CTA - SEO - PPC - WTF??? 16 Marketing Agency Acronyms You Need to Know

Marketers. They have their own way about them. They think differently, they act differently, and they speak differently.

Between the APIs, ROIs, and BOPUS mumbo jumbo, there is a lot going on in the marketing world. But instead of saying TTYL (talk to you later) and leaving you guessing about these mysterious phrases, we are here to demystify the masses.

AgencySparks turned to our social media network and other reliable resources to narrow down and define the most commonly used acronyms for client and agency-side marketers.

By no means is this a comprehensive list...there are certainly other terms like “creative brief,” “display ads,” or “content marketing” that are terms more specific to email, media, UX, or creative marketing.


We are certainly continuing to add terms as we go, but here are the essential agency acronyms for brand and agency marketers:

  1. AOR
    Agency of Record. The AOR is the client's main, go-to agency. With an AOR, clients only need to interact with one agency who understands their needs and business through and through.
    Many brands are abandoning this model…here is why.

  2. CPL
    Cost per Lead. Cost per lead usually refers to pay-per-click advertising on Google, Bing, or other. It is the actual average cost that the advertiser pays for each prospect that fills out a form on a landing page.

  3. CPM
    Cost per mille. Cost per 1,000 impressions - usually for display ads.

  4. CRM
    Customer Relationship Management. This is a software used to track prospects for both sales and service.

  5. CTA
    Call to Action. Create content that leads to a specific action/engagement such as "Click Now," "Buy Here," "Download," etc.

  6. CX
    Customer Experience. At the end of the day, marketers want the customer to come back. Providing an excellent "customer experience" or a catered, personalized journey that entices them to interact with and care about the brand.
    Here are tips on how to provide a good customer experience.

  7. ESP
    Email Service Provider. This helps brands send and track email marketing campaigns to targeted customer lists.
    Best email marketing practices for marketers.

  8. IO
    Insertion Order. The actual order that an agency or client places to purchase paid digital media.

  9. MQL
    Marketing Qualified Leads. Based on engagement with content/website/emails, this consumer has been marked as a potential customer.

  10. MSA
    Master Services Agreement. A contract signed by client and agency that governs the overall relationship between the two companies..

  11. NPS
    Net Promoter Score. Ranks the customer satisfaction and likelihood they would recommend the brand's services or products.

  12. PPC
    Pay Per Click. Money spent per click on digital ads.

  13. RFI
    Request for Information. This occurs during the project planning phase and includes general information about the products, services, or suppliers that helps with the decision process.

  14. RFP
    Request for Proposal. Offered during the bidding process and is the best way to determine if a marketing agency is qualified to deliver quality work on time and within budget and scope.
    Creating an RFP? Here are some crucial RFP Do’s and Don’ts.

  15. SEM
    Search Engine Marketing. Increasing website visibility through paid advertising.

  16. SQL
    Sales Qualified Leads. Based on their interactions with the brand, these leads have already been qualified by the marketing team and will possibly lead to a sale.