Glossary of Marketing Terms

Use this resource developed by Country Arts WA if you need to know what some of the specific terms mean.


A standard or collection of standards from a relevant community or group, against which you can measure your own achievements. It is important to choose relevant benchmarks, so look for colleagues working in arts centres in similar circumstances to your own.


Your brand is the essence of the experience you deliver to your customers. You have a brand whether you consciously shape it, or not; it lives in the minds of your customers. Logos are used as part of the branding process. They are not ‘the brand’ of themselves, but rather a visual representation of it. Your brand should be expressed in all your marketing and communications material, and in your customer service style. Your whole organisation should ‘live’ your brand.

Brand essence

A very short statement – sometimes only one or two words – that describes the most essential characteristics of your brand. For example, Volvo’s brand essence is ‘safety’. Nike’s essence is summed up in their tagline ‘just do it’.

Brand statement

A short statement that describes your brand in one, two or three sentences at most. It usually includes references to your target market. For example:

“Providing the most surprising, delightful and rewarding experiences in town, XYZ Arts Centre delivers memorable arts events for families, couples and young singles in the greater XYZ region.”

Business Plan

A document that outlines an organisation’s planned and considered approach to achieving its goals, over a future period, usually 3 to 5 years. Typically a business plan includes goals, strategies, analysis of the environment in which the organisation operates, information about its customers, and can include operational or action plans although these are often drawn up subsequently as separate documents.

Customer attitudes

The attitudes customers hold which are relevant to your relationship with them; this includes a wide range of beliefs and values that colour what they expect of you and how they experience the events you offer.

Customer motivations

The reasons why customers attend and engage with you.

Customer touch point

Every point at which you interact with or communicate with a customer, e.g. phone call to box office; e-news; direct mail; newspaper advertisement; direct email; the experiences of your events, bar staff, ushers, volunteers.


In marketing, designing communications and/or offers for particular segments, based on your knowledge of their needs or previous experiences (usually used in conjunction with targeting, see below)


Your collection of customer names, contact details and relationship history. It’s a major asset that you should look after to the best of your ability. Hopefully you only have one of them and it’s part of your ticketing system if you have one: this is the most effective way to manage a performing arts customer database.


Information about your customers’ age, gender, highest education level, income, employment status and occupation; usually also includes place of residence. Demographics are not necessarily a good indicator of customer willingness to attend or of program preferences, but knowing your audience demographics can help work out how representative they are of your community, and whether there are any gaps you might wish to fill.

Direct marketing

Any form of marketing in which you communicate individually and directly with your customers, e.g. email, direct mail, telephone. Direct marketing should always be personalised, i.e. address the customer by name (‘Dear Mary’) and make reference to their relationship with you (‘we hope you enjoyed the performance of Lake which you attended recently’)


A big-picture view of what you hope to achieve, or where you hope to be, in the future. Goals should be ‘SMART’  – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. For example, ‘Our first goal is to become known for our family friendly arts programs’, or ‘Our second goal is to provide new arts experiences for existing audiences’.


Customer frequency refers to frequency of attendance, or how often customers attend across your whole range of events. This is usually expressed in terms of attendances per year.

Iterative loop

In business planning, ‘iterative loop’ refers to a process where you start from the beginning, complete the process and then begin again, checking consistency, accuracy and completeness of the various parts of the plan each time you circle through it.

Key performance indicator or KPI

A measurement used to assess achievement of goals. For example, if your goal is to grow your audience, the KPI will define ‘by how much’, ‘when’, and how you will measure it, e.g. ‘5% growth per year as measured by ticket sales’.

Marketing Plan

A document that outlines an organisation’s planned and considered approach to marketing itself over a future period, usually 3 to 5 years. Typically a Marketing Plan will be developed as part of an overall Business Planning activity, and will include marketing goals, strategies, analysis of the marketing environment, information about

Mass marketing

Could be said to be the opposite or direct marketing, i.e. not individual nor direct, and therefore can’t be personalised; communicating to many people at once, e.g. newspaper, TV, radio, billboards and poster advertising.


What you offer your customers, which can be ‘the whole package’, i.e. the venue experience, the price, the program/choice of event, the interval drinks, or a particular part of the experience, depending upon how you package and market it.


How you make your program choices, the events you choose to offer your customers, usually planned over a calendar year. A program plan is best developed in conjunction with your overall Business Plan and your Marketing Plan.


How recently a customer or group of customers has attended an event with you.


Ways of identifying sub-groups (‘segments’) within your audience, which help you understand their needs and build your relationship with them. Segmentation can be done using customer frequency, recency, spend, events attended, demographics, etc but the most useful and effective segmentations group customers according to their differing needs. Segmenting an audience is usually done through market research.


A method or a plan for a course of action through which you will achieve a goal or goals.

SWOT analysis

In business planning, analysis of an organisation’s Strengths and Weaknesses (internal), Opportunities and Threats (external).


In marketing, a small amount of text which aims to communicate and clarify the essence of a brand, product or event, for example:

‘the awesome power of the voice’this tagline was created for Sydney Philharmonia Choirs in the 1990s, based on focus group research with audience members. The aim was to communicate the essence of the experience and how it differed from other classical music offerings in Sydney. It was used for about 5 years across all their marketing material.


In marketing, sending communications to particular customer segments (i.e. those you believe will be most likely to respond to your offer) rather than the entire database.

Ticketing system

Computer software designed to sell tickets to events and store customer details; some also include reporting, marketing and fundraising modules.

Vox pops

Informal, spontaneous video quotes from customers (often used in social media) usually collected immediately after or during an event, using a smart phone.