Glossary of Marketing Terms

Marketing terms header image

Types of Marketing

The activity or profession of producing advertisements for products, events, or services.

Contextual marketing is a strategy that’s guided by the behaviors and conditions surrounding your marketing efforts. It ensures that all of your content is relevant to your audience.

Using the Internet and other forms of digital communication to promote brands in order to connect with potential customers. This includes not only email, social media, and web-based advertising, but also text and multimedia messages.

The process of designing and conducting experiments to optimize and improve the results of a target area. If you have a certain metric you want to increase, growth marketing is a method you can utilize to achieve that.

Strategy designed to foster customer loyalty, interaction, and long-term engagement. It helps develop strong connections with customers by providing them with information directly suited to their needs and interests and by promoting open communication.

For effective marketing, we must build strong relationships with our student audience.

Types of Marketing Content

A written schedule of when and on which platform(s) you plan to publish upcoming content. Content calendars typically include:

  • Upcoming posts
  • Status updates
  • Planned promotional activity
  • Partnerships
  • Updates to existing content

Products, segments, and strategies that stay relevant over a long period of time.

An image or visual representation of an object.

A collection of charts and images with minimal text that provides an easy-to-understand overview of a topic. Infographics use striking, engaging visuals to communicate information quickly and clearly.

Any media material used to promote products, events, or services. This includes everything from print materials like posters and flyers to digital content like catalogs and e-magazines. Anything you can use to communicate your brand message is considered to be marketing collateral.

Strategic Marketing

A critical first step of the marketing collaboration process. A form of investigative meeting used by consultants, designers, and project teams to learn more about a project's requirements. Discovery meetings provide information used to draft a discovery report and to help the project team decide on next steps.

Overall plan for reaching prospective consumers (students who are not yet part of your audience) and converting them into consumers of your products, services, and events.

A marketing strategy contains the company's value proposition, key brand messaging, data on target customer demographics, and other high-level elements.

Declarations about how the organization values their customers (students) and how it wants be valued within their own internal community.

A unique selling point or slogan that differentiates a product or service from its competitors. This is the “why” for the student as in the reason why the student should engage with your unit, attend your events, and utilize your resources.

Operational document that outlines an advertising strategy that an organization will implement to generate leads and reach its target market.

A marketing plan details the outreach and PR campaigns to be undertaken over a period, including how the company will measure the effect of these initiatives. 

A holistic, organized, strategic plan to help you reach your unit’s goals. Effective marketing campaigns should have:

  • Start and end dates
  • Overarching message and theme
  • Clear purpose and goals
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success
  • Established visual identity
  • Call to action

  • Product marketing campaign
  • Brand development campaign
  • Email marketing campaign
  • User-generated content campaign
  • PR/Awareness campaign
  • Social media campaign

  • Promote a service
  • Advertise an event
  • Increase brand awareness or loyalty
  • Market research
  • Boost community engagement

  • Social media engagement
  • Event attendance
  • Emails opened, click, and click-to-open rates
  • Organic brand ambassadors, word-of-mouth promotion, and peer-to-peer recommendation

Understanding Your Audience

Breaking up a seemingly uniform audience (i.e. GMU students) into subgroups based on various characteristics. Audience segmentation enables you to produce more specific and tailored messaging that resonates with your audience, which leads to more compelling marketing.

A great place to start is by identifying specific needs such as student concerns, personal situations, and personal interests. Identifying demographics such as class standing, residence (on/off campus, in/out of state), level of student involvement, major, financial need, etc. will also help. Creating specific personas will help the process feel less abstract.

Encompasses all the experiences that customers go through when interacting with the University and its units.

Instead of looking at just one part of a transaction or experience, the customer journey considers the full experience of being a customer, or in our case, a Mason student.

Obstacles during the student’s experience that inhibits their willingness or ability to:

  • Utilize programs and services
  • Attend events
  • Get what they need from a service or program
  • Find value in what they are being offered

Gathering data and information about your target audience (current and the ones you want to reach) including their interests, needs, and habits to inform your unit’s marketing decisions.


Conducting market research can also help you understand how the target audience perceives your organization, services, and events. Using these findings to inform your marketing strategy and decisions will help you maximize the impact and effectiveness of your campaigns.

Semi-fictional representations of your known student groups that are a key part of inbound marketing for higher education institutions. A thorough student persona will often include:

  • A fictionalized name
  • A short summary or biography


The elements that make up your unit’s unique identity. As part of George Mason University, your unit’s brand will align with or be made up of Mason’s overall brand but also have an essence that sets you apart from everyone else.

The visual look or appearance of a brand’s content. Brand aesthetic helps establish a mood, tone, or style and demonstrates your personality.

Your brand’s personality including your brand’s persona, voice, values, and distinct ways of interacting with your audience/customers.

Distinct features of your brand that set you apart from your competition; how you want to be perceived by your audience.

Measuring Marketing Success

  • Open rate: % of people who opened the email out of the total # of people the email was sent to.
  • Click rate/Click-through rate: The rate of link clicks out of the total number of people who received the email.
  • Click-to-open rate: The rate of link clicks out of the number of people who opened the email.

A measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives.

Metrics are the numbers you track, and analytics implies analyses and decision making.

  • Metrics: What you measure to gauge performance or progress within a company or organization.
  • Analytics: The use of metrics to help you make decisions about how to move forward.