Some days B2B marketing discussions seem more like a reading of alphabet soup. With lines like “we need SME commitment before developing DDMs for the ABM program”, it is no wonder marketers often struggle to communicate internally.

If you are new to B2B marketing, or just have to work with a B2B marketer, these acronyms and abbreviations may help decode the conversation.

Is there an abbreviation or acronym you see regularly in B2B marketing that isn’t listed here? If so, add it to the comments (and please define it!), this list will be updated with your additions.

The Basics

  • B2B: Business to business. You definitely already knew that one.
  • SME: Subject Matter Expert. On occassion it may mean Small and Medium Enterprises.
  • SMB: Small and Medium Businesses. In the US, research generally considers businesses with less than 100 employees to be small businesses and those with 100 to 1,000 employees to be medium buisnesses.
  • F500: Fortune 500. Other Fortune list abbreviations like F50 and F2000 are also used. Most frequently used to indicate the general size of target companies versus the specific list.

Marketing Program and Concept Acronyms

  • DM: Direct Mail
  • DDM: Dimensional Direct Mail. Boxes or other larger packages that stand out and get more attention from recipients.
  • EM: Email
  • ABM: Account Based Marketing. A marketing approach that treats every company individually rather than as a mass of similar companies
  • TAP: Targeted Accounts Program.
  • SEM: Search Engine Marketing. Includes both SEO and paid search.
  • SEO: Search Engine Optimization. Activity intended to improve organic search rankings.
  • PPC: Pay Per Click. May refer to paid search or other CPC priced media programs.
  • SMM: Social Media Marketing.
  • UX: User Experience

Online Marketing Acronyms

  • CTR: Click Through Rate or Click Rate. Calculated as clicks divided by impressions.
  • CPC: Cost per Click. Generally used for paid media programs and calculated media cost divided by clicks. May also refer to media buys that are paid for based on the number of clicks (as opposed to CPM).
  • CPM: Cost per 1,000 Impressions. The most common pricing model for online banner advertising.
  • CPN: Cost per Name. Used for pricing email, telemarketing or postal list rentals or purchases.
  • CPA: Cost per Action. Used for performance-based online advertising buys, the cost is based on the number of actions (such as a registration or purchase) delivered.
  • CPL: Cost per Lead. Used both as a pricing model for lead generation media buys and as a performance measurement to compare the cost of leads from various sources. Calculated as cost divided by leads.
  • LPO: Landing Page Optimization.

Online Advertising Technology Acronyms

  • BT: Behavioral Targeting. Targeting people based on recent online behavior, such as visiting an automotive site.
  • RTB: Real Time Bidding. An auction approach to buying and selling online advertising inventory in a real-time impression by impression auction.
  • DSP: Demand Side Platform. A system for managing all aspects of online media planning, buying and reporting, including RTB inventory, data and direct media buys.
  • DMP: Data Management Platform. A system that manages data from a variety of sources and makes it available for purchasing media through RTB sources or creative targeting rules.
  • 3PAS: Third Party Ad Server. The advertiser’s ad server.

Marketing Technology Infrastructure

  • CMS: Content Management System. A system for managing and publishing content, often on the web. Includes relatively simple systems like WordPress to complex systems running the largest sites.
  • CRM: Customer Relationship Management. An approach and technology solution to managing communications with customers and prospects.
  • MAP: Marketing Automation Platform. A technology approach to automating elements of marketing communication, lead scoring and lead distribution.
  • SFA: Sales Force Automation. Salesforce.com.
  • PURL: Personalized URL. A URL created for a single person, allows both a personalized first impression as well as personalized messaging on a landing page or site in 1-1 marketing programs.
  • BI: Business Intelligence.
  • GA: Google Analytics.

Marketing and Sales Pipeline Acronyms

  • MAL: Marketing Accepted Lead.
  • MQL: Marketing Qualified Lead.
  • AQL: Automation Qualified Lead
  • TAL: Teleprospecting Accepted Lead
  • TQL: Teleprospecting Qualified Lead
  • TGL: Teleprospecting Generated Lead
  • SGL: Sales Generated Lead
  • SAL: Sales Accepted Lead.
  • SQL: Sales Qualified Lead. Occasionally (in marketing) it refers to Structured Query Language.
  • ULD: Universal Lead Definition. A single definition, as an alternative to providing separate definitions for a “lead” at various stages of the sales process.

Your Turn

What other acronyms would you add to the list to help out people coming into B2B marketing today? Share your additions in the comments below with me on Twitter (@wittlake).

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