Marketing 101

Marketing Automation: A Glossary of Terms3 min read

, Veterinary Marketing Specialist December 9, 2020 3 min read

Marketing Automation: A Glossary of Terms3 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Ready to learn the language of marketing automation?

It’s easy to get lost in the lingo when you’re getting started with marketing automation. Get familiar with these common terms and soon you’ll be speaking the language of automation like an old marketing pro.  

The Many Names for Automation

First and foremost, let’s address the various terms currently in use to discuss marketing automation. Some of the synonymous terms include: 

  • Journey
  • Nurturing sequence
  • Automation sequence
  • Drip campaign
  • Nurturing path
  • Engagement campaign

All of these terms describe the basic concept of enrolling a prospect based on a trigger and targeting them in a predefined content pathway to further nurture them.

Common Marketing Automation Terms

With that being said, let’s get into the additional terms you’ll want to know as you move into marketing automation. 

Content Pathway

These can be linear, delivering the same content to all enrollees, or they can be more complex. A complex content pathway can take prospects down different “paths” based on engagement and the “if-then” statements built within the automation sequence.

If/Then Branch

This tool splits the prospect’s journey based on their action. For example, if a prospect opens an email, then they will receive the next email in the sequence. On the other hand, if a prospect does not open the email, then they are un-enrolled from future emails in the sequence. 


The removal of a prospect from an automation sequence.

Call to Action (CTA)

A CTA simply asks the target audience to take action. Examples include: “Download the Article,” “Watch the CE Webinar,” “Request Information,” and “Schedule a Demonstration.” Automation sequences often utilize a primary CTA to engage the audience with educational content. A secondary CTA works well in emails to encourage a request for product information. Automation sequences often employ sales-centric CTAs on landing pages and in follow-up communications based on previous engagement with educational content.


Conversion happens when a prospect completes the requested CTA and becomes a known contact in your database. This often occurs when a prospect completes a web form.

Gated Content

Gated content is often high-value resources that require the completion of a web form to view. Many times, prospects provide contact information in exchange for access. This can be the action that converts them in your database. The completion of a web form is often the trigger that moves prospects down the appropriate path.


Pauses are the “wait times” between steps in your automation sequence. Building in pauses, or delays, will help avoid bombarding prospects with too many emails in a short amount of time.

Task Assignment

Follow up with a prospect by assigning a task to a sales representative. A task can be triggered by a prospect’s actions at different stages of the automation sequence.

Prospect Field Updates

Use automation to update prospect fields in a connected CRM. For example, you could update a prospect’s status to “hot lead” in your CRM once a prospect engages with a high-value sales email.

Subscription Status Management

Use an automation sequence to update email subscription preferences based on a prospect’s behavior. For example, when a prospect engages with a webinar, they are added to the webinar communications distribution list. 

List Management

Use the same automation to add prospects to other lists within your CRM or marketing automation platform.

Life Cycle Stage

Keep an eye on the prospect’s current stage in the customer journey. Common stages are Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) or Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). Read more on life cycle stages and other marketing terms in this post.


An unknown individual who engages with content. Their status changes once converted and noted as “marketing qualified.”

Common Marketing Automation Platforms

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