There are three major activities, marketers used in the field of marketing and advertising. These advertising activities can be separated as Above the Line (ATL), Below the Line (BTL), the third one is known as Through the Line (TTL). For any layman these ATL, BTL and TTL marketing activities create confusion. Basically above the line (ATL) marketing represents mass media to reach the target customers. Below the line (BTL) marketing represents direct marketing or one to one marketing. Due to technological advancement and business expansion through the line (TTL) is created which is the combination of ATL and BTL advertising activities. Each of these marketing and advertising activities are followed, keep in mind the business objectives and resources.
I recommend you to read What is Advertising?
What is Above the Line Marketing?
Above the line marketing also above the line advertising and above the line promotion is an advertising activity that helps companies to use mass marketing strategies. In the ATL activities, the entire market is targeted to achieve the business objectives.
Examples of Above the Line Advertising
According to a reports Neilson, average Americans spend 3 to 4 hours watching Television. Those who want to advertise their products and brand on TV, it is a good medium to increase your brand visibility. Local businesses i.e. law firms, accounting professional, saloons and many more can purchase airtime through TV commercials. This medium of advertisement provides both video and audio to attract customers.
Ratio is the oldest medium and people use it while driving, working and at home. So advertisers have different options to address their customers regarding product and services. Radio is a very good medium for marketers due to it affordable. Small business can use this form of advertisement even with a small budget for advertisement.
Print Media (Newspapers and Magazines)
This type of media is available at the local, regional, national level. This medium can help businesses to target their market and increase brand visibility. Newspapers have many predefines slot and one can choose according to their product and brand. Magazine are published having differing niches like political, stock exchange, marketing, beauty and fashion. So it is up to you which readership you want to target.
Other examples of ATL adverting include
- Local Theaters
For example, you have a local saloon, you use different options like local radio, billboards, banners and even wall chalking. The more you spend on advertising that more you have your brand recall and the more juice (sales/customers) you will extract.
Advantages of ATL Advertising
Reach. If marketers and business owners effectively use ATL advertising campaigns, they can enjoy a wider reach. For example, retail business advertises on regular basis using ATL campaigns to enhance brand visibility and awareness.
Garb Customer Attention. Audio visual ads like TV and Radio have a great impact on consumer minds and affect consumer decision making process. People have more involvement while watching movies, dramas and news on television and listen to music, live call on the radio. During this process the also watch and listen to commercials and it affects their decision making. The same commercials if they see in the newspapers and magazines increase the customers’ attention.
Brand Building. Mass media advertising campaigns are very important to increase brand visibility. One of the important roles of marketers is to spread the brand message to the masses using a variety of ATL media campaigns. It is not necessary to start using all ATL channels at once but gradually start meanwhile measure your brand success.
Disadvantages of Above the Line Marketing
Costly. Any mass media advertisement is costly activity. As it is not a one time activity, so continuously running these campaigns are impossible for small and medium businesses.
Shifting Trends. There was time when TV, Radio, Newspaper and magazine were the only media for advertisement. But now trends are already shifted to towards social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, online magazines.
Difficulties to measure ROI. There is no sound mechanism to measure the effective of ATL campaigns. There is no guarantee the TVC will attract a customer to come at and buy a product.
What is Below the Line Marketing
Below the line marketing also below the line advertising and below the line promotion is a direct advertising strategy to reach the targeted customers. Using BTL advertising, companies promote goods and services using mediums other than TVC, Radio, Newspapers, Magazines and Billboards etc. When companies follow this type of line marketing strategy, they focus on conversation rate rather than brand building and awareness.
Examples of Below the Line Promotion
Direct Mail Marketing
Direct mail marketing can be an effective medium of advertising if use accurately. If hired a professional copywriter he can create a compelling message that can resonate. The cost of BTL advertising is related to the size of campaign but in any case it is lower than above-the-line advertising campaigns.
Door to Door Advertising
Door to Door marketing means selling product and service to a personal level. Companies use this type of marketing from a long time. Here Companies build customer relations in a more positive manner. Highly trained sales staff is required to convince customers. A good example of door to door marketing is an insurance policy, where sales staff visit door to door and convince people to buy an insurance policy.
Social Media Marketing
This type of marketing campaigns involve using differing social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and many more. This is a BTL advertising allows companies to reach targeted customer at a more personal level and keep in touch. The social media marketing campaigns are very effective when it comes to below the line marketing.
Email marketing is a very effective form of below-the-line marketing. Companies communicate directly with consumers and direct them to a landing page where they can get more information about the product and service. The campaign effectiveness is easily measurable using different analytical tools. This type of marketing is inexpensive thus effective to reach target customer.
This is a marketing activity that is performed at a retailer’s location with different sales promotion offers i.e. discounts, free giveaways, buy one get one free and many more. This below line of advertising is also known as in-store promotion.
Pamphlet and Brochures and Kiosks
This is another effective form of BTL promotions. This include pamphlets, visiting cards, brochures and a newly noticeable trend i.e. Kiosks. Kiosks are small vehicle and stands displaying ad and provide information and products at the same time.
Other examples include
- PPC marketing
Advantages of BLT Advertising
More Targeted Campaigns. If companies are able to target relevant customer groups more accurately, they can achieve a higher conversion rate. Social media platforms allow you to target customer on the basis of age, gender, geography and many more.
Building Strong Customer Relations. The BLT marketing strategies allow you to communicate directly with customers. There are more chance to build strong customer relations for a longer time.
Highly Measurable. This type of marketing campaigns is created for a higher conversion rate. You can measure the conversion rate and make an adjustment in BTL campaigns if needed. For example how many people view your ads, how many clicked on Ad and purchased a product or service.
Disadvantages of BLT Advertising
Trained Sales Staff. Face to Face marketing needs the experienced sales staff. There are two options either you hire experienced staff and or arrange sale training classroom. In both cases, you will pay high salaries, commission and bear expenses on each sale person training program.
Cultural understating. Before visiting customers and launching a BTL social media campaign you should work to understand targeted customer culture. It will be a bit difficult and time-consuming to understand each customer culture and behavior.
What is Through the Line Marketing?
Through the Line advertising also Through the Line promotion combine both Above the Line and Below the Line marketing strategies. Integration of both ATL and BTL strategies is crucial in era of technological advancement and competition. These days marketers really want to build brands visibility and brand recall at the same time that is why they use TTL advertising strategies.
The major challenge TTL activities face is the cost of different campaigns. Financially sound companies like Coke, Pepsi, KFC can better use the TTL campaigns and attain the desired results.
Examples of Through the Line (TTL) Advertising
360 Marketing campaigns are considered a creative campaign strategy that let you enable both ATL strategy and BTL Strategy. When using TTL channels it enhance user experience due to the brand presence across channels like TV, Radio, Magazines, PPC, Social Media, Email Marketing.
Digital marketing is another form of TTL adverting, which engage marketing efforts to use digital electronic device on the internet. These TTL digital channels include social media, differing search engines, email accounts, affiliate marketing.