Glossary of marketing terms
approval. (1) The process of submitting a project, particularly a document, to one or more people who allow it to proceed to production (print, publication, etc.) or who make changes necessary to advance it to production. To be accurate, the approval process occurs just before finalization of a project and approval should involve making only changes that are absolutely required (such as correcting technical inaccuracies, fixing spelling errors, changing something because of a legal or regulatory compliance issue). In actual practice, approval is often merged with the review process. (2) Obtaining a final go-ahead to start, advance, or complete a particular project from the person(s) in authority.
audio. (1) Sometimes used to refer to a CD or cassette tape with just sound, particularly the spoken word. (2) The sound channel on a video, DVD, or web site. (3) The sound quality of any sound production.
bitmap. A way to produce an electronic image using only pixels. Such an image is sometimes also called a raster image.
blackhat or blackhat techniques. Using illegal, unethical or sometimes just merely questionable tactics to attempt to get search engines to favor a particular web site or to otherwise manipulate responses.
bleed. A printing term for a technique which allows ink to run right up to the very edge of the paper. A bleed requires the printer to print a page that is slightly larger than the specified size and then cut it back to the right size. Otherwise, the ink can't go right up to the edge. Bleeds are very popular but cost more to print than non-bleeds.
blueline. A term for a proof or a sample of what a printed piece will look like. Although in the olden days, bluelines were often blue, today the term can be used for even color proofs (although technically incorrect). Changes made to a blueline require significant revisions and generally cost money and impact the delivery date.
body or body copy. In an ad, the text that is not headline. The classic print ad contains a headline, an image, and body copy. Although many companies labor over body copy, it is the least-viewed portion of an ad.
book. For most marketing people, this refers to a portfolio of projects they have done (or collaborated on). For example, when hiring a graphic designer, it's a good idea to look at his or her book.
buy-out. See royalty-free.
burn. To create or copy a CD or DVD by assembling materials and having it transferred to the disk.
call to action. The phrase that encompasses a challenge to the reader (or viewer) to do something specific. An ad may contain a “call to action” that asks readers to contact the company or send for a brochure. A TV commercial may have a simple call to action: buy our product.
callout. A name or phrase that is linked to an image, particularly in brochures or manuals where components on a product might be named.
caption. A phrase or sentence (or even paragraph) that accompanies an image, typically in a book or long document.
card stock. The printer's term for a heavy-weight paper.
challenge. A euphemism for a problem so onerous that it cannot be called an opportunity. See also opportunity.
clinician. Our favorite choice to replace the ubiquitous healthcare professional. Clinicians can have any number of job descriptions or academic titles, but all of them work in the healthcare setting as caregivers.
CMYK. An abbreviation that refers to a way printed pieces receive color. The C stands for cyan (blue), the M is magenta, the Y is yellow, and for some inscrutable reason, the K is black. When a piece is printed with CMYK, every droplet of ink may carry one of these four variables. Their arrangement and frequency (dpi) allows for variations and gradations in color. See also RGB.
comp. This is short for a composition or a “draft” of a design or illustration in which the various elements are placed appropriately. A comp of an ad may be a sketch or it may be more refined (with actual photography). The purpose of a comp is to provide a good visual impression of what the end product will look like.
concept. Most often used in the marketing world as a synonym for “version” or “approach”. Sometimes, a marketing team is asked to produce three concepts for a particular ad. This means they must show three different ways of approaching the same ad.
copy. Text, particularly the words in an ad or brochure or other printed piece. (The words of a web page are called “content” and the words of an electronic piece, such as a TV commercial, are called “script.”) Avoid using the word “verbiage” which not only rhymes with garbage but reminds marketing people you're not one of them.
creative. In the marketing world, this is almost always a noun and refers to a person who makes his or her living by selling creative services such as writing or design.
creative brief. A widely ignored document which attempts to set forth the objectives, limitations, and other parameters for a project, particularly a large project or any project done by a traditional ad agency.
CSS. Cascading style-sheets, an approach to web design that builds standardized page format for a multi-page site.
deboss. The opposite of emboss, see emboss.
desktop publishing. Creating a document which can be produced by the computer (that is, printed out on a computer printer). Desktop publishing involves incorporating text, images, and other elements and producing a final document. While layout skills are important to desktop publishing, the end result is computer produced and not of the same quality as traditional print. In general, desktop published documents are not as sophisticated as graphically designed page layouts, but may be adequate for many business applications.
direct mail. A type of advertising in which a printed piece or other item (it could be something dimensional like a sample or premium item) is sent by postal service directly to recipients, typically clinicians or customers. Direct mail may be as simple as a post card or as elaborate as sending a box of promotional items.
direct response. A type of marketing which appeals directly to the end user. Direct response is not commonly used in medical marketing.
direct-to-consumer. Abbreviated DTC. An advertising or promotional approach in medical marketing which appeals to the patient rather than clinicians. DTC advertising is illegal in most countries, but not in the United States, where there is not much controversy about these ads. DTC ads can be in print (in consumer magazines), online, or on TV.
dirty translation. This isn't what you think. It's a somewhat outdated term that refers to a very fast, rough depiction of what a document contains. For instance, a company may have some documents in its possession and ask a translator to tell it what the documents are; that might be called a dirty translation.
dissolve. In video, the ability to transition from one shot to the next by having the first shot fade out as the next shot fades in.
dpi. The abbreviation of dots per inch, a term sometimes incorrectly interchanged with ppi (pixels per inch). Dots per inch is a printing term that refers to how many dots or droplets of ink are used to create an image. Printing involves putting tiny drops of ink on paper in a particular pattern. The more drops or dots per inch, the higher the quality of the image. Pixels per inch is the electronic version. For example, you may have a 220 ppi image from the web that you print out on a 720 dpi printer.
draft. An initial version of a written document. Sometimes people talk about a “rough draft,” but that's redundant.
drill. What printers do when they punch holes in paper, such as pages for binders.
DTC. Direct-to-consumer, a type of advertising and promotional strategy in medicine.
dub. (1) To make a copy of some form of media, particularly an audio, video, CD, or DVD. Sometimes expressed “dub off” as in “I'll dub off a DVD for you to take with you.” This is gradually giving way to the more common “burn” or “rip.” We live in violent times. (2) To change the language of a video or DVD by adding a sound track in a new language in such a way that the on-screen characters appear to be speaking the new language. Dubbing a film requires considerable skill.
element. (1) A thing or item that must appear in a particular project. Typical elements for a brochure might be company name, company logo, a photograph, title, and specific text. (2) Sometimes used by creatives to talk about any part of the whole, such as elements to a web site or elements for an audio production.
emboss. A printing technique which uses a mold or form pressed into paper to create an convex impression (sticks out). Sometimes fancy business cards or reports get embossed. If the impression is convex (goes in) then it is debossed.
endnote. A reference or citation that appears at the end of a chapter or document rather than at the bottom. If it appeared at the bottom, it would be called a footnote.
freelance or freelancer. A sub-species of independent contractor which is just a single person. An independent contractor may be a freelancer (one person) or it may be an organization or business (ad agency, photo studio). A freelancer is always one person.
fulfillment. The process of preparing marketing materials for distribution, typically by stuffing a launch kit, assembling a binder, or putting together a direct mail piece. Fulfillment can also refer to processing an order, such as a fulfillment house which ships marketing materials on request.
independent contractor. An individual in business for himself or herself and who agrees to work with a company or other business entity for a specific project under specific terms. An independent contractor is not an employee.
intellectual property. Things of value owned by a business or individual which are not tangible and typically include formulas, patents, proprietary techniques and trademarks.
interpretation. Taking a spoken or audio passage in one language and accurately and completely rendering it into another language. Interpreters and interpretation deal with spoken language, while translators work with the written word. There are two types of interpretation: simultaneous (interpreter talks at the same time as the speaker) and consecutive (speaker pauses to allow interpreter to interpret).
J-card. The printed piece of paper that slips into a clear plastic audio cassette case and acts as a label; named for its shape.
jewel case. The thin, clear, hard plastic container in which a single CD or DVD is contained. A jewel case may allow for a printed piece of paper to be included as a label. This label may be called a sleeve, a slip sheet, or a case cover.
keyword. (1) In clinical writing, terms under which a particular article should be indexed. (2) In the Internet world, search terms that people type into search engines to find particular items.
keyword-density. The number of keywords in a written text on the web. Although having keywords in a text is important, overloading keywords can be a clue to some savvy search engines that you're playing games. See blackhat techniques.
launch. The official release or marketing of a product or service.
launch kit. Materials provided to the sales force to accompany a product launch. The term launch kit is used even if the launch materials are provided electronically or in a binder.
lower third. The bottom portion of a screen, particularly of a video image. It is common to put subtitles, titles, or other text in the lower third.
M. In printing, the abbreviation for thousand. It is not K.
machine translation. The rather whimsical notion that a computer program can be set up to translate one language into another. Abbreviated MT. While there are MT programs and even serviceable ones, most machine translation involves an editorial pass with a human editor.
mail house. A commercial enterprise that handles large mailings.
media release. An official document prepared and approved by a company or other business entity and “released” or submitted to various news organizations and other places. A media release is intended for broad public distribution and may get “picked up” or published. Such a document is said to go out “over the wires” which nowadays means via computer channels and such services as Business Wire or PR News Wire.
megapixel. A million pixels.
MT. Machine translation.
opportunity. A euphemism for problem or overwhelming burden.
organic results. When a keyword is entered into a search engine, the number of sites that come up (usually in the main area of the screen) which appear naturally, that is, which did not advertise or pay to get their position. Having a high placement in an organic search is considered optimal for most websites.
outsource. The preferred term for hiring an agency, organization, freelancer, or other person not on the company payroll to complete or assist in a specific project. Communications projects are frequently outsourced.
over the wires. A public relations terms for releasing a media release (or news statement) to broad distribution. This term dates back to the days when news was generally carried by the so-called “wire services,” AP and UPI.
page. (1) One screen's worth of a web site. Most web sites consist of many pages. (2) Page also has its usual meaning in terms of documents, one side of one piece of paper or printed material.
page layout. The art and craft of putting elements, including text, images, and graphics on a page for publication, either electronic or print. Some people feel that this is the equivalent of desktop publishing, but we do not. Typical page layout software includes Quark XPress® and InDesign® programs.
pass. The way writers and artists talk about one step or phase of a project, especially a round of review or approval. For example, a writer may gather up input from the last “revision pass.”
patient. A person. Never forget this.
pay per click. Abbreviated PPC. A term used for Internet advertising services in which advertisers pay by the number of people who click through to their sites from ads. In order for this popular program to work, most search engines are vigilant about click fraud, that is, clicking ads of competitors to drive up their advertising costs.
physician. The term we prefer for medical doctor. While the word “doctor” seems friendlier and may be useful as a variant in patient literature, physician is more accurate.
pick and pack. The procedure in a warehouse where items are taken from storage (such as off a shelf) and packed for distribution.
pixel. The easiest way to think of this is as the smallest unit of an image, usually a dot or speck. The word is a shortened form of “picture element.” An image on a computer screen is created by a lot of little dots working together. Pixels are actually square or rectangular in shape and their proportions are sometimes described in something called an aspect ratio, but that's getting too technical for us here.
placement. (1) The act of providing art files and other information to a journal, newspaper, or other publication so that an advertisement can be run. (2) The act of getting a publication to run a story initiated by a business entity; for example, a drug company may be able to get a TV news magazine to “place” a story on its new diet pill. (3) Rare, but may be used to refer to where a web site comes up on a search engine. For example, if a person searches for the term “diet pill” and that particular drug company's site appears ninth on the list of sites, its placement is good but not perfect.
ppi. Pixels per inch. In actual practice, this term is sometimes used sloppily to mean the same thing as dpi (dots per inch) but they are different. The term ppi applies to electronic media (such as web pages, digital photographs, etc.) The higher the ppi, the higher the resolution.
premium item. This is the term we prefer for using objects (everything from desk accessories to notebooks to tote bags to golf shirts) to carry a logo or marketing message.
press release. An old-fashioned term still in widespread use and synonymous with media release.
print. Sometimes called “traditional print,” this refers to things that get produced by applying ink to paper, using a printing press or digital printing equipment. It is often used as an adjective to describe materials that get printed rather than published some other way, for instance, a “print ad” (as opposed to a TV commercial).
printers' spread. A page layout done for use by the printer on the printing press (or digital printing equipment). Because documents are not printed in sequential page order, the printers' spread may be difficult for a non-creative to read because pages are out of order and may even appear upside down.
promotional item. See premium item.
proof. A sample of what something will look like when it comes off the printing press or replicating machine. A proof is done so that a designer or other creative can inspect the colors, printing techniques, and overall quality before a large quantity of the item is produced. By the way, it is not unusual for there to be extra fees for a proof—many printers charge to make them and many creatives charge to inspect them.
public relations. A broad general term that refers to numerous techniques used to create a public personality for a company or other business entity (which could even be an individual).
raster. A bitmapped image, that is, an electronic image composed only of pixels. Raster is sometimes used to describe the scanning patterns on TV.
ream. If you're talking about ordinary paper, a ream is 500 sheets and it is the standard amount that comes wrapped or packaged from the supplier. However, specialty or heavyweight papers sometimes are packaged in units of 250 sheets and those packages are also called reams.
redline. An old-fashioned term still in use for any changes made to a document. The term comes from the days when reviewers used proofers' marks in red ink to indicate revisions. Today, even an electronic document with revisions captured via the “Track Changes” feature may be called a redline.
replicate. The common term for producing multiple units of a CD or DVD.
res. The abbreviation for resolution.
resolution. While this term is usually used to express the quality of a particular image (and its suitability for duplication in various media), it actually refers to the number of pixels or dots used to create the image. An image that uses a lot of pixels is higher-resolution than one that uses fewer pixels. This term is often abbreviated “res” as in “high-res” or “low-res” image. For printing high-quality images (brochures, advertising, and other printing), high-res images are required. Trying to print a brochure from a low-res image results in images that are “broken” or unclear. High-res images have a lot of pixels and require a lot of memory. Web sites and PowerPoint® presentations can usually use low-res images since they appear clear in these media and do not use nearly as much memory.
rev. Revision, particularly of an entire project or document. The word rev may even appear in document titles indicating that changes have been incorporated from a prior version. It's not unusual in marketing to see “rev3” or “rev18” on projects.
review. To be perfectly accurate, a review involves one or more people going over a project, particularly a document, and making an initial or at least early series of changes and suggestions. The review process is then followed by the more stringent approval process. In theory at least, review should be a process where changes are encouraged and discussion can ensue, while approval should be a process that approves the project or makes absolutely required modifications. In actual practice, these processes can be merged and terms are often misused. See also approval.
revision. (1) A change or modification to a project. Most creative projects are subject to numerous revisions during their development. (2) A new version of a particular document or project. For example, if a draft is prepared and then gets modified by reviewers, the new version incorporating those changes can also be called a revision or, more typically, just a rev.
RGB. An abbreviation that refers to a way printed pieces receive color. The RGB stands for red, green, and blue. Every dot or droplet of ink used to print an RGB project will vary by color. Their particular arrangement allows for color quality of the printed piece. See also CMYK.
royalty. A payment for the use of creative material based on a previous agreement or contract. Book authors may get a royalty (percentage) for every book sold. Some photographers demand a royalty (set payment) every time their image is used (for example, using their image on your web site may cost you a specific amount per year; if you want to put that same image in your annual report, you'll owe more royalty payments.).
royalty-free. Describes a type of creative material which you can buy and then use without further payments. Royalty-free music and royalty-free photography are the two most common types encountered in medical marketing. If you purchase a royalty-free photograph (you do have to pay for the photograph), you may use it for unlimited applications and for unlimited time periods with no further payments. Sometimes called “buy-out” materials.
scratch track. Think of this as the “draft” of the sound for a video or DVD project. Before the final sound track is produced, many videos rely on a scratch track to help guide the editing process.
screen back. A printing technique which causes an image or type to be faded or muted in appearance, accomplished by reducing the number of dots of ink on the page. When black text on a page is screened back enough, it appears gray and muted.
script. (1) In audio or video production, the instructions to create the project including all words to be spoken, musical cues, listing of sound effects, plus general directions on creating the final product. (2) In sales, a canned pitch or presentation that can be memorized. Telemarketers use scripts.
search engine. Those mysterious electronic systems that sort through the web in such a way that they can respond to a query by keyword with appropriate sites. The largest search engines are Google and Yahoo.
search engine optimized (SEO). A site designed in the vain but persistent hope that some special trick or gimmick will cause a search engine to notice one site over others. Search engine technology changes all the time, mainly in an attempt to outwit the SEO experts. Our approach to SEO: build a good site with killer content.
site. The common term for web site.
slides. The commonly used term for PowerPoint® pages created for a presentation. In the olden days, such presentations used 35mm slides.
source language. In translation, the language of the original document, that is the language you are translating from. You translate into the target language. This is sometimes expressed in symbols; for example, a translation of a French manual into English might be described as F>E. French is the source language, English is the target language. Translation should be billed by word count of the source language.
spread. (1) An ad that takes two pages or more in a journal or magazine. (2) A large amount of food brought by a printer or other vendor to help win over the hearts of a marketing team.
stock. The printer's term for paper.
stock photography. Photographic images that are for sale “off-the-rack” as opposed to custom photography. There are many web sites and services that sell stock images which are available for use. Some of these images are “royalty-free” or “buy-out” photographs which means a single payment allows you to use the image in your materials as you see fit. Other images require royalty payments for specific uses.
SWF. Shock-wave file.
talent. In the marketing world, this is a person, who makes his or her living by providing voice, acting, or modeling skills. This is not to be confused with person who makes his or her living writing or designing; they are creatives.
target language. In translation, the language into which the translator is to bring the document. Translation is done from a source language (original language) into a target language. Since translators have to have considerable facility of expression in the target language, it is often a requirement that translators be native speakers of the target language (but not the source language).
title. (1) In writing, the name of an article. (2) In video production, any text that is to appear on screen, including people's names, sections, key words, or credits.
translation. Taking a written document in one language and rendering it accurately and completely into another language. Note that translation and translators deal with the written word, while interpreters deal with the spoken word.
trim. The printing term for cutting paper to meet specific requirements.
vector image. What you need to know about this is that it is an image created in one of the main software programs (such as Illustrator®, Freehand®, Photoshop® software, etc.) and which can be manipulated by a designer.
V/O. Abbreviation for voice/over. Yes, it uses the slash.
Voice/over. Spoken words over an image, typically on a video or DVD. A voice/over involves a disembodied narrator (or narrators) who speak but are not seen. Voice/overs are much easier to translate than words spoken by on-screen talent. Abbreviated V/O.
web. The word most of us use (incorrectly, admittedly) to refer to the Internet. The Internet is actually much bigger than the web, but the terms are largely synonymous to MarCom people.
web site. A presence on the worldwide web (that's the www in the address) in the form of graphic images and text. Usually called a site.
weight. A term of measurement for paper that refers to the paper's thickness, expressed in pounds. Good-quality writing paper is usually about 20 pounds, index cards are about 80 pounds.
word count. The number of words in a specific text. Word counts are sometimes used by writers to measure the length of articles and are used by translators for billing purposes. (Translation is typically billed by the word of the source language.) Note that word count varies by language; it generally takes fewer English words to say something than it does to say the same thing in French, German, Spanish or Italian.
work for hire. The special terms and conditions in the U.S. for certain projects in which a creative person (writer, artist, photographer, etc.) is hired to do a specific project for a client for a mutually agreeable payment. All rights to the project, including the copyright, transfer to the entity commissioning the project upon payment. This means if you hire us to write a book, you own the book.