The short, sharp marketing dictionary

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Don’t know your CMS from your SERP? Our marketing jargon guide will save the day.

Sophie Al-Bassam

At Hardie Grant Media, we live and breathe marketing every day. But even we, every now and then, stumble across a term that we don’t know or that has changed meaning in the industry.

Here’s your complete guide to marketing jargon, including a few examples to bring it to life.

Black letters are spread across a yellow background. A magnifying glass sits on top of the letters.


A/B testing

If you want to know what works best, sometimes you just have to try it. This is when you send different content to different groups and see what sticks. Mostly used for websites and email newsletters, but it would probably also work in a bake-off situation. Ideally used for only one variable, says Hubspot.


An article that is paid for. Also known as native advertising.


Information (usually data or statistics) that helps you check how effective your content or campaigns are. Could be Facebook Analytics or Google Analytics. Should tell you things like where your audience is based, how many views or engagements you’ve had.

Business to business. For example, Slack or WeWork talking to new clients.

Business to consumer content. For example, when Dan Murphy’s entices people with content on their most delicious wines of 2021.

When you’re really popular, people talk about you. When you write good online content, people link to your page. This builds your website’s authority.

Big rock content

Perpetuated by our strategy director Kate. It’s an impressive content theme that can then be broken down into little pebbles of content on various mediums. Like this impressive piece of content you’re reading, which will also be enlightening social media posts. If in doubt, ask Kate.

Bottom of the funnel
BOFU. Huh? Imagine a huge funnel with your customer in there. Where are they in their surreal journey to you? At the top they might just be checking you out (“How you doin?”) and finding helpful information, in the middle they’re learning a bit more about you, and at the bottom they might be getting out their debit card.

Blue sky thinking
The sort of brainstorms where everyone can come up with really ridiculous ideas and YOU MUST NOT LAUGH.

Brand awareness
Who’s going to buy your stuff if they don’t know who you are? A customer generally has multiple touch points with your brand before they commit to buy, so brand awareness is more important than it sounds.

Underwear. Also, when you list what you want from a supplier, whether that’s a photographer or content marketing network. If you don’t know what you want, ask the supplier for a reverse brief. If it’s Hardie Grant Media, for example, we’ll have brilliant ideas.

C-3PO. Also, when robots pretend to be helpful humans or companies and answer your questions. You’ll see them pop up on a website or Facebook Messenger. Ask them some personal questions and see how they cope. Also, ABC News has a great chat bot on Facebook.

Where you upload your brilliant content to a website: a content management system. Wordpress is one of the most common CMS.

Content calendar
Great content doesn’t happen overnight. At least, not every night. Plan ahead with a content calendar that aligns to your content strategy.

Content hub
A website with articles. Not really sure why it needs a fancy phrase for it.

Content marketing
It can look different for every company. But basically, it’s creating and distributing high-quality content to develop brand awareness, customer loyalty and eventually your business. But it’s not about the hard sell (that’s advertising). Stop talking about yourself. It’s driven by what your customer wants, rather than what you want to tell them about yourself.

It can include video, social media, magazines, white papers, email newsletters, websites, podcasts, apps, webinars – you name it.

Content marketing is also a skill set, as CMI says in their own, admittedly excellent, content marketing glossary.

Content strategy

This is not your content plan. This is the why and how you’re creating content, and who you’re creating it for.

Conversion rate
Something to do with money, right? Nope. It’s more about the percentage of people who take action after seeing your marketing attempts.

Customer experience. What someone thinks of. You. Each little interaction adds up to an experience with a company or brand. This is considered a journey. Could include research and advertising right through to sales and customer service.

A chartered tax adviser. But also, a call to action. It’s an enticing bit of information that makes you do something, like sign up to an email newsletter or do a free trial.

Click through rate. How many times people click on your digital content or ad.


Digital marketing
Marketing on everything digital, to reach a larger audience or target a specific audience. Eg using social media targeting to reach Australian dog owners, particularly women, to entice them to buy a new range of dog treats. Or that discount code email you get when you sign up to your favourite fashion brand’s website.

Earned media
Publicity, essentially. When people are talking about you or writing about you. Ask – they’re the experts on getting your brand out there. You can’t control it, but it can have more impact than content on your owned media.

Essential. If you don’t get you’re apostrophes right you look like a fool.

Email direct marketing, or your friendly email newsletter like Hardie Grant Media’s The Lead. 


Usually referring to social media. If people like what you’re doing and react to it. Can be a measurement of social media success.

A box of fancy chocolates, with a few chocolates sitting outside the box.
Chocolate is an evergreen topic, because it's always delicious.

Content that isn’t time sensitive. Like rather than content on Easter chocolate, it’s on the five best chocolate brands. Because chocolate is always delicious, so traffic for that content nugget will just continue to grow over time.


If you don’t know, #wherehaveyounbeen. It’s used on keywords in social posts and helps you categorise your content and follow the themes that interests you.

People who have a dedicated following online, like The Rock and Taylor Swift through to microinfluencers leading a niche market. Brands partner with influencers to reach the influencer’s audience.

Presenting information in a visual way. Usually gives an easy-to-understand overview.


You’re hungry. You have cheese in the fridge. You are low on ideas. You pop “cheese recipes” into your favourite search engine. Boom, that’s a keyword. You want to use the right keywords for your digital content so that you appear in search results, as close to the top as possible. It’s part of SEO.

Key performance indicator. Ie. a measure to track and measure your marketing success.

First, it’s nothing to do with testicles. We just had to clear that up. Although, if you had an article on five steps to checking your testicles, well, I guess that would be a listicle about testicles.

In this case, the red gouda has a 75% market share. Kind of.

Market share
Say you make really, really good cheddar. Everyone loves it, everyone buys it. In fact, you’re the most popular cheesemonger out there – your sales as a percentage of the industry are huge (market share). The other cheese guys cry into their curds. You are the market leader of the cheese industry.

Middle of the funnel
Stop swearing, MOFU. Imagine a huge funnel with your customer in there. Where are they in their surreal journey to you? At the top they might just be checking you out (“How you doin?”) and finding helpful information, in the middle they’re learning a bit more about you, and at the bottom they might be getting out their debit card.

When you don’t just rock social, you also rock podcasts, web, TV, EDMs and video.


Native advertising
Paid content that looks like editorial content eg not an ad. Also known as advertorial. Great native advertising aligns with the publisher’s editorial style to reach its audience.

Wikipedia says it’s a neologism portmanteau. Thanks, Wikipedia. It’s like multichannel but planning for multiple media types from the start. This means users or customers will have an integrated experience, no matter where they interact with your content.

Opt ins
Choosing to take part – say ticking that yes, you’d like to receive the awesome EDM, thank you. Or yes, you can share my data. A company can send you marketing if you’ve given them your information, says the government. Opt ins are a common marketing metric.

Organic (reach or traffic)
Expensive fruit and veg. Also, when you get listed on a search engine or seen on a social media site without spending money.

Outside of the box
Just thinking really, but preferably about a novel idea.

Owned media
The stuff a brand has and controls, such as their website or social media.

One of the biggest marketing trends of recent years. It means using what you know about your users or customers to tailor content to them. It should be a win for the customer because they get either a more personal experience (Hi, firstname!) or more relevant content (you like cheese? Here are our favourite types).

A way for you to communicate your target audience. You take your research about factors like age, location and interests and distil that into a fictionalised character.


Rich media
The Murdochs, obviously. Also, digital content with interactive elements like video or audio.

How many people saw or interacted with your content.

When you sneakily have a look at your favourite parmesan online. Then when you’re trying to work, it keeps popping up on Google and Facebook ads and reminding you you’re hungry.

Return on investment. If your money has been well spent.

A place in Norway. Also, search engine marketing. Paid ways to appear in search results. 

Search engine optimisation. What you do to make Google include you in their search. Includes everything from how you build and organise your website, to how good your content is.

Search engine results page: when your SEO work pays off. What you see after doing a Google search – can include, ads, organic traffic, videos, maps etc. 

Share of voice
How many people are talking about you, compared to others. Nowadays usually in relation to digital marketing.

Social media
The growing number of apps and websites where people connect with each other. The most popular apps vary by your age: The top social media platforms for Australian teens (born since 2006) are YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.

If you’re ever in doubt about what people are talking about, just throw this word around a few times and you’ll sound super smart.


Ask Gen X and Y. They are likely to answer with interpretive dance while videoing it.

A bowl of chopped tofu.
TOFU content is not what you expect.

Top of the funnel
TOFU. You know, that protein-rich soy product. Or instead, imagine a huge funnel with your customer in there. Where are they in their surreal journey to you? At the top they might just be checking you out and finding helpful information, in the middle they’re learning a bit more about you, and at the bottom they might be getting out their debit card. 

Trending or currently relevant content. Like the TikTok pasta that went viral in February 2021. Or what Brittany Spears was to music.

User experience. The quality of someone’s interaction with a website or other digital product. Is it easy to navigate? Is it easy to use? Is it accessible? Does it meet the user’s needs? If you’re frustrated by a website, chances are it has poor UX.

What Madonna was to the 80s. Ie she was showing off her roots and wearing tonnes of eclectic jewellery before it was cool. She captured the spirit of the age. Kylie Minogue also applicable. 

Still not sure you’ve got all these marketing terms down? Then best subscribe to The Lead, our monthly inbox delight of content marketing knowledge.

Sophie Al-Bassam is senior managing editor at Hardie Grant media.