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‘WTF does that mean?’ A Guide to Marketing and Business-Related Jargon

By Burn •

  • General

Hello again. As promised in my last post, here is my marketing and business-related jargon guide. Just in case you didn’t read my first post, to fill you in, I am fresh out of university having read Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London and this is my first job. I started a couple of weeks ago here at Burn and during that time there’s been a lot of ‘sorry, what does that mean?’ when faced with seemingly endless acronyms and random words I’ve never heard in my life.  To avoid you asking in your first job, or if you’re thirty years into your career and still wondering (don’t worry, I won’t tell), I have gathered a list over the last two weeks. So for those who are confused or curious, here’s your glossary, you can thank me later.


Acquisition/Retention – Getting new customers/keeping existing customers.

API – Not a type of beer as (I think) it sounds. Application Programming Interface…basically a pipeline that allows you to plug into a database, legally as opposed to through hacking, but the choice is yours!

B2B – Business to Business

BAU -Business as Usual

Boston Matrix – A planning grid to segment products / brands / businesses.

CMS – Content Management System

Comms – Communications. I’m not really sure how vital the loss of ten characters is but there we go.

CPC – Cost Per Click

CPL – Cost Per Lead

CR – Click or Conversion Rate

CRM – Customer Relationship Management (something Ryanair could do with help on.)

CTA – Call to Action

CTR – Click Through Rate

Deck – PowerPoint presentation, because anything over five letters long is too much effort to say. See also: Comms.

DM – It means about three things Direct Marketing, Direct Mail, Digital Marketing and we’ve won lots of awards for them all – just saying.

DPS – Double Page Spread

Dupes – Duplicates

ECRM – Email Customer Relationship Management.

FYI – For Your Information

GA – Google Analytics

GDPR – doesn’t matter what it stands for, it’s a bunch of new data laws coming into effect on May 25th 2018 that will change the way businesses deal with everyone’s personal data. It could stand for “Goats Driving Platinum Renaults” for all you care, it’s the law that matters.

KPIs – Key Performance Indicators

MGM – Member Get Member

New biz – New Business. The lifeblood of any organisation.

NSFW – Not Suitable for Work….fortunately this one was suggested to me by a colleague rather than finding out the hard way.

OOO – Out of Office

OR – Open Rate

PO – Purchase Order. No, that definition didn’t make it any clearer to me either. I believe it’s essentially a reference number for an agreed price in exchange for a service or product.

PP – It just means pages

PPC – Pay Per Click

PSD – Photoshop Files

ROI – Return on Investment apparently. I thought it meant Republic of Ireland. #geographer

Roundel – Something in a circle.

Run Outs – Why can’t we just call it a print out? A run out is something you do on a really bad date.

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation

SLA – Service Level Agreement

STLY – Same Time Last Year

Sub-optimal – A bit shit.

Topline – The most important information.

ToV – Tone of Voice.

USP – Unique Selling Proposition.

W/C – Week Commencing, not toilet.

WOM – Word Of Mouth

WOW – Ways Of Working. Something I found out much to my disappointment after thinking I’d gotten some great feedback on a piece of work.