Origins of Marketing Terms (Infographic)

In the last few years, history has been made. Words like selfie, selfie stick, twerk, derp and bae have all been added to the dictionary. It’s not surprising to hear something new everyday. Despite the ever-evolving lingo, there are a few marketing terms that seem to not be going anywhere anytime soon.

Have you ever stopped and wondered where some of these common words come from? No need to brush up on your marketing etymology to find out–we’ve decoded 6 frequently used marketing terms for you ourselves. Though a vast understanding of words like brain-fade probably won’t help develop your marketing strategy, we promise a brief history of these terms srsly will.  So self-soothe yourself with these mad exciting origins (which are anything but lamestream).

Origins of 6 Common Marketing Terms




Always Be Closing  Connecting

ABC is typically referred to as a sales strategy. Upheld as essential marketing doctrine in the past, it served as a reminder that above all, your final goal should always be focused on one throughout the sales process: closing. Not a horrible strategy, but definitely a bit faulty in today’s marketing world. Want to up your game? Opt for ABC 2.0

Instead of ditching the ABC line of thinking completely, simply modify it for better results. Replace the heavy focus on closing, and aim instead for the C that really matters: connection.


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Attenion, Interest, Desire, Action

AIDA is an acronym standing for the four steps of the Purchase Funnel, which illustrates the desired process of customers from awareness to purchase.


While this purchase funnel served marketers well in the past, today’s sales force has found that consumers travel a much less linear path on their way to a final purchase. Research identified six mental states a buyer goes through, as opposed to the purchasing funnel’s 4. Thus, the sales circle was born.


The new purchasing track considers emotions, understands the sales process isn’t linear and that often, a person bounces from one stage to another before making a final purchase.




Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization is the practice of enhancing where a webpage appears in search results. Roughly twenty years old, it has already changed so much. Find some killer SEO techniques here.




Comparative Variation Testing

A/B Testing, historically referred to as comparative variation testing, is the process of comparing two variations of a single variable. The goal? To determine which of the two performs best in order to help improve marketing efforts. Through this type of testing, product (or technique) A is compared to product (or technique) B. Over time, marketers found it much easier to coin this process A/B testing instead of its longer, original alternative.




Company Description

A boilerplate is the description of your company, designed to be used over and over without change. Historically speaking, a ‘boiler plate’ originally referred to a metal plate found on steam boilers that identified the builder. So what does this have to do with marketing?

Through the passage of time, the term was borrowed by the printing industry as a description of large plates of text made for widespread reproduction to distribute to newspapers nationwide. Taking their cue, marketers eventually adopted the phrase as well to identify static descriptions of large scale companies.




Short, Informational Documents

White papers are a marketing staple. Typically, these documents are written as a brief synopsis that provides explanation on topics customers find complicated. In business to business marketing, marketers themselves read white papers in an attempt to gain insight on competition.

The term originated from the British Government’s attempt to distinguish shorter informational documents (documents with white covers) from the formal, much longer, legislative documents sent to Parliament (those with blue covers). The term was eventually adopted by the marketing industry in the 1990’s to describe any short informational paper.

As marketing changes and grows, words and phrases will continue to evolve, and undoubtedly keep borrowing a few terms from other fields. It’s this rich history and influence that make being a marketer so enjoyable. So have some fun now that you’re equipped with an even deeper understanding of a few common phrases.


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