Key Marketing Acronyms for B2B Marketers to Understand and Employ

By Erin Gleeson | Inbound Marketing Specialist

Business in general is replete with acronyms and jargon, and marketing is no exception. In fact, it’s likely one of the most
jargon-y fields out there.

While acronyms and jargon can streamline a conversation, removing unnecessary descriptors and explanations, their use can also lead to confusion and frustration when a term is not understood. Just think of the last time you went to the doctor and got an earful of incomprehensible medical terms- did you have to ask for a translation? Marketing can feel the same way, but it doesn’t have to.

Stay with us as we delve into some of the top marketing acronyms that B2B marketing leaders should not only be familiar with, but should also employ at their organizations.

CRM: Customer Relationship Management

A CRM is software that collects customer contact info and tracks their interactions with the company. CRM’s vary in complexity, with some serving as contact records and others providing a comprehensive view of a customer’s journey and all touch points with marketing and sales. It’s important that your CRM plays nicely with other marketing and sales tools to increase functionality and fully utilize the collected data.

CMS: Content Management System

A CMS is a user-friendly way to create, edit and manage a website. It allows non-developers to add, tweak and optimize content. CMS also range in size and complexity and should be chosen to fit an organization’s needs and employee skills.

One note for all our Hubspot users out there- Hubspot refers to their CMS as a COS- Content Optimization System. From the user point-of-view, it’s the same as a CMS.

A screenshot of Hubspot's COS or CMS.

KPI: Key Performance Indicator

KPI is not a marketing-only term, but since it’s core to marketing, it deserved to be included. KPI’s are metrics that track your progress towards a business goal. They should be measurable and set a baseline for which you’ll gauge marketing success.

 KPI’s can reflect overall marketing program goals or goals for a specific tactic. Some examples include:

  • Monthly leads originating from inbound marketing efforts
  • Overall web visits each month
  • Average email click-through-rate
  • Social media referrals by month

CTA: Call-to-Action

CTA’s are core to inbound marketing, as they drive visitor interactions and form submissions. A CTA is a linked phrase, button or image that drives the visitor on to a desired action by clicking. For example, a blog post about an upcoming webinar might have a CTA at the end saying “Register Now” to drive webinar registration.

An example CTA to download TREW's lead gen ebookAn example CTA to download TREW's lead gen ebook

If your web pages are not converting at the level you expect, a first step is to check that CTA’s stand out on the page and are targeted to the page’s offer.

SLA: Service Level Agreement

An SLA helps align the efforts of sales and marketing across departments. It is an agreement between sales and marketing about the expectations sales has for marketing and vice versa. An SLA defines lead quality and quantity expected by sales from marketing, and it defines how quickly and deeply sales will pursue the leads supplied by marketing. 

SEO: Search Engine Optimization

SEO is extremely important for any business operating online (which, at this point in time, should be everyone in some capacity). SEO is the practice of optimizing your website to show up on search engine results pages (SERPs). There are many ways of doing this, including crafting page content around keywords, adding meta-data to pages, and gaining links.

A chart from TREW's 2017 Europe research on engineers

Engineers’ top content discovery source is search, so it is vital that your business appears in search results. Thankfully, engineers go much deeper into search results than the average web user, so it’s less crucial to rank in the very top of results, where it is highly competitive.

A chart from TREW's 2017 Europe research on engineers.

Learn more about SEO maintenance to implement today, and keep your website visible in search. 

HTML/CSS: HyperText Markup Language/ Cascading Style Sheets

HTML and CSS are two different types of code that together build the structure of your website and establish its style.

HTML provides the basic web page structure for your website. Every website, regardless of CMS and web host, is built using HTML.

CSS gives your website its look and feel. It builds upon the HTML to turn a functional site into a visually appealing one as well. If you’re seeing design issues, it’s likely due to missing/inconsistent CSS. CSS also makes a site responsive to different devices and screen sizes.

CTR: Click-through-Rate

CTR is a mathematical formula reflecting the percentage of people who saw your offer and clicked through. CTR can be measured for emails, web pages, CTA’s, social ads…the list goes on and on. It is an effective way of measuring how enticing your content and offer is to the people seeing it.

Average CTR’s vary across marketing mediums, companies and industries. It’s a good idea to look at your organization’s historical data to set baselines and goals for each medium’s CTR.


Need help getting started with inbound marketing? Download our ebook, Smart Marketing for Engineers: Build Your Foundation.

Smart Marketing for Engineers: Build Your Foundation Ebook

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Erin Gleeson

Inbound Marketing Specialist