Back in 1954, Procter and Gamble underlined an accurate classification of three different types of advertising – Above the Line (ATL), Below the Line (BTL), and Through the Line (TTL) Marketing. Although we have come a long way, and marketing has become more and more multi-dimensional, these three categories continue to be as relevant as ever.
Simply put, ATL, BTL, and TTL advertising categories differ from each other based on the spheres of audience they target, the presence or absence of direct outcomes, and the direct return on investments one has to offer. Each of these advertisement strategies offers a unique approach relevant to constantly shifting consumption trends, which is why businesses need to be thorough with all three.
Let us understand each of these approaches one at a time.
Above the Line (ATL) Advertising
With ATL advertising, marketers are not drawing their focus down to any specifics but directing their communication towards the mass market. This approach comprises advertising and promotional activities that are largely non-targeted and intended to have a wide reach.
The intent behind ATL advertising is generally brand building and awareness among the broader audience. Visibility, and not conversion, is the priority, and messages are relayed to everyone who has access to them. In doing so, marketers try to instil a sense of curiosity in the customer regarding the brand or at least make it memorable.
Common channels for ATL marketing include television, where advertising campaigns can be directed at the regional or national level, print media featuring promotional campaigns through newspapers, online articles, and advertisements, and regional radio broadcasts. Outdoor advertising, typically done in public places through flags, banners, billboards, and wraps is another option in ATL marketing.
Why opt for ATL Marketing?
- You enjoy wider reach; ATL advertising deploys advertisements for the broad audience pool, including regional, national, and international. The more the eyes and ears are directed towards your business, the higher the lead generation.
- You connect not just more, but also better; ATL advertising helps you reach the masses directly through mediums like TV and radio, and this helps you catch their eye.
- You get to build your brand; ATL advertising leverages the power of storytelling, though brief, to project an image of your brand before the audience, irrespective of their interests. You get to communicate salient or specific aspects of your brand, maybe one at a time, to build a compelling narrative that reaches them and stays with them through mass media.
Below the Line (BTL) Advertising
Contrary to ATL, BTL advertising is highly specific and is directed towards a targeted pool of customers. All campaigns under BTL marketing are created keeping in mind the specific demographic and psychographic attributes of the specific customer segments being targeted. This brings elements of personalization and objectivity to the table and has a direct impact on boosting conversions.
BTL advertising involves direct campaigns to targeted audiences, to simplify. This strategy includes methods like direct SMS, email, and social media marketing, sponsorships in events and competitions, press conferences, and viral marketing tactics, as well as in-store promotion methods like visual merchandising, retailer pop-ups, sampling, sales promotions, and so on.
Why opt for BTL Marketing?
- You get more conversions; BTL advertising is extremely targeted, which means you have filtered down the most significant prospects and leads for your communications. This ensures better and faster results in terms of conversions compared to a broad-based, generic approach like BTL.
- You can expect higher ROI; Your ultimate measure of a marketing campaign could impact revenue. Since BTL strategies are focused more on conversions and deploy tactics for enhancing reach among a specifically targeted pool that is anyway seeking product information or purchase, it ends up in better ROI and MROI down the line.
- You get more control over campaigns; One of the most significant advantages of BTL advertising is that its impact can be easily tracked. This gives marketers more control over the strategy, campaign specifics, desired outcomes, and ROI to work upon.
- You can be more specific; Unlike ATL advertising which must be generic to appeal to the masses, there is room for specificity and details in BTL marketing. You can create and channel entirely different campaigns for different customer groups, though centrally aligned to your brand image, and expect great outcomes.
Through the Line (TTL) Advertising
TTL marketing is a combination of both ATL and BTL advertising strategies for better outcomes. This 36-degree advertising approach involves hybrid campaigns that serve the purpose of both brand building and conversions at the same time, deploying every possible way of communicating with the consumer.
TTL advertising can turn out to be costly considering the width and depth of promotional campaigns. You require an expert, like our marketing agency Detroit to help carve the best strategies for successful TTL activities at optimized costs. Activities like product pamphlets attached to newspapers, online banners and buttons, social media posts, and content marketing are all different tactics under TTL marketing. Visual merchandising doesn’t only help a store attract buyers also it helps increase sales and gives every customer a good reason to come over and over again, whilst giving your business a competitive advantage.
While there can never be a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing and advertisements, careful consideration of your needs in the current climate will tell you what works best. While isolated ATL activities might work for some B2C companies and BTL campaigns for their B2C counterparts, TTL advertising could be the most useful approach for both types. The best way forward is to get in touch with marketing experts and figure out your goals, intent, and approach.
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