The shift in marketing spend from mass media branding efforts to targeted, direct response marketing, including interactive marketing, is happening in front of us.
Simply said, above-the-line marketing that utilizes generic messages to build awareness is no longer the best way to influence customer behavior. Below-the-line initiatives are more successful because they stress targeted and customer-centric communications. Below-the-line also creates measurable results and ROI metrics, which are important to marketers under growing pressure to prove the value of their campaigns. If we were to check the data of the last 10-15years, the next 5-10 years the whole marketing spend will shift to BTL and Direct Consumer Engagement programs. Readership habits have changed over the years from newspapers and magazines to Online. Viewership habits are shifting from TV to Netflix and Youtube.
The shift from ATL to BTL spending is in part the result of changing consumer attitudes; more sophisticated consumers demand relevant messaging that engages them in a dialog, and which allows them to interact with the marketer through their preferred communication channels. At the same time, technology allows marketers to better target consumers, and to better track results and measure ROI of BTL campaigns (and I include Digital also in BTL as it’s targeted), so agency clients and marketers are demanding such accountability.
We can easily define ATL marketing channels as those striving to reach mass audiences with messages that reinforce brands, communicate general product information or inspire an emotional response. This includes Print, TV, Radio, Outdoor – broadcast advertising. BTL marketing is made up of targeted, direct marketing efforts with convenient response mechanisms and that are easy to measure. Examples include brand activations, roadshows, promotional marketing, digital and social media.
Brand Activation is the art of driving consumer action through brand interaction and experiences. The key aim of these campaigns is to get consumers to act and to bring brands to life via experiences and forming long-term emotional connections.
In Store Marketing
Marketing activities done within the retail store are called In-store marketing activities. These below-the-line activities make use of various points of sales to get the most return out of the investments.
Advantages of Below the line marketing
Conversions are better when the communication is done according to the customer’s wants. Since BTL marketing strategies are extremely targeted, results are better in terms of conversions.
Below the line, promotional efforts are focused on specific target groups, have a better reach, can be easily executed, tracked, and controlled. Hence BTL strategies provide a better ROI in terms of conversion.
The return from these activities can be easily tracked and monitored and steps can be taken to improve ROI.
Below the line advertising strategies are designed according to the needs of a specific target group and hence can be molded differently for different customer groups.