Your Go-To Marketing Automation Glossary

If you’re just beginning to explore the marketing automation industry, you may have come across some terminology that you’re not quite familiar with (and let’s be honest — this can happen even if you are familiar with the automation industry). From lead nurturing to automation rules, some of the marketing jargon is enough to make your head spin.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a list of some common automation terms, all defined in one place for your convenience? You’re in luck! We’ve taken some common (and some tricky!) marketing automation terms and phrases and listed them out below.

API (Application Programming Interface): A specific set of “rules” (code) that software programs can follow to communicate with one another.

Automation Rules: Automation rules allow you to perform certain marketing and sales actions within your automation system, like sorting leads into different lists, based on criteria that you specify.

BANT: An acronym standing for Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline. The combination of these four elements determines how sales-ready a lead is.

Inbound Marketing: A marketing tactic that brings buyers to you through a combination of SEO; valuable marketing content like white papers, webinars, blog posts, videos; and social media. Inbound marketing is becoming a popular (and cheaper) alternative to the outbound, “push-style” marketing tactics of the past.

IP Address (Internet Protocol Address): A number assigned to each device participating in a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. Most marketing automation systems recognize the IP addresses of website visitors to potentially identify anonymous visitors.

Landing Pages: A landing page is a specific web page that is typically reached through clicking a link or advertisement. This page should display content that is specific to the advertisement, search keyword, or link clicked. It may have a form, white paper, webinar, or other content, and usually features some sort of call to action.

Lead (or Demand) Generation: Creating interest in your product or service while priming your buyers for later conversations with sales.

Lead Management: Lead management involves identifying, tracking, and managing sales leads from the point of lead generation to conversion.

Lead Nurturing (or Drip Marketing): Lead nurturing allows correspondence to be sent to the prospects on a specific list at specific intervals based on time or prospect activities. Use drip programs for ongoing marketing campaigns and to nurture leads that may not be sales-ready.

Lead Scoring: Assigning a numerical value to leads to indicate how interested they are in your product or service. Combined with lead grading, this is a good gauge of when leads are ready to be assigned to sales.

Lead Grading: Lead grades are often used in conjunction with a lead score. A grade (A,B,C,D, etc.) indicates how well a prospect fits your ideal prospect profile.

Progressive Profiling: Progressive profiling allows you to display new form fields to prospects based on the data points that have already been collected. This means that prospects won’t have to fill out their information all at once, so you can collect their information over time and form a profile on them. Not having to present prospects with long forms to get all of their information at once results in higher conversion rates.

Soft Bounce vs. Hard Bounce: A Soft Bounce is an email that is recognized by the recipient’s mail server but is returned to the sender because the recipient’s mailbox is full or the mail server is temporarily unavailable. A Hard Bounce is an email that permanently bounced back to the sender because the address is invalid. A hard bounce might occur because the domain name doesn’t exist or because the recipient is unknown.

Trigger-based Marketing: Automation tools will take certain actions, like adding prospects to a particular list or sending out an email, based on actions taken by a prospect or a group of prospects.

Visitor vs. Lead vs. Opportunity: A visitor is an anonymous individual who comes to your site. Once they convert and provide contact information, they become a lead. A lead becomes an opportunity once contact is made and there is a chance you will close the deal.

What other marketing automation terms do you think deserve to be on this list? Let us know in the comments!

Want more information on marketing automation? Take a look at our “Art of Marketing Automation” white paper, which walks you through the beginning, intermediate, and advanced stages of marketing automation usage.

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