurement, advertising and marketing technologies with their websites.

9. LTV: Lifetime Value

Another vital financial metric for marketers, LTV measures the full value of acquired customers across their entire “lifetime” with the business, not just on their initial transaction.

LTV allows marketers to develop a more complete understanding of which customers – and which marketing efforts – yield the greatest value in the long term.

10. MQL: Marketing Qualified Lead

A Marketing Qualified Lead is someone who the marketing team believes meets all the relevant criteria to be a strong enough potential customer to pass along to a sales team. It’s essentially a “seal of approval” from the marketing team that says this lead is worth investing sales’ time in developing.

11. NPS: Net Promoter Score

Less focused on measuring tangible financial or acquisition results, Net Promoter Score measures, from 1-10, the degree to which people would recommend your business, products or services to others. This metric is derived from a simple survey designed to help you determine how loyal your customers are to your business.

12. ROAS: Return On Ad Spend

Similar to CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) or LTV (Lifetime Value), Return On Ad Spend is a financial metric for measuring marketing performance. But unlike those previous metrics, ROAS makes a connection between money made and money spent.

This metric provides marketers with a single number that indicates how much revenue their activities generate for each dollar spent on advertising. For example, a ROAS of 3.1 would indicate that for every $1 spent, advertising generates $3.10 in revenue.

13. SEO: Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation describes strategies and tactics to improve website visibility on search engines like Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. Search engines also look at site structure and design, visitor behaviour, and other external, off-site factors to determine how highly ranked your site should be in the search engine results pages.

14. UGC: User Generated Content

With the ubiquity of social media and a powerful, internet-connected camera in everyone’s pocket, everyone is a content creator these days. This is something that your business and your brand can leverage. Why not let your customers help tell your brand story and show how your product or service benefits them? User Generated Content is just that – content created and shared by real customers rather than the brands they buy from.

15. UX: User Experience

The overall experience a user has with a particular business, from their discovery and awareness of the brand  all the way through their interaction, purchase, use, and even advocacy of that brand. The phrase is also used exclusively in reference to a website or application experience.

What do you think?

Have you ever walked into a marketing meeting and realised you just found a portal into another dimension? Some marketing acronyms can have multiple meanings and can leave us perplexed at the best of times. Knowing the lingo can go a long way to better understanding marketing and marketers, but for leaders serious about developing a deeper understanding of marketing will benefit from studying an MBA in Marketing Management.

I’m interested to learn whether the more you know, the more likely you’ll be able to understand and participate in conversations going on around you. Comment your views below and join the conversation.

This article was written by Jelena Milutinovic on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business and last updated on date. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: HubSpot and LinkedIn.

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