The essential product marketing glossary
What’s the true goal of marketing? It’s getting your business and your potential customer base to meet, get to know each other, and become very good – and, ultimately, lifelong – friends. Getting there, though, means facing an arsenal of jargon, complex terminology, acronyms, and expressions.
For those with little more than a basic understanding of the product marketing process, it’s a lot to take in. Some of the terms can sound similar, although they may actually be worlds apart in real-world situations. Meanwhile, the meanings of other expressions can change depending on who’s saying them. It really can seem like a foreign language.
To help you and ourselves, we’ve compiled a list of essential product marketing terms to reference when building proposals, conversing with clients, and selling projects.
This list is evolving just as we at Article Group are, so keep it bookmarked.
A controlled experiment to compare two versions of something to figure out which performs better, done by splitting an audience or user base.
Testing performed internally to identify glitches before releasing a product to real users or the public.
The intended group of consumers, partners, or stakeholders of a specific marketing strategy.
Battle cards (or battlecards)
Concise, actionable summaries of a product, the market, the competition, and existing customers. They provide sales teams with quick responses to prospective customer questions about how the competition stacks up.
Testing of a nearly finished product by real users prior to its widespread commercial release.
Anything that prevents the progress of a project. Blockers may be raised by people, technical or communication issues, task or time management, or dependencies.
The distinct amalgamation of the voice and visual appearance of a brand, used to differentiate and communicate its vision to its consumer.
Brand point of view (POV)
The way a brand views “the world,” and what that brand stands for in it.
A plan of action or guiding policy that determines the image an organization wants to establish with its target audience.
Business development (BD)
A practice that develops and implements growth opportunities within (and between) organizations in a sustainable and profitable way.
A plan of action or guiding policy designed to achieve the high-level, long-term goals of an organization. It’s developed through learning, critical thinking, and understanding challenges.
Semi-fictional depiction of an ideal customer based on market research and customer data.
A detailed examination of a customer’s success with a company’s product or service.
A measure of the health of a product based on the percentage of customers who stop using it over a given period.
A complete description of companies that deliver similar products to a target market. The landscape includes mission, vision, core values, niche market, strengths, and weaknesses.
An evolving, always “breathing” collection of information, ideas, and messages on a wide scale of media (social media, blog posts, white papers/eBooks, video), all relating to a company and its purpose.
A plan for addressing an audience with topical, high-quality, valuable material that has a specific altitude, voice, and tone.
The point when an individual targeted by a marketing message performs the action intended by that message (setting up a demo appointment, signing up for a newsletter, purchasing a product, etc.).
A foundational story about a company, brand, or product that establishes what it does, why it matters, and how it delivers value.
A simple document that lays out the approach to a creative task. It serves as a primary framework for thinking and communicating about creative strategy.
An intentional approach to telling a specific story and developing assets that support business growth.
The reasons a product/service is valuable to the customer, based on value propositions – whether tangible, functional, or emotional – that a customer base would recognize.
Customer journey map
A diagram – or several diagrams – that depict(s) the stages customers go through when interacting with a company. Generally, it starts with interacting with sales reps, followed by doing research online, then accessing customer service or airing grievances on social media.
Customer lifetime value
A metric that determines the total amount of income a business can expect to bring in from a specific customer relationship.
A quantifiable service, answer, or piece of content that is provided at a project’s milestone.
A simple document outlining what needs to be understood in order to solve a client’s problem and how to go about understanding it.
The process of making a product, service, or piece of content available to an intended audience.
Developed by business theorist Chris Argyris, this concept is the process of modifying goals or decision-making rules based on the results of experience.
A method of task management that discerns prioritization. It stems from a quote attributed to President Dwight D. Eisenhower: “I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.”
A visual tool used by organizations to understand their customers’ needs, desires, and pain points.
The process of taking a result – particularly customer feedback – and using it to guide such future business decisions as product or service improvements.
A technique that introduces a product to the target audience via physical engagement. It includes events, promotions, samples, and other channels that will reach prospective customers directly.
The release of a product to the general public.
Go to market (GTM)
The first, full-scale, public availability of a product or update to its target audience.
Go-to-market (GTM) strategy
An action plan that details how to introduce or relaunch a product, deliver on key value propositions, satisfy customers, and meet revenue/profit expectations.
A buyer-centric approach that uses helpful, relevant content – such as social media, blog posts, and webinars – as well as search engine optimization (SEO) to pull in, interact with, and maintain a specialized customer base.
An interpretation of facts that reveals an opportunity to make a desired impact.
A summary of the most compelling insights, meaningful opportunities, and valuable strategic recommendations, based on research or data analysis.
A cross-channel marketing strategy that delivers consistent messaging to a specific audience across different platforms.
Promotion of a company’s objectives, products, and services to employees within the organization.
A cycle of change and refinement to a product/service, and the brand messaging or marketing process associated with it, based on a feedback loop.
An initial meeting of specialists, stakeholders, and/or team members before starting a project.
KPI Alignment Wheel
A tool created by Article Group for matching marketing goals to performance measurements.
A visual signifier of a brand’s existence, used to help audiences identify that brand instantly.
The process of dividing a target market into approachable groups based on demographic, psychographic (i.e., values, attitudes, fears), behavioral, and geographic factors.
All pieces of media used to promote a product/service, from digital (blog posts, social media), to audio-visual (commercials, webinars, videos), to printed (e-books, posters).
A strategic roadmap that defines how a business will achieve its marketing goals for a specific amount of time.
Marketing qualified lead (MQL)
A prospective customer who is not yet in the sales cycle but has been identified as more likely to complete a purchase.
A simple, universal breakdown of a brand messaging hierarchy. It embodies and communicates a company’s product messaging coherently, canonically, and with uniformity.
An articulation of what and how to convey updates or value propositions about a brand, product, or initiative.
A visual, artistic representation of what a finished product will look like – often in the context of an in-action, real-world use case – for demonstration, education, or promotion purposes.
A marketing strategy that uses direct, widespread means – such as advertising cold calling, web page popup and banner ads, and mailings – to reach a large general audience.
A presentation created to introduce a proposed solution to a prospective client.
The process by which a target audience becomes aware of a product, understands its value, and evolves into regular users.
The length of time from a product first being introduced to consumers until its removal from the market.
A strategic exercise of deciding and communicating how a business wants its target market to feel about its offering. The process includes identifying the audience, recognizing what they need, and determining how the product will help.
Product release plan
A tactical document that summarizes the process for releasing a new product to the market. It comprises user and market research, beta testing, user onboarding plans, and promotional content such as press releases and advertising campaigns.
Product requirements document (PRD)
An outline that details a product’s requirements, including its purpose, features, functionality, behavior, and value.
A plan of action for how a product or solution will evolve over time to address customer needs.
The strategic vision for a product/service, including its unique value proposition, its target audience, and how it will benefit the company.
An assessment during or at the end of a campaign, reviewing what went/is going well, what went/is going poorly, and what can be made better for the next product development cycle. It ties in with double-loop learning.
A pitch (often in the form of a deck) that showcases a product/service’s features, benefits, and value proposition as a solution to a potential buyer’s problem.
The process of providing a sales organization with the information, content, and tools it needs in order to successfully engage with buyers.
A consumer-focused marketing model that illustrates the theoretical customer journey toward the purchase of a good or service.
Sales qualified lead (SQL)
A prospective customer who has entered the sales cycle and is actively in the market for a product.
A plan of action or guiding policy designed to achieve a broader aim, resulting from a process of learning, critical thinking, and understanding challenges.
A study of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) a company faces when bringing a product/service to market.
A marketing strategy to position someone from a brand as an expert and authority within their industry, generally as the author of marketing content.
A narrative device based on knowing (1) what an organization wants to say; (2) who its audience is and what moves them; and (3) crafting the story to fit that audience.
A brand’s unique style and attitude used in communicating with its audience, which changes based on context.
Total addressable market (TAM)
The potential demand — and revenue opportunity — for a product/service, regardless of a company’s current ability to fulfill it.
The process of evaluating a product/service by vetting it with representative users within a structured environment.
A document that describes a specific situation in which a product/service could be used. An effective use case defines how users interact with the product to solve business or technical challenges.
User experience (UX) research
A set of practices that focus on observed behavior to identify how a product/service fits customers’ wants, needs, and abilities.
A promise to a customer or market segment that a product/service will benefit them in a specific way.
The consistent and unchanging personality of a brand, initiative, or content series.
Voice of customer (VoC)
A summary of customers’ feedback about their experiences with a product or product category.
A schematic, two-dimensional representation of the structure and flow of a web page or application interface.
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