Interactive Glossary

The Marketing Communications Glossary is included here to help you familiarise yourself with key words and descriptions. Using the website links and examples illustrated, examine how marketing communications has been applied by the various organisations in the different contexts. Evaluate how successful you think they have been in achieving their respective brand objectives. Can you think of any examples of your own?

Feature Description Illustration
Sacred consumption Consumption of products that are highly important for consumers and may include certain consumption rituals
Sales conferences Sponsorship and active support of distributor sales conferences and meetings is an integral part of relationship building and sales promotion with distributor personnel
Sales-force incentives Encouragement to active involvement in selecting brand to push and sell can be in the form of sales-force competitions, incentive schemes and corporate events
Sales-force training The education and training of the distributor’s sales force is critical both for ensuring mind share and instilling confidence in the distributor’s sales people. May involve attendance at sales meetings, product launches or factory visits
Sales growth The product’s increase in sales
Sales promotion Widely used term covering a myriad promotional activities, excluding advertising, PR and personal selling. Sales promotion is associated with free offers, price deals, premium offers, and other promotions including merchandising, point-of-sale displays, leaflets and product literature.
Salience (attribute) The most prominent and relevant evaluative criterion Price, function, availability, colour, ingredient
Salience (effect) The impact of several factors (e.g. promotion frequency, distance, construction, clutter, placement) on consumer relevance
Sampling error Inaccuracy caused through selecting a sample rather than the population as a whole
Satisfaction/ dissatisfaction People’s approval of the offer they have been given. The post-purchase evaluation of a product
 SBU See Strategic business unit
Scamps Drafts or 'roughs' of creative ideas that are produced cheaply to be used for pre-testing and evaluation purposes
Scarcity Supply smaller than demand
Schemas Foundations of understanding. Schemas are remembrances of experiences that allow us to make sense of our environment and determine suitable courses of action, by recognising linkages and similarities with previous experience
Schramm's communications process Schramm identified the communications process as consisting of four elements: sender, message, media and receivers. The IMC Process Model is a more sophisticated development from this simple model
Schroer’s method Strategy matrix for prioritising media expenditures
Screen saver Not strictly meeting the definition as a form of advertising, screen savers have become a popular form of promotion
Scope The range of category types that the brand is capable of spanning across. Extended possible use of product outside of the category need dimension PCs – social networks, photographic, artwork facilities beyond word processing and number crunching
Nivea makes a range of skin protection products
Script (i) Repetition of previous behaviour
(ii) Written description of sound and motion advertisements/promotions giving the dialogue to be used and outline of what the advertisement is to be
Search engine Facilitator of connectivity with information, connection and knowledge. Website that maintains an index of other web pages and sites that may be searched using keywords. Access to other sites is facilitated by hypertext links – links that may be simply clicked on to move from one web page to another
Secondary media (support media) Secondary media may also be referred to as support media. In an integrated campaign a range of media will be used, and although it is possible to use the media equally, it is more likely that emphasis will be placed on one medium – the primary medium. The other media will be used in a supporting or secondary capacity. See also Primary medium
Secondary research Secondary research is often known as 'desk research'. A key characteristic is that it is always gathered from existing, published sources (i.e. second-hand or secondary material)
Secondary target audience Not prioritised audience
Seeds Industry/product specific bloggers who are targeted with information prior to PR campaigns to encourage them to act as opinion formers and credible source disseminators of information
Segment Group of individuals who are expected to respond in a similar way to an organisation's marketing activity
Segmentation bases Demographics, geographics, geodemographics, psychographics (lifestyle and personality), behavioural
Selective perception The individual’s inclination to see/hear what they expect or want to
Self-accountability The own impression that one is responsible for one’s behaviour and its consequences
Self-connection The extent to what an outside object (e.g. a brand) is part of a person’s identity
Self-efficacy The own impression that one is capable of performing in a certain manner or attaining certain goals
Self-expressive benefits What the brand says about itself and how it resonates with user’s self-image Apple – think and be different
Nike – excel, succeed
Microsoft – help people realise potential
Self-image The personal perception or image of oneself
Self-liquidating offer or promotion (SLP) Sales promotion that pays for itself
Self-regulation Voluntary control of acceptable marketing communications agreed by the marketing communications industry itself
SEM/SEO Search engine marketing or search engine optimisation
Semi-display advertisements Unlike full display, semi-display advertisements have creative restrictions placed on them, with limited or no graphics and limited typeface options
Semiotics The scientific discipline of studying the meanings associated with signs, symbols and brands
Sender The root of communication being sent. Effective according to credibility, attractiveness or likeability Ronseal’s ‘typical tradesman’ tells it like it is: ‘It does what it says on the tin!’
Seven (7) stages of personal selling (traditional) Prospecting and evaluating, preparing, approaching the customer, making the presentation, overcoming objections, closing, follow-up
Share of market Brand sales represented as a percentage of total market sales for all relevant competing brands
Share of voice Concept that refers to how 'loud' one brand's marketing communications is compared with other competing brands. It may be measured in terms of marketing communications spends, or by subjective assessment of the relative attention created by competing marketing communications. The sender’s share of the total marketing communications in the category
Shelf display How the products are shown in the shelf
Shelf space allocation The part of the store shelf given to a product
Shopping proneness Consumers who enjoy shopping as a leisure activity
Sign A sign is anything that signifies something
Signature product Product bearing a person’s name
Silo-based scheduling The concentration of a narrow media or even single medium approach
Similarity (category positioning) Brand-to-brand comparisons (i.e. how similar two brands are) Dell, Compaq, Fujitsu, Toshiba, Samsung and Apple have a similarity when alternative brands are being evaluated for the ‘laptop’ category
Similarity reference point Proposition comparison ‘Price match’ money-back guarantees for cheaper quotes
Simile Comparison of one thing with another using the words 'like' or 'as' For example, 'He fought like a lion in battle'
Sine qua non ‘Without which (there is) nothing’ Here we refer to marketing communications as being indispensable to all organisational activities
Single communication voice Coherent communication replicated in all messages and media
Single-minded brand proposition Traditional models have focused on marketing communications which have short, sharp impact, exposure and frequency
Situational (or instrumental) factors Culturally significant events or activities such as the rituals attached to gift giving, consumption involving a shared experience or hedonistic, individual indulgence Engagement rings, Christmas, or the purchase of wedding presents. 18–30 Holidays or music festivals offer a shared indulgence 
Skin conductance Measurement of a person’s physical response on the skin
Slogans Also called strap lines and tag lines. These terms essentially mean the same thing 'BMW: The Ultimate Driving Machine', 'Mars: Helps You Work Rest and Play'
SLP See Self-liquidating offer or promotion
SMARRTT objectives An acronym that represents the level of detail that objectives should aim to achieve. It is a development from 'SMART' objectives that are referred to by some other authors. SMARRTT objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, relevant, targeted and timed
Smart-shopper feelings Consumers perceive they have made a good purchase
SME Small to medium enterprise; small business employing fewer than 50 people 4.5 million UK businesses are SMEs, employing over 20 million people
SMS Short messaging service or ‘texting’ via mobile phone technology Lingerie company Gossard contacted potential customers by using text messages to their mobile phones to promote G-strings
Service organisations like the RAC and AA automobile break down and couriers like Fedex and UPS use texting to inform and reassure users of their service
Social context The presence of others
Social contracts theory A company cannot take actions without support from outside society
Social mediation Opinion leaders (sometimes called gatekeepers or parasocials) and opinion formers (sometimes known as change agents) influence other consumers by shaping opinions
Social network sites Ostensibly forums for social interaction rather than commercial ends Twitter, Jaiku, LinkedIn, Pownce, Plaxo, FriendFeed, MySpace, Facebook
Social networking Expanded connectivity of consumers for ostensibly social reasons, but is used for the creation and dissemination of peer-to-peer marketing communications MySpace, Facebook, Eons, A Small World, Dead Journal, Doostang, Second Life, YouTube
Social norms The system of behavioural rules and manners in society
Social symbolic meaning Conspicuous consumption, and status symbols Any brand of new car
Social value Some brands are perceived as offering value because of their ability to enable affiliation with other groups OR provide added value in terms of offering a social service Wearing Tommy Hilfiger clothes can buy entry to a social group. Vodafone used innovation to tackle social challenges in Kenya with its M-Pesa mobile banking service
Socioeconomics Acquired audience characteristics
Socioeconomic segmentation The classification of consumers on the basis of education, income and occupation
Solus position An advertisement appearing with no other advertisement around it
Sound logo An auditory cue which brings the brand to the attention of a listening audience UK car insurance Direct Line has a prominent ‘car horn’ jingle which is associated with the brand
Source effects How the sponsor of a message affect evaluations
Sources of information The type of information used in decision-making processes. They may be personal/non-personal and commercial/non-commercial
Spacing Interval between exposures
Spam emails Emails containing general information sent to a wider audience who have not requested the email (typically based on an email list, perhaps bought from a list broker or another company)
Spatial competition Product/market sector ‘space’ in the market or in the mind of the consumer. Market segmentation represents the demand perspective and competitive positioning represents the supply perspective
Special display How products are promoted in the store
Specialised media Special interest or niche consumer magazines, trade magazines, catalogues Yellow Pages
Speeches Questions from the media, AGM feedback or promotion of ideas or products at sales conferences can help build the company image
Spill-over effects The associations for one brand is transmitted to another brand
Spill-over (process) Effects that carry on to preceding steps
SPIN selling Developed by Rackham, SPIN selling is designed to draw out the customer's explicit needs through a process of investigation involving the use of situation questions, problem questions, implication questions, and need pay-off questions
Split-run Different versions of the same advertisement are published in the same issue, but not in the same copy of the publication. It is an approach that can be used to test advertisements
Sponsorship Contribution to an activity by an organisation. Although sponsorship may be purely altruistic, it is normally undertaken with the expectation of achieving benefit for the sponsor, e.g. in achieving corporate or marketing-related objectives
Spot colour Area of single or solid colour
Stakeholders Interest groups for brands. Term used to describe the many and various groups of people who have an interest or involvement with an organisation. Stakeholders include suppliers, customers, consumers, investors, employees and distributors
Standardisation strategy The use of similar or identical marketing communications across countries
Stealth, buzz and viral marketing  PR communications initiated and sent by the organisation, but MAY or MAY NOT be perceived by the target audience as having been sent by the organisation The Arctic Monkeys were  ‘discovered’ by their fan base online and at gigs, although this is blurred by the promotional work done by their label Domino Records
Stock return The shareholder’s profit related to the price of the stock
Stonewalling Rejecting claim, refusing to take responsibility. The company does nothing to remedy negative PR situation and refuses to take any blame The well-known Valdez oil spill in 1989
Store atmosphere or ambience Selling environment created by various olfactory, auditory and tactile stimuli Music in retail stores to evoke brand associations or create soothing environment. Bread smells piped out of supermarkets.
Store brands Brands that are sold under the retailer’s name
Store image The thoughts and feelings towards a store
Store layout The physical layout of a store can affect the shopper’s experience and encourage purchase Stores may have a variety of layouts: ‘grid systems’ are typically used by supermarkets where customers are directed to categories such as ‘tinned soups’ or ‘confectionery
Story arc Brand narrative or brand trajectory
Storyboard A series of images for a proposed moving sequence (TV, video, cinema, CD-ROM/DVD, Internet) indicating the progression of images, voice over and music proposed. Visual display of selected drawings illustrating the sequence of a TV, video or cinema commercial. Indications of sound and voice over are also given
Strap lines See Slogans
Strategic business unit (SBU) Strategically significant and identifiable part of a larger organisation. It may be a particular section of an organisation, or even a company within a larger group of companies
Strategic gap The difference in position between where an organisation wants to be at a specific point in time in the future (its objectives) and where it would anticipate being at that time if it simply carried on with its current activities
Strategic positioning Systematic targeting of brand value proposition to a discrete market segment and/or the minds of users. Communications of the organisation’s value proposition aimed at placing the brand in the correct market segment to attract target audience
Strategy The general means by which objectives are intended to be achieved
Strong, favourable, and unique associations The keys to high customer-based brand equity The UK Cooperative Society has had a consistent ethical stance for many years
Sub-culture Subdivision of a main culture with its own set of behavioural norms. A distinct cultural group that exists as an identifiable segment within a larger, more complex society. See also Culture
Sub-headings Sectional headlines that break up the text and provide focus of attention on key points
Subjective inferences of meaning Individual or group negotiated meaning of brand communications When luxury fashion brand Burberry was adopted by label-conscious football hooligans and ‘Essex Girls’, the brand acquired a ‘chav’ connotation
Subliminal perception Unaware exposure to and processing of something
Substrate Any material which is used to print on to e.g. paper, card and plastic
Support media See Secondary media
Surplus Same target audience members reached by different media
Switchers People who buy a variety of products in the category
SWOT Organisational analysis framework representing organisational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
Syllepsis A verb changes in sense Keds shoes: ‘It’s too bad other brands don’t pad their shoes as much as their prices’
Frigidaire refrigerator: ‘Built to handle the years as well as the groceries’
Symbolic appeals The brand communications' appeal to consumers' desire for self-enhancement, group membership, affiliation and belongingness
Symbolic brand Brand which allows projection of consumer individual or group meaning through ownership or conspicuous consumption Gucci jewellery
Armani clothing
Symbolic consumption Meaning derived by the connotations associated with a purchase and/or use of a brand A Toyota Lexus Hybrid Drive car will project an image of success and environmentally-consciousness
Symbolic function and meaning The representational associations or meaning given to or acquired by brands which have cultural significance and stands for something to users of brand The conspicuous consumption of a Rolex symbolises success and power
Symbols Things that represent, stand for, or are associated with something else. Semiotic representation (signified meaning) of the brand Coca-Cola – contour-shaped bottle
Nike – swoosh ‘tick’
IKEA – yellow and blue colours signify Swedish culture
Synergy The effect of bringing together marketing communication elements in a mutually supportive and enhancing way so that the resulting whole is greater than the sum of its parts