A very handy A to Z marketing glossary full of the latest industry terminology. Learn the lingo of marketing professionals. Use this to write your marketing analysis plan. Not found the marketing term you are looking for?
Then please contact the CIM Customer Service Team for advice.

3rd sector

See ‘Not-for-profit


See ‘Big Data


Clients/Consumer/Customer plus Cost, Convenience and Communication. The aim is to think from your customers view point.

See also 'Cross Cultural Consumer Characterisation'


See 'Marketing mix'



Mnemonic for lean manufacturing: Manpower, Materials, Machines, Methods and Money

Alternatively Man, Materials Machines, Minutes and Money – business organisation


See ‘Marketing mix


Originally the 4Ps (or Marketing Mix covering Product, Place, Price and Promotion) it was extended to 7Ps and became the extended marketing mix (Process, People and Physical Evidence) to reflect services not just physical things.

Over time there have been suggestions for other Ps to be added or swapped in – these include: Partnership, Programming, Personal Selling, Packaging, Performance or Productivity & Quality. These additional Ps tend to be relevant in just one market place whereas the 7Ps can be used across many.

Alastair Morrison’s 8Ps for hospitality marketing are: Product, Partnership, People, Packaging, Programming, Place, Price and Promotion.

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National Readership Survey (NRS) terms to define reading demographic groups ie: A = Upper middle class, higher managerial, administrative or professional.

Find out more.

Above the line

Advertising for which a payment is made and for which commission is paid to the advertising agency.

Also see ‘Below the line’, ‘Push promotion’ and 'Pull promotion'.

Accompanied shopping

A specialised type of interview in which respondents are interviewed while they shop in a retail store. The interview technique combines questioning and observations.

Also see ‘Mystery shopping

Account management

The process by which an agency or supplier manages the needs of a client.


A Classification Of Residential Neighbourhoods: a database which divides up the entire population of the UK in terms of the type of housing in which they live.

Action learning

A problem-solving technique where insightful questioning can allow reinterpretation of old concepts to develop new ideas and ways of achieving goals – often with no additional resource or learning.

See also ‘Brainstorming

Ad agency selection

The process of choosing which agency to entrust with your advertising.

Adaptive content

This is content that is usable on multiple devices and it will automatically resize itself for the appropriate device.

Added value

The increase in worth of a product or service as a result of a particular activity - in the context of marketing, the activity might be packaging or branding.


A term for people who block/avoid adverts on computers, mobile devices. smart TVs, digital video recorders, streaming video on demand, streaming music services etc. Deloitte predict that 10% of North Americans will engage in adblocking on more than four devices in 2018.

Adopter categories

Five groups into which consumers can be placed according to the time it takes them to adopt a new product or service. The five categories are:
• Innovators – Those who are first to adopt a new product or service.
• Early adopters – Those who adopt a new product or service after the innovators have already adopted it.
• Early majority – Those who adopt just before the ‘average’ person.
• Late majority – Those who eventually adopt through economic necessity or social pressure.
• Laggards - Those who are last to adopt a new product or service.


Online combination of interactive games with tried and tested advertising models like brand association, trial or data capture. The advert may be as a form of sponsorship or the game may have been created to promote the company.


Promotion of a product, service, or message by an identified sponsor using paid-for media.

Advertising agency

Simply a company that will plan and manage all aspects of advertising for their client. Different agencies will have a different range of services covering all aspects of advertising.

Advertising Cost Equivalent (ACE)

See 'Advertising Value Equivalent'.

Advertising Space Equivalent (ASE)

See 'Advertising Value Equivalent'.

Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE)

A commonly used PR measurement of the value of the space secured by PR executives had they bought that equivalent amount of space in advertising.


An advertisement which is designed to have the appearance of an editorial. Advertorials are normally labelled as "Advertising" or "This is an advertisement". Similar in practice to an infomercial.

Advocacy advertising

Advocacy advertising expresses a viewpoint on a given issue, often on behalf of an institution. Examples are to be found in anti-drink-driving campaigns.


Free software which includes pop-up banner advertisements which cannot be dismissed.

Affiliate marketing

A form of marketing or advertising used on the internet. Companies that sell products or services online link to relevant sites. The advertising on the other or 'affiliate' sites is paid for according to results. Also called Pay for Performance Program.

Affinity marketing

Marketing targeted at individuals sharing common interests that predispose them towards a product, e.g. an auto accessories manufacturer targeting motoring magazine readers. Also, a campaign jointly sponsored by a number of disparate organisations that are non-competitive but have a particular interest in common.

After sales service

Services received after the original goods or service has been paid for.

Agile marketing

A method of marketing that takes its essence from agile software development. A process called Scrum is followed to improve communication, align to the business aims, and increase the speed and responsiveness of the marketing team. AGILE stands for Align, Get set, Iternate and Implement, Leverage and Evaluate.

CIM Exchange:

Six steps to building an agile marketing team


Attention, Interest, Desire, Action: a model describing the process that advertising or promotion is intended to initiate in the mind of a prospective customer.


Awareness, Interest, Understanding, Attitudes, Purchase, Repeat purchase: a buying decision model.


A process, usually mathematical, to carry out a specific task, or range of tasks. 

Alternate reality

A synonym for a parallel universe but in marketing terms it allows for storytelling that blurs the lines between real and made up worlds.

Alternate Reality Game (ARG)

A game based in the real world but which has a fictitious plot or an alternative reality. Unlike computer games, which are controlled by computer programs, it is actively controlled by its designers. An ARG usually involves a variety of media and may include the use of real locations. All websites, phone numbers, email addresses, characters, etc in the game are ‘real’ for game purposes and can be interacted with. An ARG does not require the players to assume fictional identities or to role play beyond accepting the alternative reality of the game for playing purposes.

Ambidextrous organisations

A company where the new innovative units are managed separately from the traditional units. 

HBR Article

(Free registration may be required) 

Ambient media

Originally known as 'fringe media', ambient media are communications platforms that surround us in everyday life - from petrol pump advertising to advertising projected onto buildings to advertising on theatre tickets, fast food container lids to milk bottles, cricket pitches or even pay slips.

Also see 'Buzz'.

Ambush marketing

A deliberate attempt by an organisation to associate itself with an event (often a sporting event) in order to gain some of the benefits associated with being an official sponsor without incurring the costs of sponsorship. For example by advertising during broadcasts of the event.

Also see 'Buzz'.

Analytical Hierachy Process (AHP)

A mathematical decision making technique that allows consideration of both qualitative and quantitative aspects of decisions. It reduces complex decisions to a series of one-on-one comparisons, then synthesises the results.

Ansoff growth matrix

Category management tool which relates market position to market strategy. It maps new versus existing products along one axis, and new versus existing markets along the other. Each quadrant of the matrix relates to a product-market strategy:
• Market penetration – existing product/service and an existing market 
• Product development – new product/service and an existing market 
• Market development – existing product/service and a new market 
• Diversification – new product/service and a new market

CIM Topic Guide (member only):

The Ansoff Matrix


Marketing planning process model that stands for Analyse, Planning, Implementation and Control.

See also ‘MOST’ and ‘SOSTAC ®’ and ‘MOSAIC


Small program designed to provide enhanced functionality for a webpage. The applet is usually written in Java is embedded in the page and is downloaded along with the page.

Artificial intelligence

The use of computers to successfully perform tasks that humans can do - also called machine intelligence.

Artificial intelligence

The science of developing machines to act as humans do. 

Also see the following Content Hub articles:

What does AI mean for marketers?

The marketing AI revolution has arrived… almost

Asset led marketing

Asset led marketing uses product strengths such as the name and brand image to market both new and existing products. Marketing decisions are based on the needs of the consumer AND the assets of the product.


An assessed work based project report. Assignments are part of the assessment procedure when studying for a qualification.


The unethical or illegal practice of influencing or distorting word of mouth communication for commercial gain by posing as something or someone that you are not.

See ‘Word of Mouth’.

CIM Marketing Expert (members only):

The Ansoff Matrix



An investigation often used in relation to company accounts but can be of other aspects of a company.

Also see 'Marketing Audit'


An animated or graphic character, cartoon or picture used to represent an individual in a game, chat room or website.

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See ‘Business to’ entries

Baby boomers

A term to describe people born in the post WWII ‘baby boom’. Generally people born from the late 1940s to the early 1960s although dates do vary from one definition to another.

Balanced scorecard

A technique allowing a company to monitor and manage performance against defined objectives. Measurements might typically cover financial performance, customer value, internal business process, innovation performance and employee performance. Developed by Robert S Kaplan and David P Norton in 1992.

CIM Topic Guide (member only):

Metrics - improving control


Measurement of the capacity of the data pipeline. It is measured in bits per second and shows the speed of the internet connection. The higher the bandwidth the more data it can accommodate.


The Broadcasters' Audience Research Board Responsible for providing estimates of the number of people watching television. This includes the channels and programmes being watched, at what time, and the type of people who are watching.

Barcelona Principles

The framework developed by the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communications (AMEC). They were first launched in 2010 and updated in September 2015 as the Barcelona Principles 2.0.


See ‘Boston matrix

Behavioural targeting

An internet marketing term. Technology that targets users with advertisements based on previous browsing behaviour and patterns. Laws apply in the UK as to how this information can be used. 

CIM Training:

Must Know Law for Marketers

Below the line

Non-media advertising or promotion when no commission has been paid to the advertising agency. Includes direct mail, point of sale displays, giveaways.
Also see 'Above the line' and 'Push promotion' and 'Pull promotion'.


Looking out from the company to see how others in the same market are performing and measuring your own performance against theirs. Developed by Robert Camp in 1989.

HBR Article 

(Free registration may be required) 


Buy it – Don’t Do It Yourself – a demographic grouping.

Big Data

Gathering and storing large amounts of information. Sometimes considered as the 3Vs: Volume, Velocity and Variety. 3Vs was introduced by Doug Laney in 2001.

CIM Member Resources (member only):

The book Big Data is available on Ebook Central within MyCIM.

CIM Content Hub:

The challenge to data analytics

Black space

The business opportunities that a company has formally targeted and organised itself to capture.

Compare with 'White space'

Black Swan

A black swan event is a significant and unexpected event of large magnitude that has potentially severe consequences. Examples of black swan events include the banking collapse of 2008, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Blended learning

This is a combination of online learning and/or virtual learning and/or and face to face workshops.  Online learning replaces some but not all of what might have been delivered face to face or virtually.

See 'Learning modalities'


Blog is a contraction of Web log. An internet publishing device allowing an individual or company to express their thoughts and opinions. Businesses can use blogs as a marketing communication channel.

See Also Vlog

Blue Ocean Strategy

W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne observed that companies often faced competition head on whilst searching for profits. But head on competition creates red oceans. But success is looking for the expanse of blue ocean.

See also 'Red Ocean Strategy'

HBR Video: The Explainer: Blue Ocean Strategy

Blue sky thinking

Looking at an opportunity with a fresh pair of eyes. Brainstorming, creative thinking and futurology.

See also ‘Brainstorming


Open specification for short range communication between wireless devices such as speakers, keyboards or a mouse.


Buy One Get One Free. Promotional practice where on the purchase of one item another one is given free.


Buy One Get One Free Later. Promotional practice where on the purchase of one item the customer is entitled to another one for free at a later date. 
Also referred to as BNFNT (Buy Now Free Next Time).


A list of web addresses that you visit often stored for ease. They are called Bookmarks by Netscape Navigator but Favourites by Microsoft.


Buy online, pick up in-store.

Boston matrix

A product portfolio evaluation tool developed by the Boston Consulting Group. The more recent matrix categorises products into one of four classifications based on market growth and market share. The four classifications are:
• Cash cow – low growth, high market share 
• Star – high growth, high market share 
• Problem child – high growth, low market share 
• Dog – low growth, low market share

In earlier work by Barksdale and Harris (1982) there was an expansion highlighting two more categories:

  • Warhorse – high market share in a shrinking market
  • Dodo – low market share in a shrinking market

CIM Topic Guide (member only):

The Boston Consultancy Group Matrix


A piece of software that can be programmed to perform a routine task. The tasks may be searching the internet for material on a topic or the best price for something.

Bounce rate

The number of people who leave a website after visiting the entry page.

Bowman’s strategic clock

A model of strategic choice which allows a company to offer a sustainable competitive advantage. Eight strategic positions around two dimensions – price and perceived value. It builds on Porter’s generic strategies. Developed by Cliff Bowman and David Faulkner and introduced in their book Competitive and corporate strategy.


A group technique first developed by Alex Osborn in 1953. Its aim is to spark creative ideas, solve problems and develop teams with a relaxed informal approach that may seem farfetched but can often prompt a new way of thinking. Osborn was a Madison Avenue advertising executive and he published his book Applied imagination.

See alsoAction learning and 'Blue sky thinking'


The set of physical attributes of a product or service, together with the beliefs and expectations surrounding it - a unique combination which the name or logo of the product or service should evoke in the mind of the audience.

CIM Training:

Introduction to Branding

Branding Masterclass

Brand building

Brands need to be built over time. The brand life cycle will help to build and maintain the brand which could then be stretched into other markets or other products.

See also 'Brand extension' and 'Brand life cycle'.

Brand equity model

Developed by Kevin Lane Keller in 1993 the model, full title Customer Based Brand Equity model (CBBE) highlights two dimensions – brand awareness and brand image.

Brand equity/value

The real value that a brand name is worth encompassing the name, the logo and the emotional association. David Aaker identified the three main components as consumers’ awareness of the brand, the qualities that they associate with the brand and their loyalty to the brand.This tends to be referred to as brand equity.

Brand value is when you consider how the brand is represented on the balance sheet. There are various measures of brand value, examples are published by Interbrand, Kantar Millward Brown and Brand Finance®.

CIM Training:

Brand Performance

Brand extension

Process by which a company develops new products to be marketed under an existing brand name. Sometimes called brand stretching. The advantages are the main brand is already known to the customer. Examples include:

Mars Ice Cream and Arm & Hammer toothpaste are more successful ones whereas Colegate TV dinners and Evain water-filled bra are listed as flops.

Brand life cycle

Brands are created over time. It starts with awareness of the brand and its values, which in term develops into a brand reputation that once built achieves a brand vision.

Brand management

The process by which marketers attempt to optimise the 'Marketing mix' for a specific brand.

CIM Training:

Marketing the Brand

Brand mapping and brand maps

Mapping the relative position of competing brands based on perceptual mapping of consumer perceptions of the brands. Also called perceptual maps, position maps and space maps.

Brand name

The name given to a product to help create an identity and differentiate from other products in the same category. The name should be unique, extendable, pronounceable, global, capable of registration to protect it, plus it should indicate the product or service category and quality.

Also see Intellectual Property.

Brand personality

Collection of attributes giving a brand a recognisable unique quality. May be the result of contrived marketing action or an accident of market perception.

Brand positioning

Placing the brand in the right place to attract your target audience.

Also see the Brand positioning template.

Brand strategy

A long-term plan for the successful development of a brand to achieve specific pre-defined goals.

Branding ladder

See Ladder of loyalty.


The name coined for the United Kingdom's withdrawl from the European Union. It is a portmanteau of British and Exit. 

For a fuller glossary of terms covering Brexit visit the Commons Library round up. 


The term coined to describe the 'British exit' from the European Union.

Bricks and mortar

A description for a company that still exists in an offline world with physical shops/warehouses.

See also ‘Clicks and mortar’ and ‘dotcom’.

Brown goods

Electrical goods such as TVs, videos, stereo systems etc, used for home entertainment. So called because they were originally cased in bakelite, a brown plastic.

See also ‘White goods


Fake buyers who boost sales on ecommerce sites for a fee.

Business orientations

There are traditionally four approaches, or orientations, to doing business that an organisation can adopt. These are:
Marketing orientation (customer orientation) 
Sales orientation 
Product orientation 
Production orientation 
For definitions of these orientations click through to the entries for each one.

Business plan/planning

A strategic document showing cash flow, forecasts and direction of a company.

Business process reengineering

A change initiative with five major steps.

  • Refocusing company values
  • Redesign core processes
  • Reorganise a business into cross-functional teams
  • Rethink basic organizational and people issues
  • Improve business processes across the organisation

Developed in the 1990s by Michael Hammer.

Business strategy

The means by which a business works towards achieving its stated aims.

Business to Business (B2B)

Relating to the sale of a product or service for any use other than personal consumption. The buyer may be a manufacturer, a reseller, a government body, a non-profit-making institution, or any organisation other than an ultimate consumer.
Sales of products or services to government or other public sector organisations may be excluded from B2B and instead be classified as B2G.

See ‘Business to Government’.

Business to Consumer (B2C)

Relating to the sale of products or services for personal consumption. The buyer may be an individual, family or other group, buying to use the product themselves, or for end use by another individual.

Business to Employee (B2E)

Business to Employee – this is when companies provide products and/or services to their employees. This may include insurance products and employee benefits.

Business to Government (B2G)

Relating to the sale of a product or service to a government or other public sector organisation.

See ‘Business to Business’.

Buy Now Free Next Time (BNFNT)


Buying behaviour

The process that buyers go through when deciding whether or not to purchase goods or services. Buying behaviour can be influenced by a variety of external factors and motivations, including marketing activity.

CIM Topic Guide (member only):

Understanding business buying behaviour


Buzz or buzz marketing is a technique that can be used online or offline. It is when you created excitement around a product or service, brand or company. It may be verbal, electronic or experiential and the excitement is created by influencers or word-of-mouth. There are many different types including controversial, humorous, outrageous, or secret. When it is used to create artificial buzz about something it is called astroturfing.

See also 'Word-of-mouth', 'Viral marketing' and 'Astroturfing'.

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Consumer to Business

C2B Businesses extract value from consumers. This may be by a company supplying a sample to a group of bloggers and then asking for a review or it may be a consumer being able to set their own price. Participants must be clearly defined for legal reasons.


Consumer to Consumer

Examples of this may be AirBnB and EBay or even simply a classified ads section.


Consumer to Government or Citizen to Government – tax payment and supply of certificates or documents

Call to action

The techniques used to prompt the customer to move to buying the product or service or engage with the company such as signing up for an email list.


The ways in which an organisation uses its assets and resources or realises their potential.


Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing or Computer-Aided Personal Interviewing. Face-to-face interviews using computer-based questionnaires.


A number of organisations operating in a market to minimise competition or achieve control of the market.

Cash burn rate

Measures the amount of cash available until it runs out.

Cash cow

Low growth, high market share.

See ‘Boston matrix

Category management

Products are grouped and managed by strategic business unit categories. These are defined by how consumers views goods rather than by how they look to the seller, e.g. confectionery could be part of either a 'food' or 'gifts' category, and marketed depending on the category into which it is grouped.


Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing or Computer-Aided Telephone Interviewing. Telephone interviews using computer-based questionnaires.


The methods used by a company to communicate and interact with its customers.

Chartered Marketer

A marketing professional who has achieved 'individual Chartered Status' awarded by The Chartered Institute of Marketing.

There is more information on Chartered Marketer on the CIM website.


Charity mugging - where the public are approached in the street to support a charity - often by paid fundraisers.


Loss of clients within a particular time frame – possibly to competitors. Also called rate of attrition.

 See also ‘Retention

Clicks and mortar

Description for a business that is both a physical entity and online.

See also ‘Bricks and mortar’ and ‘dotcom


The act of a user clicking on an internet advertisement or a link that opens another website page.

Closed questions

A question that can be answered with one word or a very short phrase. The answers give you facts, are easy and quick to answer and the questioner maintains control of the conversation.

See ‘Open questions

See also 'Dichotomous question'

Closed systems

A system can be defined as units or elements which interact with each other. A closed system is one which has little or no interaction with other systems or its external environment.

Cognitive Dissonance

Stress that a person holds where two contradictory beliefs, ideas or values are held.

Cold calling

Telephoning or calling at the door of people or organisations who have not asked for information on, or expressed an interest in, your products or services. There are strict laws in the UK regarding this practice, these laws are managed by the Information Commissioner's Office.

CIM Training:

Must Know Law for Marketers 

Cold mailing

Using a rented or compiled list to mail or email people or organisations who have not asked for information about your products or services. There are strict laws in the UK regarding this practice, these laws are managed by the Information Commissioner's Office.

CIM Training:

Must Know Law for Marketers 

Collaborative learning

A group activity where students, often with mixed abilities, work together on a collective task. Also called cooperative learning.

Comparative advertising

Advertising which compares a company's product with that of competing brands. Must be used with caution to avoid accusations of misrepresentation from competitors.

The Advertising Standards Authority have a quick guide on their website.


An organisation's core competencies are the functional capabilities it uses to achieve its mission or strategic goals.

Competition regulator

In the UK the Competition and Markets Authority work to ‘promote competition for the benefit of consumers’. Previous names include the Competition Commission and Monopolies and Mergers Commission.


Sales promotions that allow the consumer the possibility of winning a prize. There are laws and codes of conduct governing competitions in the UK. Codes are managed by the Advertising Standards Authority

CIM Training:

Must Know Law for Marketers 

Competitive advantage

The product, proposition or benefit that puts a company ahead of its competitors. Sometimes called business advantage.

CIM Topic Guide (member only):

Competitive advantage

CIM Practical Insights Webinar (member only)

Strategic Marketing - Forecasting the competitive landscape

Competitive positioning

Defining the product or service that is to be offered in a particular market and in relation to other competitors in the market.

Other words for this include Market positioning and Product positioning.

HBR Article

See also Porter’s Five Forces


Companies that sell products or services in the same market place as one another.

CIM Practical Guide (member only):

Gathering competitor intelligence

CIM Topic Guide (member only):

Competitor strategies

Concept boards

Visual and/or verbal stimulus presenting an idea for a product, service or advert.

Confusion marketing

Controversial strategy of deliberately confusing the customer. Examples are alleged to be found in the telecommunications market, where pricing plans can be so complicated that it becomes impossible to make direct comparisons between competing offers.

Conscious capitalism

Businesses that are able to serve the interests of all major stakeholders – customers, employees, investors, communities, suppliers and the environment.


Individual who buys and uses a product or service.

Consumer behaviour

The buying habits and patterns of consumers in the acquisition and usage of goods and services.

CIM Practical Insights Webinar (member only):

Understanding consumer behaviour - why it isn't always logical

CIM Content Hub:

Five stages of your customers' buying journey

Consumer buying decision-making process

The process that consumers go through when making a purchase decision.

Content marketing

The process for creating and distributing relevant material, in any format, to your target audience with the express aim of engaging with the audience to drive a profitable relationship.

CIM Template (member only):

Content marketing plan

CIM Practical Guide (member only):

Developing a content marketing strategy

CIM Content Hub:

Content strategy - why having a plan is more essential than ever

Contextual marketing

An internet marketing term. In its simplest form contextual marketing shows a user adverts based on terms for which they have searched. More advanced applications pull adverts based on the content of a website being viewed, or on an individual’s browsing habits.

Contracting out

See 'Outsourcing'

Convenience sampling

Sampling where the interviewer talks to the most accessible section of the population, i.e. shoppers willing to stop and be interviewed. This is not random sampling.

Conversion rate optimisation (CRO)

Measure of conversion of inquiries or replies to an advertisement, or mailing shot, to sales.


See ‘Country of origin


An association of producers or consumers who service their own needs by democratic control, distributing profit according to purchases, sales or fixed return on capital.

Co-ordinated mix

The elements of the 7P marketing mix designed and implemented to support and add value to each other.


Creative process by which written content is prepared for advertisements or marketing material.

CIM Training Courses:

Principles of Great Copywriting

Advanced Copywriting Skills

Copywriting Masterclass

CIM Practical Insights Webinar (member only):

Mastering the craft of copywriting

Corporate governance

The processes, systems and principles by which an organisation operates.

Corporate identity or image

The character a company seeks to establish for itself in the mind of the public, reinforced by consistent use of logos, colours, typefaces and so on.

Also see 'Corporate reputation' and ‘logo’.

Corporate reputation

A complex mix of characteristics, such as ethos, identity and image, that go to make up a company's public personality. Corporate reputation hinges on investor confidence, unlike brand reputation which is contingent on customer confidence and reflected in sales.

Also see 'Corporate identity or image'

CIM Topic Guide (member only):

What contributes to an organisation's reputation?

CIM Content Hub

Managing your brand and reputation risks

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

A commitment by business to behave in an ethical, social and environmentally responsible way, and to have a positive impact on the local and global environment.

Corporate strategy

The policies of a company with regard to its choice of businesses and customer groups.

Cost leadership

The strategy of producing goods at a lower cost than ones competitors.

Cost Per Acquisition/Action (CPA)

Online advertising payment model in which payment is based solely on qualifying actions such as sales or registrations.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

A specific type of cost-per-action program where advertisers pay for each time a user clicks on an advert or link.

Cost Per Lead (CPL)

There are a couple of different meanings:

A measurement you can use to measurehow cost-effective your marketing campaign is.

Am online advertising pricing model where, as an advertise, you pay each time there is interest.

Cost Per Mille (CPM)

This is a standard measurement used for determining the cost effectiveness for a specific medium. It compares the cost of the advertisement to the number of impressions to your target audience.

Country of origin

Where a product is manufactured, produced or grown is important when importing and exporting goods.

Access UK government information

Food labelling: country of origin

Rules on origin for imported and exported goods

See also 'Geographic Indications'


See 'Cost Per Action'.


See 'Cost Per Click'


See 'Cost Per Lead'

Critical path

The set of tasks in a project that will take the longest time to complete.

Critical success factors (CSFs)

The competitive factors or activities that are needed to ensure the organisation succeeds.

Critical thinking

A process of objectively considering, analysis and evaluation information that has been gathered with an open mind.

See also 'Reflective learning'

Cross Cultural Consumer Characterisation (4Cs)

A consumer segmentation model, devised by Young and Rubicam, that defines people by their core motivation. The model is based on Maslow's hierarchy of needs and divides people into seven types:

  • explorer 
  • aspirer  
  • succeeder
  • reformer  
  • mainstream  
  • struggler  
  • resigned

See also ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Cross-functional activity

Any marketing activity that includes people with different functional expertise, often from marketing, operations, finance and human resources divisions, working towards the same objective.


Crowdfunding is a method of raising finance from many people but each person putting in a small amount. Utilising the internet it allows those looking for funding to talk to thousands of potential funders. There are a variety of types of crowdfunding: Donation/Reward Crowdfunding (often used by charities), Debt Crowdfunding (a form of Peer to peer lending) and Equity Crowdfunding (money is exchanged for shares). 


Crowdsourcing is when a job is outsourced to a larger group. It is typically in an online setting and utilises the Wisdom of crowds. It may be free labour or paid work.

See also 'Micro tasks' and 'Wisdom of crowds'


The collection of senior managers where their title starts with Chief. Collectively considered as the group of decision makers.


The philosophy of a company, reflected in aims such as the maximisation of customer satisfaction.

Watch Alex Moyle, author of Business Development Culture, discuss the challenges of cultural change and the best solutions for overcoming them.


A person or company who purchases goods or services (not necessarily the end consumer).

Customer acquisition

Marketing activity that aims to win new customers.

Customer Based Brand Equity model (CBBE)

See ‘Brand equity model

Customer expectations

The minimum level of satisfaction that a customer will require from an organisation.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

The profitability of customers during the lifetime of the relationship, as opposed to profitability on one transaction.

Customer loyalty

Feelings or attitudes that incline a customer either to return to a company, shop or outlet to purchase there again, or else to re-purchase a particular product, service or brand.

CIM Training course:

B2B Acquisition and Retention Marketing

Customer needs (necessity)

The customer lacks something and then realises that he/she needs it. For example, after a long day at work someone who has not had a drink all day suddenly realises that he/she is thirsty. It is necessary that they get a drink to satisfy both their feeling of thirst and their body's basic physiological need.

Customer orientation

Another term for marketing orientation.

See ‘Marketing orientation’.

Customer persona

Market Segmentation allows marketers to define the different groups of customers. By developing a customer persona marketers can hone their understanding of their customers, their ages, where they live etc.

Also see Market segmentation.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

The coherent management of contacts and interactions with customers.

This term is often used as if it related purely to the use of IT, but IT should in fact be regarded as a facilitator of CRM.

CIM Training Course:

Implementing a Successful CRM Strategy

Customer rentention

Continuing to meet an existing customer's needs, usually by ensuring they are satisfied with recent purchases and by innovating products to meet their changing needs.

Customer satisfaction

The provision of goods or services which fulfil the customer's expectations in terms of quality and service, in relation to price paid.

CIM Topic Guide (member only):

Understanding customer satisfaction 

Customer service programme

Strategy for assuring customers a positive buying experience in order to improve customer loyalty, increase cross-selling and promote advertising by word-of-mouth.

Also see 'Customer satisfaction' and ‘Customer loyalty

Customer wants (luxury)

A need that is qualified by choice, for example, needing a new handbag but wanting a Gucci one.

Cyber-stealth marketing

Covert attempts using the internet to boost brand image, to make websites appear more popular than they are or to manipulate search engine listings.

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Double Income No Kids Yet - a demographic grouping.


Defining Advertising Goals for Measured Advertising Response - a model for planning advertising in such a way that its success can be quantitatively monitored.

Data cleansing

Correcting or removing old, corrupt or inaccurate data.

Data fusion

Combining information from different sources to obtain information of greater quality for the end user.

Data mining

The use of powerful software to analyse data to identify patterns or relationships in that data.

Data processing

The obtaining, recording and holding of information which can then be retrieved, used, disseminated or erased. The term tends to be used in connection with computer systems, and today is often used interchangeably with 'Information Technology'.

Data Protection Act

A law which makes organisations responsible for protecting the privacy of personal data. For up to date information visit the Information Commissioner’s Office website.

See also 'General Data Protection Regulation'

CIM Training Courses:

Must Know Law for Marketers

Essential Guide to GDPR and ePR for Marketers

GDPR for the Marketer (online course)

Database marketing

Whereby customer information, stored in an electronic database, is utilised for targeting marketing activities. Information can be a mixture of what is gleaned from previous interactions with the customer and what is available from outside sources.

Also see 'Customer Relationship Management (CRM)'.

Deal and Kennedy’s four types of corporate culture

Deal and Kennedy’s four types of corporate culture The Deal and Kennedy model of corporate cultures defines four types of organisation based on how quickly feedback and rewards are received and the levels of risk taken. The four types are:

  • Tough-guy macho (rapid feedback and reward; low risk) 
  • Work-hard, play-hard (rapid feedback and reward; high risk)
  • Process (slow feedback and reward; low risk)
  • Bet-the-company (slow feedback and reward; high risk)
Decision Making Unit (DMU)/decision making process

The group of people in an organisation who make the buying decision.

Decision-making unit

The team of people (usually in an organisation or family group) who make a buying decision.

Deep learning

A type of machine learning technique and artificial intelligence that trains a computer to imitates human-like tasks. Examples of deep learning can be seen in virtual assistants such as Alexa or Siri, driverless vehicles, and in facial recognition.

Deep linking

Hyperlinking to a page, file or image on a website that bypasses that website’s homepage.

See 'Shallow linking'.

Delphi techniques

A forecasting method that is based on the results of several rounds of questionnaires sent out to a panel of experts. All responses are anonymous and aggregated then shared with the group after each round.

See also 'Horizon scanning'

OECD: Overview of methodologies

Demographic data

Information describing and segmenting a population in terms of age, sex, income and so on, which can be used to target marketing campaigns.

See also Market segmentation.

Depth interview

"An interview with an individual, using probing questions to arrive at the individual's innermost feelings." (Blythe and Martin, 2019).

Dichotomous question

A questions with only two possible responses (e.g. Yes/No or True/False).

See also 'Closed questions'


Ensuring that products and services have a unique element to allow them to stand out from the rest.

Digital disruption

Change that occurs due to the development and introduction on new technologies or business models that have a major effect on existing goods and services. Recent examples include AirBnB, Netflix, Spotify and Uber.

McKinsey article 

Digital marketing

Marketing of goods and services though digital channels to reach consumers. Channels may include the internet, social media, mobile phones and electronic billboards as well as digital Radio and TV. The key difference to traditional marketing is the ability to receive real-time analysis of the campaign through the digital channel.

CIM Qualifications:

Digital Diploma in Professional Marketing

CIM Training:

Introduction to Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing

For more courses on digital marketing visit our website

Digital strategy

Forms part of a plan formulated to achieve specific goals through a digital medium.

Direct mail

Delivery of an advertising or promotional message to customers or potential customers by mail.

Direct marketing

All activities which make it possible to offer goods or services or to transmit other messages to a segment of the population by post, telephone, email or other direct means.

Direct Response Advertising (DRA)

Advertising incorporating a contact method such as a phone number, address and enquiry form, web site identifier or email address, with the intention of encouraging the recipient to respond directly to the advertiser by requesting more information, placing an order and so on.

Discounted Cash Flow (DCF)

A method of estimating an investment's current value based on the discounting of projected future revenues and costs. The further into the future the flow occurs, the more heavily it will be discounted.


Term meaning ‘removal of the middle man’. Popular word describing what happens when businesses start selling directly to the customer.

Displacement marketing

The practice of a brand marketing a product to draw attention to another product with the same brand name, usually because the second product is banned from being advertised. An example would be a brewer marketing a non-alcoholic drink with the same brand name and logo as an alcoholic drink in order to draw attention to the alcoholic product.

Displacement marketing is sometimes referred to as surrogate marketing.

Disposable income

Residue of personal income after statutory deductions at source.


The process of getting the goods from the manufacturer or supplier to the user.


An increase in the variety of goods and services produced by an individual enterprise or conglomerate. It may be encouraged, either by business owners or by governments, in order to reduce the risk of relying on a narrow range of products.


A product with a low market share of a shrinking market.

See ‘Boston matrix


See ‘Boston matrix


A company that is operating mainly online.

See also ‘Clicks and mortar’ and Bricks and mortar


Number of people downloading an item from a web page.

DRIP framework

Differentiate - Reinforce - Inform - Persuade.

A marketing communications model.

Dynamic pricing

Also called real-time pricing. The price is not firmly set and will fluctuate depending on a range of circumstances. Used by many industries but airlines is a good example as the price will change depending on the number of seats sold for a particular flight.

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Early adopters

See ‘Adopter categories’.

Early majority

See ‘Adopter categories’.

E-commerce (Electronic commerce)

Any business transaction that takes place via electronic platforms.

See also ‘M-commerce’.

Economic Value Added (EVA)

EVA is an estimate of true economic profit after making corrective adjustments to GAAP accounting, including deducting the opportunity cost of equity capital.

Efficient Consumer Response (ECR)

Having the right product in the right place at the right price with the right promotions.

Also see 'Category management', with its emphasis on how products look to the customer is seen as an integral part of achieving ECR.


The EFQM Excellence Model is a framework for organisational management systems, promoted by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) and designed for helping organisations in their drive towards being more competitive.

Ehrenberg's ATR model

The ATR (Awareness Trial Reinforcement) model is an alternative to the AIDA model.



See ‘Online learning.

Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) system

A system whereby electronic tills are used to process customer transactions in a retail outlet. Local EPOS systems are usually connected to a central computer system, so that financial and inventory-related data can be exchanged between the store and head office, allowing automatic accounting and replenishment.


Emotion icons are small symbols usually made up of punctuation marks, numbers etc that are used on electronic communications to show moods and feelings.

Emotional benefits

An individual is aware that a particular brand/product/service gives them positive emotions about themselves when using it. For example, that new business suit is likely to make a person feel good about themselves and give them a feeling of confidence.

Emotional Selling Proposition (ESP)

An emotional or psychological characteristic of a brand which makes it more desirable to the consumer. Based on the assumption that many buying decisions are not made on a purely rational basis, a brand with an ESP will have more appeal to a consumer than if it just relied on a rational selling proposition.

See ‘Unique Selling Preposition (USP)’.


Encoding data such as credit card numbers to prevent fraud.


Affirmation, usually from a celebrity, that a product is good.

CIM Content Hub:

Online endorsements: are you being honest?


Someone who sees an opportunity and risks their own money to set up a business organisation in order to respond to it.

Environmental scanning

Monitoring of an organisation’s external environment, allowing the organisation to spot or anticipate emerging issues. This provides an early warning of changing external conditions.

CIM Topic Guides (member only):

An environmental analysis checklist

Equivalent Advertising Value (EAV)

See 'Advertising Value Equivalent'.

Ethical marketing

The process by which companies market their goods and services by focusing not only on how their products benefit customers, but also how they benefit society and socially-responsible or environmental causes.


A set of principles that take account of the moral aspects of decisions.

Exchange process

The whole of the commercial transaction that transfers a product or service to the ownership of another in exchange for money or other benefits.

Experience curve

The plotted relationship between the amount of products produced and the cost per unit over time from launch. As more units are produced, the cost per unit usually declines, an effect that is partially attributable to the accumulation of experience.

Export marketing

The marketing of goods or services to overseas customers.

Extended marketing mix

An expanded framework that adds three further components to the 4Ps - namely People, Process and Physical Evidence - to become the 7Ps model. It is often used for service-based products.

Extended Marketing Mix

See ’Marketing Mix

External analysis

Study of the external marketing environment, including factors such as customers, competition and social change.


An internal website that is only available to employees or other trusted stakeholders.

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Face to face learning

This is learning in a traditional classroom or training room environment - learners and deliverers are in the same room.

See 'Learning modalities'

FAST marketing

Focused Advertising Sampling Technique: an approach concentrating promotions into a short space of time to saturate the market.

Fax Preference Service (FPS)

A database of business and individual telecoms subscribers who have elected not to receive unsolicited direct marketing faxes. Laws apply as to how these can be used.

CIM Training Course:

Must Know Law for Marketers

Field marketing

The practice of sending representatives or agents to retail outlets with a view to building brand and supporting sales. They may for example conduct in-store promotions, set up point of sale displays, and ensure that products are displayed to best advantage.

File transfer protocol

A standard for moving files from one internet site to another.


An electronic security system that restricts traffic and plays key role in preventing unauthorised access to a company’s or individual’s computer system via the web.

Five Ms of management

An expansion of the four Ms of management framework with the addition of time - Money, Material, Machine, Manpower and Minutes (Time).

Also see 'Four Ms of management'.


See 'Stock and flow'


Fast Moving Consumer Goods - such as packaged food, beverages, toiletries, and tobacco.


Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

See also 'Neuromarketing'


Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

See Neuromarketing.

Focus groups

A tool for market research where small groups of customers are invited to participate in guided discussions on the topic being researched.

Forecasting/forecasting techniques

Calculation of future events and performance.

CIM Topic Guides (member only):

Cash flow forecasts

The challenge of forecasting


Four Ms of management

Money, Material, Machine and Manpower - traditional framework for viewing the resources available to a business, which can be useful when designing a marketing plan.

See also 'Five Ms of management'.

Four Ps

Product, Price, Promotion and Place.

See 'Marketing mix'


The selling of a licence by the owner (franchisor) to a third party (franchisee) permitting the sale of a product or service for a specified period. In business format franchising the agreement will involve a common brand and marketing format.

Free market economy

An economy in which forces of supply and demand are allowed to operate unhampered by government or other regulations.

Freeman stakeholder theory

In 1984 R. Edward Freeman published his stakeholder theory that covers business ethics and organisational management.


See ‘File Transfer Protocol

Full service agency

Advertising agency offering clients a wide range of activities and expertise over and above the normal creative and/or media facilities. Such services will include marketing research and planning, merchandising and below-the-line sales promotions, press and/or public relations, packaging, etc.

Functional benefits

The tangible benefits delivered by a product or service. For example, buying a new business suit will help a person appear smart in the workplace as well as fulfilling the basic human requirement of wearing clothes.

Funnel value

Potential value of prospective customers in the sales funnel.

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Government to Business – the relationship between the government and enterprises, businesses are the target group.


Government to Consumer or Government to Citizen – the relationship between government and citizens, citizens are the target group


Government to Government – the relationship between two government entities

Gantt charts

A Gantt chart is a visual representation of a project, usually as a bar chart. It will show key points of the project and highlight milestones and dependencies. It was developed by Henry L Gantt, an American engineer.

See also Planning Marketing Activities - Gantt Charts topic guide.

General Data Protection Regulation

Updated regulations regarding data protection which came into force in May 2018.

CIM Training Course: 

Essential Guide to GDPR and ePR for Marketers

Must Know Law for Marketers

GDPR for the Marketer (online course)

CIM Content Hub

What does the Data Protection Bill mean for GDPR?

The rise and reign of Data Protection Officers

Generation Alpha

A term to describe people born from around 2012 to present, although the dates Generation Z begins vary from one definition to another.

Generation X

A term to describe people born from about the mid 1960s to the late 1970s. The dates of Generation X do vary from one definition to another.

Generation Y

A term to describe people born from the 1980s to the mid 1990s. The dates of Generation Y do vary from one definition to another.
‘Millennials’ and ‘echo boomers’ are other terms used to describe this generation

Generation Z

A term to describe people born from the mid 1990s to around 2010, although the dates Generation Z begins and ends does vary from one definition to another. The ‘iGeneration’, ‘internet generation’ and ‘iPod generation’ are other terms used to describe this generation.


A method of analysis combining geographic and demographic variables.

Geographic Indications

A form of intellectual property that protects particular groups of food and drinks. UK examples include: Stilton Cheese, Cornish Pasties, Melton Mowbray pork pies. International examples include: Champagne, Cava, Roquefort cheese, Pinggu peaches.

UK government information can be found here.

International information here.

Gibbs reflective cycle

Developed by Graham Gibbs and published in his book 'Learning by doing', this cycle helps people learn from situations. It is a 6 stage cycle, Description, Feelings, Evaluation, Analysis, Conculsion and then the Action plan for next time.


Greying, Leisured, Affluent, Middle-aged - a demographic grouping.

Grey market

Sometimes called 'silver market'. Term used to define population over a certain age - usually 65.

Grey marketing

The illicit sale of imported products contrary to the interests of a holder of a trademark, patent or copyright in the country of sale. Also called parallel importing.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Total output of goods and services by the national economy in a full year.


Go to market.


Your personalised network or group of connections that provide support and facilitate business. (Chinese term)

Guarantees and warranties

Legal documents committing a company to deal with faulty goods or services by a variety of methods including repair, replacement or compensation.

Guerrilla marketing

The strategy of targeting small and specialised customer groups in such a way that bigger companies will not find it worthwhile to retaliate.


Green YUPPIE - a demographic grouping.


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Hard sell

Sales behaviour that can be interpreted by the customer as aggressive or which places undue pressure on the customer.

Horizon scanning

Exploration of future developments, opportunities and threats. Horizon scanning may explore existing issues and trends, as well as identifying new or potential issues.

See also Delphi techniques

OECD: Overview of methodologies

House to house distribution

Delivery of goods or literature to the consumer's front door or mailbox.


Hypertext markup language – the programming language used to created documents for the web.


Hypertext transport protocol  - the standard used for web browsers to communicated with the web.

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Internet Corporate for Assigned Names and Numbers. The organisation that administers the domain name registration system across the world.

Immersive retailing

A retail outlet where potential purchasers can experience the product. The experience may be created by digital displays, curation or product trials. Companies that have excelled at this include Disney, Luch and Zara.


Incentives offered to overcome resistance to purchase, for example 'special offers' or money-back guarantees.

Industrial marketing

The marketing of industrial products.


A group of organisations producing the same principal product or service, such as the tyre industry or the hotel industry.


A product with a high market share of a new market.

Infiltration marketing

Marketers joining chat rooms posing as ordinary users in order to spread marketing messages, usually as personal endorsements.

Influencer marketing

Focusing on a particular individual or groups as a means of influencing the ultimate target audience.

CIM Content Hub:

Influencer marketing in China blends social media with e-commerce

Why it's time for a 'local first' approach


Paid-for television programme purporting to be a genuine station programme. Its use is restricted to certain countries including the USA, but not the UK. Similar in practice to an advertorial.

See alsoAdvertorial


Development of new products, services or ways of working.


See ‘Adopter categories

Institutional market

A market for goods or services consisting of universities, schools, charities clubs and the like.

Intellectual Property

Protection for your work from theft by other people. It covers the name of your product or brand, your invention, the design and things you write, make or produce.

See Gov.uk

Inter-media comparison

Rarely used comparison of the cost effectiveness, advertising effectiveness, target demographics, etc of various media (e.g. television vs radio, newspapers vs magazines) to ascertain their overall effectiveness.


Any group, organisation or individual, such as a distributor, wholesaler or agent, that assists in getting or distributing the finished product or service to the consumer.

Internal analysis

The study of a company's internal marketing resources in order to assess opportunities, strengths or weaknesses.

Internal customers

Employees within an organisation viewed as consumers of a product or service provided by another part of the organisation - products or services which the employees need to do their own work. For example, the marketing department could be internal customers of the IT department.

Internal environment

"Those cultural, social and economic factors that are contained within the organisation itself." (Blythe and Martin, 2019)

Internal marketing

The process of eliciting support for a company and its activities among its own employees, in order to encourage them to promote its goals. This process can happen at a number of levels, from increasing awareness of individual products or marketing campaigns, to explaining overall business strategy.

CIM Topic Guide (member only):

Internal marketing

Internal rate of return

The discount rate often used in capital budgeting that makes the net present value of all cash flows from a particular project equal to zero.

International marketing

The conduct and co-ordination of marketing activities in more than one country.

CIM Topic Guide (member only):

International markets and culture

Internet bot

A piece of software that executes commands such as performing tasks, carrying out searches either automatically or with minimum interaction from a human. Bot is a shortened word for 'robot'. There are different types including web crawlers, chat room bots and unfortunately malicious bots.

Interruption marketing

The art if distracting consumers with unsolicited offers.

Intra-media comparison

Rarely used comparison of the various promotional options for a given medium, e.g. The Times vs The Daily Telegraph.

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Joint venture

A business entity or partnership formed by two or more parties for a specific purpose.

Just-in-time (JIT)

An arrangement between a supplier and a customer whereby deliveries of a product are timed precisely to coincide with the need for that product. This saves unnecessary capital being tied up in stock waiting to be used.

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Japanese continuous improvement theory that actually translates as "change for better".


Kanban is a system for managing and visualising the workflow for the creation of products. Kanban aims to identify potential bottlenecks in the process and fix them which ensures the workflow runs smoothly at an optimal speed, with teams working together more effectively.

Kelly grids

See 'Repertory Grid Method'.

Key Account Management (KAM)

Account management as applied to a company's most important customers.

Also see 'Account management'.

CIM Training Course:

How to Develop your Key Accounts


Key performance indicators (KPIs)

The critical measures of success for an organisation.

Key Success Factors (KSF)

Those factors that are a necessary condition for success in a given market. That is, a company that does poorly on one of the factors critical to success in its market is certain to fail.

Keyword buying

Advertisers paying for links to their websites to appear on internet search engines along side search results, sometimes as ‘sponsored links’, based on keywords entered into the search engine.

See ‘Search marketing’.


Adults who buy products that are predominantly aimed at children.

Knowledge Management (KM)

The collection, organisation and distribution of information in a form that lends itself to practical application. Knowledge management often relies on information technology to facilitate the storage and retrieval of information.

Kotler’s six marketing audits

Philip Kotler views a marketing audit as having six components. A full marketing audit would comprise all six audits, but each component can be undertaken on its own if a full audit is not required.

The six components are:

  • Marketing environment audit  
  • Marketing strategy audit 
  • Marketing organisation audit  
  • Marketing systems audit 
  • Marketing productivity audit  
  • Marketing function audit 

See also ‘Marketing audit

CIM Template (member only):

Marketing audit

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Ladder of loyalty

A marketing communications tool that aims to move a consumer along a path from a prospect (‘not yet purchased’) to advocate (‘brand insistence’) through customer (‘trialist’) and client (‘repeat purchases’) by using integrated marketing communications techniques. As a consumer travels up the ladder they become increasingly loyal to the brand. Also called the branding ladder.

See also ‘Customer loyalty


See ‘Adopter categories

Late majority

See ‘Adopter categories’.


The act of motivating people, that makes them want to follow towards achieving a common goal.

Learning modalities

Methods of learning using different sensory channels. There are four common modalities, visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile.

See 'Face to face learning', 'Online learning', 'Virtual learning' and 'Blended learning'


Way of living, in the broadest sense, of a society or segment of that society. Includes both work and leisure, eating, drinking, dress, patterns of behaviour and allocation of income.

Likert Scale

A rating scale developed by Rensis Likert, a psychologist, in 1932. The scale asks responders to a questionnaire to rate their response along a range showing their intensity to the answer.


The physical distribution of products through the channel, including warehousing and transportation.

Loss leader

A product offered at cost price or less to increase store traffic. The aim is that once the customer has purchased the loss leader product they will be tempted to buy other products priced to make a profit.

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Macro environment

The external factors which affect an organisation's planning and performance, and are beyond its control. It includes factors such as socio-economic, legal and technological change. These include Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, Legal.

See ‘Meso environment’ and ‘Micro environment’.

See also ‘PEST’, ‘PEEST’, ‘PESTLE’, ‘SLEPT’, 'Horizon Scanning'

CIM Template:

PESTEL analysis

Mailing Preference Service (MPS)

A database of individual home addresses where the occupiers have elected not to receive unsolicited direct (marketing) mail. Laws apply as to how these can be used.

CIM Training Course:

'Must Know Law for Marketers'

Margin of error

The greatest predicted difference between an actual parameter and a sample estimate of that parameter. A margin of error is therefore usually accompanied by a statement of probability, often articulated in the form of a percentage confidence level.


A group of existing and potential customers for a particular product or service, who have similar needs.

Market challenger

A firm attempting to gain market leadership through marketing efforts.

Market development

The process of growing sales by offering existing products (or new versions of them) to new customer groups (as opposed to simply attempting to increase the company's share of current markets).

Market entry

The launch of a new product into a new or existing market. A different strategy is required depending on whether the product is an early or late entrant to the market; the first entrant usually has an automatic advantage, while later entrants need to demonstrate that their products are better, cheaper and so on.

Market follower

A firm that is happy to follow the leaders in a market place without challenging them, perhaps taking advantages of opportunities created by leaders without the need for much marketing investment of its own.

Market insight

Breakthrough understanding of the market that directs you towards new and improved ways to serve customers.

Market leader

Seller of the product or service with the largest market share in its field.

Also see 'Market challenger' and 'Market follower'.

Market penetration

The attempt to grow one's business by obtaining a larger market share in an existing market.

See 'Market share' and 'Market development'

Market research

Process of making investigations into the characteristics of given markets, eg location, size, growth potential and observed attitudes.

Also see 'Marketing research'

CIM Training:

Designing and Implementing a Market Research Project

CIM Topic Guide (member only):

Researching customers

CIM Template (member only):

Market research proposal

Market segmentation

The division of the market place into distinct subgroups or segments, each characterised by particular tastes and requiring a specific marketing mix.

Also see 'Marketing mix' and 'Targeting'

CIM Topic Guide (member only):


CIM Practical Guide (member only):

Growing Your Customer Base

Watch Professor Malcolm McDonald discuss the importance of market segmentation in transforming the way high street retailers prepare for the future.

For further reading on this topic you can purchase Market Segmentation from the CIM Bookshop.

Market share

A company's sales of a given product or set of products to a given set of customers, expressed as a percentage of total sales of all such products to such customers.

Market Value Added (MVA)

Market Value Added (MVA) is the difference between the equity market valuation of a listed/quoted company and the sum of the adjusted book value of debt and equity invested in the company.


Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably. CIM's official definition (1976) Further research was carried out on the definition and published as Tomorrow’s Word: re-evaluating the role of marketing.

Marketing audit

Scrutiny of an organisation's existing marketing system to ascertain its strengths and weaknesses.

Also see ‘Kotler’s six marketing audits

CIM Template (member only):

Marketing audit


Marketing automation

Initially an email management tool but now used to track all marketing channels to give insight into customer behaviour online and offline.

Marketing communications

The management process by which an organisation develops a dialogue with various audiences that are affected by or can affect the organisation's operations. Marketing communications consists of a marketing messagesent via a variety of media - such as advertising, direct mail or the internet - to an audience that receives and might then respond to that message.

Marketing dashboard

A report or software tool that presents key marketing metrics and data in an easily accessible format.

Marketing Decision Support System (MDSS)

Tools for the collection and analysis of data to aid the marketing decision making process.

Marketing environment

The broad environment in which an organisation operates and the impact that various factors and forces can have on any marketing enterprise and its customers. For marketing purposes it can be divided into the internal environment and the external environment.

Marketing information

Any information used or required to support marketing decisions - often drawn from a computerised 'Marketing information system'

Marketing Information System (MIS or MkIS)

Practices and procedures to gather, sort, store, analyse and distribute marketing information.

See ‘Marketing information

Marketing metrics

Measurements that help with the quantification of marketing performance, such as market share, advertising spend, and response rates elicited by advertising and direct marketing.

See also 'Return On Investment'

CIM training:

Introduction to Marketing Metrics and ROI

Marketing Metrics: Measuring Marketing Performance

CIM Topic Guide (member only):

Metrics - improving control

CIM Diploma in Professional Marketing

Mastering Metrics module

Marketing mix

The combination of marketing inputs that affect customer motivation and behaviour. These inputs traditionally encompass four controllable variables 'the 4Ps': product, price, promotion and place. The list has subsequently been extended to 7Ps, the additions being people, process and 'physical evidence'.

Marketing mix is credited to Neil Borden in 1949, 4Ps E.Jerome McCarthy in 1960 and 7Ps Bernard Booms and Mary Bitner in 1981 – the extended marketing mix.

CIM Topic Guides (member only):

Managing the Marketing Mix

The 7Ps - the Extended Marketing Mix

The 7Ps - Place

The 7Ps - Price

The 7Ps - Product

The 7Ps - Promotion

CIM Practical Guide (member only):

Achieving an Effective Marketing Mix


Marketing myopia

Lack of vision on the part of companies, particularly in failing to spot customers' desires through excessive product focus. Term derives from the title of a seminal article by Theodore Levitt published in the Harvard Business Review in 1960.

Marketing orientation

An organisation that is marketing orientated focuses on the needs of the customer. It aims to meet customer demands, and therefore profit through customer satisfaction and loyalty. Marketing orientation is sometimes referred to as customer orientation.

Also see ‘Business orientations

Marketing plan

A written plan, usually in-depth, describing all activities involved in achieving a particular marketing objective, and their relationship to one another in both time and importance.

CIM Template (member only):

Marketing plan

CIM Topic Guides (member only):

Understanding and defining markets

The strategic marketing plan

CIM Practical Guides (member only):

Building a Marketing Plan


Marketing planning

he selection and scheduling of activities to support the company's chosen marketing strategy or goals.

Also see 'Marketing strategy'

CIM Topic Guides (member only):

The importance of planning

The Planning Gap



Marketing research

Research activity which provides information relating to marketing operations. The term embraces conventional market research as well as motivation studies, advertising effectiveness, packaging effectiveness, logistics, media research and any analysis of internal and external statistics of relevance.

CIM Template (member only):

Market research proposal

Marketing Return On Investment (MROI)

See Return On Marketing Investment (ROMI).

Marketing strategy

The set of objectives which an organisation allocates to its marketing function in order to support the overall corporate strategy, together with the broad methods chosen to achieve these objectives.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Developed by A H Maslow, this is a framework of needs for understanding the development of society over time. The hierarchy can also be used to understand consumers’ needs from brands. The hierarchy is represented as a five-tiered pyramid, with physiological needs (the basic needs for survival) at the base, progressing up through safety, belongingness, esteem and, finally, self-actualisation.

See also Cross Cultural Consumer Characterisation (4Cs)

Mass market

Large homogenous market for consumer products or services.

McKinsey seven Ss of management (or 7-S model)

A framework for considering business strategy with reference to seven interrelated, aspects of the organisation: Systems, Structure, Skills, Style, Staff, Strategy, and Shared values.

M-commerce (Mobile commerce)

E-commerce transactions using mobile or wireless devices.



See 'Marketing metrics'


The tools that can be used to deliver marketing messages, for example broadcast, digital, print and outdoor.

Media neutral planning

A customer focussed review of media options during communications planning based on research, analysis and insight, not habit and preference.


Merger: the formation of one company from two existing companies. Acquisition: one company acquiring control of another by purchase of a majority shareholding.

Meso environment

Aspects of an organisation’s external environment over which it may exert some influence such as its industry, supplier and marketplace environments.
See Macro environmentand 'Micro environment


A piece of communication that may contain a variety of signs, symbols and content that is designed to appeal to the audience and influence attitutes.


See 'Marketing metrics'

Micro environment

When used in conjunction with ‘macro environment’ it refers to the immediate context of an organisation’s operations over which it can exert some influence, including such elements as suppliers, customers, competitors and well as its internal environment.
When used in conjunction with ‘macro environment’ and ‘meso environment’ it refers to the organisation’s internal environment.
See 'Macro environment' andMeso environment'.

Micro tasks

Micro tasks are small and often simple processes, often repetitive, that require human judgement. Examples include identifying road signs to improve self-driving cars or transcribing handwritten documents for museums. The market is vast and global. The World Bank estimated in 2015 that the market was worth $4.8 billion and would growth rapidly to $15-25 billion by 2020. Microtasking companies include Mechanical Turk, Inbox Dollars and CrowdFlower. There are reviews of these plus others on Fair Crowd Work that is a joint European project.

See also 'Crowdsourcing'

Miles and Snow’s four strategic types

The Miles and Snow strategic topography sets out four types of organisation based on their strategies. The four strategic types are:

  • Defenders
  • Prospectors
  • Analysers
  • Reactors
Mission statement

A company's summary of its business philosophy and direction.

CIM Practical Guides (member only):

Developing a Mission Statement for your Business



Mobile learning - learning programmes that are suitable for use on a mobile. 


Massively Multiplayer Online Game. A computer game played via the internet which is capable of supporting many players simultaneously.


Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. A genre of Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) where players assume the role of a (usually fictional) character. 

See 'MMOG'.


Multimedia Message Service. Text, audio, graphic and video messages sent by mobile phones, or other compatible devices, over a wireless network.

Models (or Marketing models)

Graphical representations of a process designed to aid in understanding and/or forecasting. Computerised models allow the simulation of scenarios based on different assumptions about changes to the macro environment and micro environment.

Also see 'Macro environment' and 'Micro environment


Moments of truth

Key turning points within the customer's decision journey. These may be defined as first moment of truth (FMOT), second moment of truth (SMOT), third moment of truth (TMOT) and zero moment of truth (ZMOT).

For more information see pages 140-142 of Driving Digital Strategy by Sunil Gupta, available on Ebook Central.


Massive Open Online Courses.

Mood board

A visual illustration tool used either to represent the atmosphere or feel of an intended advertisement, or to research a consumer’s experience of a brand or product.


1. Geodemographic segmentation model classifying neighbourhoods into 10 lifestyle types ie: Elite Suburbs; Average Areas; Luxury Flats.

2. Marketing planning process model that stands for Marketing audit, Objectives, Strategy, Action programme, Implementation and Control.

See also ‘APIC’ and ‘SOSTAC®’ and ‘MOST'.

MOSCOW framework

Must have, should have, could have, won’t have but would like


Marketing planning process model that stands for Mission, Objectives, Strategy and Tactics.

See also ‘APIC’ and ‘SOSTAC®’ and ‘MOSAIC'.

Multilevel marketing

A direct selling scheme where sellers also recruit other sellers and take a share of the profit of that seller. Also called pyramid selling.

Multiple contact points

Having more than one point of contact within any given organisation, usually advantageous.

Multiple Versions of the Truth (MVOT)

Developed from Single Sources of the Truth (SSOT). An example may be insight developed from television advertising spend for a company. The Marketing team will report on progress after the ad is aired, but the finance team may look at the speed at which invoices were paid. Both can be correct.

Mystery shopping

Employing individuals to anonymously visit or contact retailers or service providers in order to evaluate customer service, display quality, prices, etc.

See also Accompanied shopping

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NAP data

An acronym sometimes used to refer to fields in a database that contain the Name, Address and Profession of an individual in the database.

National Readership Survey (NRS)

A commercial organisation which provides estimates of the number and nature of the people reading UK newspapers and consumer magazines. Find out more.

Need recognition

The first and most vital stage of the customer/consumer buying process. Once the customer identifies their need, they can seek out what will meet it. Need recognition can be prompted by physiological factors (thirstor hunger, for example) or by external influences such as advertising.

Net present value

The difference between the value of cash inflows and the present value of cash outflows. NPV is used in capital budgeting to analyse the profitability of an investment or project.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Percentage of promoters minus percentage of detractors.

Forbes article: How effective is Net Promoter Score (NPS)

CIM Topic Guide (member only):

Metrics - improving control

Neural networks

A set of algorithms that mimic the human brain. The algorithm can be used to review a set of data and then learn.

Also see Deep learning.


Technique to quantify how consumers will respond to brands and advertising. The brain is mapped, using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), to record conscious and subconscious responses to advertising, products or brands.

New Product Development (NPD)

The creation of new products, from evaluation of proposals through to launch.

See also 'Stage-Gate Process'

CIM Training:

Introduction to New Product Development

CIM Topic Guide (member only):

Product Management - developing new products

Niche marketing

The creation of new products, from evaluation of proposals through to launch.

Not for Profit (NFP)

An organisation that does not have shareholders so all surplus revenues are used to further achieves its aims and objectives.

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Objective and task approach

Considers the objective of the campaign, sets out tasks needed to achieve it and costs for each task (to arrive at total budget required).


The intended and precise outcomes of a strategy.


The intended and precise outcomes of a strategy.


Original Equipment Manufacturer. Initially, the term was used for companies that produced products or components which were purchased by another company, to be resold under the purchasing company’s brand, or incorporated into its products. The term is now also used for a company that manufactures a product and sells it under its own brand.

Offensive marketing

A competitive marketing strategy, the purpose of which is to win market share away from other players in the market.

Ohmae’s strategic triangle

Kenichi Ohmae’s concept that, when reduced to its essential components, business strategy deals with the interplay between the corporation (company), the customer and the competition. Often referred to as the 3Cs model.


Omnibus survey

Continuous survey that is used to cover a number of topics at the same time. Companies offering this facility invite sponsors to commission a limited number of questions that would not alone justify setting up a separate research study.

One to one marketing (1:1 marketing)

Marketing that either treats each customer as an individual rather than as part of a broad segment, or that aims to establish a personal relationship with the customer.

Online learning

Marketing that either treats each customer as an individual rather than as part of a broad segment, or that aims to establish a personal relationship with the customer.

See 'Learning modalities'

Online training

Online training or asynchronous training is where the training is delivered electronically but it can be accessed at the convenience of the learner. There is no 'real time' delivery and no group interaction. The training can be in the form of articles, webinars, quizzes, and modules.

Open questions

A question that requires the person to think and give feelings and opinions as answers. They will usually start with what, why, when where and how.

See Closed questions

Open systems

A system can be defined as units or elements which interact with each other. An open system interacts with other systems or with its external environment.

Opinion mining

See 'Sentiment analysis'

Opinion Polls

A series of questions which are used to assess the views and feelings of a body of people. Often used to understand voting patterns.

Opportunity cost

The cost of declining an option in order to gain an alternative benefit. For example, a carpenter with limited time has to choose between two jobs - one is a large job at a big house many miles away and one is a smaller job at a local school. The cost of declining the job at the local school is that the job at the big house will cost the carpenter more in transport, but it might bring in more money overall because it is a larger job.

Organic growth/development

A company's expansion by the growth of its activities and ploughing back of profits, rather than by mergers/acquisitions.

See 'Merger/Acquisition'

Organisational buying decision-making process

The process that an organisation goes through when making a buying decision.


Opportunities To Hear – number of possible times a listener may be able to hear an advertisement.


Opportunities To Read - number of possible times a reader may be able to read an advertisement.


Opportunities To See - number of possible times a person may be able to see an advertisement.


Outsourcing - or contracting out - is a method used by companies to utilise the skills, labour, facilities or equiment of a third party company. This may be to achieve cost reductions or improved efficiency.

See also 'Crowdsourcing'

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Material used to protect goods; also an opportunity to present the brand and logo.

Page impressions

The number of times a page is viewed by people through the website; the total number of visitors to the website.


"Permanent or semi-permanent groups of respondents who are prepared to comment on a wide range of issues." (Blythe and Martin, 2019)

Parallel importing

See 'Grey marketing'.

Pareto principle

Also called the 80/20 rule. The principle that about 80% of the outcomes will come from about 20% of your effort.

CIM Practical Guide (member only):

Analysing Your Business Sales - 80/20 Rule

Partnership marketing

A collaboration between two organisations where one wants to market their product services to the others audience.

Also see the Practical Insights webinar:

Partnership marketing - is this the eighth P?

Payment By Results (PBR)

Remuneration of an employee or service provider according to productivity or other measure of performance.

Peer to Peer (P2P) marketing

Technique of encouraging customers to promote your product to one another, particularly on the Internet. An example might be a web site that offers users a discount on products in return for recruiting new customers for the site.

Also see 'Word of Mouth' and 'Viral marketing'


Political, Economic, Environmental, Socio-cultural and Technological - a framework for viewing the macro environment.

See 'Macro environment'

Penetration pricing

Adoption of a lower price strategy in order to secure rapid wide penetration of a market.

Perceptual mapping

Process of representing consumer perceptions of brands in relationship to each other. Consumers’ perceptions of brands are measured against certain criteria, i.e. value, customer service, innovation and quality.

See 'Brand mapping and brand maps'

Perfect competition

An open market situation where free trade prevails without restriction, where all goods of a particular nature are homogeneous and where all relevant information is known to both buyers and sellers.

Performance prism

A performance measurement and management framework. It addresses all of an organisation’s stakeholders - principally investors, customers, intermediaries, employees, suppliers, regulators and communities.

Permission marketing

The term was coined by Seth Godin when he realised that the best campaign results were when permission to engage had been sought first. He defined the terms as anticipated, personal and relevant. People will want to hear from you, it will be directly related to them and it will be on a relevant topic.

Personal data

Data related to a living individual who can be identified from the information; includes any expression of opinion about the individual.

See also 'Data Protection Act'

Personal selling

One-to-one communication between seller and prospective purchaser.


Detailed profiles of targeted customers' typical behaviour, attitudes, challenges and motivations, based on research and analysis of real customers.

See also 'Market segmentation'

PEST analysis

Political, Economic, Socio-cultural and Technological - a framework for viewing the macro environment.

See 'Macro environment'

PESTEL or PESTLE analysis

Political, Economic, Socio-cultural, Technological, Legal and Environmental - a framework for viewing the macro environment.

See 'Macro environment'

CIM Template (member only):

PESTEL analysis


Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, Legal and Ethical. 

Based on the PESTEL analysis framework but with the addition of the Ethical factor.

Pester power

The influence children have over purchases by adults: an influence which, controversially, advertisers may seek to stimulate.


Redirecting traffic from a website, such as a bank, to a bogus website designed to mimic the original website in order to steal a user’s login details and other personal information.

See also 'Phishing'


Sending legitimate-looking emails, often giving the impression that they are sent from a trusted source, such as a bank, asking for personal information that can be used for identity theft. 

See also 'Pharming'

Physical evidence

The elements of 'marketing mix' which customers can actually see or experience when they use a service, and which contribute to the perceived quality of the service, e.g. the physical evidence of a retail bank could include the state of the branch premises, as well as the delivery of the banking service itself.

See 'Marketing mix'

Physiological needs

Basic requirements for survival, such as food, water, shelter and clothing.


Profit Impact of Marketing Strategies: a US database supplying data such as environment, strategy, competition and internal data with respect to 3000 businesses. This data can be used for benchmarking purposes.


Term used to define the broadcasting of multimedia files to iPods or other similar devices. Subscribers are able to view or listen to podcasts online.

CIM Content Hub:

Podcasts: What are the opportunities for brands?

Why podcasts are the new marketing opportunity

Point of Sale (POS)

The location, usually within a retail outlet, where the customer decides whether to make a purchase.

Also called Point of Purchase (POP).

Also see 'Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) system'


Profitable, Offensive, Integrated, Strategic, Effectively executed – Davidson’s five principles of offensive marketing.


Automatically launched internet advertisement that appears in a small window behind another webpage.

See also 'Pop-up'


Automatically launched internet advertisement that appears in a small window in front of another webpage.

See also 'Pop-under'


A website or service that leads you to others by acting as a shop window.

Porter's five forces

An analytic model developed by Michael E. Porter. The five forces in terms of which the model analyses businesses and industries are: Buyers, Suppliers, Substitutes, New Entrants and Rivals. These together show the competitive position of a company.

Digital businesses are adding an additional dimension as it is not only traditional companies that will compete.  This CIO article How digital business disrupts the five forces of industry competition covers the issues.

CIM Topic Guide (member only):

Understanding and defining markets

Porter's generic strategies

Michael E Porter set out three basic strategies for competitive advantage that a company can take:

• Cost leadership – aims to be the cheapest provider in its industry 

• Differentiation – aims to set itself apart from its competitors by offering something unique which is widely valued by its buyers 

• Focus – targets a narrow segment of a broader market and then either adopts a cost leadership or differentiation strategy. For a focus strategy to succeed, the target segment must have buyers with unusual needs, which sets it apart from the broader market

Porter's value chain

A model developed by Michael E. Porter to analyse the activities and processes through which organisations create value and competitive advantage. An organisation’s strategic activities are each seen as having inputs, transformation processes and outputs.

According to Porter (1985) these activities are:

Primary activities 

• Inbound logistics 

• Operations 

• Outbound logistics 

• Marketing and sales 

• Service 

• Support activities 

• Infrastructure 

• Human resource management

• Technology development

• Procurement

Portfolio (and portfolio analysis)

The set of products or services which a company decides to develop and market. Portfolio analysis is the process of comparing the contents of the portfolio to see which products or services are the most promising and deserving of further investment, and which should be discontinued.


See 'Competitive positioning'


Poster Audience Research is now called Route - the UK Outdoor audience research and measurement body for outdoor media.

Premium pricing

Highly pricing a product or service to give an impression of quality or in order to offer the consumer additional service.

Prestige pricing

Applying a high price to a product to indicate its high quality.

Price maker

A producer who has enough market power to influence prices.

Price taker

A producer who has no power to influence prices.

Primary data

"Data collected by a programme of observation, qualitative or quantitative research, either separately or in combination, to meet the specific objectives of a marketing research project." (Wilson, 2012). For example, sending out a questionnaire to customers, or asking a group of consumers to talk about how they use an organisation's products, would produce primary data.

Primary research

Also known as field research, is carried out specifically to answer the questions raised in a market research brief. It includes surveys (postal, face to face, telephone and internet), depth interview, focus groups, 'projective' techniques, experiments and observations.

Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR)

Additional Law to ‘The Data Protection Actwhich covers the more detailed rules in relation to electronic communications.

CIM Training Course

Must Know Law for Marketers

Problem child

High growth in a low share market.

See 'Boston matrix'


An item or object that is grown, made or manufactured in some way. It might be a small component of a bigger product (a rubber grip for a pen, for example) or a complete object such as a teaspoon or wooden bench. Or it could be a bag of apples. Any object that is sold for money or bartered could be called a product.

Product life cycle

The progress of a product from the inception of the idea, via the main period of sales, to its eventual decline.

The product life cycle is sometimes divided into four stages, which are:
• Introduction 
• Growth 
• Maturity 
• Decline

CIM Topic Guide (member only):

Product Life Cycle (PLC)

Product orientation

An organisation that is product orientated focuses on the quality of the product. It assumes the customer wants the highest level of quality, and works towards improving quality levels. The problem with this assumption is that it does not ask if the customer wants the product. It aims to profit through sales volume.

See 'Business orientations'

Product placement

The use of a product or service within a television or radio programme, or a film: an example would be the appearance of a leading coffee brand on a table in "Eastenders". There are strict guidelines as to the payments that can be given for such appearances.

Product reconstruction

The process of reusing or recovering existing goods. It can involve recycling, refurbishing, re-manufacturing and the resale of existing products.

Production orientation

An organisation that is production orientated focuses on manufacturing an affordable product and making that product available. Its aims are to increase production, reduce costs, and make production and distribution as efficient as possible. A production orientated organisation assumes customers differentiate between products on price and will therefore buy the cheapest product. It aims to profit through a high volume of sales.

See 'Business orientations'

Professional Marketing Competencies

Updated and re-released in 2016, the CIM Professional Marketing Competencies are a framework of marketing abilities which provides a guide to the skills and behaviours that are expected of professional marketers at varying levels of proficiency.

Developed from extensive research with employers and employees in marketing and broader functions, the competencies give individuals and organisations the basis on which to assess the abilities of a capable and competent marketer.

Previously called Professional Marketing Standards and before that Statements of Marketing Practice.

For more information and download go to the CIM Professional Marketing Competencies page on our website. 

Professional services

The services of individuals or companies that are accredited by professional bodies, such as accountants, lawyers and chartered marketers.

Also see 'Chartered Marketer'

Promotional mix

The components of an individual promotional campaign, which are likely to include advertising, personal selling, public relations, direct marketing, packaging, and sales promotion.

CIM Practical Guide (member only):

Achieving an Effective Promotional Mix

Promotional plan

Detailed plan describing promotional objectives and activities involved in achieving the role of promotions as laid down in the marketing plan.


A word invented by futurologist Alvin Toffler to describe those who create goods, services or experiences for their own use or satisfaction, rather than for sale or exchange. The word prosumer is formed by contracting and combining the words producer and consumer.

Proximity marketing

The wireless transmission of advertising to compatible devices in a local area.


See 'Marketing mix'

Public Relations (PR)

The function or activity that aims to establish and protect the reputation of a company or brand, and to create mutual understanding between the organisation and the segments of the public with whom it needs to communicate.

CIM Training:

Introduction to Public Relations

How to Write Successful Newsletters and Press Releases


Pull promotion

Pull promotion, in contrast to Push promotion, addresses the customer directly with a view to getting them to demand the product, and hence "pull" it down through the distribution chain. It focuses on advertising and above the line activities.

Also see 'Push promotion'

Push promotion

Push promotion relies on the next link in the distribution chain - e.g. a wholesaler or retailer - to "push" out products to the customer. It revolves around sales promotions - such as price reductions and point of sale displays - and other below the line activities.

Also see 'Sales promotion'

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Qualitative research

Market research that does not use numerical data but relies on interviews, 'Focus groups', 'Repertory Grid Method', and the like, usually resulting in findings which are more detailed but also more subjective than those of 'quantitative research'.

Compare with 'Quantitative research'

Quantitative research

Market research that concentrates on statistics and other numerical data, gathered through opinion polls, customer satisfaction surveys and so on. 

Compare with 'Qualitative research'

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R & D

Research and development.


Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR) operates a single audience measurement system for the radio industry - BBC, UK licensed and other commercial stations.


The percentage of people in a target audience reached by a single exposure of a promotional message.


A period of negative economic growth. Common criteria used to define when a country is in a recession are two successive quarters of falling GDP or a year-on-year fall in GDP.

Red Ocean Strategy

W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne coined the phrase to describe the industries in existence today. The space is known and defined. They observed that this was a shark infested oceans where there is fighting for prey – hence the red. But success is looking for the expanse of blue ocean.

See also 'Blue Ocean Strategy'

Reference group

A group with which the customer identifies in some way, and whose opinions and experiences influence the customer's behaviour. For example, a sports fan might buy a brand of equipment used by a favourite team.

Reflective learning

A method engaged whereby you step back from a project or learning experience and critically assess the outcomes to enable improvements in the future.

See also 'Critical thinking'

Relationship marketing

The strategy of establishing a relationship with the customer which continues well beyond the first purchase.

Repertory Grid Method (RGM)

A technique for representing the attitudes and perceptions of individuals. The technique can be useful in developing market research (and other) questionnaires.

Also called Personal Construct Technique and Kelly grids.

Residential training courses

Intensive training courses involving evening training sessions and including overnight stay and full accommodation.

Resource-based view

A method of viewing a firm and developing strategy.

See also ‘VRIN framework’ and ‘VRIO framework


The portfolio of assets owned or managed by an organisation, which can include factories, vehicles, knowledge of employees, money and brands.


Keeping customers.

See also 'Churn'

CIM Training:

B2B Acquisition and Retention Marketing

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

The value that an organisation derives from investing in a project.

Return On Equity (ROE)

Measures the rate of return on the ownership interest (shareholders' equity) of the common stock owners. ROE is viewed as one of the most important financial ratios.

Return On Investment (ROI)

The value that an organisation derives from investing in a project.

CIM Topic Guides (member only):

Managing return on investment in communications

Measuring the return on communication spend

Return On Marketing Investment (ROMI)

The value that an organisation derives from investing in marketing.

See also 'Return On Investment (ROI)'

Return On Sales Enablement (ROSE)

The value an organisation derives from investing in activities that drive sales.


Radio frequency identification.


An uncertainty factor that has the potential to harm an organisation.


Recommended Retail Price. The price that a manufacturer suggests a retailer should sell its product at. Care however must be taken by marketers as to when they are quoting these prices especially when a product is yet to launch.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication)

Software that allows electronic content to be sent to websites or compatible devices as soon as it is updated or posted. There is some debate as to what RSS actually stands for, Really Simple Syndication is the most commonly used term.

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Sales orientation

An organisation that is sales orientated focuses on selling enough to meet the organisation’s needs. It believes that customers are reluctant to purchase, and that products are sold rather than bought. A sales orientated organisation typically relies on strong sales departments, aggressive sales techniques or sales promotions. It aims to profit through a high volume of sales.

See 'Business orientations'

Sales promotion

A range of techniques used to engage the purchaser. These may include discounting, coupons, guarantees, free gifts, competitions, vouchers, demonstrations, bonus commission and sponsorship.


The use of a statistically representative subset as a proxy for an entire population, for example in order to facilitate quantitative market research.

Sandwich board

Advertising poster carried by a person in public, usually in the form of two displays, one at the front and one at the back, suspended over the shoulder and thus “sandwiching” the carrier.


Abbreviation of 'Strategic Business Unit'.


Preliminary design or layout of an advertisement or other promotional material.

Also a UK pressure group against offensive advertising (S.C.A.M.P. - Stop Crude Advertising Material in Public).

Scenario planning

Techniques used to generate multiple narratives about the future of an organisation's external environment.


The evaluation or testing of a product, and sometimes its 'marketing mix', at various stages in the new product development cycle.

Search marketing

Promoting a company’s website using internet search engines. Either getting a company website listed in search results (unpaid) or as a listing on the same webpage as the search results (paid).

Secondary data

Data sourced from that which already exists and has been gathered for another purpose or objective.

Secondary research

Also referred to as desk research, involved investigating data that already exists. It may take the form of internal records, or reports that have been collated for another purpose. It is usually done before primary research and is much cheaper and typically less time consuming. However, because this data hasn't been gathered for the specific purpose marketers are now considering, it has limitations.


See 'Market segmentation'

CIM Topic Guide (member only):



One day training sessions involving role play and syndicate group work exercises.

Sensitive data

Information relating to racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or other beliefs, trade union membership, health, sex life and criminal convictions.

Sentiment analysis

Sentiment analysis is a type of natural language processing for tracking the mood of the public about a particular product, service or brand. It involves building a system to collect and categorise opinions and feelings about the product/service/brand which can then help marketers measure success, for example the success of an ad campaign or a new product launch could be measured; which versions of a product or service are more popular; or which demographics like/dislike particular product features.

When analysis is carried out to understand the drivers behind why people feel the way they do, the process is called opinion mining.


Something that is provided, usually by another person, and confers some sort of benefit on the buyer. For example, a call centre offers the service of answering calls on behalf of organisations that lack the staff or facilities to provide the service in-house.

Services marketing

The promotion of intangible products, such as a home-decorating service or an estate agency's expertise.


The delivery of a service component as added value, when supplying products. Increasingly used to describe a world in which a brand experience across the complete customer lifecycle pushes marketing into a long-tail, post-sale, post-product world.


A model developed by Zeithaml, Parasuraman and Berry to measure service quality. SERVQUAL measures five dimensions of service quality: 

• Tangibles 

• Reliability 

• Responsiveness 

• Assurance 

• Empathy

Seven Ps

See 'Marketing mix'

Seven Ss

See 'McKinsey's seven Ss'

Shallow linking

Hyperlinking to a website's homepage.

Compare to 'Deep linking'

Share Of Voice (SOV)

The total percentage that you possess of the particular niche, market, or audience you are targeting.

Shareholder value

The worth of a company from the point of view of its shareholders. Maximising shareholder value is a common objective for business management.


Visiting shops to decide on what to buy then going online to buy the product at a lower price.

Compare to 'Webrooming'.

Single Source of Truth (SSOT)

A logically organised database, often virtual, that is the authorative copy of key data for an organisation.

Six sigma

A set of tools and techniques for continuous improvement. Developed by Bill Smith at Motorola and it was then used by Jack Welch at General Electric.

Also see Kaizen


Setting the original price high in the early stages of the product life cycle in an attempt to get as much profit as possible before prices are driven down by increasing competition.


Service Level Agreement. A contract, or part of a contract, that states the service that should be supplied to a customer. Penalty clauses may be contained in the SLA for use when the required level of service is not met by the supplier.


Socio-cultural, Legal, Economic, Political and Technological - a framework for viewing the 'macro environment'.

See 'Macro environment'

SMART objectives

A simple acronym used to set objectives is called SMART objectives. SMART stands for:

1. Specific – Objectives should specify what they want to achieve.

2. Measurable – You should be able to measure whether you are meeting the objectives or not.

3. Achievable - Are the objectives you set, achievable and attainable?

4. Realistic – Can you realistically achieve the objectives with the resources you have?

5. Time – When do you want to achieve the set objectives?

SME (Small to Medium Enterprise)

Usually defined as organisations with fewer than 250 employees, with medium businesses having 50 to 249 employees and small businesses having up to 49 employees. Small businesses include micro businesses, which can be separately defined as having up to five employees.


Short Message Service. Text only messages sent by mobile phones, or other compatible devices, over a wireless network.

Social broadcasting

This includes live video straming apps (Facebook Live, Periscope) as well as broadcasting through non-traditional media channels.

Social listening

Proactively listening to the range of social media conversations that are happening in your field.

Social marketing

The application of marketing concepts and techniques to propagate ideas and behaviours for the social good.

Social Media

Overarching term that covers all types of technology that allows sharing of ideas, information, content of all kinds within communities and personal messages. This includes microblogging, photo and video sharing, vlogging etc. Examples of social media sites include: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr, Reddit, Skype, Twitter, Snapchat, Tik Tok.

CIM Topic Guides (member only):

Social Media for Customer Service

Social Media for Sales

CIM Template (member only):

Social media planning

CIM Practical Guide (member only):

Planning a Social Media Campaign

Socially responsibly marketing

The concept that marketing should not harm the social environment and that it should work to benefit society in the long term.

Societal marketing

See 'Social marketing'




Situation, Objective, Strategy, Tactics, Actions and Control – developed in the 1990s by PR Smith to help with marketing planning. Marketing planning process model

See also ‘MOST’ and ‘APIC’ and ‘MOSAIC

CIM Topic Guide (Member only):



Situation, Objective, Strategy, Tactics and Targets.


Unsolicited e-mail, often advertisements sent to a very large number of recipients.


A program used to search engines to seek things out on the internet.


The attempt to manipulate the depiction of news or events in the media through artful public relations - often used with derogatory connotations.


Sales point of contract.


Specialised form of sales promotion where a company will help fund an event or support a unit  venture in return for publicity.

CIM Training Course:

Sponsorship Essentials

Stage-Gate Process

A model developed by Dr R G Cooper for bringing new products from idea to launch. The model divides the new product development process into stages, with each stage being separated from the next by a management decision gate. Management approval must be obtained at each gate before the process can move on to the next stage.

Official site Stage-Gate® product innovation process

See also 'New Product Development'


An individual, organisation or community that has an interest in the strategy and operation of an organisation. Stakeholders may include shareholders, employees, customers, government, local communities, opinion formers, suppliers and partners.

CIM Topic Guide (member only):

Communicating with stakeholders


Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes

Codes that identify a business or service according to its primary kind of activity. Two-digit codes are the most general classifications, but most codes use at least four digits to allow more specific industry identifications.

A condensed list is used for providing Companies House with a description of a companies business.

Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes

Codes that identify workers by job function. SOC codes sort occupations into a small number of broad categories, usually using a numerical coding system. The coding within these categories is extended to define narrower categories and job functions.

For more information visit the dedicated page for SOC on the Office for National Statistics website.


See Boston matrix

Stock and flow

The term 'stock and flow' was first coined by Robin Sloan in his blog post for Snarkmarket. 

Stock is the content: white papers, webinars, infographics that are interesting now and in the future. These will be discovered via search.

Flow is the feed: posts, tweets, daily reminders to people that you exist.


Sequence of sketches designed to show the main elements of a television or cinema commercial.

Strategic groups

Organisations within an industry that follow similar strategies or compete in the same manner.

Strategic logic

The extent to which a strategy fits with the mission and values of the organisation - but also the key abilities and skills of the organisation and its staff.

Strategic marketing plan

Takes account of the long-term as well as short-term situation of a company and contains strategies and plans to generate growth, profits and improve long-term market position.

Subliminal Advertising/Messaging

An unproven technique of influencing an audience using words or images inserted in to a film or television broadcast for a brief moment. In the initial 1957 experiment by James Vicary, the flashed words ‘eat popcorn’ and ‘drink Coca-Cola’ appearing for 1/3,000th of a second. Vance Packard picked up the idea in his bestselling book on motivational research calling it an “unscrupulous and sinister endeavour to manipulate people”. Whilst experiments have failed to prove that it works, there is still the unresolved question of whether it works on any level.

Does subliminal advertising actually work? (BBC)

Fullerton, R.A. (2010) “A virtual social H‐bomb”: the late 1950s controversy over subliminal advertising.
Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Vol 2(2), pp166-173.

Available to members via MyCIM

Packard, V. (1960) The hidden persuaders. Harmondsworth, Penguin.

Available within the loan collection for members.

Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)

Managing relationships with suppliers often through the use of IT systems.

Compare with 'Customer Relationship Management'.


Individuals and organisations that provide goods and services to other individuals and organisations.

Supply chain

The network of suppliers, manufacturers and distributors involved in the production and delivery of a product.

Surrogate marketing

See Displacement marketing

Sustainable competitive advantage

Superiority over market rivals that persists long term and is hard for competitors to overcome.

SWOT analysis

A method of analysis which examines a company's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Often used as part of the development process for a marketing plan, or to feed the results of a marketing audit back into a revised plan.

CIM Template (member only):

SWOT analysis

Syndicate groups

Smaller groups of delegates from a larger main group - usually separated out to work through a practical exercise, e.g. a role play.


Building together components to produce a larger benefit than the components themselves can provide individually.

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Tailored training

A training programme that is customised to suit particular company/industry objectives.

Target Group Index (TGI)

A continuous survey of adults in which their purchasing habits in detail are related to their media exposure, thus facilitating accurate media planning. More information is available online.


The use of 'Market segmentation' to select and address a key group of potential purchasers.

CIM Practical Guide (member only):

Growing Your Customer Base

CIM Topic Guide (member only):



The marketing of a product or service over the telephone.

Telephone Preference Service (TPS)

A database of business and individual telecoms subscribers who have elected not to receive unsolicited direct marketing calls.

Terms and conditions

Often referred to as 'small print', terms and conditions are a legal contract that sets out what exactly you are selling, or buying, whether it is a product or service. Suggested items to include are:

Description of product (or service) clearly defining what it be provided, how it can be used and who owns it

Payment terms

Guarantees or warranties

Time scale for the delivery 

How long the contract is for and when the contract finishes or renews

Under which country's law is the contract under

CIM Content Hub:

Top tips for writing terms and conditions

Test marketing

Making samples of a new product available to see what representative consumers think of it and its proposed 'marketing mix'.

Third sector

Another name for the not-for-profit sector.

See ‘Not-for-profit

Trade marketing

Marketing to the retail and distributive trades.

Training courses

A course that focuses on practical application of skills to better enable delegates in their workplace.

Training qualification

A qualification for sales and marketing professionals that is assessed through work based projects.


TUNA is an acronym that stands for Turbulent, Uncertain, Novel and Ambiguous. It, in a similar way to VUCA describes a rapidly changing external environment.

See also VUCA


8 to 12 year olds or 7 to 11 year olds.

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User generated content.

Unique Selling Preposition (USP)

The benefit that a product or service can deliver to customers that are not offered by any competitor: one of the fundamentals of effective marketing and business. USP is sometimes referred to as Unique Selling Point or Unique Selling Proposition.

CIM Practical Guides (member only):

Defining your Unique Selling Proposition


Groups of products that are considered "too delicate" to mention or to advertise. These may include sanitary towels, condoms or incontinence pads.

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Values and Lifestyles: the categorisation of people according to their way of living, using groupings such as Belongers, Achievers, Emulators, I-am-me, Experiential, Socially conscious, Survivors, Sustainers and Integrators.

Value added

See 'Added value'

Value chain

The primary activities that create value for the customer and the support activities that enable and enhance them.

Value proposition

The set of qualities of a good or service that allows it to fulfil the customer's needs and desires, as opposed to simply benefiting the seller.

For further reading on this topic you can purchase Malcolm McDonald on Value Propositions from the CIM Bookshop.

Watch Professor Malcolm McDonald discuss the importance to value proposition development and how high street retailers need to focus on this now more than ever.

You can also watch Alex Moyle, author of Business Development Culture, offer tips for creating a company-wide value proposition.

CIM Training:

Developing Compelling Customer Value Propositions

Vanity metrics

Simple measurements that give an optimistic measurement in a restricted context, but do not accurately reflect the key drivers of marketing or business objectives.


Voice enabled e-commerce

Video on demand

Users can watch videos on a variety of devices at a time that is good for them.

Viral marketing

Spreading a brand message using word of mouth (or electronically - 'word of mouse') from a few points of dissemination. Typical techniques include using email messages, jokes, web addresses, film clips and games that get forwarded on electronically by recipients.

Virtual community

A community that exists and interacts online.

Virtual learning

This is face to face learning in a virtual rather than physical environment. The learner and deliverer are in the same 'virtual' classroom at the same time, so can interact in the same way as if they were face-to-face. However, they may or may not be in the same place geographically.

See 'Learning modalities'

Virtual training

Virtual training or synchronous training is characterised by the trainer being in one location and the learners in separate locations. The environment is designed to be the same as a traditional classroom. The trainer has the ability to interact with the learners in real time and set activities that can be worked on individually or in groups.


The long-term aims and aspirations of the company for itself.


A blog posting that contains video rather than just words. Sometimes called Weblogs.

See also ‘Blogs/blogging


Video mail.


Voice over Internet Protocol. Technology allowing voice communication to be delivered using internet protocol, an alternative to delivering voice communication over a public switched telephone network.

VRIN framework

Valuable, rare, inimitable and non-substitutable – a determination if a resource is a source of sustainable competitive advantage.

VRIO framework

Value, rarity, imitability and organisation - a determination if a resource is a source of sustainable competitive advantage.


VUCA is an acronym that stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. It's origin is US military but it has now become a trendy management term.

See also TUNA

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Wireless Application Protocol. Specification allowing wireless devices to interact with information sources. A common application is the use of microbrowsers for wireless internet access.


A product with a large market share of a declining market.

See ‘Boston Matrix

Wearable Technology

A collection of devices that contain computing power and can be worn by the consumer. They often monitor health and fitness and record, or send, the data to the cloud.

Web 2.0

Concept of the World Wide Webs transformation from a collection of websites to a computing platform supporting web applications, harnessing (pooling) the intelligence of its users and allowing users to define how they interact with organisations and each other.


See ‘Blogs/blogging’ or ‘Vlog


Researching a product online before buying in-store.

Compare to 'Showrooming'.

White goods

Large electrical devices for domestic use, such as fridges, freezers and dishwashers. Used to be cased in white enamel, hence the name.

See also ‘Brown goods

White space

Areas of any company where strategy and authority are vague, and where useful entrepreneurial activity can flourish.

Compare with 'Black space'.


In computing terms a widget is an interface or an application that enables a function to be performed.

WI-FI (Wireless Fidelity)

Wireless network connection standards allowing computers LAN (Local Area Network) access via a wireless link.


A collaborative website that is created and updated by a community.


Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access. Technology to deliver wireless broadband access over distances of up to 6 miles, an alternative to broadband access via a fixed line local loop.

Wisdom of crowds

The wisdom of crowds was put forward first by Sir Francis Galton (cousin of Charles Darwin) in the 1900. Further studies have pointed out the flawed thinking and honed down when it will work best. See this BBC article for further information.

See also 'Crowdsourcing'

Word clouds

A visual method of displaying qualitative data that may reveal patterns.

Word of Mouth (WoM)

The spreading of information through human interaction alone. Some campaigns have used this as key element, for example, the British Gas privatisation's 'ask Sid' promotion.

Also see 'Viral marketing'.


Interactive training sessions involving role play and syndicate group work exercises.

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X generation

See 'Generation X'.

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Youth market

Young customers viewed as a marketing opportunity. Typically the term denotes those aged 16 to 24, but various age ranges are in use, from '12 to 24' to 'under 35'.


Young Urban Professional - a demographic grouping.

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