Below-The-Line Advertising

Updated on March 19, 2024
Article byGayatri Ailani
Edited byGayatri Ailani
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is Below-The-Line (BTL) Advertising?

Below-The-Line (BTL) Advertising refers to any form of marketing communication that does not involve mass media such as television, radio, or print advertising. Instead, BTL advertising is targeted directly at individual consumers or specific groups, often through personalized and interactive ways.

Below-the-Line Advertising

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BTL advertising is used to create direct engagement and interaction with potential customers through targeted, personalized, and interactive communication methods rather than mass media advertising. It allows custom-made engagement strategies to communicate through a target audience, which helps in creating a positive imprint on the customer, which in turn enhances loyalty.

Key Takeaways

  • Below-the-line advertising (BTL) refers to targeted marketing activities that reach a specific audience through direct, personalized, and often measurable methods.
  • BTL advertising activities are designed to create a direct and personalized connection between the brand and the consumer, with the goal of building brand awareness and driving sales.
  • ATL advertising typically requires a larger budget due to the cost of media buying and production costs. BTL advertising, on the other hand, is often more cost-effective since it targets a specific audience and can use a variety of low-cost marketing channels.

Below-The-Line Advertising Explained

Below-the-line advertising is a marketing strategy that targets specific groups or individuals through personalized and interactive means, as opposed to traditional mass media advertising. Below-the-line advertising agency seeks to create a direct engagement with potential customers, which can be more effective in generating leads or sales.

One example of BTL advertising is in-store demonstrations of products or services. This tactic allows customers to try out the product, ask questions, and interact with a salesperson. It creates a more high-touch experience that can be beneficial for both the customer and the brand. For the customer, it can provide a better understanding of the product and help to build trust in the brand. For the brand, it allows them to gather valuable feedback and insights directly from their target audience.

Here are some common methods of below the line advertising:

  • Direct Mail Campaigns: These are targeted promotional materials sent directly to consumers through mail, such as catalogs, flyers, postcards, or brochures.
  • Email Marketing: This involves sending promotional messages, newsletters, or other marketing materials via email to a targeted list of subscribers.
  • Sales Promotions: This includes offering discounts, freebies, limited-time offers, or other incentives to encourage consumers to make a purchase.
  • Sponsorships: This involves sponsoring an event, organization, or cause to promote brand awareness and association with a particular image or message.
  • Public Relations Events: This includes organizing events, stunts, or press conferences to generate media coverage and public attention.
  • Trade Shows and Exhibitions: This involves showcasing products or services at an industry event or exhibition to reach a targeted audience.
  • Product Demos and Sampling: This involves providing customers with the opportunity to try out or sample products or services to help them make purchase decisions.

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Let us look at the following examples to understand the concept better:

Example #1

Let us say a new coffee brand wants to promote its product and create awareness among coffee lovers in a specific neighborhood. The company decided to use a BTL advertising strategy and planned a promotional event at a local farmer’s market.

The event includes a branded pop-up stall that showcases the brand’s coffee beans and brewing methods. The company also hires a barista to make and serve free samples of the coffee to visitors. Alongside the samples, the barista provides information about the brand, its coffee-sourcing methods, and brewing techniques.

In addition to the coffee samples, the company distributes flyers and coupons to visitors, offering a discount on their first purchase. They also collect visitors’ email addresses to send promotional newsletters and updates on future events.

The event was a success, and many visitors tried and enjoyed the brand’s coffee samples. The company received positive feedback and managed to collect a considerable number of email addresses from interested visitors. They used this contact list to continue the conversation with potential customers and promote their product through targeted email marketing campaigns.

Example #2

In 2018, McDonald’s in Sweden used BTL advertising to promote its Happy Meal brand by creating a campaign called The Happy Meal Readers. The campaign aimed to encourage children to read and promote a love of reading through a partnership with the Swedish publisher Rabén & Sjögren.

The campaign involved McDonald’s distributing children’s books written by Swedish authors instead of toys with their Happy Meals. The books were available for four weeks, and the campaign distributed a total of 3.4 million books to children across Sweden.

In addition to the books, McDonald’s created a digital platform where parents and children could access audiobooks, games, and other interactive activities related to the books. The platform also offered a reading tracker, where parents could track their children’s reading progress and receive rewards for achieving reading milestones.

The campaign was a success, with many families and children embracing the idea of receiving books with their Happy Meals. The campaign received positive media coverage and was awarded the Campaign of the Year at the Swedish Content Awards.

In this example, McDonald’s used BTL advertising by creating a campaign that targeted a specific audience, children and their parents, and promoted a positive message of encouraging reading. The campaign created an interactive and engaging experience for families and leveraged a partnership with a local publisher to add credibility and authenticity to the campaign.

Advantages And Disadvantages

The advantages and disadvantages of BTL advertising are as follows:

#1 – Advantages

  • It targets a specific audience or market, allowing marketers to create personalized campaigns that resonate with the audience. This approach helps to create a more direct connection with the target audience, leading to a higher level of engagement and better response rates.
  • The advertising campaigns are typically easier to track and measure than traditional advertising methods. Marketers can track the success of campaigns by measuring sales or leads generated, website traffic, social media engagement, or email click-through rates, among other metrics.
  • BTL advertising campaigns can build brand loyalty by creating an interactive and personalized experience for the target audience. When customers have a positive experience with a brand, they are more likely to remember it and become loyal customers in the future.

#2 – Disadvantages

  • It may sometimes result in inconsistent branding, as they may be managed by different vendors or employees who may need to be more familiar with the brand’s messaging or tone of voice.
  • It often relies on personalized interactions with customers, which can be challenging to scale up or maintain as a brand grows. Personalized interactions can also be more time-consuming and expensive to create compared to traditional advertising methods.
  • It is often focused on a specific geographic location or target audience, which can limit its reach compared to traditional advertising methods.

Below-The-Line Advertising vs Above-The-Line Advertising

The significant differences between above-the-line and below-the-line advertising are mentioned below:

Below-The-Line AdvertisingAbove-The-Line Advertising
It is more focused on providing helpful information and creating an interactive experience. It relies on high-impact visuals, catchy slogans, and emotional appeals to generate interest.
It focuses on targeted marketing approaches that reach a specific audience.It aims to create brand awareness and generate interest in a product or service on a large scale.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the difference between BTL and TTL in advertising?

BTL is a targeted approach that focuses on reaching a specific audience. In contrast, TTL (through-the-line advertising) is a more wide-ranging approach that seeks to build brand awareness and reach a broader audience.

2. Is experiential marketing below the line?

Experiential marketing is a type of marketing where the brand or company aims to create unique experiences for their target audiences, like pop-up ads, etc. Therefore, it is a type of BTL marketing.

3. Which form of below the line advertising is best?

In order to select the best method of BTL advertising, a business must select its target audience, demographics, objectives of its campaign, and available resources. They can also conduct thorough market research to determine the best method.

This article has been a guide to what is Below-The-Line Advertising. We compare it with above-the-line advertising, & explain its examples, and advantages. You may also take a look at the useful articles below –

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