Marketing lets one show his or her creativity to sell/advertise/brand a product or service. And surprisingly, there is a concept to distinguish between the kind of marketing you wish to follow.
Companies are selling their goods in various ways. They fall into one of these two categories- ATL (Above the line) & BTL (Below the line).
Interestingly, ATL and BTL terms were formulated at Proctor & Gamble in 1954, where the accountants differentiated advertising agencies’ payments who commenced promotional activities other than advertising for fixed fees. Later, marketers started to differentiate activities other than advertisements as separate marketing practice called Below the line (BTL).
ATL (Above-The-Line marketing)
Above the line marketing, also called 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 whole market is targeted to achieve business goals and objectives. The promotional activities are carried out at the macro level. The main target is a wider audience.
Above the line marketing is expensive, involves a lot of budgets and the ROI is hard to measure but the reason why corporates still use it is that they want to target the mass segment. Using the emotional aspect, they connect to the audience and create enough hype for their brand to become famous.
The brand image is created about the company and its products. Media such as television, cinema, radio, newspapers, and magazines, billboards, local theatres are used to create an effect on customers about the company and its products. ATL communication is more conventional. The more companies increase spends on advertising, the more company has a brand recall and the more juice (sales/customers) it will extract.
Some advantages of ATL marketing are Wider Reach, Better Connect with the audience, and brand building. In other words, ATL marketing incorporates mass marketing strategies that are largely untargeted (the audience that can access the message) and focused on brand building.
BTL (Below-the-line marketing)
Below-the-line marketing (often referred to as Below the Line promotion/ Below the Line marketing / BTL marketing / BTL advertising) consists of very specific, unforgettable, and direct advertising activities focused on targeted groups of audience.
Below the line marketing is much more measurable and also gives a good ROI. The expenses are very less when compared to ATL.
In other words, BTL marketing is like direct marketing that focuses more on conversions than on building the brand. The measures include direct mailing, distribution of flyers, brochures, and usage of sponsorships, public relations, telemarketing, and point of sale.
Some advantages of BTL marketing are specifically targeted, better ROI, easy to control, and designed according to needs.