Get past confusing industry jargon, acronyms and abbreviations and learn how to communicate about marketing and branding.

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This post was updated Jul. 15, 2024.

It can be frustrating to feel like you need to be understood, and it’s no surprise that many people develop a dislike for marketers as a result. Feeling overwhelmed by marketing language can create a sense of distrust. 

Marketing professionals have a reputation for using abbreviations, acronyms, industry jargon and specific phrases that only they seem to know. If you’ve ever met with a marketing firm or ad agency, you might have felt like you are speaking an entirely different language.

I’ve always believed in communicating with clients in plain English to ensure they fully understand the marketing strategies and ideas being presented. Clear communication is vital, and I prioritize providing straightforward explanations that help clients make informed decisions.

Marketers don’t intend to confuse or exclude their audience — quite the opposite. The vast marketing discipline covers everything from strategy and branding to advertising, public relations, social media, analytics, email, research, digital and more.

With so many constantly changing platforms and consumer behaviors to keep up with, it’s no wonder marketers try to simplify their knowledge to make it more accessible to everyone. Unfortunately, the result is often an alienated audience who needs a dictionary to understand what the marketer is trying to say. But fear not; below is an easy-to-understand guide to marketing terms.

  1. Account-based marketing (ABM): A marketing strategy that involves personalizing outreach to specific, high-value clients versus and approach that involves a wider audience through more traditional marketing techniques. 
  2. Advertising: Advertising is the promotion of homes or real estate services through different channels, such as TV, radio, print media or digital platforms, with the primary goal of creating awareness and interest to increase sales or brand awareness. Advertising is a strategy used in marketing. 
  3. Analytics: Analytics is the process of using data to uncover patterns and insights. The majority of people rely on Google Analytics to collect website data to make informed decisions. 
  4. Bottom of the funnel (BoFu): The bottom of the funnel (BoFu) in real estate is the final stage of the homebuying/homeselling process, where potential buyers have decided to purchase a property/sell a property and are actively looking to finalize the transaction. BoFu marketing strategies focus on providing personalized support and guidance to create a smooth and successful transaction and build trust and loyalty.
  5. Buyer journey: The buyer journey in real estate refers to the steps a person goes through when they decide to buy or sell their property. 
  6. Brand: A brand makes a company, product, or service different. It’s composed of things like their logo, reputation, and what they believe in, and it’s what people think and feel when they interact with them. Think of a brand as a person both influenced by perception and reputation. 
  7. Brand awareness: Brand awareness refers to how well people can identify and recall a brand when they come across it in different contexts, such as seeing a logo or hearing a name.
  8. Branding: Branding is the process of creating and managing a brand. Branding is how companies make themselves distinctive and memorable via a name, logo, tagline, and visual/verbal elements. Branding aims to create a unique and memorable brand that resonates with clients and helps build loyalty and trust.
  9. Brand position: Brand position refers to the unique place a brand occupies in the minds of its target audience based on how it differentiates itself from its competitors. Ultimately it is what sets a brand apart. 
  10. Call-to-action (CTA): A call-to-action is a request for a buyer or seller to take a specified action. For example, sign-up, call, or make an appointment. 
  11. Content marketing: Content marketing uses engaging and informative material to keep a particular group interested in a brand and drive profit. It can be anything from blog posts and videos to infographics and e-books.  
  12. Content strategy: Content strategy means making a plan for how to create, organize, and share information (like articles, videos, and social media posts) that helps a business to reach its goals and meet the needs of its clients.
  13. Conversion rate: Conversion rate is the ratio between the number of people who complete a desired action on a website and the number of people who visit the website.
  14. Conversion rate optimization (CRO): Conversion rate optimization is based on the scientific method and involves improving a website to incrementally increase a desired action, like filling out a form or making a phone call. 
  15. Content management system (CMS): A content management system (CMS) is a software tool that enables marketers to efficiently create, design, host, edit, manage, and analyze the performance of their website content. WordPress is an excellent example of this. 
  16. Cost per lead (CPL): Cost per lead is the amount spent to acquire a lead, used mainly as a metric in paid advertising. 
  17. Customer acquisition cost (CAC): Customer acquisition cost is the cost of turning a lead into a customer. 
  18. Customer relationship management (CRM): CRM software is a tool that helps real estate agents keep track of their customers and transactions. It does more than store contact information like names and phone numbers. It also allows real estate agents better understand their customers by analyzing data about their interactions. 
  19. Customer retention: Customer retention in real estate refers to the ability of a real estate agent or broker to keep their clients or customers satisfied and engaged with their services, resulting in repeat business or referrals in the future. 
  20. Demand generation: Demand generation generates demand for a home or real estate service by leveraging data and technology in all marketing tactics.
  21. Digital marketing: Digital marketing is any marketing done through an internet-connected tool. 
  22. Growth marketing: Growth marketing means conducting marketing experiments to improve transactions. It involves trying different things and seeing what works best to make the broker or agent more successful. The experiments are continuously improved and optimized to meet goals. 
  23. Ideal customer profile (ICP): An Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) describes the perfect buyer or seller a real estate agent or firm would like to work with. It includes their age range, income level, location, and specific needs and preferences when buying or selling a property.
  24. Inbound marketing: Inbound marketing is a client-centric approach that focuses on attracting clients by creating helpful content that people want to see; tactics used in inbound marketing include: blogging, social media, and SEO. Instead of interrupting people with ads, inbound marketing makes individuals come to you because they like what you say. 
  25. Key performance indicators (KPI): Key performance indicators are used to track progress toward a marketing goal. Before running a marketing campaign, you set your KPIs to determine if the campaign was successful.
  26. Landing page: A landing page for a real estate agent is a single webpage designed to capture the attention of potential clients and encourage them to take a specific action, such as scheduling a consultation or viewing a property.
  27. Lead generation: Lead generation identifies and attracts potential clients interested in buying or selling a property. The aim is to capture their contact information and turn them into leads nurtured into successful transactions.
  28. Lead generation website: A lead generation website attracts potential clients interested in buying or selling property. Its goal is to capture contact information and generate leads for real estate agents or brokers to follow up with.
  29. Lead nurturing: Lead nurturing is the art of staying in touch with buyers and sellers interested in working with you and providing them with helpful information to assist them in deciding to move forward.
  30. Marketing: Marketing is the umbrella term that contains everything done to promote and sell homes or real estate services. It involves identifying, satisfying, and retaining customers through various channels and strategies.
  31. Marketing automation: Marketing automation uses software tools to automate repetitive marketing tasks, such as sending emails, posting on social media, and managing campaigns. With marketing automation, real estate agents can streamline their marketing efforts and reach their target audience more efficiently.
  32. Middle of the funnel (MoFu): The middle of the funnel (MoFu) in real estate is the stage where potential buyers/sellers actively consider which real estate agent to work with. MoFu marketing strategies focus on building trust and relationships with potential buyers, providing in-depth information, personalized advice, and lead nurturing to encourage them to take action.
  33. Paid search: Paid search is a form of online advertising where the real estate professional pays a fee for their ads to appear at the top of search engine results pages for specific keywords or phrases. 
  34. Paid social: Paid social refers to paying to advertise real estate services or properties to a targeted audience on social media.
  35. Public relations (PR): Public relations involves managing relationships with the public and building credibility and visibility through various channels to enhance success in the industry. The goal is to communicate the real estate agent’s brand, reputation, and expertise in a positive light to potential clients, other industry professionals, and the media.
  36. Sales enablement: Sales enablement means giving brokers, negotiators, and agents important information and tools to help them sell and rent property better to their clients. It includes coaching, tools, and knowledge to help your sales team work more efficiently and effectively. A good broker will have many sales enablement tools to support their agents.
  37. Search engine optimization (SEO): Search engine optimization is the way to increase a website’s position (rank) on the search engine results page (SERPs). SEO includes both on-page SEO and off-page SEO tactics. 
  38. Tech stack: A tech stack is a group of technology and software an organization uses to support its business — for example, sales acceleration tools, marketing automation platforms, CMS, and CRM. 
  39. Top of the funnel (ToFu): In real estate, the top of the funnel (ToFu) refers to the initial stage of the homebuying process. At this stage, the focus is on attracting a large audience and creating brand awareness.

Laura Viñalet is the CEO of Keenability, a marketing agency specializing in lifestyle marketing that targets the affluent buyer. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

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