Maybe you thought you already knew business English.
You may know how to introduce yourself and others, and how to talk on the phone in a business setting.
Having those skills can make you feel pretty confident, and it should!
But now you need to talk about a marketing plan for your business.
Or maybe you’ve decided to pursue a career in marketing.
Marketing is an innovative (progressing and developing) field that has its own specialized (specific) vocabulary.
You need this vocabulary to brainstorm and discuss ideas for selling products or services.
The language in marketing is always changing and developing, which means that there are always new words, phrases and idioms to learn.
But hey, it’s okay. We have you covered.
You’re about to learn 12 impressive phrases that will make your marketing vocabulary current and effective.
Let’s get started by looking at a business conversation that might happen in a marketing department.
A Conversation in a Marketing Department
After the sample conversation below, we’ll look at some of the vocabulary used in detail. When reading through the conversation, just do your best to follow along. Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything right away.
This conversation takes place between Joseph and his manager, Sophie. Sophie has just called Joseph into her office to talk about a new product the company has put out, Carrot Bites.
Joseph: Hi, Sophie. What’s this about? The company’s launch of Carrot Bites?
Sophie: Yes. I just want to review a few things. I have a meeting with the board next week, and I want to make sure I have all of the information I need. Bob will be there.
Joseph: Ah, Bob. I understand why you want to be prepared, then. Everyone knows that Bob would like to see Carrot Bites flop (fail).
Sophie: Unfortunately, you’re right. You know Bob’s history with the company, don’t you?
Joseph: Yeah. He has a reputation for (is known for) challenging the status quo. That’s what he did when he pioneered the Apple Fusion. “A squeeze a day keeps the doctor away.” What a great product to sell to children and their parents: Fruit that’s easily accessible in tubes, that you can just squeeze to get the same nutrients (food-based benefits) you get from eating an apple. I remember parents stocking up on them and kids sucking on them like candy.
Sophie: You sound like a commercial. And you’re right. Without Bob and the success of that product, we probably would not be here today.
Joseph: You mean the company would have gone out of business?
Sophie: Oh no, nothing that extreme. The company was doing fine before Bob came up with the Apple Fusion idea. It’s just that the company wasn’t seeking step-change growth.
Joseph: Well, it sure got it with the Apple Fusion.
Sophie: The product’s success amazed us all. Bob did such a good job of driving demand for the product by co-opting the tactics of the fast food companies.
Joseph: Coming from a fast food company myself, I can tell you how impressive the whole campaign was. I mean, no one had ever thought of selling fruit in the same way as junk food before. People love potato chips. You don’t have to convince them to buy more. But it’s a challenge to get people, especially kids, to eat food that’s good for you. So, when I got the call from the headhunter (a person hired to find a job candidate) about my current position, I jumped at the opportunity to join the company.
Sophie: I’m glad you did. We really need people like you to help lead the change effort and move us away from being just another agricultural business. Which brings me back to the board meeting. What Bob did was great. We all know that. The problem is that he wants to keep all the glory for himself. But we can’t rest on our laurels. We need to keep moving forward with Carrot Bites, and show that the Apple Fusion wasn’t a fluke (an accident). Bob is going to try to stop me, but with a strong story, I should be able to override (make up for, cancel out) his objections.
Joseph: That’s pretty much what I thought. I have all the information you’ll need here.
Sophie: I knew I could count on you.
Joseph: So, as you know, the concept for Carrot Bites came out of a focus group (a group of people brought together to give their opinions). We talked to kids and they said that having carrots that you can easily munch on, like baby carrots, is great. But they said that it would be better to have even smaller carrots that come in different flavors.
Sophie: Thus the name “Carrot Bites.”
Joseph: Exactly. Listening to them allowed us to log an early win. Biting into a Carrot Bite is like biting into a potato chip. And Carrot Bites have flavors, so kids like them, but they’re still good for you. We also decided to sell them in single-serve packages.
Sophie: Bob did the same thing with the Apple Fusion. So both products were adopted because they were sold in single servings—like soft drinks and potato chips.
Joseph: That’s right. And, of course, along with the packaging strategy, we’ve been tweaking our pricing.
Sophie: Joseph, you’re a genius. You’ve just given me a solution for how to win over Bob (to get Bob to agree with me).
Joseph: I did? Fill me in (give me the information I’m missing). How are you going to do that?
Sophie: I’m going to make Bob look like a hero. In launching Carrot Bites, you did many of the same things he did with the Apple Fusion. All I have to do is stress the fact that he laid the blueprint (created the model/plan) for future success. There’s no way he can argue with that.
Joseph: Sounds like the perfect strategy to me.
Sophie: It is, I’m sure. Thanks for your input. I’ll let you know how it goes, but I no longer foresee having problems with Bob.
Didn’t understand everything? Don’t worry, we’ll explain everything in the next section. If you want to hear more real conversations using business vocabulary, you’ll find plenty more on FluentU.
Unlike traditional language learning sites, FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the English language and culture over time. You’ll learn English as it’s spoken in real life.
FluentU has a variety of engaging content from popular talk shows, nature documentaries and funny commercials, as you can see here:
FluentU makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you'll see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning and recommends examples and videos to you based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video.
You can start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, by downloading the app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
English for Marketing: 12 Current Phrases for Keeping Up in a Growing, Changing Field
Now for the meaning of the words above in bold.
Talking About the Product
1. To launch a product
When a company launches a product, it places the product into the market. Consumers can buy a product once it is launched.
Consumers are anticipating the company’s launch of its next generation of smartphones.
2. To adopt a product
When consumers accept a new product and decide to buy it, they adopt it. Marketers refer to different categories of adopters, which include:
- Those who buy the product as soon as it comes out.
- Those who wait to hear the opinions of others before deciding to buy the product.
- Those who buy the product because they have no other choice.
There are many people who do not adopt new technology until the old technology is obsolete (out-of-date).
3. To pioneer a product
Pioneering a product means to introduce a new product into the current environment. This is not just a new product like all of the others, though. It is innovative (original).
The company pioneered the “baby carrot.”
Talking About Competition
4. To log an early win
When a company gains significant market share (gets a significant amount of the sales in a certain industry) soon after the launch of a product, they can log an early win (meaning they can record their early success).
Apple logged an early win in the smartphone market by focusing on usability features.
5. To drive demand
When people want a product, there is demand for it. Companies want to create demand for their products. As simply introducing a product is often not enough to do this, companies create tactics, or ways to make consumers want to buy their product.
In some emerging markets, a company has to drive demand for the product category before it can drive demand for its product.
6. To jump at an opportunity
Jumping at an opportunity means enthusiastically taking advantage of an opportunity.
We lost Sue to a startup that competes with us. She jumped at the opportunity to work there because of the new challenge and higher financial rewards. We couldn’t match the financial package they offered her.
7. To co-opt someone’s tactics
In this sense, to co-opt something means to take it and use it for your own purposes. So when someone (or a company) co-opts the competition’s tactics, they are taking the way the competition does something and making it work for them.
The advertising campaign was so successful that other advertisers co-opted the style.
8. To rest on one’s laurels
Resting on one’s laurels means being happy with what one has done, and not trying to improve things in any way.
Many people believe that the company went out of business because it rested on its laurels.
Talking About Change
9. To change the status quo
Changing or challenging the status quo means changing the way things are currently done.
Surviving in this economy means shaking things up. We can’t keep on operating in the same way. It’s not working for us anymore. We have to change the status quo.
10. To lead the change effort
A change effort is trying to implement (apply) change within a company. When someone in the company leads this effort, it is their responsibility to make sure that the transition is smooth, and that the change is accepted.
He hired several others in top management roles to help him lead the change effort.
Talking About Pricing
11. To make tweaks to the pricing
Tweaking something means making small changes to it. Companies tweak prices to find the right price at which to sell a product.
Demand for the product was very low at first. We suspected that we had priced it too high. So we made tweaks to the pricing, and then the product flew off the shelves.
Talking About Growth
12. To seek step-change growth
Growth that shows significant improvement is called step-change growth. When a company looks for ways to achieve significant improvement, it seeks step-change growth.
Acme Inc. wasn’t seeking step-change growth when it introduced the new widget. But now that the company has achieved step-change growth, they are looking for ways to sustain it.
Now that you have these 12 impressive marketing phrases, don’t waste your new knowledge.
Write the words down wherever you store new vocabulary words, and look for opportunities to use them.
Or, go even further by doing some reading on driving demand, leading a change effort, adopting a product and launching a product.
Remember, when it comes to vocabulary, the phrase “use it or lose it” couldn’t be more true.
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