Branding Beat - Cut Through the Noise

9 Random Marketing Terms You Thought You Knew: A Cheat Sheet

Knowing (and remembering) the lingo of an industry can be difficult enough to make anyone’s head spin. The marketing and advertising industry is no exception to this rule; there’s so much jargon and terminology to keep anyone busy for years trying to memorize it all!

As someone who likes to keep cheat sheets nearby, I’ve found a couple marketing terms that I’m sure you knew about, but didn’t know exactly what they were called. Others, however, may be completely new.

I promise, there won’t be a quiz at the end of this blog.

Random Marketing/Advertising Terms to Remember:

Everywhere you turn you see your dream car? Your mind is playing tricks on you!

How many times have you noticed a new product for the first time, until all of a sudden you start seeing it everywhere? When you were looking to replace your current car and had your heart set on a specific make and model, did you start noticing a lot of them on the roads after that? You, my friend, have experienced Perceptual Vigilance. This occurs when you take notice of something (like that car you really want) and then you start to notice it everywhere around you. It’s one of those psychology terms that marketers want to understand better so they can use it to their advantage and better target consumers.

The two marketing terms that more often than not slip me up are Brand Identity and Brand Image. What’s the difference? A very, very slight one. Brand Identity dives into how companies want their consumers to perceive their product or brand. Brand Image, on the other hand is how consumers actually perceive your brand. Did you catch the difference? What a company thinks of their brand could be completely different than what consumers actually think of it. Think of Walmart. Their brand identity is to “save people money to help them live better.” Now, your brand image for them may differ from that. How do you perceive Walmart? Ask the person next to you — I bet their answer is different.

Keep your loyal customers happy and you’ll be sitting pretty

Anyone who works in an office knows about the 20/20/20 rule (oh, you don’t? Find out here). Here’s another rule that you may have heard about thrown around the office as well, the Eighty-Twenty Rule. For typical product categories, eighty percent of the products sold are consumed by twenty percent of customers. Seem confusing? Flip it around: twenty percent of all customers create eighty percent of the demand for your product. In the fast-food industry, for example, “heavy users” account for only one in five fast-food patrons, but they make up about sixty percent of all visits to fast-food restaurants. This twenty percent is where the majority of your revenue comes from, so be sure to keep them happy!

Losing a game is never fun, right? Well, in business, it can actually be a good thing. A Loss Leader is when a store or business advertises a very low price on a product in hopes of attracting customers to purchase other, more profitable merchandise while they’re visiting the store or website. Think of those Sunday ads in the newspaper. Let’s say Target is advertising t-shirts for $7.99, so you grab your car keys and head on over to stock up. While you’re there you notice that they have really nice jeans, so you try them on with your discounted shirts, and by George, you look fantastic! You came in for the eight-dollar t-shirts, but you’re walking out with two pairs of thirty-dollar jeans. Those t-shirts are a successful loss leader because you walked away spending more on the jeans unexpectedly.

“Why yes, I would like to also order those slacks in green. Great idea!”

If you work for a B2C company (a business that provides goods or services to customers) compared to a B2B company (where businesses sell to other businesses), then I’m sure you’ve heard all about Customer Relationship Management (CRM). But in the off-chance you were off that day or missed that meeting, here it is. A company uses CRM to track customer behavior for the sole purpose of developing marketing and relationship-building processes that will create a stronger relationship for the consumer to the brand.

Customer Relationship Management is not as creepy as it sounds — actually, it’s beneficial to all involved because it helps companies understand why customers are shopping with them and provides insight into what they can do in the future to get them back in their store or on their website to shop again. What brought you to them in the first place – from a friend’s recommendation, to purchase a specific item, or to redeem a coupon? What products do you typically buy that could give some insight on other possible products you’d be interested in? All these questions are answered with a successful CRM tool. Plus, having all your purchasing information handy (payment type, shipping address, billing address, etc) in one place makes check out a lot quicker!

The problem with a lot of business terms is that they’re always talked about with their shortened title, never the long-hand version. For example, hearing “KPI” for the first time would leave you scratching your head wondering what it meant, but hearing a Key Performance Indicator gives you a basic idea. A Key Performance Indicator is a quantifiable measurement, agreed to beforehand, that reflect the critical success factors of an organization. Just like no two organizations are the same, KPIs between companies are different — they will differ depending on the company. They help an organization outline and better measure progress toward their overall organizational goals.

Whether you’re in a department that deals closely with these marketing/advertising terms or you’ve just overheard the marketing nerds in your office talking about them, now you’ll have a handy way to remember what they mean. Not surprisingly, there’s a ton more random terms out there, so send them my way if you ever come across any!

Have you ever experienced perceptual vigilance in your life? Did a company advertising a loss leader work for you to buy other more expensive products as well? What are ways you wish companies could build a better customer relationship with you? Sound off below!

Image credit to and Hallicious.


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  1. Jeff Porretto

    Another stellar “Marketing Nerd” post! I swear this type of stuff has me on the edge of my seat to see what’s next. I think there’s something wrong with me.

    Is there a perceptual vigilence for perceptual vigilence itself? (Uh oh, here comes the psych major) Like if I start noticing that I’m noticing these items more often…um… more often… oh no, I’ve gone cross-eyed.

    Thanks Amy!

    • Amy Swanson

      Aww, thanks Jeff 🙂 I’m glad I’ve got someone at the office who will shares my marketing nerdiness!

      For this post I read a blog about a women wondering if she only looked for the positive things in life on purpose if after a while she would only see the positive things, without having to think about it. Sounds great in theory, but I’m not sure if it would work. Maybe if you had a positive personality already it wouldn’t require much effort.

      I’ll try to keep these nerdy posts coming!

  2. Jen

    I frequent stores for Loss Leader deals all the time, and I will usually buy more than just the sale item. If I go into the store for a dress that’s advertised as 50% off, I always have to get a sweater or shoes to go with it. It’s the same way in the grocery store too. If the soup I want is on sale, I will have to get crackers or bread to accompany it to make a full meal. I never really though about these marketing tactics before now Amy, nice post!

    • Amy Swanson

      I’m a sucker when it comes to loss leaders in the grocery store as well, Jen! I’ll go in there for fresh fruit and come out snacks and meals for the entire month practically, haha. You’re not alone 😉

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, I really appreciate it!

  3. Andrea

    LOVE your articles, I feel more in-the-know now ^_~ I totally needed this refresher course!

    • Amy Swanson

      Thanks so much for commenting, Andrea 😀 I really appreciate it!

      Even when I was in school I had trouble keeping ‘brand identity’ and ‘brand image’ straight, that slight difference is huge and could really impact a marketing campaign 😛

      I’m so glad it helped, like I told Jeff up above, I really love doing these types of blogs so be looking for them in the future!! Thanks again for stopping by and reading!

  4. Mandy Kilinskis

    Thanks for explaining the difference between “brand identity” and “brand image.” Even though I kinda knew that they were different, I would use them interchangeably all the time. I’ll make sure to catch myself next time because I now know better. 🙂

    As I didn’t take any marketing classes in college, this really helped. I can now speak about perceptual vigilance like a boss. Thanks, Amy!

    • Amy Swanson

      You’re more than welcome, Mandy! These two terms slip me up all the time too. It’s a lot like ‘consumer’ versus ‘customer’, there’s a slight difference but a difference nonetheless.

      Give me a head’s up before any perceptual vigilance boss talking is going down, I want in on that action!

      Thanks, Mandy 🙂

  5. Alex Brodsky

    Perceptual Vigilance ALWAYS gets me!

    And I always give in. I want something, I see everyone else with it, I must buy it. I’m pretty sure that is the equivalent to giving in to peer pressure.

    Cool post, Amy

    • Amy Swanson

      You’re probably right, Alex. Leave it to those crazy marketers to give something that already has a name, yet another name 😉

      Glad you liked it!

  6. Rachel

    I experienced perceptual vigilance all the time as a kid, though of course I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time. I just remember taking spelling tests in grade school and then seeing the new words I learned everywhere I looked! Weird that I remember that, I know, haha … anyway. My point is — perceptual vigilance is awesome and I experience it all the time. 🙂 It’s crazy how many Chevy Cobalts I see on the road now that I own one …

    Great post, Amy!

    • Amy Swanson

      Haha, that’s too funny how you started seeing the new words you learned everywhere! I’ve always just noticed it with cars on the road for some reason, maybe because I’m not a napper in the car I’m always looking out the window. Who knows.

      Thanks so much, Rachel for reading and leaving such an awesome comment!

  7. Eric

    This actually is incredibly useful stuff, Amy, and I’ll probably have to take another gander at it to absorb all that terminology…B2B, B2C, KPI…whew! Thanks for breaking it down for us all! 🙂

    • Amy Swanson

      There’s a lot to take in, I barely scratched the surface so take your time with it. Like I said, no quiz will be given out 😉

  8. Jaimie Smith

    Perceptual Vigilance!! What a crazy term! I do that all the time, though. I just never knew what it was called. When I got my first car, me (and my best friend even) always noticed Impalas on the road all the time. For some reason I love seeing my car in other places, and I even like to compare mine and theirs, on which ones nicer, cleaner, etc lol. I am weird, I know.

    Loss Leader sales get me all the time too. Target especially!! I know I have mentioned in a blog comment before, but I can go in for one thing, and come out spending wayyy too much money. Somebody told me fruit was on sale this last sunday, so I went in to get some. Came out spending 50 bucks. Shame on me! 🙂

    • Amy Swanson

      I do the same thing with my car now too, Jaimie! I always compare mine to theirs; they have nicer rims, my car is cleaner, etc. You’re not alone 😉

      As for Target, I’m right there with you 100%. The example of the shirts and jeans was actually one of my recent experiences, haha! Last night though I went there for Mother’s Day cards I walked out with only them. Nothing else! Granted, I only had ten minutes so I couldn’t venture too far from the card aisle, but a success nonetheless in my book!

      So glad you were able to apply these terms in your life too, thanks for commenting!!

  9. Darren @ IdeasForCash

    My loss leader has not “lost” per se. I have put in much time for little money, but now it is repaying me passively. For a few years the businesses that were benefiting from my marketing services did not even know it was I who was driving sales to their business, and when I tried explaining it, acting like they did not believe me!

    Now that they understand, I am gradually seeing my return on time invested.
    I hope to maintain this earner for years to come.

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