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13 Different Types of Marketing, What They Mean and When to Use Them

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In the modern marketing world, there are several types of marketing with fairly self-descriptive names: digital marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing. But what about those marketing approaches with less clear labels, like inbound marketing, lifecycle marketing and experiential marketing? Next time you hear an unfamiliar marketing term, check this glossary of marketing types and approaches.

  1. Account-Based Marketing: Account-based marketing is a B2B marketing strategy that focuses on individual corporate customers rather than a general audience or market. It tends to be highly targeted and personalized, using knowledge about the specific customer account to tailor marketing campaigns, messaging, and creative assets to each account’s specific attributes, needs, and preferences.
  2. Acquisition Marketing: Most companies do at least some amount of acquisition marketing. As its name implies, acquisition marketing is a marketing strategy designed to bring in new customers. It can use any number of tactics, including search engine optimization, digital advertising, lead generation—anything designed to persuade a new customer to buy your product or service.  
  3. Affiliate Marketing: If you’ve ever read an online product roundup that includes links to purchase featured products, you have experienced affiliate marketing. With affiliate marketing, an online retailer pays a commission to third parties (affiliates) that promote their products and send customers to their site to buy.
  4. Awareness Marketing: When you want to increase the visibility of your company, product, or service, awareness marketing can help get your brand on the radar with your target audience, establish brand recognition, and lay the groundwork for future conversions and sales.
  5. Brand Marketing: Rather than promoting a specific product or service, brand marketing focuses on the personality, purpose, and character of your brand, with the goal of creating an emotional connection with customers. It often uses humor, storytelling, and inspiring messaging.    
  6. Cause Marketing: With cause marketing, a for-profit company aligns itself with a specific charity, movement or non-profit cause in order to both do good and show potential customers its charitable inclinations, which hopefully leads customers to feel good about the brand and want to do business with it.
  7. Experiential Marketing: Also called engagement marketing, experiential marketing is centered around a real-world experience like an in-person event or interactive display designed to create a stronger bond between the brand and the customer by letting people experience a brand or product in a tangible, hands-on way.
  8. Guerrilla Marketing: You know all those mall kiosks that hand out samples to unsuspecting shoppers? That’s guerrilla marketing. Guerrilla marketing takes advantage of highly populated areas to raise brand awareness and spread the word about a product or service.
  9. Inbound Marketing: Traditional marketing is outbound—pushing things out to consumers (emails, ads, etc.) with the hopes of making a sale. With inbound marketing, you create high quality content that is specifically designed to appeal to your ideal customer and attract them to your brand.
  10. Influencer Marketing: With influencer marketing, a company or brand finds a “famous” person with a huge social media following that closely aligns with the brand’s target audience, and pays the “influencer” to mention or promote its products to their fans.
  11. Lifecycle Marketing: With lifecycle marketing, a brand delivers targeted communications, marketing, or advertising based on where the customer is in the buying cycle—from awareness and consideration, through the first purchase, ending in becoming a repeat customer and advocate of the brand.
  12. Permission Marketing: Permission marketing is any type of marketing in which a brand receives someone’s permission to send them targeted or personalized advertising or content. Rather than interrupting people’s activities and attention with unwanted ads or messages, permission marketing enables brands to deliver messages and deals that a customer has explicitly said they want, which tends to result in higher conversion rates.
  13. Relationship Marketing: As the name indicates, relationship marketing centers around developing deeper relationships with customers to ensure long-term brand loyalty. Unlike brands that are focused on the quick sale, companies that use relationship marketing are in it for the long haul—promoting strong, personal ties with customers, open communication, and long-term engagement.