Abbreviations and acronyms make our lives easier by packing a series of concepts or processes into a suitcase that is then easier to manage - but only if you know the term.  If you don't, you're being handed the equivalent of a communications dead weight.  Since much of the work we do is helping organizations and small businesses with communications change management and implementing communications programs internally, we watch our language.  Usually the concepts are easy to grasp once you understand the terminology, and at that point the abbreviations or acronym become a useful shortcut. Included in the table below are also some social media acronyms suggested by readers of this blog that have been prompted by Twitter's 140-character limit to pack more into that compressed method of messaging.  Click on the Read More for a table of acronyms and abbreviations and their explanation.


For those small businesses researching what they could be doing to improve their content marketing or digital or social media marketing, here's a list of abbreviations.  If you come across any you think I should add, or where you have encountered a slightly different usage, please let me know or tweet to me @coherentmedia and I'll add or update this post.   Or you can leave a comment below.




Meaning unpacked




3rd Party Ad Server.  The advertiser's ad server.  Bloggers, for example, may monetize their site by carrying ads on their blogs; usually those ads are on 3PAS.




How you mention another Twitter account. In a tweet it becomes a link to that Twitter User's profile or account.  For example  @coherentmedia is the Twitter account for Coherent Marketing


Most commonly used within Twitter, but also increasingly in other social media, the hash with a word or phrase is used as a keyword, event or other content within a Tweet.  For example #MFGDay14 is a hashtag for the annual national Manufacturing Awareness Day in 2014.  Or it can be used contextually after a tweet, e.g. "New update to the marketing acronyms post #ContentMarketing"




Account Based Marketing - an approach that treats companies separately or individually rather than as a cluster or group. 
AI Artificial Intelligence applies advanced analysis and logic-based techniques, including machine learning, to interpret events, support and automate decisions, and take actions.
API Not strictly a marketing term, but with the rise of applications with embedded marketing functions, it's a useful term to understand.  API is short for Application Program Interface.  It is a set of routines, protocols or tools for building software applications and determines how they interact with other software, like operating systems for phones or HTML.
 Ad Ops This is a term thar refers to the management of investments in paid media, which includes search, display and video across online, mobile and social destinations, and the use of programmatic techniques to measure and optimize advertising.
Ad Tech Sums up a set of technologies used for managing advertisements across channels, including search, display, video, mobile and social.

Apps (business mobile applications)

Apps are a type of software installed on any devices that help improve direct communication with clients and customers. They offer access to information at just a touch of a button and provide clear and direct communication between customers and businesses.



B2B Business to business.
B2C Business to consumer.
BI Business Intelligence.

The term defines a digital currency that is the most prominent of the family of cryptocurrencies.It can be bought, sold and exchanged directly and easier than money. 


This is the short of the term “weblog” and is a website designed to make it easy for users to create entries in chronological order. Blogs are mostly used to express opinions on topical events such as sports, music, fashion or politics, but in the past years, they have evolved as established communication channels for businesses as well as individuals.

Brand extension This describes the expansion of an existing “house” (or “master”) brand to cover a new category of solution. The brand becomes an umbrella brand for all the company’s offerings. The alternative is to create sub-brands for each individual proposition.
Brand service company Such a company is built to provide services to a large organization or a group of business-oriented companies. Services provided (which may include non-IT services and business processes) are carefully compared against the market, and the services company leverages external services providers, selectively outsourcing part of their services.
Branded content management The term refers to the automation of processes from initial creative idea through to production and storage and, ultimately, to the fulfilment of branded content in the field and across various channels/media.
BT Behavioural Targeting.  Targeting people based on recent online behaviour, for example, if they've recently visited an automotive site, they may start seeing ads for automotive-related products.
 Business Process  This term defines an event-driven, end-to-end processing path that starts with a customer request and ends with a result for the customer. Business processes often cross departmental and even organizational boundaries.
BSP A Business Service Provider manages and operates standardized business processes on behalf of its customers, delivering its service across a network to multiple customers using a “pay as you go” payment model.


Chat Bot A chat bot is a domain-specific conversational interface that uses an app, messaging platform, social network or chat solution for its conversations. Chatbots vary in sophistication, from simple, decision-tree-based marketing stunts, to implementations built on feature-rich platforms. 
Client management tools Such tools manage the configurations of client systems. This includes OS deployment, inventory, software distribution, patch management, software usage monitoring and remote control.Desktop support organizations use client management tools to automate system administration and support functions that would otherwise be done manually. 
Cloud advertising This refers to cloud-based services that support the selection, transaction and delivery of advertising and ad-related data in which content and price are determined at the time of end-user access, usually by an auction mechanism that matches bidders with advertising impressions as they become available. This applies to search, display, mobile, social and video ad formats.
Cloud email The term describes a vendor-offered, multitenant, Internet-delivered email service that is scalable and flexible.
Cloud file sharing This refers to a range of cloud services that allows people to store and synchronize files in the cloud—and share them with other people. These services also allow users to share and synchronize data among multiple devices for a single owner. 
Cloud office migration The term refers to the process of consolidating and transferring a collection of workloads. Workloads can include emails, files, calendars, document types, related metadata, instant messages, applications, user permissions, compound structure and linked components. Migration of such workloads from at least one permanent on-premises platform or cloud office to a new cloud office environment, across a variety of similar product classes, is typical.
CMS Content Management System.  A system for managing and publishing web content.  For example, Integrated Media Strategies favors the Joomla open-source CMS. Others are Wordpress and wikis.  Wikipedia has a fairly comprensive list.
CPA Cost Per Action.  Performance-based online advertising often use this approach where the cost is based on the number of actions sought. Examples include Likes or followers on social media campaigns, registrations for newsletters, or conversion to sales. See also CPC, CPM and CPN.
 CPC Cost Per Click.  A term used for paid online media campaigns where media costs are calculated by the cost per clicks or click-throughs.  See also PPC.  Sometimes in media buys, the value - or otherwise - is determined based on the actual number of click-throughs rather than the number of people who see the ad.  See CPM and CPA as well.
CPL Cost Per Lead.  Used for pricing lead generation and as a performance metric to measure the cost of leads from various sources. A ratio calculated by cost/leads.  See also CPA.
CPM Cost Per 1,000 Impressions.  A very common pricing model for online banner advertising.  See also CPA.
CPN Cost Per Name.  See also CPA.  More often used in email, telemarketing or direct mail campaigns, where it is used for pricing access to a market.
CRM Customer Relationship Manager.  A system or platform for managing communications with customers and prospects.  Salesforce is possibly the best known example.
CTR Click Through Rate or Click Rate.  A way of measuring the success of a campaign.  It is a ratio showing how often people who see your ad actually click on it, i.e. clicks/impressions.
 Customer exerience  The term defines the customer’s perceptions and related feelings caused by the one-off and cumulative effect of interactions with a supplier’s employees, systems, channels or products.
Customer exerience The term defines the customer’s perceptions and related feelings caused by the one-off and cumulative effect of interactions with a supplier’s employees, systems, channels or products.
Customer gateways

This concept is about allowing consumers to become part of the smart grid by enabling self-service energy provisioning on the premises, linking and integrating consumer energy management, and having smart appliances increase energy efficiency and enhance the consumer’s quality of life.

Customer lifetime value This represents the total revenue or value of a customer relationship over a lifetime. This can be measured by customer, by segment or in aggregate for a cohort or group of customers.
CXM Customer experience management refers to the discipline of understanding customers and deploying strategic plans to improve satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.


Data integration

The concept comprises the practices, techniques and tools for achieving the consistent access and delivery of data in the company to meet the requirements of all applications and business processes. Data integration tools have traditionally been delivered via a set of related markets, with vendors in each market offering a specific style of data integration tool.


Database activity monitoring refers to a suite of tools that can be used to support the ability to identify and report on fraudulent, illegal or other undesirable behaviour, with minimal impact on user operations and productivity.

Digital business transformation

The concept defines the process of exploiting digital technologies and supporting capabilities to create a robust new digital business model. COVID-19 forced organizations around the globe to speed up digital initiatives to drive their response to the crisis.

Digital wallet Such a wallet is a storage place of secure information necessary to authenticate a user and initiate an authorization process to make a transaction to purchase goods and services.
 DM  Direct mail.  Also used in Twitter to refer to Direct Message, something that can occur between two people or accounts where the account being followed can DM the follower.
 DDM  Dimensional Direct Mail.  Using size to attract attention from recipients.
 DMP  Data Management Platform.  A system that manages data from a number of sources for media decision-making.
 DSP  Demand Side Platform.  A system that allows buyers of digital advertising inventory a way to manage multiple ad exchange and data accounts, reporting and metrics.


 E-business Electronic business defines any process that a business organization conducts over a computer-mediated network. Business organizations include any for-profit, governmental, or non-profit entity. Their processes include production, customer, and internal or management focused business processes.
 Enterprise risk management This is a concept that identifies, analyses and treats the exposures an organization faces as seen by the executive levels of management. This means looking at exposures in finance, credit, fraud, strategic and operational matters for the company. Most matters at the enterprise level only peripherally consider technological risk, and that’s when they are looking at how technology increases or decreases those business exposures.

External services provider is a company that is a separate legal entity from the contracting one that provides services such as consulting, software development.

External social software This is a software typically used to create community sites for customers, market influencers and crowd sourcing (as in collecting innovative ideas from the Web at large), as well as to measure overall market sentiments and trends.


 FF #FF is a hashtag for Follow Friday.  It's a way on Twitter to give a shout out or mention to  Twitter users by suggesting you follow the accounts mentioned.
 Field Service Management Software This is a software that enables field service technicians or dispatchers to diagnose problems categorically, identify the required parts and information, and dispatch them to the client or site. The system identifies the proper tools or materials required for the specific problem and their current location. It includes field service workforce schedule optimization, support for wireless mobile technicians and intelligent device management of equipment. 
Financial Footprint This describes the amount of money paid, monthly or yearly, to a vendor to support a particular system or application. Because most hardware and software is easily upgradable, financial-footprint management involves managing a stream of recurring payments instead of physical assets.
File server A file server is a computer containing files available to all users connected to a local-area network (LAN). 
Forensic software

This is a software used to collect raw data from digital storage devices, including the recovery of hidden and deleted files, in support of e-discovery and investigations of digital activity.



 Gain sharing This describes a contract that defines the vendor’s contribution to the customer in terms of specific benefits to the customer’s business. Such a contract also defines the payment the customer will make according to the vendor’s performance in delivering those business benefits. Gain-sharing contracts require the development of a delivery paradigm that links a client’s business metrics to a vendor’s IT solution.
 Gateway server

Such a server is designed to transform data streams to better match device capabilities. For example, Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) gateway servers convert HTML to Wireless Markup Language (WML) for wireless devices, and a number of products can reformat HTML for devices such as mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs).

Global delivery This notion sums up the technical skills, process rigor, tools, methodologies, overall structure and strategies for seamlessly delivering IT-enabled services (IT or business process services) from global locations. Global delivery locations are broadly categorized as being inclusive of four options: onsite, onshore, nearshore and offshore.
Gray market

This describes the import and sale of mobile devices outside regular commercial channels as defined by the original manufacturer or the relevant government, creating a parallel market to authorized distribution channels.

Grid computing This is a method for applying large numbers of resources, usually large amounts of processing capacity, to a single task, by applying resources from more than one system. A grid is a collection of resources that’s coordinated to enable the resources to solve a common problem. A computing grid harnesses multiple computers from several owners to run one very large application problem.


 Help desk management The concept describes a set of services that provide information and support  to handle a company’s internal or external queries and operational problems about IT-related processes, policies, systems and usage. Services include product support capabilities, including elements of hardware and software support, logging of problems, and results analysis, dispatch of service technicians or parts, training coordination,and other IT-related issues.
 Home servers These servers are used to aggregate storage on consumer home networks. Although similar to less-expensive home network-attached storage  devices, home servers are more sophisticated and geared to aggregating a broader range of services on a home network. These services center on storage/media streaming (e.g., music, photos and videos) and home PC backup, but also include Internet gateway services, as well as remote access to home PCs.


 IAM Identity and access management  enables certain people to access the right resources at the right times for the right reasons. IAM is a crucial undertaking for any company. It is increasingly business-aligned, and it requires business skills, not just technical expertise. 
 Innovation management This is a business discipline that aims to drive a repeatable, sustainable innovation process or culture within an organization. Innovation management initiatives focus on disruptive or step changes that transform the business in some significant way.
IRM Integrated risk management is a set of practices and processes supported by a risk-aware culture and enabling technologies, that improves decision making and performance through an integrated view of how well an organization manages its unique set of risks.
IMM Integrated marketing management represents the business strategy, process automation and technologies required to integrate people, processes and technologies across the marketing ecosystem.




KM Knowledge management is a business process that formalizes the management and use of a company’s intellectual assets. KM promotes a collaborative and integrative approach to the creation, capture, organization, access and use of information assets.
K-map Knowledge Map is a representation of concepts and their relationships (e.g., hierarchy, taxonomy and network). A K-map is a navigational aid that enables a user to hone in rapidly on the desired concept, and then follow links to relevant knowledge sources (information or people).
KPI Key Performance Indicator. A management tool.  In online advertising, for example, CPC or CPA may be used.


Labour management system  This is a system that provides labour productivity reporting and planning capabilities. The planning capabilities provide the ability to analyse workforce requirements given a certain amount of work to be performed and a standard unit of time to perform each element of work. Labour productivity planning capabilities provide the ability to measure and report the performance of individuals, groups or facilities vs. a predefined standard for performing each defined element of work.
Landing Page Optimization  Landing Page Optimization. Optimizing a landing page so that a desired outcome is obtained.
 LBA  Location-based advertising refers to advertisements that appear on a mobile device, including banner or text ads on a mobile Internet site or mobile application, including maps.
Loyalty marketing This is a discipline used to promote a sustained relationship with a brand by illustrating achievable benefits — such as convenience, cost and customization through long-term loyalty. Loyalty marketing often includes the management of loyalty cards, discount clubs or other programs that are designed to encourage and reward repeat purchases over time.


MAP Marketing Automation Platform. A platform for automating aspects of marketing communications and leads.
Management consulting Management consulting is strategic consulting focused on high-level corporate or business unit strategy (e.g., deciding what businesses to participate in or whether to make an acquisition), or on operational improvement (e.g., improving customer service or determining the most effective type of retail delivery system).
Marcom Marketing communications.
Marketing analytics This is wider term representing a market that encompasses analytics features within end-to-end marketing platforms and specialized tools. These platforms and tools allow marketers to collect, analyse, model and visualize data to optimize marketing and advertising campaigns by better understanding prospects and customers, and their behaviours across channels.
MCM Marketing content management is a category of applications that help companies respond rapidly to unfolding business circumstances by applying the optimal combination of marketing content across multiple channels. MCM databases provide enterprises with an overview of all available marketing content.
Mobile business Also called m-business, this refers to new business models enabled by the extensive deployment of key mobile and wireless technologies and devices (for example, Bluetooth, e-purses, smartphones, UMTS and WAP), and by the inherent mobility of most people’s work styles and lifestyles. The value proposition of m-business is that the user can benefit from information or services any time and in any place.
Mobile commerce Also called m-commerc this refers to the delivery of e-commerce capabilities directly to mobile service users by wireless technology.
MPM Marketing performance management sums up the technologies and services for solutions that support marketing’s ability to gain access to insights, analyse data, make predictions, and optimize marketing programs, campaigns and resources. 
MX record Your MX record is an email exchange record in the Domain Name System that specifies a mail server responsible for accepting email messages on behalf of a recipient's domain.  You can usually find it when you log into your hosting provider.


 Network security  Network security are measures taken to protect a communications pathway from unauthorized access to regular operations.

Network performance monitoring tools

These tools provide performance and availability monitoring solutions for the data communication network (including network devices and network traffic). These tools collect performance data over time, and include features such as baselining, threshold evaluation and network traffic analysis.


 On-device monitoring Monitoring applications collect data on a customer’s use of their device (mobile, IPTV, tablet, PC or broadband hub) using client software installed on the device. These applications can be used for fault detection and resolution on an individual or aggregate basis; can inform customer services during an interaction with the customer; or provide information during device or service testing.
 Offshore programming This refers to the contracting by a company for software services to be carried out in a country other than its own — e.g., a user located in North America may choose to have applications maintenance work carried out in India.

Online transaction processing is a mode of processing that is characterized by short transactions recording business events and that normally requires high availability and consistent, short response times.Unlike traditional mainframe data processing, in which data is processed only at specific times, transaction processing puts terminals online, where they can update the database instantly to reflect changes as they occur.

Optimization routines These routines are used to determine the optimal solution for a particular problem. They are used to reduce costs or time in the supply chain, and usually are tactically focused for use in current operations.
Order management This type of management is a business process, not a specific market. Much of the functionality attributed to order management guides products and services through order entry, processing and tracking.


PPC Pay Per Click.  A term used for paid search or paid online advertising.  When a visitor clicks on an ad or banner, the organization that placed the ad pays for the click-through.  See also CPC.
Privacy management tools These tools help organizations conduct privacy impact assessments, check processing activities against requirements from privacy regulations, and track incidents that lead to unauthorized disclosures of personal data (investigation, remediation, reporting). They analyse and document data, support authoring and distribution of privacy policies (for which they provide templates) and track user awareness (users acknowledge having read the policies).
PM Problem management is the core function of a customer service and support application used by call centers. It coordinates a service and support environment, enables pattern analysis, provides management reports, and facilitates requesting additional service and support resources by providing hard numbers on the service workload and its changing nature. PM tools are valuable for monitoring compliance.
Product management This type of management is the process of conceiving, defining, delivering, monitoring and refining products in, and withdrawing products from, a market in order to maximize business results. Product management tasks range from researching markets, customers and competitors, to analysing customers and products, to developing and maintaining a product vision and roadmap. 
PURL Personalized URL.  A URL or landing page created for a single person for one to one marketing programs.  (Not to be confused with Perl, which is a programming language.)




Resource Requirements Planning This refers to the process of converting the production plan or the master production schedule into the impact on key resources, e.g., man hours, machine hours, storage, standard cost dollars, shipping dollars and inventory levels.
Risk management This is also known as operational risk management or integrated risk management. It is the management of granular business risks between the security governance layer and the enterprise risk management layer. Risk managers look at more operational and tactical exposures to the business that can be summarized and abstracted to inform enterprise risks.
ROI Return On Investment. 
RT Short in Twitter speak for 'retweet'.  When you repost a tweet by someone else.
RTB Real Time Bidding.  An auction approach to online advertising in which inventory is bought or sold using real-time impression rates.


SAM Software Asset Management is a process for making software acquisition and disposal decisions. It includes strategies that identify and eliminate unused or infrequently used software, consolidating software licenses or moving toward new licensing models.
SIEM Security information and event management technology supports threat detection, compliance and security incident management through the collection and analysis (both near real time and historical) of security events.The core capabilities are log event collection and management, the ability to analyse log events and other data across disparate sources, and operational capabilities (such as incident management, dashboards and reporting).
SEM Search Engine Marketing. Includes both SEO and paid search marketing approaches.
SEO Search Engine Optimization.  Optimizing your website to improve your organic search rankings.  See also SERP.
SERP Search Engine Results Page. This is the listing of results returned by a search engine for a query.  The goal is to obtain a top 5 ranking in organic search through SEO so that your entry stands a chance of being clicked on.  See our blog post on this.

Storage resource management provides near-real-time and historical information for the storage infrastructure regarding availability, capacity and performance, device management, problem determination, configuration planning and change management.

SMB Small and Medium Businesses.  We won't get into numbers of employees because definitions vary from state to state and federal.
SME Subject Matter Expert. Like Coherent Marketing :-)
SME SME can also mean Small and Medium Enterprises (See also SMB)
SMM Social Media Marketing.
SMO Social Media Optimization.  Similar to SEO, but optimizing content and websites so that content can easily be shared via social media.
SQL Sales Qualified Lead.  Can also be used to refer to SQL databases and servers using Structured Query Language to manage data.
System Integration This refers to the process of creating a complex information system that may include designing or building a customized architecture or application, integrating it with new or existing hardware, packaged and custom software, and communications. 
System Management This describes any of a number of “housekeeping” activities intended to preserve, maintain or correct the operation of a computer system. Included are such routine but critical processes as hardware diagnostics, software distribution, backup and recovery, file and disk integrity checking, and virus scanning.


TAP Targeted Accounts Program.  Can also mean Target Account Planning - see also TAPS
TAPS Target Account Planning Strategy.  A targeted sales methodology.
 TM Talent management is an integrated set of modules that supports an organization’s need to plan, attract, develop, reward, engage and retain talent. The modules offer functionality that includes the areas of workforce planning, recruiting and onboarding, performance appraisal, goal management, learning management, competency management, career development, succession and compensation.
Tokenization This refers to a process by which a piece of sensitive data, such as a credit card number, is replaced by a surrogate value known as a token. The sensitive data still generally needs to be stored securely at one centralized location for subsequent reference and requires strong protections around it. 


User authentification These are technologies that encompass a variety of products and services implementing a range of authentication methods in place of legacy passwords. Methods are typically classified by the kind of authentication attributes (or factors) that they use, alone or in combination: something known, something held (a token) or something inherent (a biometric characteristic). Authentication may be natively supported in products or services (including other security tools), or provided by discrete software, hardware or cloud-based services.
UI User Interface.
UTM Unified threat management is a converged platform of point security products, particularly suited to small and midsize businesses . Typical feature sets fall into three main subsets, all within the UTM: firewall/intrusion prevention system (IPS)/virtual private network, secure Web gateway security (URL filtering, Web antivirus [AV]) and messaging security (anti-spam, mail AV).
UX User Experience.  Can also refer to user experience design, i.e. designing for better user experience.  This abbreviation has been used a lot as small, touch screens have impacted web design for sites that previously were optimized for laptops or desktops.


 VOC While it also stands for Volatile Organic Compound, in marketing speak it usually means 'Voice Of the Customer'.  Coined by systems engineers, it can comprise big data on customer-centric descriptions of their expectations, preferences and aversions.
 VRM Vendor risk management is the process of ensuring that the use of service providers and IT suppliers does not create an unacceptable potential for business disruption or a negative impact on business performance. VRM technology supports enterprises that must assess, monitor and manage their risk exposure from third-party suppliers that provide IT products and services, or that have access to enterprise information. 
VPN Virtual private network is a system that delivers company-focused communication services on a shared public network infrastructure and provides customized operating characteristics uniformly and universally across an enterprise. The term is used generically to refer to voice VPNs. To avoid confusion, IP-based data services are referred to as data VPNs. 


 Web Hosting This is a service in which a vendor offers the housing of business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce websites via vendor-owned shared or dedicated servers and applications for enterprises at the provider-controlled facilities. The vendor is responsible for all day-to-day operations and maintenance of the website. The customer is responsible for the content.
 WFM Wired for Management refers to a blueprint, developed by Intel in partnership with and supported by leading information technology (IT) vendors, for making PC-based systems — including desktops, mobile systems and servers — universally manageable. 
Work management This is a set of software products and services that apply workflow structure to the movement of information as well as to the interaction of business processes and human worker processes that generate the information. Work management streamlines and transforms crucial business processes and this can improve results and performance.
Workforce Management

This refers to a system intended to maximize the use of agent labour by projecting incoming call volumes and scheduling staff to meet needs exactly, by time of the day, day of the week, week of the month, etc.These systems use historical calling records, which are collected from the automatic call distribution system, to project future calling patterns and volumes for specified time frames.












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