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Marketing jargon busting – what do the latest terms really mean?

17 October 2016
by Adam Oldfield

The life of a marketing professional has perhaps never been easy. But with so much technology, data and insight now at a marketer’s fingertips, the role is becoming more multi-disciplined than ever.

Gone are the days when it’s ‘simply’ a case of online and offline retention and acquisition. A modern marketer must now be more strategic, more tactical, more creative, more financially savvy. And, as the scope of the job grows, so too do the terms used to describe the techniques that forward-thinking professionals deploy. In fact, there are so many new phrases out there, it can become easy to get swamped in the ‘jargon’.

So, to ensure you don’t get ‘lost in translation’, we’ve spoken to some of our shrewdest clients to talk about what these various methodologies really mean?

If, after reading, things are still a little woolly, why not contact us to chat it all through in person?

Performance marketing

This is a technique whereby success is based on the completion of a specific action. Common in the retail space, it allows for real-time measurement of ROI and a more considered spend, because, for example, advertisers only pay for successful online transactions. The success of a campaign is therefore trackable and measurable down to a single click. Gone are the days when advertising budgets need to be vast and return cannot be determined!

It’s the logical evolution of cost per acquisition analysis, which is probably why it proves so popular with affiliate marketers.

Real-time marketing

Sounds similar, doesn’t it? It’s actually very different.

Real-time marketing is a process of marketing to an individual based on specific dates, actions and events, i.e. you did X so I will respond at [time] by doing Y. So, rather than plan the detail of a campaign far in advance, the strategy focuses on the latest information, interactions, trends and behaviours.

Once again, this approach is more considered, relevant and personalised – all essential elements for a brand to achieve cut-through in their ‘noisy’ marketplace. Of course, assimilating all of the data at a marketer’s fingertips and translating that into best-practice next steps isn’t easy, unless you have an intuitive, easy-to-use marketing automation platform to hand!

Agile marketing

By its very definition, agile marketing would imply the need to be responsive, reactive and fluid. So how do marketers achieve this approach?

Tactical teams are assembled to execute high value projects and, due to the scale or complexity of a campaign, vast activities are broken down into more bite-sized ‘chunks’. The team then concentrates its collective efforts on one successive objective after the next and, because defined start and end periods can be identified, there’s a commitment to continued learning and change. This means successes and failures can quickly be evaluated and improved upon.  It’s an evolutionary approach to marketing – lots of small experiments are carried out to increase the likelihood of, ultimately, getting the overall strategy right.

Lifecycle marketing

This entails marketing to a particular user based on their ‘life’ stage or relationship with your brand, from nursery and adolescence through to being dormant. Once again, the focus is about delivering meaningful, personalised content, according to an individual’s ‘status’ or needs. There’s no such thing as a one size fits all channel, message, volume or purpose here – certainly not for marketers who want to maximise the revenue potential of a campaign.


So, these particular four disciplines are actually quite different, although there are some common themes throughout.

  • The underlying goal of each will still invariably form a three stage framework, whether that’s to ‘attract, sell and wow’, or ‘educate, offer and close’.
  • Each approach relies on the ability to be flexible, responsive to change and relevant. Is it any wonder we’ve worked so hard to create a fast, easy to use and intelligent marketing automation platform that reduces CPAs and boosts revenue?

Need a bit more help? Talk to us about what’s possible

Photo of Adam Oldfield
Adam Oldfield
Managing Director & Founder

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