Marketing Automation Platform

The ABC’s of Marketing Automation Made EZ

By July 2, 2020July 22nd, 2021No Comments
Marketing automation made easy

Anytime a trend emerges, you can bet that soon to follow will be jargon that describes the inner workings of anything, and everything, related to that movement. Need an example? Back in the 1920s, when diners and luncheonettes began cropping up across the United States, a new food-related glossary developed.

The lingo included belly warmer (coffee), yard bird (chicken), blowout patches (pancakes), make it cry (add onions), boiled leaves (hot tea), and wreck ’em (scrambled eggs). More recently, the eruption of cryptocurrency brought forth a glossary that included bitcoin, mining, block chain, and hash rate, among other words and terms used by those in the know.

It’s no different with marketing automation — a subset of customer relationship management that focuses on software used for defining, segmenting, scheduling, and tracking personalized marketing campaigns. And who better than a marketing automation company to lay down the ultimate glossary for anyone whose job now includes selecting and then managing a marketing automation solution?

With that in mind, what we have for you below is our start at an alphabetical list of terms and words found in, or relating to, the topic of marketing automation. Knowing the lingo makes your conversations with marketing automation vendors and fellow marketing staffers less mindboggling, more pleasant, and dare we suggest… even a little bit fun.


A/B Testing: This is the art of comparing two versions of marketing content — be that an email subject line or slightly different versions of a website landing page  — in order to determine which version is best. This testing has the objective of improving conversion rates.

Account-based Marketing: An approach to marketing where a company communicates with a potential client or customer accounts as a market of one. Also, by using the description of key account marketing, this approach is popular among enterprise-level sales organizations.

Application Programming Interface (API): A set of tools, definitions, and protocols that are used by software engineers and website programmers for integrating application software and services. APIs allow two disparate entities — like an electronic health records platform from one company, and a marketing automation platform from another company — to integrate with each other is highly specific ways.

Analytics: Put simply, analytics is information collected from social media, websites, email, landing page campaigns, forms and paid advertising campaigns. They provide details about a campaign’s result as it related to how consumers and B2B audiences interact with singular or multiple attributes of the campaign or property itself.

Anonymous Visitor: When an unknown visitor lands on your website, but your marketing automation database doesn’t register an email address that matches up with their IP address.


Behavioral-based Automation: This occurs as a result of researching a lead’s behavior online, then using that date to generate leads. Methods include clicking on an email that prompts a follow-up email; filling out a form that triggers delivery of content; or a visit to a website or landing page that puts the visitor on a list.

Branching Logic / Workflow: How a respondent answers a question determines what page or further question the respondent next sees in this action. Branching logic sets a path that changes depending on a lead’s answers. Marketers use pre-set conditions to prompt an automated action that results in a favorable outcome.

Bridge: The process by which an application programming interface (API) is used to create a customized connection point from one software application to another, or from a disparate data source to a website.

Buyer Persona: A persona is a fictitious “everyman,” created by marketers to represent specific target customers that show interest in a company’s information, website, brand, product, or services. By researching the demographics of this ideal consumer, marketers can create content that reaches and resonates with “real” prospects and customers.


Call-to-Action (CTA): This is an announcement on a company’s website or in an email that prompts users to click on a button to visit resources, download a document, or sign up for an eNewsletter, or upcoming event.

Campaign Builder: In marketing automation software, this drag-and-drop interface allows you to construct a marketing and sales process that includes emails, landing pages, and other avenues for communicating with and capturing leads.

Click-Thru-Rate (CTR): The click-through rate (CTR) is a measurement of potential customers who click on a webpage link in order to receive an offer or navigate the way you intend for them to. In technical terms, it provides a way to test how well an online marketing campaign is performing — specifically a pay-per-click campaign. Also known as Click Rate or Click-Thru Rate, it is calculated as “clicks” divided by “impressions” equals “CTR.”

Cloning: By cloning (a feature often found in a marketing automation solution), a marketer can replicate campaigns faster and with less effort, usually with a click of one button, followed by minimal additional customization.

Community Persona: This is the targeted profile of a typical group of users that is studied for use in a specific marketing scenario.

Contact: Anyone reaching out to a company by email, phone, an online form, or other means is called a contact.

Conversion: The end game for all marketing efforts is to convert a contact from status as a prospective lead to an actual buyer. This is a conversion.

Conversion Rate: The percentage of prospects who are converted to the status of buyer is measured by conversion rates. Top of mind for marketers is to optimize leads for conversion.

Cost Per Lead (CPL): What advertisers pay for each lead that shows interest in the company or product and converts to the status of “customer” is called a cost per lead, also known as a CPL. And, of course, the lower the cost for each lead, the better for the business’ profit margin.

Customer Journey: A visualization of the process that a person goes through in order to become a customer or user of a business, brand, or service.

CRM: In order to collect contact information, establish sales links and drive leads, platforms called customer relationship management (CRM) tools work hand-in-hand or integrate with a company’s marketing automation platform.

Content Marketing: Content appearing on company’s website or branded social media platforms should stimulate interest in its products or services without blatantly promoting the brand. Content marketing walks that fine line between sharing related information and direct advertising.

Contact-Based Segmentation: By separating potential leads into segments based on their interests or preferences regarding products or services, a company can fine-tune its targeting lists anyway they desire.


Demand Generation: By creating a need or desire for a product, marketers provide content that uses a potential customer’s previously stated wishes, needs, and intentions in order to entice them to take action.

Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM): Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) is an encryption authentication method designed to detect when an email has been created with a forged sender address.

Drip Campaign: A communication approach that sends, or “drips,” a pre-written — and often customizable — set of messages to email addresses appearing on a list over time. Content presented in a drip campaign is distinct from other database approaches to marketing in two ways: (1) the messages are dripped in a series applicable to a specific status of the recipient; (2) the timing of the messages follows a pre-determined course.

Dynamic Content: Marketers can specifically target prospects by sending them customized emails with links, for example, to customized landing pages. These call-to-action messages are customized with information that might contain a client’s location, business, even job title, and content related to what they indicated they were interested in learning more about, but with an emphasis on attributes they supplied when first interacting with your company via a form submission, for example.

Dynamic List: Contact lists that are created and organized based on pre-set rules are called dynamic lists, and a change in a prospect’s behavior can transfer that person to a different list.


Email Marketing: Considered to be among the most inexpensive routes for direct marketing, email marketing targets customers online by sending marketing and sales-infused messages, promoting products or services directly to them.

Email Template: Often bundled into marketing automation solutions, email templates are preformatted (usually using HTML or HTML5) and/or prewritten email messages you can use as a starting point for quickly and easily designing and issuing branded emails, eNewsletters, and marketing promotions of your own.

Engagement: Engagement is any written, verbal, or sharable interaction between a brand and a potential lead or existing customer.


Filter: Marketers use filters to refine actions in a marketing automation platform. These results are produced by a trigger that ensures the resulting list or action is well defined and ready to be used as a moment’s notice for campaign purposes.

Form: This data collection tool is used within a company’s websites or landing pages, for example, in order to gather information from leads.

Form Builder: A tool  used to create custom forms used on online that collect and update information stored in a marketing automation or CRM solution for later use, lead scoring, and segmentation.

Funnel: A graphic representation of the stages a potential customer goes through when buying a product or signing up for a service or membership. Based on the notion that all prospects are led through specific phases when making a purchase — the first step  being the awareness stage; the last being the post-purchase evaluation. Marketing automation platforms include functionality to build and deploy campaigns based on customizable funnels.


Inbound Marketing: By successfully using social media, content marketing, blog posts, and other means of generating leads, marketers can entice customers to enter a company’s sales or marketing funnel. Inbound marketing seeks to attract visitors to a company’s website, landing page, etc.

Integrations: Integration features allow a marketing automation platform to operate, connect, and sync up seamlessly with third-party applications and programs. This, in turn, results in a software ecosystem that is integrated by being data friendly.

IP Address: In order to communicate successfully over a network, an Internet Protocol (IP) address provides a string of numbers, separated by periods, that identifies all of the computers, printers, and other Internet Protocol devices within the network.


Key Performance Indicator (KPI): KPIs are measurable values that demonstrate how effectively your efforts are at achieving business objectives. High-level KPIs may focus on the overall performance of one particular business unit or profit center, while lower-level KPIs may focus on outcomes and required results in departments such as sales and marketing.

Keyword: Most web-based search engines search for words anywhere they appear on a particular page online, including in the title, subtitles, sub heads, and the body of the content itself. A keyword is any term that exists within the document online. However, priority is given to words that occur in the title, words that recur numerous times, and words that are explicitly assigned as keywords within content’s meta data.


Landing Page: These static web pages can be created from within a marketing automation platform without assistance from your company’s technology team. Most often, they host content and a form that needs to be filled out by the visitors in order to download an offer or make a request for specific information.

Lead: A lead is a contact or a potential customer. A lead should be a company or organization, and a contact is an actual person whom you can email, call, or otherwise directly contact about the company or organization’s interest.

Lead Generation: The idea behind identifying contacts is to find those that might be interested in your product or service and then pull them into your company’s sales funnel. That’s the essence of lead generation.

Lead Management: These are practices, systems, and methods that are created for the purpose of producing new prospects — and they frequently operate by means of a series of campaigns or programs. Lead management is the facilitator between a company’s outgoing communication for marketing and sales purposes, and the management of responses that come about as a result of those efforts.

Lead Nurturing: When a prospect is on the fence about making a purchase, lead nurturing is one method shown to be effective in converting the lead into a warm prospect and then a paying customer. The process associated with lead nurturing is simplified by the use of a marketing automation platform — software that often includes built-n functionality for collection, storing, segmenting, and scoring of leads; following up with leads via customized messages issued by email, for example; and, gaining continual insight into the buyer’s journey so you may convert a “Maybe” to a “Let’s buy.” Sooner rather than later.

Lifecycle Stages: A lifecycle stage should determine how you interact and communicate with each contact. It is a way to organize your company’s prospect and customer databases to determine where exactly they are within various sales funnel. The lifecycle stages are often subscriber, lead, marketing qualified lead (MQL), sales qualified lead (SQL), opportunity, and customer.


Marketing Automation: While originally focused on email marketing automation, marketing automation today describes a range of automation and analytic tools for marketing — in particular, inbound marketing. Marketing automation platforms assist marketing and sales efforts by replacing time-consuming and error-prone manual processes with automated solutions. These systems handle marketing campaigns with the end design of converting prospects into loyal customers, or new customers into educated customers.

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): Observing what a potential customer is viewing on your website, for example, and what pages they appear to be more interested in, or the number of emails they have opened, you can determine if that person is a qualified lead based on your marketing-related efforts.

Market Segmentation: By dividing present and potential prospects into subgroups — called segments — you can determine and act upon some form of shared characteristics from among those potential and actual customers.

Marketing Stack: Marketing specialists use this phrase to describe the group of technologies used to manage, analyze, and improve their various marketing activities, from marketing automation to data analytics.

MarTech: This is lingo for discussing the interaction of marketing and technology. A marketing automation platform delivered as software as a service (SaaS) could be characterized as MarTech.

Merge Tag: Also known as personalization fields or tags, or substitution strings, a merge tag is email service provider (ESP) code that allows companies to insert particular user information from a mailing list into an email. For example, “Dear “<merge tag for first name>,” or “We show you’re interested in purchasing a <merge tag for product > within the next <merge tag for timeframe to purchase>.”

Metadata: Metadata is data that describes other data. In marketing, metadata usually refers to information in website code that tells search engines how to index a web page’s title and on-page content. This data, in turn, is read by search engines and often determines the positioning of your pages in search results.

Multi-Channel Marketing Automation: By taking into consideration the potential customer’s experiences across multiple channels —including interactions on social media, for example — lead nurturing and email campaigns can be more relevant and successful.


New User: In analytics programs like those built into marketing automation platforms, New User is category of people who visit a website or landing page for the very first time.

NoFollow: The code value (usually displayed in meta data as rel=”nofollow”) that is assigned to online attributes like private landing pages, that indicates to search engines that the page should not be ranked in its index.


Online Behavior Tracking: The objective of online behavior tracking is to closely follow a prospect (i.e., lead) and examine what emails are opened, what web and landing pages are visited — and even what they’re discussing on social media. Successful tracking can result in data that reveals what prospects and leads are interested in, and how close they might be to becoming customers.


Pay-Per-Click (PPC): Put simply, an advertiser pays an advertising network or website owner every time a visitor clicks on their advertisement. A marketing automation platform can measure a company’s PPC advertising as one part of its campaign analytics duties.

Permission-Based Marketing: By seeking permission from a prospect to receive a newsletter, for example, your company is participating in permission-based marketing.  In other words, permission-based marketing promotes and advertises goods and services when advance consent is given.

Progressive Profiling: Completing a long list of questions online is not a popular endeavor for anyone, which makes progressive profiling more appealing to potential customers. Instead of answering two dozen questions on a form, progressive profiling removes questions that have already been answered by the lead. For example, if a lead has already filled in his or her name, address and phone number, those questions will not be asked the next time the visitor fills out a form on the same website or landing page campaign. Instead, those questions will be replaced by new questions.


Query: A query is a word or phrase a user types into a search engine in the anticipation of finding a specific result.


ROI: In order to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or a variety of different investments, this performance measure, or ROI, attempts to measure the amount of return on a particular investment and its cost.

Retargeting: By targeting online advertising to prospects based on their online history and prior association with your database of leads, marketers install a pixel within the target webpage or email that inserts a cookie within the lead’s web browser.

Revenue Performance Management: RPM attempts to maximize income by improving a company’s interaction with leads along the sales cycle and by measuring results.

Revenue Attribution Reporting: This form of reporting enables a company to attribute closed and won revenues to its marketing assets and activities.


Sales Funnel: A tool used to outline the journey a prospect takes through marketing until a successful sale is the result. While the stages of a sales funnel can vary, a traditional model follows four phases — awareness, interest, desire, and action.

Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): This progression comes after a lead has been thoroughly checked out by marketers and is said to be ready for the next step toward a successful sale.

Segmentation: By separating your consumers into specific groups with specific interests and preferences, marketers have a better opportunity to focus in on those particular interests or experiences, thus sparking more attention toward the targeted product.

Social Media Engagement: Potential consumers who frequently interact online, using a company’s “Like” button on Facebook or respond to tweets on Twitter are said to be active participants on social media, which is a plus for marketers.

Social Media Monitoring: By monitoring social media activity by a potential consumer, some marketing automation platforms keep track of the individual’s business information and integrates all social media accounts into an easy-to-manage dashboard. Social media monitoring then is the tracking of social media for information about an individual, organization, or business.

Subscriber: A subscriber is a customer or potential customer who has agreed to accept updates and offers from your business, most often by email (which can be managed by a marketing automation platform)


Templates: These include the templates used for email and landing page campaigns, for example, and are managed by a marketing automation platform. When prospects sign up to receive your emails, they are welcomed with select number of these pre-written emails.

Time-based Automation: When a prospect completes a request for information within a pre-determined schedule, time-based automation sets into motion the next action to potentially be taken by that lead.

Trigger: After a customer or prospect engages in a specific  behavior online, a trigger automatically sparks an action or series of actions with that person.

Triggered email: When paying attention to a consumer’s behavior and online activity, marketers can quickly react with a timely email. That enables the lead to receive the right message at the right time. Such real-time emails — managed by a marketing automation platform and based on behavioral information — can increase customer conversion rates by an impressive percentage.


Uniform Resource Locator (URL): Also called a web address, the URL is displayed in a web browser’s address bar and used to identify a location of a landing page or website on the World Wide Web.


Variable: In the A/B testing process, a variable is the metric that is being tested or changed to determine which option works best, depending on a campaign’s objective. The variable may include a subject line, headline, call-to-action (CTA), copy, layout, or the timing of the delivery of the campaign’s assets.


Workflow: In marketing automation, workflow refers to issuing a sequence of communication — usually via email but sometimes by text —sent using automation.


XML (Extensible Markup Language ) Sitemap: A file you place in your website’s code that helps search engines crawl and index your site according to how you want the site to be cataloged and viewed.


Zero Cost: A marketing tactic that doesn’t cost anything to execute. For example, if you’ve authored a blog post that appears on your website, and then another organization uses — with your permission — the first three paragraphs of your post as a guest post on their website’s blog, the effort may be considered zero cost to your marketing budget.

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