The major features of BTL Advertising and how it differs from ATL Advertising

There are two major forms of advertising which are the Above the Line (ATL) and Below the Line (BTL) advertising. These are the two terms that are being bandied around often these days in the vast advertising world and often have the lay person confused as to what they actually stand for. It might be really worth our while to begin this by crisply defining what exactly constitutes the metaphoric ‘Line’. To quote Michael John Baker from The Marketing Book , the terms ‘Above The Line’ and ‘Below The Line’ came into existence way back in the year 1954 with the company Proctor and Gamble which were paying their advertising agencies a different rate and separately from the agencies who took on the other promotional activities.

BTL advertising is much adopted by various big, medium and small brands and these campaigns have indeed helped the brands to gain considerable momentum in their target markets. This form of advertising seems very simple enough. Above The Line (ATL) advertising is where the mass media is used to largely promote the various brands and targeted to reach out to the target consumers on an extensive scale. These specifically include the conventional medias like the news dailies, national magazines, television, internet etc.  These are the powerful modes of communication that is well targeted to a wider spread of the audience, and is not specific to the individual consumers. The ATL advertising tries to reach out to the mass as consumer audience and create a buzz for the concerned brand.

 Below the line (BTL) advertising on the other hand is a more one to one means of communication, and rightly involves the proper distribution of the brand pamphlets, handbills, stickers, conducting various promotional activities, brochures placed at point of sale, on the roads through the banners and placards. It could also very well involve the various product demos and the samplings at the busy places like the malls and market places or the residential complexes as well. For certain markets, like the various rural markets where the reach of the mass media like print or television is limited, the power of BTL marketing with direct consumer outreach programmes do sincerely make the most sense yielding considerable amount of the viable results. When the budget is a major issue and the brand wants to have a proper and effective consumer connects, BTL has better ROI in comparison to the ATL campaigns.

 The other BTL activities could probably include the various road shows, or moving the hoardings with the ad of the product, and the vehicles with the promotional staff interacting with the people demonstrating the concerned product and distributing  the brand promotional literature on the product.  The form of BTL advertising is advertising that rightly and strategically uses the less conventional methods of advertising that the specific channels of the advertising that may or may not be used by the conventional ATL advertising to promote the various products and services.  BTL is undoubtedly a preferred tool when the form of test marketing a product is adopted, sampling and also in case of a targeted campaign in related to another bigger phenomenon. Also when the Target Group is very niche, the various forms of the BTL advertising makes more sense for sure.

The BTL promotions might rightly include the direct mail promotional campaigns, the various PR and sales promotions which are very efficiently handled directly by the concerned company itself or is outsourced to specifically PR agencies and sales promotion agencies and may or not be directly related to the advertising campaign. The forms of the BTL advertising might probably include the email campaigns, extensive telemarketing, etc with the targeted groups of the potential clients. It has been explained by the experts that BTL is much preferred on the several occasions but the foremost would be in situations when you need to have a personal interaction with the consumer.


All about the Below the Line (BTL) Advertising

Below the line (BTL)Above the line (ATL), and Through the Line (TTL), in organisational business and marketing communications, are major advertising techniques.

The forms of promotion can be very loosely classified as “above the line” or “below the line”. The different kinds of the promotional activities which are being carried out through the forms of the mass media, such as the various mediums like television, radio and newspaper, are classed as above the line promotion. The terms “below the line” promotion or communications, refers to the different forms of the non-media communication, even the non-media advertising. Below the line promotions are however becoming increasingly important within the communications mix of many of the major companies, not only those involved in the FMCG products, but also for the industrial goods as well.

“Through the line” refers to a strategic advertising strategy that wisely involves both above and below the line communications in which one form of the advertising points the target to another form of the advertising thereby crossing the “line” to provide the maximum mileage to the concerned brand. An example of the same would be a TV commercial that particularly says ‘come into the store to sample ABC product’. In this example, the television commercial is a form of “above the line” advertising and once in the designated store, the target customer is presented with “below the line” promotional material such as the store banners, competition entry forms, etc.


Below the line sales promotion for the brands

Below the line sales promotions are the short-term incentives that are being adopted, largely aimed at the targeted consumers rather than on the mass population. This considerably cuts down on the advertising cost wastage. With the increasing pressure on the concerned marketing team to achieve the right communication objectives more efficiently in a limited budget, there has been a right need to find out more of the effective and cost efficient ways to very well communicate with the various target markets. This has led to a paradigm shift from the regular media based advertising.

Below the Line effectively uses the less conventional methods than the various usual specific channels of the forms of advertising in order to promote the various products, services, etc. than the Above the Line strategies. These may likely to include the various activities such as the direct mail, public relations and the sales promotions for which a fee is being agreed upon and then charged up front. Below the line advertising typically focuses on the direct means of communication, most commonly the direct mail and e-mail, often using the highly targeted lists of the various names to maximize the response rates. Another very interesting and very effective BTL is Ssop Intercept. The trained sales personnel, often girls, are very often deployed at the various hypermarkets and the Retail Stores, near the shelves of the targeted products category. These girls convince the consumers visiting these shelves about the better aspects of their brand compared with the others pointing out the specialities of the products. This is ideal for the new launches as it considerably generates a lot of trials, which if successful result in the repeat sales.