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Above the Line (ATL) Vs Below the Line (BTL) Marketing

Two common marketing strategies used in the advertising industry to promote a product or brand are: Aboe the Line (ATL) and Below the Line (BTL). 

Literally "above the line ", ATL uses mass media involving the services of marketing agencies to reach more people such as TV, magazines, newspaper and radio advertising. Whereas, BTL refers to spending offline media and includes the actions of direct marketing and sales promotion, alternative advertising campaigns (such as discount, exhibitions, and events) as well as press relations, public relations.

Above the Line (ATL) vs Below the Line (BTL)

ATL and BTL are the marketing strategies used by companies to promote their products. Many times, these phrases like ATL and BTL are enough to confuse for who have just joined the industry. Communication with customers is a process that is taken up by businesses at all levels when dealing with customers of all etnichs, ages, and genders.

If you also cannot distinguish the differences between ATL and BTL marketing, let's read this article!

  • What's Above the Line (ATL) Marketing?

ATL refers to all promotional activities carried out through the mass media: press, television, posters, radio, cinema, and internet. This marketing method focuses on using mass media, it creates brand awareness and has no contact directly with consumers.

ATL marketing can increase brand image and makes the brand known by customers or to boosts sales by providing them with various promotional schemes and offers.

  • What is Below the Line (BTL) Marketing?

BTL marketing is a direct marketing activity to consumers so they are interested to purchase immadiately, all the more effective and profitable as it targets to end users or a small and specific group. 

BTL usually is allocated for almost 2/3 of annual budgets of marketing, but this proportion varies greatly between sectors and can reach 80% for business to business (B to B).

The pros of BTL marketing is BTL can be easily measured; that is, they are quantifiable. Distributing flyers near the point of sale, organizing public relations events, and engaging in unconventional methods of promotion are some of the popular methods reflecting BTL.

So, what is the main difference of ATL and BTL?

  • Communication with customers using mass media to promote products and create brand awareness is above the line (ATL) marketing strategy. ATL is used when mass media is deployed to increase a brand-image and reach maximum consumers.
  • On the other hand, trying to achieve the same results without using mass media in the form of public relations and point-of-sale sales promotion is referred to below the line (BTL) marketing strategy. BTL is a kind of one-on-one communication, in which different techniques are used to reach a specific group of people.

Key differences between ATL and BTL marketing

The points below are to be noted regarding the difference between ATL and BTL marketing:

  1. Above the Line (ATL) marketing is massive campaigns to increase brand awareness and brand-image. Whereas, BTL is targeted towards the individual, which is used to initiate direct interaction with a particular group.
  2. ATL marketing involves the use of primary media such as television, radio, print media, the Internet, etc. to promote a brand and create awareness among the public. In contrast, BTL marketing activities use media such as mailings, telemarketing, referrals, etc. that target a specific audience.
  3. ATL involves when the target audience is huge or marketing campaign is for a large number of audiences. While, BTL marketing is used when audience belongs to target specific place or specific small group.
  4. The above-the-line advertising methods are useful when the goal is to create brand awareness, while the below-the-line method is used to improve engagement with customers/potential customers.
  5. In terms of cost, ATL marketing material is comparatively more expensive than BTL marketing material.
  6. When the business uses ATL marketing, it is difficult to measure impacts of campaigns and how much the sale has increased as a result of the campaign. On the contrary, with BTL advertising, can measure the results of the campaign.
  7. ATL marketing is a one-way communication, occuring a message is targeted to the audience. While, BTL marketing is a two-way communication between the industry and consumer, which helps to build costumer loyalty.

In conclusion

Today, supporting by digital technology it changes the game and shifting the line between ATL and BTL has widened. It means some activities contain characteristis of ATL and as well as BTL. And it more and more towards targeted, personalized, connected, measurable campaigns.

Increasingly these limits refractive make their new term in the world of marketing advertising, which is TTL (Through The Line). Of course, strategy mix of ATL and BTL marketing has been essential to drive sales and build brand awareness.