Glossary of Terms

Glossary of marketing terms

Find out what many commonly used terms mean.

  • Aggregation

    The collection of information from a variety of sources that is then brought together in one place.



  • Consumer characteristics

    A consumer’s interests, opinions, demographic, lifestyle, activity and purchase characteristics.


  • Cookies

    Small text files stored on an individual’s web browser. Cookies are designed to hold small amounts of data specific to a particular online user and can be accessed by a web server.


  • Demographics

    Characteristics of an individual, such as age, income, education, gender or occupation.


  • Direct mail marketing

    An advertisement that is delivered to customers and potential customers by postal mail.



  • Direct marketing

    When businesses and nonprofit organizations market their products, services or causes directly to consumers based on consumer interests. Examples include catalogs and other postal mailings, telemarketing, text messages, email, ads on a mobile device and internet advertising.




  • Internet banner advertising

    Advertisements that a consumer sees while browsing the internet, also known as “display”advertising. For example, while a consumer is reading the news online, the consumer may see an advertisement at the top of the web page. The advertisement could be based on the consumer’s recent online activity or it may appear to be random. Consumers will see ads while browsing the internet, and the goal of marketing to consumers through internet banner advertising is to show consumers ads that are relevant.



  • Lists

    Collections of names and addresses used by an organization to send advertisements.


  • Marketing

    When companies use consumer information to provide existing and potential customers with opportunities to buy products or services or to contribute to charitable causes.


  • Market segmentation

    Dividing consumers into groups based on different consumer characteristics in order to deliver specially designed advertisements that meet these characteristics as closely as possible.

  • Mass marketing

    When many consumers receive the same message from businesses and nonprofit organizations through mass media, such as broadcast television, radio and newspapers, regardless of consumer interests.


  • Offer

    The content that is provided in an advertisement, i.e., a product or service presented to consumers. For example, a promotion for a free dental check from a local dentist.

  • Opt in (subscribe)

    When a consumer provides permission to an advertiser to send them advertising messages.


  • Opt out (unsubscribe)

    When a consumer chooses not to receive, or to no longer receive, advertising messages from a particular advertiser or requests that personal information not be shared with another party.


  • Permission-based email

    Emails sent to individuals who have opted in, or subscribed, to receive email communications from a particular company, website or individual.

  • Permission-based marketing

    Any type of marketing that asks for permission from individuals/households. For example, an individual specifically requests a catalog or signs up for email updates from a company.


  • Retargeting

    Display of an internet banner advertisement to an online user based on their previous action, such as visiting a website or opening an email.


  • Target marketing

    Reaching out to a group of consumers sharing common consumer characteristics with the most appropriate advertisements.


  • Telemarketing

    Using the telephone to contact individuals about an advertiser’s products or services, or to get support for a cause.