In the marketing world, everyone has their own personal definitions for the various terms we run into - and I'm no different. Here are my interpretations of various words you may run across:
Advertising - Any activity that either 1) introduces your product/service to people who have no idea who you are, or 2) reminds people who know who you are that you still exist. Also known as the Pick-Up Line.
Branding - The art and science of making an impression.
Customer - A purchaser who you try to get to 1) purchase from you again, and 2) tell their friends to purchase from you.
Dissatisfaction - The result of not meeting expectations because you either 1) overpromised during the sale and couldn't deliver or 2) you didn't listen to the client's needs or 3) a situational snafu occurred and you didn't make up for it.
Experience - The perception the customer forms while purchasing or using your product/service. Remember: Your customer's perception is your reality.
Focus Group - A potentially unreliable way to gather information about your product/service that is better than having no data at all. Due to group psychology it's difficult to get objective feedback. Instead, listen to and reward your clients who complain.
Guerrilla Marketing - A term originally coined by Jay Conrad Levinson that has come to mean a cheap, generally unconventional marketing technique that yields a high return on your investment (so, duh - this should be part of your campaign too!)
Headline - A pithy phrase whose purpose is to call attention to the rest of the article and have people keep reading. In reality - we are all so busy nowadays that your headline may be the only thing that is actually read.
Idea - A solution to a problem. Although they may be wacky, quirky, outrageous, abnormal or otherwise off-the-wall the goal is to be effective, not cute or crazy.
Jargon - Words specific to an industry that ignorant people use to try to make themselves seem smarter. Little do they know that using jargon in their marketing copy is a sure-fire way to confuse the heck out of their customers.
Knowledge - Complete understanding of a subject which results in the belief that everyone knows/feels what you do. Smart companies try not to be too knowledgable.
Logo - A graphic image that represents your company. Note: a logo alone is not a brand (see branding)
Marketing - A series of activities executed on a continuing basis whose goal is turning people who have no idea who you are into people who may consider purchasing from you when the time is right.
New Media - The latest craze that "all the cool marketers are doing." Come on - there's no pressure. Just try a blog. I swear you'll like it. Not your style, maybe a social networking site? Uploaded video? Podcast? RSS? We've got a ton of new ways to get your message out now that high-speed internet is available to the masses.
Opinion - The way someone looks at the world based on their individual experiences and belief systems. Like bellybuttons (or other parts of the human anatomy) everyone's got one and we seldom think about how it got there. In terms of marketing - it's a good practice to listen to opinions so you can continue to improve and exceed your customer's expectations.
Prospect - Someone who is vaguely familiar with your product or service and you are engaging in the marketing process. Also known as your date.
Quality - One way to compete - the other is price. To be effective - you can't do both.
Referral - A sale that occurs as a result of word of mouth. Due to the high conversion rate (chance of becoming a client) it's a smart strategy to get clients to spread the good word.
Sales - The process of turning a prospect into a paying client. First you must propose by asking for the sale, then you enter into a formal agreement where you are partners - for better or worse. Also known as the marriage.
Tactics - Techniques for turning strangers into paying clients.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP) - A statement that showcases how you stand out from your competitors. A critical component to a successful marketing strategy.
Value - The ratio between price and quality. Different for every individual at every single transaction. Sometimes, people are willing to pay more for higher quality. Other times, price is what matters.
Word of Mouth (WOM) - Exceeding customer's expectations to the point where they run and tell all of their friends how wonderful you are.
Xenophobia - Fear of strangers. Probably a fear that marketers don't have. (Come on, it's an "X" - I'm scrounging here.)
You - The prominent pronoun in marketing copy. If you see "I" - it's time for a re-write.
Zealot - A customer who is so enthused about your product or service that they voluntarily sell it to everyone they can. Smart companies work hard to keep zealots zealous.