The Essential Dictionary Of Industrial Marketing Terms You Should Know

The term “digital marketing” was first coined back in 1990. Since that time, new tactics, strategies, tools, and approaches have been introduced, continually redefining the discipline.

Whether you're just beginning industrial marketing or you have a few campaigns under your belt, it’s important to understand all of the elements of industrial marketing so that you can define a digital marketing strategy that works for your business. 

Digital Marketing Terms


A/B Testing

Also known as split testing, A/B testing is the process of comparing two versions of a marketing element (a landing page, email, CTA button, social media message, etc.) to see which variant performs better. Each version of the test (version A and version B) is tested until one achieves a statistically significant edge over the other.  


The process of reviewing data to discover patterns and trends across different marketing channels and initiatives. By leveraging data, marketers can gain a better understanding of user behavior, and optimize their efforts.



A core component of inbound marketing, a blog (short for “weblog”) is a website, or a section of a website, for publishing content. Content can be in the form of articles, commentaries, news updates, videos, or other formats. By producing quality content, a blog can help increase website traffic, establish thought leadership, and spur lead generation.

Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

Refers to the last part of the Inbound Marketing Funnel. The folks in this stage already know what you're selling, what your company does, and they’re ready to buy. Therefore, your main goal is to offer content and offers that persuade a prospect to purchase from your company.

Bounce Rate

The percentage of visitors to a site that navigates away from the website after only viewing one page. Can also refer to email marketing, in which it is the rate at which an email was unable to be delivered.

Buyer Persona

A representation of your company’s ideal customer based on data, as well as market research about your existing customers.

Buying Process

The patch a B2B buyer takes before making a purchase decision. As an industrial marketer, it’s important to connect with buyers at every step in the journey.

The Industrial Buying Process


A name, term, design, symbol or other feature that distinguishes one company, organization or product from another in the eyes of the customer.

Business-To-Business (B2B)

Companies that sell to other businesses.

Business-To-Consumer (B2C)

Companies that sell directly to consumers.


Call-To-Action (CTA)

A text link, button, image, or some sort of web link that encourages site visitors to take an action (e.g., follow a link, fill out a form, watch a video, etc.).

Click Through Rate (CTR)

The ratio of the number of times people click a link versus the number of times that people view a link.

Content Management System (CMS)

An application that is used to manage web content, and allows multiple contributors to create, edit, and publish.


When a reader or visitor takes a desired action (e.g., filling out a form, clicking a link, etc.).

Conversion Rate

The number of conversions divided by the total number of readers or visitors.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Commonly referred to as CRO, conversion rate optimization is a system for increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that convert into customers.

Cost Per Conversion (CPC)

The total paid cost for an ad in successfully achieving the goal of that advertisement. Sometimes confused with “cost-per-click,” CPC differs in that it is the ratio of the number of views an ad receives to the number of successful conversions such as purchases, signups, etc.



Specific profiling information that considers age, gender, income, family life, social class, etc. These profiling aspects are commonly used to segment audiences and build personas.

Digital Marketing

Marketing that is specifically done to target an online audience.

Direct Traffic

Website visits generated by people typing specific URLs directly into their search bars or via browser bookmarks.


A domain is what you type into your browser to find a site and are sometimes referred to as a web address. After registering a domain, you can choose to use it for a website or an email account.



A book that is made available in a digital form. In marketing, eBooks are often a longer piece of content designed to generate leads.

Email Marketing

Email stands for “Electronic Mail.” In marketing, it provides a direct connection to a contact’s inbox. Email marketing has become one of the top platforms for nurturing leads into customers, but over the years regulations have been put in place so brands and companies can’t abuse data and privacy.

Engagement Rate

A metric that measures the level of engagement that a piece of content receives from an audience. It shows how much people interact with the content by commenting, sharing, liking and more. This is a particularly useful metric when tracking engagement rates on social media.



Facebook is a social media site that you’re most likely familiar with already, but from a marketing standpoint, perhaps not so much. This social giant is more than just  a network for staying connected with extended family. With tools like Facebook advertising, Facebook allows business to find and attract contacts to your website.


This is the place where your website visitors and prospects will provide their personal information in exchange for some kind of offer.


Growth-Driven Design

An approach to website design that focuses on driving continuous improvement through A/B testing and data analysis.


Hard Bounce

An email that is returned to the sender because the recipients' email address is invalid.


Used on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram, a word or phrase that comes after a hashtag (#) is used to identify a specific topic.


A marketing automation software tool used by developers and marketers for inbound marketing and sales.


Inbound Link

A link from another site that links to your own website. Sites that receive a lot of links are more likely to rank higher in search results.

Inbound Funnel

The Inbound Funnel is a representation of the process of attracting visitors, converting them into leads, and closing new sales.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing is a technique for drawing prospects to products and services through content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization and more. According to Hubspot, the goal of an inbound marketer is to “attract new prospects to your company, engage them at scale, and delight them individually.” Attract, engage, and delight.


A visual representation of information, data, or knowledge that helps present information quickly and clearly.


A video and photo sharing social media platform. Many businesses are utilizing Instagram as a way to share industry-related photos that followers and customers would enjoy.



A programming language that allows websites to integrate interactive elements, such as pop-ups, forms, etc.


Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

A type of performance metric that helps evaluate how effectively a business is achieving its objectives, campaigns or activities.


A word or phrase that people enter on a search engine to find specific information. Utilizing keywords on your website can help you rank higher in search results.


Landing Page

A webpage with a single focused call-to-action, either a signup form or a button. A landing page typically has no top-bar navigation links, which limits the options available to your visitors and guides them toward the intended CTA.


An individual or a company that shows interest in your business’ products or services.

Lead Flow

A lead flow is a tool that helps convert visitors of your site into leads. More than likely you’ve seen them before when landing on a page. Lead flows appear as a pop-up box, drop-down banner, or slide-in box to offer visitors an offer in exchange for contact credentials.

Lead Nurturing

The process of developing relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales cycle and every step of the buyer's journey.


LinkedIn is a business-oriented social media site that is primarily used for professional networking.

Long-Tail Keyword

A keyword-driven phrase (e.g., “CNC machining shop in NYC”)  that is specific to what you are selling. Because of their specificity, the people searching for these specific keywords tend to convert into sales more often than those who enter more generic terms. Below is an example of local search results for the keywords CNC machining in NY.

CNC machine shop local buyers example - seo industrial marketing example


Marketing Automation

Technologies and software designed for marketing departments that automate repetitive tasks in order for more effective marketing and enable marketing at scale.

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)

These are leads who fit your ideal customer profile and look like a promising potential customer on paper. MQLs correspond to the Evaluation Stage of the buyer’s journey. They are solution-aware and on their way to becoming product-aware.


An individual web page or cluster of pages that act as a separate entity for a brand. Typically a microsite has its own domain, but at times it exists as a subdomain.

Middle Of The Funnel (MOFU)

In this stage of the marketing funnel, your content should continue to educate your lead, but also start the process of positioning your business as the solution to the lead’s needs and challenges.

Mobile Optimization

Designing and formatting your website so that it’s easy to read and navigate on mobile.


No-Follow Link

A link that doesn’t count toward a site pages’ ranking in search engines. A no-follow tag in HTML tells search engines to not count the link in its results.



A piece of content that lives behind a form or landing page with the purpose of generating leads for your company.

Off-Page Optimization

All the actions that can be taken outside of a website in order to boost it’s position in search rankings. This includes backlinking.

On-Page Optimization

Optimizing individual web pages in order to rank higher on search engines. On-page refers to both the HTML source code of a page and a web pages’ content.

Opportunity Intelligence

Beyond analytics, Opportunity Intelligence is actionable data on in-market buyers that enables you to align your marketing and sales efforts to the way industrial buyers do their jobs, and to engage these track, identify, and engage these buyers more effectively. Thomas WebTrax is an Opportunity Intelligence tool built specifically for industry.

Organic Search/Traffic

The opposite of paid traffic, visitors find your website via search engines and aren’t referred from another site.


Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

A form of paid advertising that is used to direct traffic to your site. An advertiser will pay a publisher when their ad is clicked. PPC is also called cost-per-click.


A social media platform that works as a digital bulletin board. Typically people pin or save images that they find online and organize them on personal boards on their profiles.

Public Relations

Managing information between an individual or company and the public.


Quality Score

An assessment of the relevance and quality of ads in Pay-Per-Click Advertising


Responsive Design

A websign design and development approach that focuses on flexibility, ensuring that web pages detect the visitor's screen size and orientation, and displays the page accordingly.


Referral Traffic

Visits to your site generated via links that appear on other websites.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The process and discipline of improving visibility in search results. By optimizing a webpage’s on-page SEO components and affecting off-page SEO elements, marketing professionals are able to appear higher in results on search engines, thus boosting the rank of a site.


The alignment of both your sales and marketing teams through consistent and direct communication.

Social Media

Social media is designed to connect individuals through online interaction. Examples of social media networks include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, all of which can be utilized as an individual or business. Today, social media is a main component of inbound marketing as it allows marketing professionals to cast a wider web to enhance reach and achieve business goals.

Soft Bounce

When an email gets to a recipient's mail server but doesn’t make it to their inbox. The email is then bounced back undelivered. This may happen because the recipient’s mailbox is full.

S.W.O.T. Analysis

A planning technique that helps a person or organization determine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to their business.


Target Market

The market that a company wants to sell its products or services to.

Home to industry’s largest and most active network of buyers and suppliers. Every 2 seconds a buyer, engineer or other purchase decision-maker visits  to source products and services and find a new supplier. Getting listed on the platform is free.

Top of the Funnel (TOFU)

Sometimes referred to as “TOFU,” the top of the funnel is the first stage of the buying process. This is the stage that serves to spread awareness, educate, and promotes brand identity.


Twitter is a social media platform that allows users to share 280-character long messages, known as tweets.



Short for Uniform Resource Locator, a URL is the address of a piece of information that can be found on the web such as a page, image or document.

User Experience (UX)

The overall experience that a customer has with a business.



A collection of web pages that are most often identified with a common domain name, and published on a web server.


Typically refers to a set of process that are triggered by an event, such as when a contact fills out a form or a visitor lands on a specific page. Workflows can be automated using marketing automation tools like HubSpot.


A free content management system used to build and maintain websites. Relatively easy to use, it has become the most popular blogging tool on the web and one of the leading tools for designing, publishing, and maintaining websites.


XML Sitemap

An XML sitemap is a file of code that lives on your web server and lists all of the relevant URLs that in the structure of your website.



A video sharing website on which users can upload, share and view videos. With video content at the forefront of marketing, YouTube is a great place to grow subscribers, engage and build relationships with your prospects and customers.

Learn How To Get Started With Video Marketing  



A tool used to connect different apps and software, enabling automation.

Redefine Your Digital Marketing

Now that you know the terms that are an essential part of a modern digital marketing strategy, it’s time to turn those words into action.

If you need some help, the Thomas Marketing Services team has you covered. We’ve partnered with more than 5,000 manufacturers and industrial companies, helping them redefine their strategies and achieve the results they need. To learn more, contact our team today.

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