Have you come across the words “ATL” and “BTL” in your marketing career?
Maybe you have been confused as well. No worries. In this post, I will try to describe everything you need to know about ATL and BTL.
As far as promotional activities are concerned, there is a fine line that divides these into 2 categories. Every campaign falls under either of these categories or TTL (Through the Line).
More on TTL later.
First, let’s discuss each of ATL and BTL separately.
What is ATL? (Above the Line)
Mass media comes under ATL. These are more traditional in nature. All the Ads that we see on Television, radio, cinema halls falls into this category.
These are mostly for branding purpose. Every company which wants to communicate their “message” with the mass use this method.
If I have a product named “XYZ” and want to communicate about it to a larger number of audience, I use ATL promotional strategies. Whether I could advertise about “XYZ” on magazines, run TV ads or run online display advertisement.
This way I can reach the mass. Here I have used ATL promotion. Although these ads do not generate more sales in short-term (in cash flow), they create a brand about the company or the product. And, since branding is somehow related to sales, it helps the company more than anything.
Name any products that you use in your daily life – computer, shoes, perfume, or anything. You don’t just buy any products, you buy the products manufactured from the brand you prefer.
What is BTL? (Below the Line)
BTL communication also known as nonmedia communication is more unconventional in nature. These are done at a micro level.
Some of the BTL strategies include direct mailing (or E-mail), sponsorships, public relations (PR), Point of sale, event promotion and so on.
Since BTL does not involve mass, these tend to be more sales focused. As opposed to ATL, in BTL communication I am able to personalize the message to my audience.
Let’s say I run a TV Advertisement campaign for the “XYZ” product that I manufactured. It becomes almost impossible to personalize the message for the audience who watch it.
However, if I send emails to few hundred people promoting my product, I am able to personalize the message to each of my audience.
Which is better – ATL or BTL?
Well. There are many marketers in Nepal who claim that BTL promotion is the best. I don’t think either of both is the best. And, it depends on the company situation.
Every company needs to analyze their internal situation and market environment before they run a marketing campaign involving either of those.
Today, in the age of the internet, the line between ATL and BTL is getting blurred. And, there’s something called TTL marketing strategies as well.
There’s another – TTL (Through the Line)
Let’s take Social Media for an example. Which kind of activity would you consider social media marketing – ATL or BTL?
Social Media may be used for customer relationship management (at a micro level) or even for branding purpose (at a macro level). This kind of activities are considered to be TTL.
TTL activities include all advertisement strategies that involve both ATL and BTL kind of marketing.
As it is an online world where consumers attention is shifting towards the internet mostly mobile. The line is getting blurred day by day. Today every brand needs to create an effective online marketing strategy that works. Rather than missing on either of ATL or BTL, we need to focus on both and make an integrated approach towards online marketing.