Marketing Automation Glossary

This is a guide to the broadly accepted meanings of terms commonly used in the Marketing Automation realm; it’s intended to be a living document, so if you have questions or would like to suggest terms to be added please let us know.


Behavior-Based Marketing Automation:

A system that triggers communications such as emails, based on user activity. Targeted (behavioral) messages capture a prospect’s attention and drive sales.

Brand Advocates:

A brand advocate is someone who elevates your brand through word of mouth marketing.


Conversion Optimization:

Conversion optimization is the process of testing and changing landing pages, buttons, CTAs, language, images, and more to see if you can raise the conversion rate. Oftentimes even the smallest change, like a button being green instead of blue, can increase a conversion rate.

Conversion Rate:

A conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who actually converted. Landing pages have conversion rates and oftentimes businesses are thinking about how they can optimize for conversion, meaning get more visitors to convert.


The phrase “Customer relationship management” is most often used to describe the technology used by a sales team to manage customer/prospect interactions, the sales pipeline, and closed deals. Examples of CRM technologies include;

  • SugarCRM
  • NetSuite CRM
  • Microsoft Dynamics.

Similarly, the phrase is also used to refer to all aspects of interaction that a company has with its customers, whether sales or service-related. In that interpretation, CRM is often discussed as a business strategy that enables an organization to manage the entire customer lifecycle.

Cross-Channel Analytics:

Cross-channel analytics is a process wherein multiple sets of data from different channels or sources are linked or housed together and then analyzed in order to provide customer and marketing intelligence that the business can use.

Cross-Platform Marketing Automation:

This refers to the ability of your emails to display well across different platforms like tablets and mobile devices. If you fail to optimize for mobile, you miss out on a huge opportunity to communicate with potential customers.

Customer/Buying Lifecycle:

Is defined as the process or stages that a customer undergoes to purchase a product or service. Generally speaking, the buying lifecycle consists of Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, and Usage.


Drip Marketing:

This strategy employed by many direct marketers where a constant flow of marketing material is sent to customers over a period of time. Drip marketing endeavors to create sales through long-term repeated exposure to its recipients of the goods and services that are advertised.



The form on your landing page has questions like email, industry, and phone number. A visitor to your website must fill out a form before accessing the information they want to download or before subscribing to a newsletter list.

First-Time Visitor:

A lead that has decided to start a relationship with you by trying your product or service for the first time.


Gated Content/Offers:

In other words, this is often called offers or lead magnets, which are generally pieces of content that your leads want to download. This content is often longer and more in-depth than just a blog post, therefore it makes it premium and prospects are willing to give their personal information to download it. A few examples of this type of content would be an ‘Ultimate Guide,’ a webinar, a vendor comparison page, etc.


Internal Sale:

Is a concept that you will most likely encounter in the B2B world. It refers to getting internal approval to purchase a product or service.

Interruption-Based Marketing:

The traditional model of product promotion, in which people have to stop what they’re doing to pay attention to the marketing message or deal with it in some other way.

Examples of interruption marketing include:

  • Telemarketing calls.
  • Mail campaigns.
  • Email campaigns.
  • Television and radio ads.
  • Interstitial and transitional online ads that interrupt or delay the user’s selected content.
  • Pre-roll ads that play before video content.


Key Performance Indicators:

These are selected signals used to “indicate” whether a program or business activity is on track (its “health”, if you will). KPIs make organizational performance more understandable by reducing a complex number of variables to a small and simple set of easily understood indicators. KPIs are derived from metrics and proxy sources but are not themselves actual measuring devices. A KPI is also not diagnostic – it cannot tell you what is wrong, only that something does (or does not) meet a goal you have set.


Landing Pages:

Static web pages you can create from within a marketing automation platform without the help of your technology team. They often host a form to download an offer.

Lead Scoring:

This is the process of creating a rating system for your leads based on criteria. The lead score is used to identify how qualified a contact is for the sales team. However, lead scores are built from demographic and behavioral data.

Landmark Emails:

Emails are the messages that celebrate customer landmarks, for instance like birthdays, major milestones, or anniversaries as a customer.

Loyalty Offers:

These offers are the exclusive gifts or genuine thank-yous given to loyal customers.


Marketing Automation:

This term is applied to integrated software platforms that field multiple complementary technologies, such as email marketing, website visitor tracking, and automated programs (e.g. lead nurturing, lead scoring, etc.). The integration means the tools can all be managed from one dashboard, making management easier. It also means that all the lead and contact data flowing in from different tools are merged into consolidated histories, for real-time intelligence (on both individuals and segments) that both sales and marketing can use.

Marketing automation offers a way to build and manage relationships at scale – and both sales and marketing have visibility into those relationships. It also enables the measurement of campaigns and channels. Key capabilities include customer segmentation, lead generation, nurture campaigns, prospect scoring, and closed-loop analytics.

Multi-Channel Marketing Automation:

To truly be relevant, lead nurturing and email campaigns need to take into account buyers’ experiences across multiple channels and platforms, such as interactions on social media.


Permission-Based Marketing:

Permission marketing refers to a form of advertising where the intended audience is given the choice of receiving promotional messages.


Qualified Lead:

A qualified lead is a contact who opted in to receive communication from your company, became educated about your product or service, and is interested in learning more.


Repeat Purchase:

When customers are happy with a product or service, they engage in repeat purchases. Marketers should stay top of mind for their existing customer base and seek to establish long-term relationships.

Revenue Performance Management (RPM):

RPM is a system that improves your interactions with prospects along the sales cycle, measures results, and seeks to maximize revenue.



Shopping Cart Fetchback/Abandoned Shopping Cart:

When someone places an item in their online shopping cart but doesn’t complete his or her purchase, marketers call this an abandoned shopping cart. Abandonment can be reduced through a targeted lead nurturing campaign.

Smart List:

A smart list is a dynamic list that automatically adds contacts to it based on the criteria you set out. For example, you could want a smart list of blog readers from California. You would create a list that would automatically add anyone from California who has visited your blog


SQLs have met specific criteria laid out by your sales team, which makes them worthy of a direct sales follow-up.

Static List:

A static list is a list of contacts that you upload one time, and it doesn’t update automatically after that. For instance, you might have attended a tradeshow and captured leads to download into a CSV. You can upload this list to your marketing automation platform. Static list membership can be part of the criteria you use to build a smart list, however.


Workflow/Automated Program:

This is the magic of marketing automation. By setting up a workflow or automated program, this is the act of automating your marketing. You can set up an email to trigger when someone fills out a form, visits a page, and more. You can automate adding someone to a smart list or changing their lifecycle stage. You can automate alerting your sales team when someone has become an SQL.

If you are looking for technology and business processes improvement to help you propel your business toward success, give us a call today!

Is your organization ready to implement a new CRM?