Talking the talk: jargon 101

December 2016
Talking the talk: jargon 101
Gareth Williams
2nd December 2016

At Diva, we pride ourselves on jilting the jargon, avoiding the acronyms, and being a straight-talkin’ bunch.

But marketing is awash with sometimes-impenetrable terms, acronyms and jargon. SWOT? PEST? Bounce rate? Clickthrough?

And while the sub-discipline of social marketing has fewer of these, being the somewhat younger sibling of more-traditional marketing, there are still some words and phrases that social marketers like to use that may not be immediately understandable to the layperson.

So, to do our bit to alleviate jargon-overload, here’s our rundown of four common social marketing terms, what they mean to us, and how to use them.


Behaviour change

Sounds simple. But in social marketing terms, behaviour change is broad; it can mean a person or people adopting, stopping, altering or sustaining a behaviour. Ultimately, behaviour change is the goal of much of our work, whether it be cycling more or preventing hospital infections.

E.g. “We’d like people to cycle more – behaviour change is the goal here.”



Segmentation is dividing (or segmenting) people into groups (or segments) in order to better understand how best to target them for behaviour change. This can be done according to their behaviour, their attitudes, or some other relevant information, and everyone in a particular segment will share some characteristic relevant to the behaviour that you’re trying to influence. For example, they might all be lapsed cyclists, or think that health checks are unimportant.

E.g. “Segmentation will help us to understand our audience and target our campaign more effectively.”



Ultimately, an intervention is an action that someone undertakes to encourage behaviour change, whether that be among people or organisations.

E.g. “This intervention aims to encourage organisations to take up low-emission commercial vehicles and technologies.”



Text message? Picture message? Video message? In this context, this is what we say (after understanding the motivations and barriers of our audience) to change people’s behaviour. What information and emotions can we convey in our message that will truly influence people and create a social benefit, such as increased cycling levels or improved health?

E.g. “The key message for this campaign is that bus travel offers good value for money.”


So that’s our rundown of some key social marketing terms we use and hear on a regular basis. Are there any you can think of that we’ve missed? Tweet us your favourites.


By Gareth Williams