Above the Line vs Below the Line

By April 9, 2019Marketing

Above the Line (ATL) and Below the Line (BTL) are two terms bandied around often in the advertising world.  They may leave the lay person confused about what they stand for.  Let’s try clear that up!

What is this metaphoric Line anyway?

The imaginary line separates the world of mass media (above the line) from specific, direct marketing activities (below the line).

Above the Line

Above the line marketing is largely non-targeted and focuses on mass penetration and building brand awareness.  It’s less about conversions and more about reaching a wide audience.  Communication is not directed towards a specific group and activities usually use mainstream media channels, i.e. television, print, radio.  Above the line advertising is a crucial tool in building brand identity.  It’s role is to reach as many prospective customers as possible and communicate the brand benefits.

Below the Line

Below the line advertising consists of more specific, targeted and memorable direct activities.  It focuses more on conversions and less on brand awareness. Direct mail, sponsorship, in-store marketing are all examples of below the line marketing.  Brand activation is the art of driving customer action (conversions) through brand interaction and experiences.  Below the Line marketing is more targeted and generally has a better return on investment.

Can I go Through the Line?

Technology has created the opportunity for businesses to employ marketing strategies that offer both ATL and BTL benefits.  An integrated approach of using both ATL and BTL mediums gets the maximum advantage for business growth, brand awareness and conversions.  Digital marketing offers ATL benefits with a wide reach, while still acting as a BTL communication direct to the customer.  Users can get highly personalised  communications based on their needs/wants/choices.  Outdoor advertising in public places offers both wide and targeted reach depending on locations.

It’s no longer a question of mass media vs direct marketing.  We are now in the era of 360 degree marketing strategies which aim to reach customers at all possible points of contacts.

If you need help planning a strategy to maximise your business’s growth, talk to us.  We’re here to help.