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The essential product marketing glossary

Acronyms and expressions are great. They save us a lot of time and help us classify a lot of complex information into tidy categories. But they also present a problem: There’s too many of them, they all sound similar, and the meanings change depending on who’s saying them.

To help you and ourselves, we’ve compiled a list of essential product marketing terms to reference when proposal-building, client-conversing, and project-selling. This list as evolving as we are, so keep it bookmarked and say goodbye to frantically scrolling through definitions that don’t actually give you what you need.

A

A/B test

A way to compare two versions of something to figure out which performs better, done by splitting an audience or user base.

Alpha test

Software testing performed to identify bugs before releasing a product to real users or the public.

Audience

The intended conversational partners of a specific strategy.

B

Battle cards (or battlecards)

Concise, actionable summaries of your product, the market, and existing customers. They provide sales teams with quick responses to prospective customer questions about how the competition stacks up.

Beta test

Software testing performed before by real users before commercial release.

Blocker

Anything that prevents the progress of a project. Blockers may be raised by people, dependencies, task or time management, or technical or communication issues.

Brand identity

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 your brand views "the world;" what your brand stands for.

Brand strategy

A plan of action or guiding policy designed to achieve the identification and preference of the company's brand by its target audience.

Business development (BD)

A practice that develops and implements growth opportunities within (and between) organizations in a sustainable and profitable way.

Business strategy

A plan of action or guiding policy designed to achieve the high-level goals of an organization, resulting from a process of learning, critical thinking, and understanding challenges.

C

Case study

A detailed examination of a customer's success with your product or service.

Churn rate

A measure of the health of a product based on the percentage of customers who stop using it over a given period.

Competitive landscape

A complete description of companies that deliver similar products to your target market. The landscape includes mission, vision, core values, niche market, strengths and weaknesses.

Content

The informative material (education) and the experience of receiving informative material (entertainment) via various mediums.

Content strategy

A plan for addressing an audience with topical material that has a specific altitude, voice, and tone.

Conversion

The point when an individual targeted by a marketing message performs the action intended by that message.

Core narrative

A foundational story about a company, brand, or product that establishes what it does, why it matters, and how it delivers value.

Creative brief

A simple document that lays out the approach to a creative task; a primary framework for thinking and communicating about creative strategy.

Creative strategy

An intentional approach to telling a specific story and developing assets that support business growth.

Customer journey map

A diagram (or several diagrams) that depict the stages customers go through when interacting with a company, from interacting with sales reps; to doing research online; to accessing customer service or airing grievances on social media.

Customer lifetime value

The total amount of income a business can expect to bring in from a specific customer relationship.

D

Deliverable

A quantifiable service, answer, or piece of content that is provided at a project's milestone.

Discovery guide

A simple document outlining what needs to be understood in order to solve a client's problem — and how to go about understanding it— that is created and shared at the beginning of a project.

Distribution

The process of making a product, service, or piece of content available to an intended audience.

Double-loop thinking

Coined by Greek business theorist Chris Argyris, double-loop thinking is the process of modifying your goals or decision-making rules based on the results of experience.

E

Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix 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.”

Empathy map

A visual tool used by organizations to understand their customers' needs, desires, and pain points.

F

Feedback loop

The process of taking a result and using it to guide future business decisions.

Field marketing

A technique that introduces a product to the target audience via physical engagement. Field marketing includes events, promotions, samples and other channels that will reach prospective customers directly.

G

General availability

The release of a product to the general public.

Go to market (GTM)

Make a product or update available to the target audience. GTM represents the first full-scale public test of the product or update.

Go-to-market (GTM) strategy

An action plan that details how to introduce or relaunch a product. The goal of a GTM strategy is to give the target audience its best opportunity to engage with the product.

I

Insight

An interpretation of facts that reveals an opportunity to make a desired impact.

Insight report

A summary of the most compelling insights, meaningful opportunities, and valuable strategic recommendations that can be provided after conducting a discovery process.

Integrated campaign

A cross-channel marketing strategy that delivers consistent messaging to a specific audience across difference platforms.

Internal marketing

Promotion of a company's objectives, products, and services to employees within the organization.

Iteration

A cycle of change and refinement to a message or process based on a feedback loop.

K

Kickoff

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.

L

Logo

A visual signifier of a brand's existence, used to help audiences identify them instantly.

M

Market segmentation

The process of dividing a target market into approachable groups based on demographic, psychographic, behavioral, and geographic factors.

Marketing collateral

A collection of media used to support the sale of a product or service. Collateral may include printed brochures, videos, e-books, newsletters, graphics, and other print and digital media.

Marketing plan

A strategic roadmap that defines how a business will achieve their marketing goals for a specific amount of time.

Marketing qualified lead (MQL)

A prospective customer not yet in the sales cycle who has been identified as more likely to complete a purchase.

Messaging framework

A simple, universal breakdown of a messaging hierarchy, designed to be understood, shared, and transmitted easily.

Messaging strategy

An articulation of what and how to convey updates or value propositions about a brand, product, or initiative.

Mockup

A visual representation of what a finished product will look like, often in the context of a real-world use case.

P

Pitch deck

A presentation created to introduce a proposed solution to a prospective client.

Product adoption

The process by which a target audience becomes aware of a product, understands its value, and begins to utilize it.

Product lifecycle

The length of time from a product first being introduced to consumers until it is removed from the market.

Product positioning

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 captures and tracks the product features planned for an upcomming release.

Product requirements document (PRD)

A guide that details a product's requirements, including its purpose, features, functionality, and behavior.

Product roadmap

A plan of action for how a product or solution will evolve over time to address customer needs.

Product strategy

A defintion of what a product offers, the problem it solves, and how it supports an organization.

R

Retrospective

As an alternative to post-mortems, this form of "double-loop learning" includes compiling findings, the assumptions that led you to that result, acknowledging what went wrong or right, and proposing remedies for the future.

S

Sales deck

A pitch (often in the form of a deck) used to introduce a solution to a potential buyer's problem.

Sales enablement

The process of providing a sales organization with the information, content, and tools they need in order to successfully engage with buyers.

Sales funnel

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.

Strategy

A plan of action or guiding policy designed to achieve a broader aim, resulting from a process of learning, critical thinking, and understanding challenges.

SWOT analysis

A study of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats a company faces when bringing a product to market.

T

Three-layer storytelling

A narrative device based on knowing what you want to say; knowing who your listener is, and what moves them; and crafting the story to fit the audience.

Tone

The attitude of brand, initiative, or content series voice that changes based on context.

Total addressable market (TAM)

The potential demand — and revenue opportunity — for a product or service, regardless of a company's current ability to fulfill it.

U

Usability testing

The process of evaluating a product by vetting it with representative users within a structured environment.

Use case

A document that describes a specific situation in which a product 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 fits customers' wants, needs, and abilities.

V

Value proposition

A promise to a customer or market segment that a product will benefit them in a specific way.

Voice

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.

W

Wireframe

A schematic, two-dimensional representation of the structure and flow of a web page or application interface.

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