When it comes to marketing, people often confuse Above The Line (ATL), Below The Line (BTL) and Through The Line marketing (TTL). These terms are often bandied together, which is why they are frequently mistaken for one another. Here we go through the definitions and when’s best to use them.
What are the differences?
Above the line (ATL)
ATL uses mass media to appeal to a large number of audiences, these include media channels such as TV, magazines, newspaper and radio advertising. This kind of marketing is untargeted towards the individual and is good for creating brand awareness and goodwill. Due to a large network being covered, companies would generally use ATL for new product launches, or to create impact surrounding a brand.
For certain markets, such as household products where almost all houses will have at least a few cleaning items. Companies such as Ariel frequently uses ATL marketing because this has mass appeal. Their communication is targeted to a wider spread of audience to achieve top of the mind awareness amongst consumers, additionally to creating brand recall.
Below the line (BTL)
BTL on the other hand is on the micro level, this marketing or promotion method is much more targeted towards specific groups of people. These include communications such as direct mail, sponsorship, brochures, PR, and email marketing etc. Due to being much more focused, these channels are great for driving conversions, getting a direct response and building customer loyalty.
It is easier to track effectiveness and conversions with below the line methods allowing better insight into return on investment. For example, with email campaigns, you can track the open rate, click through rate, as well as how users interact with the email.
Through the line (TTL)
This is another term that is increasingly being used by businesses and takes advantage of both BTL and ATL promotion strategies. TTL takes on an integrated approach to reach their customer base and generate conversions. One form of medium leads to another thereby crossing the ‘line’ and allow brands to engage with customers at multiple points. For example, a customer can see a TV advert and then receive a leaflet from the same brand while they are out, therefore crossing over ATL and BTL strategies, this ensures consistent messaging across multiple media.
At Speed Agency, we take an integrated approach to marketing and use a TTL approach to establish brand awareness and to build brand loyalty. This was used for ABAX, one of our campaigns ‘Know ABAX, Know The Rules’, to highlight the importance of keeping on side of the HMRC. The campaign aimed to drive awareness and decrease knowledge gaps. To achieve this, the campaign was presented through multiple channels including print, digital advertising, and radio advertising. Customers also had the chance to win of pair of tickets to a Premier League game of their choice.
Accordingly, the success of each strategy depends on communication effectiveness, your objectives and allocated budget. No matter how good a business’s product or service is, the brand’s messaging needs to be communicated to the consumer effectively. Each strategy has its own strengths and weaknesses, and whichever strategy you choose to utilise lies at the very centre of any marketing plan.
If you would like help with creating an integrated campaign, then please go to our contact us page, or call us on 01832 280032.