Glossary of Marketing Terms

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The placement of announcements and messages purchased in any of the mass media by business firms, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and individuals who seek to inform or persuade members of a particular target market or audience about their products, services, organizations, or ideas.


A document with urgent information about a threat or vulnerability.


The person most responsible for reviewing, analyzing and summarizing the data from a research project.


To review information gained from the responses of questionnaires completed for a study; to arrive at conclusions and to make the necessary decisions and recommendations on the subject being studied.


Stands for "Business to Business". A business that markets its products or services to other businesses.

Basic Research

Work of a general nature, conducted in order to acquire Knowledge of the underlying foundations of phenomena and observable facts without any obvious practical application in view. The results are usually published in the appropriate literature. It is sometimes referred to as Fundamental research.


A study conducted to obtain a snapshot or reading of current conditions prior to some change in market conditions or the introduction of some test conditions. These results are then used as a standard for comparison. Often used to refer to the first study in a series of like studies to be conducted over time at some regular interval.

Bibliographic Reference

The Information necessary to identify a Document. It normally includes: author; title; place of publication, publisher, and date; or author; title; name of journal; volume/edition, page number(s), and date. Additional details may be included for clarification.


A direct means for an individual to share ideas, thoughts, opinions, and information concerning a particular topic with an audience, using the Web as the medium. It usually takes the form of a diary or narrative initiated, and frequently updated, by the blogger. Its main value lies in the establishment of networks and the social capital created as a result, and usually comprises ephemeral material. Short for “Web log”.

Brand Share

The percentage of a specific product or service sold from among the total products or services sold in a single product/service category. These percentages are typically based on the dollars represented by the sale of the product or service.

Brand/ Branding

A product name, usually other than that of the manufacturer or company. A brand is a customer experience represented by a collection of images and ideas. Often, it refers to a symbol such as a name, logo, slogan, and design scheme. Brand recognition and other reactions are created by the accumulation of experiences with the specific product or service, both directly relating to its use, and through the influence of advertising, design, and media commentary. A brand often includes an explicit logo, fonts, color schemes, symbols, sound which may be developed to represent implicit values, ideas, and even personality.

Brand Marketing

The managerial activities related to increasing, maintaining, or rationalizing the value of a brand through managing its tangible and intangible aspects. Brand managers have responsibility for the promotion and marketing of one or more commercial brands. This includes setting targets, advertising, and retailing, and coordinating all related activities to achieve those targets.

Business Development

A business function focused on strategy, creating strategic partnerships and long-term relationships with suppliers and customers. The business development function within a business can be thought of as a jack-of-all-trades position focused on strategic deal-making with an eye toward increasing sales and expanding the company’s long-term business success or scope.

Business Environment

Encompasses all those factors that affect a company's operations; including customers, competitors, stakeholders, suppliers, industry trends, regulations, other government activities, social and economic factors, and technological developments.

Business Intelligence

Information technology solutions for transforming the output from large data collections into intelligence usually through the integration of sales, marketing, servicing, and support operations. It covers such activities as customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning and e-commerce using data mining techniques.

Business Plan

Incorporates a detailed study of the current and anticipated future activities of an enterprise. It also includes all the factors such as marketing, development and production, and financial aspects that will have a bearing on those activities. Since it is also the normal mechanism for attracting investment, it should provide potential investors with the information they need in order to evaluate the risks and the potential returns on investment. Often used as a generic term covering marketing, operational, strategic, tactical, and other corporate plans.


A route taken by a product as it moves from manufacturer to end-user. A Channel may be a direct sale (from producer to customer), a product reseller, a licensee/receptor, or an Original Equipment Manufacturer.

Commercialization Plan

A stage in the development cycle for a new product. Commonly, it is thought to begin when the product is introduced into the marketplace, but actually starts when a management commits to marketing the item. Subsequent activity during commercialization includes manufacturing and distribution, as well as promotion.

Competitive Advantage

Is gained by exploiting the unique blend of activities, assets, attributes, market conditions, and relationships that differentiates an organization from its competitors. These may include: access to natural resources, specific location, skilled workforce, lower costs, better quality products, unique technologies, or exceptional customer service.

Competitive Analysis

The analysis of factors designed to answer the question, "how well is a firm doing compared to its competitors?" The analysis goes well beyond sales and profit figures in assessing the firm's ratings on such factors as price, product, technical capabilities, quality, customer service, delivery, and other important factors compared to each of the major competitors.

Competitive Intelligence

A systematic and ethical program for gathering, analyzing, and managing any combination of data, information, and knowledge concerning the business environment in which a company operates that, when acted upon, will confer a significant competitive advantage or enable sound decisions to be made. Its primary role is strategic early warning.

Competitive Monitoring

Is intended to gain early warning through regular, frequent and proactive monitoring and reporting of changes and trends in your business environment. These changes may stimulate more intensive research or call for the use of more sophisticated analytical techniques.

Competitive Position

The position of one business relative to others in the same industry. There are a multitude of factors contributing to competition. The major categories are:
• Market position or relative share of market, rate of change of share, variability of share across segments, perceived differentiation of quality/service/price, breadth of product, and company images;
• Economic and technological position relative cost position, capacity utilization, technological position, and patented technology, product, or process;
• Capabilities-management strength and depth, marketing strength, distribution system, labor relations, relationships with regulators.

Competitive Strategy

A plan that attempts to define a position for the business that utilizes the competitive advantages that the business has over its competitors.


Any organization that offers the same, a similar, or a substitute product or service in the field of endeavor in which a company operates.

Competitor profiling

The systematic analysis of competitors in order to learn from their strengths and exploit their weaknesses. The knowledge acquired is used to gain and maintain a competitive advantage. The main factors to be considered include:
• Background (including structure, ownership, subsidiaries, and alliances);
• Profiles of key executives;
• Critical success factors;
• Business environment (major markets, competitors, suppliers, and distributors);
• Management style;
• Corporate culture;
• Financial information;
• Assets and resources;
• Corporate and market strategy.


Confidentiality refers to the act of not divulging two types of information in a research study. Confidentiality is maintained when study information such as client name, brand name, purpose of the research, concepts and/or pro-ducts is only provided to those who have a need to know. Confidentiality also refers to maintaining the privacy of any information collected from or about any individual respondent.


A consultant is an experienced individual that is trained to analyze and advise a client in order to help the client make the best possible choices. A strategic consultant may evaluate a business plan and help the client develop a plan to meet those strategic goals.


The ultimate user who purchases a product or service to satisfy their needs.

Customer Loyalty

As the marketplace approaches a super-saturation of products and the power in the marketing equation shifts from product to consumer, brand loyalty disappears. To survive, companies will have to create loyalty relationships with their customers, one customer at a time.

Customer Satisfaction

The degree to which there is match between the customer's expectations of the product and the actual performance of the product. Expectations are formed based on information consumers receive from salespersons, friends, family, opinion leaders, etc., as well as past experience with the product. This is an important measure of the ability of a firm to successfully meet the needs of its customer.


The term frequently used to describe the contents of surveys or polls. A group of facts or statistics.


A collection of interrelated data stored together without harmful or unnecessary redundancy and structured in such a manner as to serve one or more applications. The data are stored so that they are independent of programs that use the data.


Demographics pertain to vital statistics, such as age, income, education and other personal characteristics of the respondent.

Early stage

Refers to a technology-based venture that is in “seed” or “pre-ignition” stage. During this time, the technology idea is being fleshed out, its market opportunity is being defined, investors, licensees and other business backers are being courted, and so on.


The characteristics of an organization especially when used to segment markets in market research. What demographics are to people, firmographics are to organizations. Commonly-used firmographics include employee size, revenue size, industry, number of locations and location of headquarters. Distributions of values within a firmographic variable, and across organizations, are both of interest, as well as trends over time.

Five Forces of Industry Analysis

First described by Michael Porter. Helps to assess and manage the long-term attractiveness of an industry. It is designed to explain the relationship between the five dynamic forces that affect an industry's performance. These are the:

• Intensity of competitive rivalry; • Threat from new entrants; • Threat from substitutes; • Bargaining power of buyers; • Bargaining power of suppliers.
Focus Group/Interview

An unstructured interviewing technique where a small group (8 to 10) of eligible respondents are invited to participate in a discussion about a particular topic. A trained moderator guides the discussion of the respondent group. A type of qualitative research.

Full Service Research Company

A company hired by a manufacturer or service company to design and manage the implementation of a research project, as well as analyze and interpret the data. The full service company may collect the data themselves or hire a data collection company for this phase of a project.

Global Marketing

A marketing strategy that consciously addresses global customers, markets, and competition in formulating a business strategy. An approach to international strategy that argues for marketing a product in essentially the same way everywhere in the world.

Global Strategy

A strategy that seeks competitive advantage with strategic moves that are highly interdependent across countries. These moves include most or all of the following: a standardized core product that exploits or creates homogenous tastes or performance requirements, significant participation in all major country markets to build volume, a concentration of value-creating activities such as R&D and manufacturing in a few countries, and a coherent competitive strategy that pits the worldwide capabilities of the business against the competition.

In-depth Interview

An interviewing approach which delves into the respondent's reactions to questions in an unstructured manner. In all in-depth interviews, a guide is essential, enabling the interviewer to direct the flow of conversation to relevant subjects. In many cases, the interviewer will be a trained focus group moderator. A type of qualitative research.

Individual profiling

Is usually confined to the study of executives, senior managers, and specialists, either from a competitor or as a precursor to recruitment. The more significant elements to be examined may include: • Past and present responsibilities; • Significant projects or activities with which involved (and decisions made); • Whether or not financially responsible; • Family or personal problems; • Other peoples’ perceptions; • Membership of influential groups, committees, or networks.

Industrial Market

The industrial market (also called the producer market or business market) is the set of all individuals and organizations that acquire goods and services that enter into the production of other products or services that are sold, rented, or supplied to others. The major types of industries making up the industrial market (business market) are agriculture, forestry, and fisheries; mining; manufacturing; construction and transportation; communication and public utilities; banking, finance, and insurance; and services.

Industrial Market Segmentation

The process of separating an industrial market (business market) into groups of customers or prospects such that the members of each resulting group are more like the other members of that group than they are like members of other segments.

Industrial Survey

A marketing research study which focuses upon products and services utilized by businesses and manufacturing firms, conducted among respondents employed in such businesses.

Information management

Is the means by which an organization maximizes the efficiency with which it plans, collects, organizes, uses, controls, stores, disseminates, and disposes of its Information, and through which it ensures that the value of that information is identified and exploited to the maximum extent possible. The aim has often been described as getting the right information to the right person, in the right format and medium, at the right time.

Intellectual property (IP)

Creations and products of the imagination (such as technologies, patents, works of art, etc.) that are used in commerce. Also refers to the legal rights associated with these creations inventions, artistic expressions and other products of the imagination. IP can be protected by trademark, patent, and copyright law. Commonly, IP is at the core of a technology’s Differentiation.

Intellectual property

Refers to the definition and recording of a novel device, product, process, or technique so that it may be bought, sold, or legally protected. The main forms of protection take the form of Copyright, licenses, patents, registered designs, trademarks, and trade secrets. It is that portion of Intellectual capital that can be protected by law.

Intelligence analysis

Is the systematic examination of any combination of relevant data, information, and knowledge for applicability or significance, and the transformation of the results into actionable intelligence that will improve planning and decision-making or enable the development of strategies that offer a sustainable competitive advantage.

Intelligence audit

An examination of an organization’s current level of intelligence activities with the objective of improving those operations in order to gain, and maintain a significant competitive advantage. It involves: • Identifying those people engaged in intelligence or related operations, together with their levels of expertise; • Locating collections of information, as well as other relevant resources, concerning the organization’s business environment; • Establishing a set of key intelligence topics or ascertaining management intelligence needs.


The exchange of information between the interviewer and the respondent. A questionnaire is the vehicle used for this exchange. The interviewer records the respondent's responses to a question or series of questions. The exchange can be in person or on the telephone; answers can be recorded on paper or via computer.

Just-in-time knowledge

A concept for delivering Information to an individual at the time it is needed to perform a specific task. It may be initiated by means of a program that identifies the contents of the documents currently being produced, or contributed to, by the individual concerned.

Key intelligence topics

Those topics identified as being of greatest significance to an organization’s senior executives, and which provide purpose and direction for competitive intelligence operations. Key intelligence topics are invariably derived from a series of interviews. They are then grouped into appropriate categories and allocated a priority, usually by the same, or a representative, group of people. The basic categories are: • Strategic decisions and actions including the development of strategic plans and strategies; • Early-warning topics for example, competitor initiatives, new technology developments, and government actions; • Descriptions of key players including competitors, suppliers, regulators, and potential partners.


A substantive word in the title of a document or a record in a database that can be used to classify or index content. A keyword provides access to the item when it is used as a search term.

Knowledge management

Integrated, systematic process for identifying, collecting, storing, retrieving, and transforming information and knowledge assets into knowledge that is readily accessible in order to improve the performance of the organization. The basic tenets of knowledge management are to enhance decision making, foster innovation, build relationships, establish trust, share information, and improve learning.

Licensing Agreement

A relatively simple, low risk linkage that allows a manufacturer to "enter" new markets, typically foreign markets. It is an arrangement in which a licensee in a new market is given the right to use a process, trademark, patent, or other proprietary item for a fee or royalty. An agreement between two companies in which the licenser grants the right to the licensee to sell a patented product in specified markets for an agreed-upon fee. It is a tool for participating in foreign markets without large capital outlays. When capital is scarce, when import restrictions forbid any means of entry, when a country is sensitive to foreign ownership, or when it is necessary to protect trademarks and patents against cancellation for non-use, licensing is a legitimate means of capitalizing on a foreign market.

Market analysis

Deals with measuring and evaluating actual or potential sales of a product or service.

Market Attractiveness

A measure of the profit potential inherent in the structure of a market or industry. There are a multitude of factors contributing to market attractiveness. The major categories and some examples from each of the categories are provided in the following:
• Market factors-market growth rate, market size, and life cycle stage;
• Economic and technological factors-investment intensity, industry capacity, barriers to entry or barriers to exit, and access to raw materials;
• Competitive forces-types of direct rivals, structure of competition and substitution threats, bargaining power of buyers and suppliers;
• Environmental factors-regulatory climate, degree of social acceptance, and human factors.

Market Evolution

The market (or industry) life cycles describe the evolution of the market. These cycles have a similar shape to the product life cycle and similarly, have a number of distinct stages:
1. Embryonic--the product class and industry definitions are virtually synonymous, diffusion rates are gradual, and there is considerable uncertainty about the product;
2. Growth--the industry structure develops, the introduction of new product classes becomes easier as consumers become more knowledgeable, and the channels facilitate the marketing of new product classes established; and
3. Maturity--an established infrastructure facilitates rapid introduction and diffusion of new product variants or product classes, competitors jockey for position, and older products have to make adjustments to protect their declining position.

Market intelligence

Concerns the attitudes, opinions, behavior, and needs of individuals and organizations within the context of their economic, environmental, social, and everyday activities. The emphasis is on consumers – product, price, place, promotion.

Market Opportunity Analysis

The analysis and evaluation of probable future situations by a variety of techniques to identify market opportunities that a company can profitably cultivate. It is part of the strategic analysis of the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Market Penetration Strategy

A growth strategy designed to enhance competitive advantage by developing low-risk improvement or revisions to the present product range. These are either proactive moves designed to identify and target changing customer requirements, or reactive moves for market defense triggered by competitive actions. A move by management to increase its market share held by current products in currently serviced markets.

Market Positioning

Positioning refers to the customer's perceptions of the place a product or brand occupies in a market segment. In some markets, a position is achieved by associating the benefits of a brand with the needs or life style of the segments. More often, positioning involves the differentiation of the company's offering from the competition by making or implying a comparison in terms of specific attributes.

Market Research

The systematic gathering, recording, and analyzing of data with respect to a particular market, where market refers to a specific customer group in a specific geographic area.

Market Research – Primary

When conducting primary market research, you can gather two basic types of information: exploratory or specific. Exploratory research is open-ended, helps you define a specific problem, and usually involves detailed, unstructured interviews in which lengthy answers are solicited from a small group of respondents. Specific research, on the other hand, is precise in scope and is used to solve a problem that exploratory research has identified. Interviews are structured and formal in approach. Of the two, specific research is the more expensive.

Market Research – Secondary

Secondary research uses outside information assembled by government agencies, industry and trade associations, labor unions, media sources, chambers of commerce, and so on. It's usually published in pamphlets, newsletters, trade publications, magazines, and newspapers.

Market Segmentation

The process of subdividing a market into distinct subsets of customers that behave in the same way or have similar needs. Each subset may conceivably be chosen as a market target to be reached with a distinct marketing strategy. The process begins with a basis of segmentation-a product-specific factor that reflects differences in customers' requirements or responsiveness to marketing variables (possibilities are purchase behavior, usage, benefits sought, intentions, preference, or loyalty). Segment descriptors are then chosen, based on their ability to identify segments, to account for variance in the segmentation basis, and to suggest competitive strategy implications (examples of descriptors are demographics, geography, psychographics, customer size, and industry). To be of strategic value, the resulting segments must be measurable, accessible, sufficiently different to justify a meaningful variation in strategy, substantial, and durable.

Market Segmentation Strategies

Having segmented a market, the task is then to determine which segments are profitable to serve. The business can adopt one of three market segmentation strategies:
• Undifferentiated marketing-in which the business attempts to go after the whole market with a product and marketing strategy intended to have mass appeal;
• Differentiated marketing-in which the business operates in several segments of the market with offerings and market strategies tailored to each segment;
• Concentrated marketing-in which the business focuses on only one or a few segments with the intention of capturing a large share of these segments.


Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.

Marketing Channel

A set of institutions necessary to transfer the title to goods and to move goods from the point of production to the point of consumption and, as such, which consists of all the institutions and all the marketing activities in the marketing process.

Marketing Implementation

The stage in the strategic market planning process in which an action program is designed to meet the strategic objective(s) using the available resources and given the existing constraints. The action program is intended to be both a translation of a strategic plan into operational terms as well as a means by which the strategic performance may be monitored and controlled. The action plan has three major components:
• Specific tasks-what will be done including the specification of the marketing mix to be employed;
• Time horizon-when it will be done;
• Resource allocation and budgeting-attaching a dollar figures to each income-and expense-related activity and allocating capital funds.

Marketing Intelligence System

The development of a system to gather, process, assess, and make available marketing data and information in a format that permits marketing managers and executives to function more effectively. Marketing data, when analyzed, may yield information that can then be processed and put into a format that gives intelligence for planning, policy making, and decision purposes.

Marketing Mix

The mix of controllable marketing variables that the firm uses to pursue the desired level of sales in the target market. The most common classification of these factors is the four-factor classification called the "Four Ps"-price, product, promotion, and place (or distribution). Optimization of the marketing mix is achieved by assigning the amount of the marketing budget to be spent on each element of the marketing mix so as to maximize the total contribution to the firm. Contribution may be measured in terms of sales or profits or in terms of any other organizational goals.

Marketing Plan

A document composed of an analysis of the current marketing situation, opportunities and threats analysis, marketing objectives, marketing strategy, action programs, and projected or pro-forma income (and other financial) statements. This plan may be the only statement of the strategic direction of a business, but it is more likely to apply only to a specific brand or product. In the latter situation, the marketing plan is an implementation device that is integrated within an overall strategic business plan.

Marketing & Opinion Research

A process used by businesses to collect, analyze and interpret information used to make sound business decisions and successfully manage the business.

Marketing Research

Marketing research is the function that links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information--information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process. Marketing research specifies the information required to address these issues, designs the method for collecting information, manages and implements the data collection process, analyzes the results, and communicates the findings and their implications.

Marketing Strategy

A statement (implicit or explicit) of how a brand or product line will achieve its objectives. The strategy provides decisions and direction regarding variables such as the segmentation of the market, identification of the target market, positioning, marketing mix elements, and expenditures. A marketing strategy is usually an integral part of a business strategy that provides broad direction to all functions.


The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. NAICS was developed under the auspices of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and adopted in 1997 to replace the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system. It was developed jointly by the U.S. Economic Classification Policy Committee (ECPC), Statistics Canada, and Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Geografia, to allow for a high level of comparability in business statistics among the North American countries. The NAICS replaced SIC codes in 1997.


The informal exchange of information between individuals who have grouped together for some common purpose. It may be referred to as Social Networking.

New Product Development

The overall process of strategy, organization, concept generation, concept and marketing plan evaluation, and commercialization of a new product. It occasionally is restricted in meaning to that part of the process done by technical (research and development) departments. New product development concerns activity within an organization, in contrast to the acquisition of finished new products from outside.

New Product Strategy

The goals a product is expected to achieve in a market. A product's strategy supports and complements the overall marketing strategy. Some products are used to introduce or pioneer new technologies while others are expected to balance current market offerings in terms of product price, product format, style, and features.

Niche Strategy

A game plan employed by a firm that specializes in serving particular market segments in order to avoid clashing with the major competitors in the market. "Nichers" pursue market segments that are of sufficient size to be profitable while at the same time are of less interest to the major competitors.

Opportunity Analysis

The identification and evaluation of potential business opportunities coupled with an assessment of the organization’s ability to exploit them.


A government authority to an individual or organization conferring a right or title to make, import, use, offer for sale, or sell an invention or discovery made in the natural world. It gives the patentee the right to take legal action against unauthorized use of the invention (known as infringement) for a fixed period. A patent cannot be granted for the following:
• An aesthetic creation, such as a literary, dramatic, or artistic work;
• A computer program;
• A discovery not made in the natural world;
• A mathematical method;
• A scheme or method for performing a mental act, playing a game, or doing business;
• A scientific theory;
• The presentation of information.

Perceptual Mapping

A group of techniques for visually depicting where your products and services are versus the competition. You can see the product or service's image in the market and how it compares to that of the competition. The outcome of perceptual mapping, a "product map", provides a visual cue that often identifies an opening where there is little or no competition for a product or service. The product map produces a picture or map of a market. The map shows how products are perceived on specific features or attributes such as reputation, price, quality etc. Product maps show which products compete in the consumer's mind and suggests how a product can be positioned to maximize preference and sales.

Personal Interview

Respondents are questioned face-to-face by the interviewer. The interviewer may cover any topic. The personal interview can be conducted in the respondent's home, place of business, or at a central location facility. These interviews can be long or short, depending on the topic to be discussed. Exhibits are often used in this approach to aid the respondent in answering questions.

Product Category

The class of products to which a brand belongs, i.e., shampoo is a product category.

Qualitative Research

Research that yields an in-depth understanding about an issue. Qualitative research typically focuses on a small number of people. Since these people are interviewed in-depth, interviews tend to be longer and are often unstructured. An outline of discussion points, rather than a questionnaire, is often used. This type of research also tends to be conducted in person, either in focus groups or one-on-one interviews.

Quantitative Research

Research used to statistically estimate the viewpoints of a population providing estimates of percentages or averages. This research usually employs larger samples and takes less of the respondent's time. Telephone surveys, mail surveys, intercept surveys, central location studies, in-home use studies, door-to-door studies are all used in quantitative research.

Risk Assessment

Refers to the identification of factors in the business environment which may have the potential to affect the profitability or existence of an organization, together with an evaluation of the costs and benefits of reducing the effects of such risks.

Scenario Analysis

A systematic method of studying and articulating probable future events that may affect the organization or its operating environment. It may, for instance, be used to: forecast trends in an industry; identify probable competitor strategies; evaluate the effect of emerging technologies; assess a potential merger, acquisition, or alliance.

Search Engines

Are microprocessor-driven software programs capable of successfully retrieving Information from computer networks or databases in order to match the needs of searchers. They automatically Index keywords in context, usually by using robots, then search those indexes for keywords that match the user’s request. Generally speaking, they are more suitable than directories for conducting research.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

The process of building and marketing a site with the goal of improving its position in search engine results. SEM includes both search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click advertising (PPC), as well as using all other areas and services offered by Search Engines.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The process of developing a marketing/technical plan to ensure effective use of search engines as a marketing tool. Typically, consists of two elements. On a technical side, SEO refers to ensuring that a Web site can be indexed properly by the major search engines including keywords, content, and links. On the marketing side, SEO refers to the process of targeting specific keywords where the site should "win" in searches. This can be done by modifying a Web site to score well in the algorithms search engines use to determine rank, or by purchasing placement with individual keywords.

SIC Codes

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Codes were developed by the federal government to classify US businesses by their type of activity. Similar companies are grouped together and assigned a code. It is important to be able to compare companies against similar companies in their industry. The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system allows researchers to make these comparisons. SIC codes are 4-digit codes, designed by the Federal government, to classify business by industry type. In 1997 the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS, pronounced "nakes") was adopted jointly by the U.S., Canada and Mexico to replace the SIC. These codes were designed to be more descriptive than the SIC system and include emerging industries. However, many sources have yet to migrate to the NAICS system.

Social Network

A map of relationships between individuals or organizations. It comprises nodes (usually individuals or organizations) and ties the connections between them, which may operate at many different levels, ranging from families and close friends to sovereign nations. Social networks often have a critical role to play in the management of organizations, enabling problem-solving, decision-making, collaboration, and information sharing, as well as facilitating trade and commerce. They may be used for conducting research.

Strategic Alliance

A collaborative agreement between two or more enterprises to mutually commit expertise or resources in order to achieve common goals or objectives, such as reducing costs, inhibiting competitors, gaining entry to new markets, supplementing critical skills or expertise, sharing the risks and costs of major projects, or acquiring access to new technology. Such an alliance may be between companies, or between a company and its customers, its suppliers, or its competitors.

Strategic Early Warning

The primary role of Competitive Intelligence operations. The aim is to monitor the business environment for weak signals and early trends that may reveal potential changes before they become obvious to others. It calls for a knowledgeable, cross-functional team, approved and encouraged by senior executives and which is able to call on advice and support from relevant experts.

Strategic group analysis

Identifies groups or clusters of businesses that adopt similar strategies and that tend to be affected by, and respond to, competitive actions and external events in similar ways.

Strategic intelligence

Knowledge about an organization’s business environment that has implications for its long-term viability and success, usually extending several years into the future.

Strategic Marketing Planning

The planning process that yields decisions in how a business unit can best compete in the markets it elects to serve. Strategic market decisions are based on assessments of product market and pertain to the basis for advantage in the market. The plan that is the output of the process serves as a blueprint for the development of the skills and resources of a business unit and specifies the results to be expected. In many companies these are called strategic business plans.

Strategic planning

Is a top-down approach concerned with the long-term mission and objectives of an organization, the resources used in achieving those objectives, and the policies and guidelines that govern the acquisition, use, and disposition of those resources. It must also take into account the opportunities available to the organization, and an assessment of its ability to exploit those opportunities with a view to gaining a distinct competitive advantage.


The timely adoption of courses of action and the allocation of resources necessary for carrying out the basic long-term goals and objectives of an enterprise with the emphasis on achieving something different or unique. An organization’s strategy may be represented visually by a strategy map.

SWOT analysis

Stands for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats”. The evaluation of available information concerning the business environment in order to identify internal strengths and weaknesses, and external threats and opportunities.


An interview conducted to collect information. The interviewer records facts or opinions from the respondent.

Tactical intelligence

Knowledge about an organization’s business environment that has implications for its viability and success in the immediate future. It often concerns such matters as marketing, promotion, pricing and positioning.

Tactical planning

That aspect of organizational planning which covers the immediate future, that is, up to about one year from the present time.

Tactical research

Involves the application of established scientific knowledge and methods to the short-term solution of practical problems.

Target Market

A Segment (i.e. definable portion) of an available market on which a company chooses to focus and proactively sell into.

Technological intelligence

A subdivision of business intelligence covering those technical activities that are concerned with translating research findings or other scientific knowledge into devices, materials, products, processes, or services.

Technology assessment

Aims to evaluate the social and environmental costs, the probable detrimental effects, and the potential benefits of technological change. The analysis and evaluation of the potential impact on society of the introduction, modification, or development of a technology, both direct and indirect, intended and unintended.

Technology transfer

Involves the transfer of scientific knowledge towards practical and useful applications or the process whereby innovations find applications in fields not originally envisaged for them.

Telephone Survey

Respondents are interviewed via the telephone. The telephone interview is normally conducted from a central telephone facility.

Trade literature

Is produced by individual companies, primarily to instruct or inform existing and potential buyers. It includes sales pamphlets, advertising brochures, promotional material, product or parts catalogues, maintenance or instruction manuals, handbooks, user guides, data sheets, and certain in-house journals or newsletters.

Trade secret

Information (including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process) that derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use, and is subject to efforts, that are reasonable under the circumstances, to maintain its secrecy. Or, more simply, a trade secret is anything which:
• Confers a competitive advantage on its owner;
• Is subject to reasonable measures to prevent its disclosure;
• Is not generally known in the industry or business in which it is used or practiced.
Generally speaking, to legally qualify as a trade secret, the information supporting a new product, process, or plan must be:
• Documented or readily identifiable;
• Unpublished;
• Disclosed on a need-to-know basis;
• Known to be a secret.

Trade show intelligence

Is the systematic collection and analysis of exploitable information, from any source and in any format or medium, at any event where products and services, or information about them, are openly displayed; as well as prevention of its collection by others.


A word, name, device, sign or symbol used by manufacturers to distinguish their products from similar products made by others.


The procedure used to confirm the fact that the interview was conducted according to all specifications and instructions with the person indicated by name, address and/or telephone number on the questionnaire. Validation can be performed by the data collection company and/or client in person, by telephone, or by mail.

Value Added

An economic concept referring to the value that a firm adds to the cost of its inputs as a result of its activities, thereby arriving at the price of its outputs. A measure of the contribution to a product's worth by any organization that handles it on its way to the ultimate user. Value added is measured by subtracting the cost of a product from the price that the organization got for it. For resellers, this means the firm's gross margin; for manufacturing firms, it means the contribution over cost of ingredients.

Value Added by Marketing

The increase in value due to performance of marketing activities by a firm. Value added by marketing is computed by subtracting the market value of purchased goods from the market value of goods sold.

Value chain

A value chain is a chain of activities for a firm operating in a specific industry. The business unit is the appropriate level for construction a value chain, not the divisional level or corporate level. Products pass through all activities of the chain in order and at each activity the product gains some value. The chain of activities gives the products more added value than the sum of added values of all activities. It is important not to mix the concept of the value chain with the costs occurring throughout the activities. The value chain categorizes the generic value-adding activities of an organization. The "primary activities" include: inbound logistics, operations (production), outbound logistics, marketing and sales (demand), and services (maintenance). The "support activities" include: administrative infrastructure management, human resource management, technology (R&D), and procurement. The costs and value drivers are identified for each value activity. The value-chain concept has been extended beyond individual firms. It can apply to whole supply chains and distribution networks. The delivery of a mix of products and services to the end customer will mobilize different economic factors, each managing its own value chain. The industry wide synchronized interactions of those local value chains create an extended value chain, sometimes global in extent.

Value Chain Analysis

An approach to assessing the positions of competitive advantage. A value chain first classifies the activities of a business into the discrete steps performed to design, produce, market, deliver, and service a product. Supporting these specific value-creation activities are firm-wide activities such as procurement, human resource management, technology, and the infrastructure of systems and management that ties the value chain together. To gain advantage a business must either perform enough of these activities at a lower cost to gain an overall cost edge while offering a parity product, or perform them in a way that leads to differentiation and a premium price.

Value statement

Also called Value Proposition. This is a statement of the value that an idea, technology, product or company offers to its customers and/or partners. A Value Statement is expressed from the perspective of the audience and addresses either how the product saves the customer money, or how it helps the customer make money.

Venture capital

Refers to equity investment in an unlisted business offered free of collateral to an entrepreneurial enterprise having potential for high returns over the medium to long term (two to seven years).

War gaming

A process, adapted from the military, in which teams or individuals, representing the company and its competitors, simulate a business situation and act out the roles of decision makers in timed phases. Comparison between the results leads to the next stage. This continues until at least one feasible strategy, counter-strategy, plan of action, or solution emerges. War gaming is very effective in industries undergoing high rates of change. Sometimes referred to as competitive simulation, a Strategy game or, virtual competition.

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