Basic Industry Definitions - The Creative Broker

Don't worry, you aren't expected to know everything.

We understand it can be overwhelming and exhausting to try to be an expert on everything.To make things a little easier, we extracted some key industry definitions from the American Marketing Association Resource Dictionary. To learn even more about these and other tactics, sign up for one our c-eminars (creative education seminars).

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Any announcement or persuasive message placed in the mass media in paid or donated time or space by an identified individual, company, or organization.


The placement of announcements and persuasive messages in time or space purchased in any of the mass media by business firms, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and individuals who seek to inform and/ or persuade members of a particular target market or audience about their products, services, organizations, or ideas.

Advertising agency

An organization that provides a variety of advertising related services to clients seeking assistance in their advertising activities. A full-service advertising agency engages in the planning and administration of advertising campaigns, including setting advertising objectives, developing advertising strategies, developing and producing the advertising messages, developing and executing media plans, and coordinating related activities such as sales promotion and public relations. A limited-service advertising agency concentrates on one of the major advertising agency functions such as developing and producing advertising messages or media plans.

Affiliate marketing

An online marketing strategy that involves revenue sharing between online advertisers/merchants and online publishers/salespeople. Compensation is typically awarded based on performance measures such as sales, clicks, registrations or a combination of factors.



Banner ad

A graphical Internet advertising tool. Users click on the graphic to be taken to another Web site. The term “banner ad” refers to a specific size image, measuring 468 pixels wide and 60 pixels tall (i.e. 468x60), but it is also used as a generic description of all graphical ad formats on the Internet.


A hybrid form of Internet communication that combines a column, diary and directory. The term, short for “Web log” refers to a frequently updated collection of short articles on various subjects with links to further resources.


A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. The legal term for brand is trademark. A brand may identify one item, a family of items, or all items of that seller. If used for the firm as a whole, the preferred term is trade name.

Brand image

The perception of a brand in the minds of persons. The brand image is a mirror reflection (though perhaps inaccurate) of the brand personality or product being. It is what people believe about a brand-their thoughts, feelings, expectations.


A middleman who serves as a go-between for the buyer or seller. The broker assumes no title risks, does not usually have physical custody of products, and is not looked upon as a permanent representative of either the buyer or seller.


Corporate purpose

The raison d’etre of a firm that describes the scope of the firm and its dominant emphasis and values. The purpose (or mission) of an organization is a function of five elements: (1) the history of the organization; (2) the current preferences of the management and/or owners; (3) environmental considerations; (4) the resources of the organization; and (5) the distinctive competencies of the organization.

Crisis managment

An attempt by an organization to reduce, minimize, or control the impact of a calamitous event through various communication techniques.

Community relations

A firm’s interactions with the locality in which it operates, with emphasis on disseminating company information to foster trust in the company’s activities.

Competitive advantage

1. (strategic marketing definition) A competitive advantage exists when there is a match between the distinctive competencies of a firm and the factors critical for success within the industry that permits the firm to outperform its competitors. Advantages can be gained by having the lowest delivered costs and/or differentiation in terms of providing superior or unique performance on attributes that are important to customers.

2. (global marketing definition) A total offer, vis-a-vis relevant competition, that is more attractive to customers. It exists when the competencies of a firm permit the firm to outperform its competitors.

Competitive intelligence

The systematic gathering of data and information about all aspects of competitors’ marketing and business activities for the purposes of formulating plans and strategies and making decisions.

Customer relationship management

A discipline in marketing combining database and computer technology with customer service and marketing communications. Customer relationship management (or CRM) seeks to create more meaningful one-on-one communications with the customer by applying customer data (demographic, industry, buying history, etc.) to every communications vehicle. At the simplest level, this would include personalizing e-mail or other communications with customer names. At a more complex level, CRM enables a company to produce a consistent, personalized marketing communication whether the customer sees an ad, visits a Web site, or calls customer service.


Direct mail advertising

The use of the mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service or other delivery services as an advertising media vehicle.

Direct marketing

1. (retailing definition) A form of nonstore retailing in which customers are exposed to merchandise through an impersonal medium and then purchase the merchandise by telephone or mail.

2. (channels of distribution definition) The total of activities by which the seller, in effecting the exchange of goods and services with the buyer, directs efforts to a target audience using one or more media (direct selling, direct mail, telemarketing, direct-action advertising, catalog selling, cable selling, etc.) for the purpose of soliciting a response by phone, mail, or personal visit from a prospect or customer.

Direct response advertising

An approach to the advertising message that includes a method of response such as an address or telephone number whereby members of the audience can respond directly to the advertiser in order to purchase a product or service offered in the advertising message. Direct response advertising can be conveyed to members of a target market by a wide variety of advertising media, including television, radio, magazines, mail delivery, etc.

Domain name

The internet address of an entity (such as “”)



A term referring to a wide variety of Internet-based business models. Typically, an e-commerce strategy incorporates various elements of the marketing mix to drive users to a Web site for the purpose of purchasing a product or service.

E-mail (email)

A communication format that involves sending computer-based messages over telecommunication technology. E-mail can include a letterstyle text message or more elaborate Web-style HTML messages. Users can also attach other files to the e-mail and transmit all elements simultaneously.

E-mail marketing (email marketing)

Marketing via email.


The gathering and displaying of products, people, or information at a central location for viewing by a diverse audience.



A multimedia technology developed by Macromedia to allow high interactivity in a small file size. Flash is often used as a format for animated banner ads or as a dynamic graphic on Web sites.



An item of value that is offered by the seller as an inducement to influence the consideration or purchase of a product or service.

Green marketing

1. (retailing definition) The marketing of products that are presumed to be environmentally safe.

2. (social marketing definition) The development and marketing of products designed to minimize negative effects on the physical environment or to improve its quality.

3. (environments definition) The efforts by organizations to produce, promote, package, and reclaim products in a manner that is sensitive or responsive to ecological concerns.

Guerilla marketing

Unconventional marketing intended to get maximum results from minimal resources.


HTML e-mail (email)

E-mail that is formatted using HTML, as opposed to plain text e-mail. Using HTML provides more flexibility with the format and appearance of e-mail, but not all user systems can process it in e-mail.



The consumer perception of a product, institution, brand, business, or person that may or may not correspond with “reality” or “actuality.” For marketing purposes the “image of what is” may be more important than “what actually is.”


The use of a program-length time period to advertise products and services. This approach often includes a direct response offer to sell the advertised items directly to the public.

Integrated marketing communications

A planning process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect for a product, service, or organization are relevant to that person and consistent over time.

Internal marketing

Marketing to employees of an organization to ensure that they are effectively carrying out desired programs and policies.


General term used to describe a global network of computers used to transmit information. The most familiar aspect of the Internet is the World Wide Web, which consists of various interlinked Web sites. The Internet was originally developed by the U.S. military as a backup communications system in case of nuclear war. In the early 1990s, the Internet was made publicly available and its usage has since grown exponentially.


Keyword marketing

Placing a marketing message in front of users based on they keywords they are using to search.

Keyword research

The search for keywords related to a Web site. Analysis of keywords helps determine which ones would yield the best return on a search engine optimization (SEO) program.



The format of a print advertisement that indicates where the component parts (artwork, body copy, headline, subhead, trademark, and other graphic elements) are to be placed on the page.


An inquiry or referral about an individual or organization that is a potential customer.


1. (product development definition) A clipped or shortened form of logotype. A logo is a word or phrase that serves to identify an organization. It is similar to a trade name.

2. (advertising definition) A graphic design that is used as a continuing symbol for a company, organization, or brand. It is often in the form of an adaptation of the company name or brand name or used in conjunction with the name.



Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

Marketing plan

A document composed of an analysis of the current marketing situation, opportunities and threats analysis, marketing objectives, marketing strategy, action programs, and projected or pro-forma income (and other financial) statements. This plan may be the only statement of the strategic direction of a business, but it is more likely to apply only to a specific brand or product. In the latter situation, the marketing plan is an implementation device that is integrated within an overall strategic business plan.

Market research

The systematic gathering, recording, and analyzing of data with respect to a particular market, where market refers to a specific customer
group in a specific geographic area.

Marketing research

Marketing research is the function that links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information-information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process. Marketing research specifies the information required to address these issues, designs the method for collecting information, manages and implements the data collection process, analyzes the results, and communicates the findings and their implications.

Media relations

The activities involved in working with the media to generate publicity for a product, service, or organization. This includes establishing contact with members of the media, providing publicity materials, and being available to answer any questions the media might have.

Mission statement

An expression of a company’s history, managerial preferences, environmental concerns, available resources, and distinctive competencies to serve selected publics. It is used to guide the company’s decision making and strategic planning.


News clip

A type of film presentation in which editorial content is controlled by the sponsor. It is provided to broadcast media for their use as deemed appropriate.

News release

Information of timely value distributed by an organization to promote its views or product/services.


A brief digest of important or noteworthy information. A newsletter may be developed by individuals for sale or distributed free by associations, professional societies, and companies as a method of reaching various publics quickly.


Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

An online advertising payment model in which payment is based solely on qualifying click-throughs.

Pop-up ad

An ad that displays in a new browser window. Pop-up ad windows typically are smaller and do not offer the standard navigation tools of a standard browser window.


A unit of activity in the product development process that usually deals with creating and marketing one new product. A project involves a multidisciplinary group of people, tightly or loosely organized, dedicated to the new product assignment that created the project. A project is often part of a larger unit of work, a program, which delivers a stream of new products, one from each project.


The product/service information, experience, and opinions discussed by consumers in social contexts.

Promotional campaign

The combination of various advertising, public relations, sales promotion, and personal selling activities used by the marketer over a period of time to achieve predetermined goals.


The core of the personal selling process in which the salesperson transmits the information about the product and attempts to persuade the
prospect to become a customer.

Public relations

That form of communication management that seeks to make use of publicity and other non paid forms of promotion and information to influence the feelings, opinions, or beliefs about the company, its products or services, or about the value of the product or service or the activities of the organization to buyers, prospects, or other stakeholders.


The person responsible for managing the publicity program for a product, service, or organization.


The non-paid-for communication of information about the company or product, generally in some media form.


Relationship marketing

Marketing with the conscious aim to develop and manage long-term and/or trusting relationships with customers, distributors, suppliers, or other parties in the marketing environment.

Request for proposal (RFP)

A request issued by a potential buyer desiring bids from several potential vendors for a product or service satisfying specifications describing the buyer’s needs.



Any of a number of activities designed to promote customer purchase of a product or service. Sales can be done in person or over the phone, through e-mail or other communication media. The process generally includes stages such as assessing customer needs, presenting product features and benefits to address those needs and negotiation on price, delivery and other elements.

Sales training

A formal or informal program designed to educate the sales force and convey management expectations of job responsibilities. Sales training provides managers with the opportunity to communicate high performance expectations through training and to equip the sales force with the skills needed to reach high performance levels. A well-designed training program moves beyond passive learning techniques and shows the sales force how to sell. Behavior modeling is one successful approach to sales training. Some common objectives of sales training are to impart product knowledge, teach selling skills, increase productivity, improve morale, lower turnover, improve customer relations, and improve time and territory management.

Search engine

A program that indexes documents, then attempts to match documents relevant to the users search requests. Search engine can refer to the program on an individual site, or those on broad Internet sites such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

The process of developing a marketing/technical plan to ensure effective use of search engines as a marketing tool. Typically, consists of two elements. On a technical side, SEO refers to ensuring that a Web site can be indexed properly by the major search engines including keywords, content, and links. On the marketing side, SEO refers to the process of targeting specific keywords where the site should “win” in searches. This can be done by modifying a Web site to score well in the algorithms search engines use to determine rank, or by purchasing placement with individual keywords. Often , SEO programs are a blend off several elements and strategies.

Shopping cart

Software used to make a site’s product catalogue available for online ordering, whereby visitors may select, view, add/delete, and purchase merchandise.


The verbal or written portion of an advertising message that summarizes the main idea in a few memorable words. It is sometimes called a tag line.


Unwanted, unsolicited e-mail, typically of a commercial nature.


Target market

The particular segment of a total population on which the retailer focuses its merchandising expertise to satisfy that submarket in order to accomplish its profit objectives.

The Four Ps

A traditional view of marketing that divides the function into four, interconnected parts: Product, Price, Promotion, Place (distribution).

Title tag

An HTML tag used to define the text in the top line of a Web browser, also used by many search engines as the title of search listings.

Trade show

1. (sales definition) An exhibition in which a number of manufacturers display their products.

2. (sales promotion definition) A periodic gathering at which manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors in a particular industry, or related industries, display their products and provide information for potential buyers (retail, wholesale, or industrial).



The location of a resource on the Internet. Term is often used interchangeably with domain and Web address.


Video news release (VNR)

A publicity device designed to look and sound like a television news story. The publicist prepares a 60- to 90-second news release on videotape, which can then be used by television stations as is or after further editing. It is more sophisticated than a news clip.


Web site

A collection of interconnected electronic “pages” available on the Internet used to provide information about a company, organization, cause or individual.

Web design

The selection and coordination of available components to create the layout and structure of a Web page.

Web site traffic

Any of a number of measures to describe the amount of visitors and visits a Web site receives.

World Wide Web

A portion of the Internet that consists of a network of interlinked Web pages. This is the aspect of the Internet most familiar to users.