The way that a marketing campaign or communication is traditionally targeted is by dividing content into above the line and below the line advertising. Not sure which is best for your business?  Here is some important information to help you decide.

What are they?

Above the line (ATL): advertising where mass media is used to promote brands and reach out to larger and more general consumers. ATL includes television, radio, print, billboards and anything that is targeted to a wide audience. This advertising tries to reach out to the masses.

Below the line (BTL): advertising that is designed to reach smaller, more targeted audiences. This involves communication methods such as direct mail, sponsorship, brochures, PR and email marketing.

Above the line advantages

ATL communication methods are what everyone wants to use because they can reach a wide audience and spread awareness of a brand on a large scale. Unfortunately, the cost associated with this method means that it is unlikely to be used unless the company has a big budget.

Using ATL helps to reinforce a brand and give a memorable impression of what a brand is about. For certain markets and products, ATL works better. General products that have a mass appeal do well because the communication reaches a widespread audience, helping to achieve awareness amongst consumers and creating brand recall.

However, it is also common for products to target the wrong audience using ATL, so it’s important to minimise this where possible.

Below the line advantages

Due to being much more focused, BTL channels drive conversions, get a direct response and can build customer loyalty. It is possible to tailor messages for particular segments of the market with relevant offers and information.

Unlike ATL, BTL is also highly measurable. This gives marketers an insight into the return on investment which can then be used to generate an even more focused and targeted BTL communication. With email campaigns, you can track the open rates and click through rates, as well as identifying what users do once they click through.

In markets where competition is high, customer loyalty is essential. So, being able to directly modify campaigns for existing or potential customers is key.

Which is best?

The success of a strategy depends on the effectiveness of communication, your objectives and allocated budget. No matter how good the product or service is, the message needs to be clearly communicated.

In effect, the two working in tandem would provide the best results. Above the line creates awareness amongst the mass audience while below the line helps to build relationships and influence the purchase decision. So, to say that one is better than the other would be negligent.

For marketing advice specific to your business, get in touch and speak with a marketing specialist on 01858 445543 or schedule a free marketing health check.


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