10 Marketing Terms That Every Graphic Designer Should Know

marketing terms for graphic designersWhether you’re a designer with an agency or a freelancer, marketing and marketing terminology are unavoidable. It’s the language of business, and the driving force behind most design, so we’ve compiled a list of 10 must-know marketing terms for graphic designers to help you keep up with marketing conversations and impress your colleagues.

Brand Promise

A brand promise is the subtle collection of ideas and expectations that a brand creates for the customer. The brand promise is created by the name, packaging, advertising, and a myriad of other sources and tells the customer what to expect if they buy the product. For example, the brand promise of Porsche is precision, high-performance vehicles and the status that comes with them.


Demographics is the sectioning of the population according to measurable factors such as age, income, education level, sex, or occupation. Psychographics, on the other hand, is about market segments based on lifestyle and preferences. For example, males between the age of 18 and 25 with full-time employment is a demographic, while outdoor enthusiasts who eat healthily is a psychographic. Both are used to define the target audience for a product, advertisement, or marketing campaign.


USP is an acronym for unique selling proposition or unique selling position. It refers to the quality a product or service possesses that causes it to stand out from its competition. This is closely related to a brand promise, but is more defined and generally more succinct. For example, Walmart’s USP is that they sell for lower prices than their competition.


ROI is short for return on investment. It is used to express how much profit has been gained, or stands to be gained, from the benefits associated with a particular expense. For us designers it will mostly pertain to the volume of sales that come as a result of an advertisement of marketing piece we design.

Sales Gestation Period

The amount of time it takes for a consumer to consider a marketing offer before acting on it is referred to as its gestation period. The gestation period often relates to the cost of the product and the amount of commitment associated with it. For example, the average person’s gestation period on the purchase of a chocolate bar is probably a matter of seconds, while the gestation period for the purchase of a car will be much longer. This is important in marketing because it tells us how quickly to expect results from a campaign.

Call To Action

A call to action is the part of a marketing piece that directly asks the reader to take a specific action. Examples include “order now”, “call today for a free evaluation”, “visit our website for more details”, or “follow us on Twitter”.

Early Adopter

An early adopter is a consumer who purchases or uses a service before it becomes a social trend. For example, the people who bought some of the first DVD players on the market were early adopters. Early adopters are an important psychographic for companies because their reactions to the product or service can affect whether it will become a popular trend.

Point Of Sale Advertising

Point of sale, or POS, advertising refers to all informational and marketing pieces available at the place where the product is purchased. Examples of this are descriptive packaging, in-store displays, and stickers on display models that describe the product’s features.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerilla marketing is a term used to describe unconventional marketing initiatives that do not require a big budget. Guerilla marketing campaigns usually rely on clever concepts and on-the-ground legwork for their effectiveness.

Market Saturation

The term market saturation is used to describe the percentage of potential customers who are consumers a product or service. This is also referred to as market penetration or market share.

This is a guest post by Mark Garrison. Mark is a graphic designer and illustrator at Design Scout Studios in Victoria, BC, Canada. He focusses on a strategic approach to design and marketing.
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