Inbound Marketing

Marketing terminology: TOF, ICP, BOF, CPA, CLV—what does it all mean?

Marketing is getting more and more complex. Knowing common marketing terminology can help you implement and assess popular marketing strategies.

If you're new to marketing, you might be overwhelmed by all the marketing terminology out there. Acronyms and initialisms like TOF, BOF, ICP, and CLV can all get confusing if you're unfamiliar with them. In this glossary, we'll go over all of the major terms and what they mean. Once you understand them, you can implement them in your own campaigns.

General Marketing Terms

Some general marketing terminology includes:

Digital marketing — Communication that occurs through a form of digital device that is aimed at persuading people to purchase a product or service
Brand positioning — How you differentiate yourself from your competitors and how consumers identify and connect with your brand. It comprises the key qualities and values that are synonymous with your company.

Brand awareness — The level of familiarity people have with your brand and its unique qualities

Demand generation — The process of generating demand for your product or service

Inbound marketing — A marketing methodology that focuses on appealing to a specific group of potential customers, as opposed to trying to reach everyone and anyone. Inbound marketing tactics like blogging, social media, and SEO can be used to attract the right customers to your company.

Lead nurturing — The process of educating and building trust with leads in an effort to guide them through the buyer's journey and eventually convert them into customers

Flywheel — A marketing model introduced by HubSpot that places the customer at the centre of the business and highlights the opportunity for repeat business through relationship building and customer service

Buyer personas — A semi-fictional representation of your ideal client or target audience. Find out how to create buyer personas.

Ideal customer profile (ICP) — A comprehensive profile of the most rewarding type of customer to target

Sales enablement — A combination of technology, processes, and content that enables your sales and team to achieve more efficiency

Account-based marketing (ABM) — An approach that focuses on finding ways to engage with people from targeted accounts based on your ideal customer profile (ICP). Instead of casting a wide net, ABM is all about sending targeted communications.

Buyer's journey — The journey a lead takes to become a customer, starting with initial research and ideally ending in repeat sales


It's also important to know certain marketing terminology around metrics that you'll want to measure, such as:

Churn rate — A measurement used to calculate customer retention. It helps companies identify how many customers they lose in a given time period. To calculate your churn rate, you divide the number of customers lost during a time period by the number of customers you had at the beginning of the time period.

Cost per lead (CPL) — The total amount it costs to acquire a lead

Key performance indicator (KPI) — Measurements used to track progress towards marketing goals

Customer lifetime value (CLV) — The predicted net profit associated with the future relationship with that customer

Net promoter score (NPS) — Customer satisfaction measurement that determines the degree to which people would recommend a brand, based on a scale from 0 to 10

Tech and Operations

Some tech and operations marketing terminology includes:

Tech stack — The set of technology and software an organisation uses to run their business

Customer relationship management (CRM) — A technology for managing your company's relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers

Content management system (CMS) — A software that allows marketers to create, design, host, edit, manage, and track the performance of their website

The Funnel:

Top of the funnel (TOF) — The first stage of the buying process, where buyers are becoming aware of a problem and beginning to look for more information

Middle of the funnel (MOF) — The middle of the buying process where buyers have identified their problem and are looking for a specific solution

Bottom of the funnel (BOF) — The last stage of the buying process, where a buyer has identified a problem, researched possible solutions, and is getting ready to buy

Marketing qualified lead (MQL) — The third of six lifecycle stages in the buyer's journey. MQLs indicate the number of visitors you've converted who are good fits for your organisation.

Sales qualified lead (SQL) — The fourth of six lifecycle stages in the buyer's journey. An SQL is when sales agree with marketing that the contact has demonstrated enough interest and is a good enough fit to initiate a sales conversation.

Multitouch revenue attribution — The process of organising, collecting, and recording all interactions individuals engage in until they make a purchase.

Web and SEO

When it comes to web and SEO terminology, keep the following in mind:

Conversion rate — The ratio between the number of people that complete the desired action on a given webpage and the number of people that visit that webpage. That desired action could include filling out a form or clicking a CTA.

Information architecture — The organisation and structuring of content prior to developing a website

Landing page — A website page optimised for conversion

Thank-you page — An important part of lead nurturing, a thank-you page is a webpage an individual would land on after submitting information on a landing page. A thank-you page thanks them for their submission and provides them with potential next steps.

A/B testing — A split testing method involving a set of two variables to compare the performance of both in a campaign

Responsive design — Web design that performs consistently across multiple devices, including smartphones or tablets with smaller screens

Search engine optimisation (SEO) — The practice of positioning your content and website so it can rank well on and draw traffic from search engine results pages (SERPs)

Paid search — Paying to display ads on search engines based on specific terms, or keywords, that individuals search for

Keyword research — The process of researching and identifying the search terms your prospective site visitors are looking for online

Bounce rate — The rate at which people immediately leave your website upon visiting

Keeping all of this marketing terminology in mind can help you determine what to focus on in your marketing efforts.

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