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Columns by Linda  Formichelli:

Self-Promotion with Emotion

Obedience School

Momma Always Said

Sweet Talk



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If you want to sell to businesses, there are two things you need to learn -- the language of marketing and the lingo of your prospects. For example, a prospective IT client would expect you to know your front end from your back end. And since many companies hire IPs to help them sell something, a knowledge of marketing vernacular is a must.

So if you think that "hot lead" is something that comes from a gun and that "POS" stands for "Piece of Shinola," this glossary should save you some embarrassment, and maybe help snag a new client or two.

Advertorial: Know how you start reading an article called "My Ex-Husband Turned Green When He Saw Me 200 Pounds Thinner and in the Strong, Manly Arms of Brad Pitt" and suddenly it begins talking an awful lot about Fat-B-Gon pills? And you look at the top of the page and see in two-point type the words "Advertisement"? That's an advertorial, a print advertisement styled to resemble an editorial format.

Affinity Marketing: Marketing aimed at prospects based on their buying patterns. For example, "You buy graphic design, so maybe you'd be interested in our printing services."

Banner Ad: A graphic ad on a Web page that links to the advertiser's Web site. If you do use banner ads to market your business, you must not, upon pain of death, use one of those ads with a fake control bar so that when the Web surfer clicks to close the box, she is unwillingly transported to your site.

Beta: A test Web site or test version of a product. It's close enough to done to show to the unsuspecting public, but still has bugs to be worked out.

Brand Equity: The emotional, tangible, and monetary value of your brand.

BRC: Business Reply Card.

BRE: Business Reply Envelope.

Click Throughs: A tally of the number of times a banner ad is clicked. (See Banner Ad)

Collateral: All printed sales and informational materials used by a company. Could also be the Mercedes-Benz you use to secure a bank loan to kick off your IP business, hoping to heaven that the repo man never shows up on your doorstep.

Cooperative (Co-Op) Advertising: Advertising that includes offers from several different marketers.

Drill Down: What a Web surfer does on your site when she clicks on a category, then a subcategory, then a subcategory… The visitor drills down deeper and deeper into your site, looking for gold and hoping not to find any dead canaries.

Front End/Back End: To put it in telephone terms, the front end is the part you put against your head, that curly cord that gets all twisted and tangled, the part you smash against the table when you get mad. The back end? Well, that would be the wires leading out of your house, the cable going to the phone company, and the phone company itself -- basically all the stuff you don't know about and probably don't want to know about. The phone company knows you don't want to know, and that's why they put all that gear... in back.

In short, the front end is everything the user has direct contact with. The back end is all the behind-the-scenes goop that makes the front end work.

Fulfillment: All activities involved in the processing and servicing of orders. Literature Fulfillment means sending collateral to leads; Product Fulfillment, sending samples and merchandise. (See Collateral)

Killer App: This just means "the next big idea." But if you say it to your client, he'll be impressed that you can Think Out of the Box. (See Think Out of the Box)

Nixies: Pieces of returned mail stamped "undeliverable as addressed." You probably don't really need to know this, but isn't it a cool word?

Opt In/Opt Out: An Opt-In promotion asks prospects to give their permission to receive marketing information, usually by email. An Opt-Out promotion is spam: you get the prospect's information and bombard them with emails until they cry for mercy.

POC: Point of Contact. "When you're managing a project from off site, it's critical to have one person on site who's your POC. This person is responsible for making sure you can do the job you've been hired to do," says Katherine Hutt, owner of Nautilus Communications. This POC should not be too high or too low in the company hierarchy, she says.

POP: Point of Purchase. This is the actual place where customers shell out their cash, such as at a store, from a catalog, or from a salesperson. Also known as POS (Point of Sale).

Premium: A free goodie sent to prospects to entice them to lay out their money on your product or service.

Qualify: Screening prospects to make sure they have the need, desire, and -- most important -- the vast fiscal reserves to buy your product or service.

RFP: Request for Proposal.

ROI: Return on Investment. "More and more companies want to know what their ROI will be when investing dollars in public relations or advertising," says Ann Keeling, owner of Cristofoli-Keeling Marketing Communications Management.

Stickiness: I'm not going to touch this one -- it does not challenge my capacity for acerbic wit at all! So I will just tell you: stickiness is a measurement of how effective a Web site is in keeping users on the site.

Subcontractor: It's you, baby. A subcontractor is an individual who provides a service for a business without the benefits of health insurance, a regular paycheck, or a 401(k) plan. Note: IPs can have subcontractors, too.

Target Market: The prospects who want your stuff, and can afford to pay for it. These are the people who should be in your marketing cross hairs.

Teaser: The copy that's printed on the outside of a direct mail envelope in hopes of getting you to rip it open, salivating with the desire to spend your hard-earned cash on magazine subscriptions and Hummels. "You may have won a million dollars!" is a fine example.

Think Outside the Box: "Actual meaning: absolutely nothing," says writer/composer/producer Keith Snyder.

Value-Added Product: A new product created from processing, repackaging, or adding special features to existing products. For example, a business writer can turn out how-to pamphlets excerpted from his books or articles.

Viral Marketing: Advertising that propagates itself, like those forwarded messages telling you that Microsoft will give a free Disney vacation to the thousandth person to forward the message on to yet more unsuspecting email users.

We'd love to hear your feedback about this column, or put you in touch with Linda Formichelli if you like. You may also like to see her biography.

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