When George Bernard Shaw said that England and America were “two countries divided by a common language”, he might as well have been talking about Marketing and Sales.

In fact, he might have been talking just about different marketers themselves as a profession. Marketers are shocking for using the same phrase to mean very different things. A personal favourite is the confusion between branding and positioning. More on that later.

We’re going to have a go this week at building the definitive source of B2B marketing terminology and definitions. We’ll offer up some phrases, with definitions, and invite you to tell us what you want defined, or to offer a definition yourself.

That quote

A quick goofy aside on the quote itself. No-one can actually agree who first said it, or whether it was ever said like that at all. But it’s such a cool quote that we could be forgiven for treating it as sovereign.

Most attribute it to George Bernard Shaw, but the funniest reference I could find attributed it a little differently “Oscar Wilde famously declared that Britain and America were two nations divided by a common language. Actually he didn’t quite say that but he should have done, which is why he is always misquoted.”

Others are quoted as the sources. I know Ben Franklin and Mark Twain said a lot of clever things, but with apologies to my American friends, I think the Brits own this one.

Marketing terminology and definitions

In our wiki, we have started a long list of terms. As a wiki, it’s public so the list is long. After we have some more input we’ll split the page into a public section with a thousand terms and a ‘curated’ section with the 50 best. In the public section we’ll encourage the longest possible list and broad debate about definitions true wiki-style. In the curated section, we’ll have a go at a more-managed list, and the most useful B2B marketing terminology and definitions.

Let me give you a few quick examples of why we need this:

  • Channel
    • for Sales it means a reseller as opposed to direct sales
    • a strategist means resellers and the direct sales force
    • Marketing means AdWords vs. LinkedIn
  • Brand
    • The Product Manager means the collection of products they manage as opposed to the other guy who has a different set
    • A consumer marketer talks about emotions
    • A B2B marketer talks about what you should expect from us (or at least that’s what they should mean).
  • Position
    • For 99% of marketers, see above under ‘brand’
    • For the savvy 1%, position means what category (list) your company wants to be on, whether you are on it, and if you are on it, where you are on it regardless of your brand (what they expect from you).

I’m not offering definitions above by the way, just highlighting differences.


So, a call to arms. We want you to tell us what you would like defined, or to offer us a great definition or two if you have them. Here’s how:

Our wiki has been the subject of so much spam that we closed off public contributions a year ago, and manage a team of interns who make all the contributions under a watchful eye now. Also, our blog suffered the same fate and we removed comments. These locked down positions might change in the future, but right now we’re more interested in making meaningful contributions than managing spam.

If you would like to request a term be defined, or to offer a definition (or source of definitions), please use our contact page.

Then read the longer list that’s already on the wiki here:


The reason I’m asking you to do it in that order is that we really want the terms that are top of mind. Big lists are great for provoking ‘derived’ thought, but they are also great for stifling originality.

We’ll commit the time to curate the best list of terms and the best B2B marketing terminology and definitions.


Our thanks this week to