Over the years, advertising has been divided into a range of theories and categories that professionals adhere to in order to create campaigns. These include Above The Line (ATL) and Below The Line (BTL), which are essentially just rough groupings designed to help people understand what kind of advertising is being done. The entire process is, in truth, much simpler than most marketers would have you believe.
What are ATL and BTL?
- ATL – Generally this is advertising that is visible – posters, billboards, magazines, television and newspapers, to name a few mass media avenues.
- BTL – This refers to the marketing you do that isn’t quite so tangible. It’s your point-of-sale promotions, PR or the search engine optimisation you do on your website.
So, how do you merge the two effectively without losing what makes them unique?
Both ATL and BTL are highly effective methods of advertising that require very different campaign structures in order to work. However, there’s a new way to bring the two concepts together – Through The Line (TTL). This approach allows you to integrate a range of platforms, regardless of which stream they fall into.
The idea is to fully optimise elements from both in order to see measurable returns on your marketing.
This may sound very complicated, but essentially it’s about pinpointing your brand message and voice, and ensuring that it’s consistent for everything you do. Once you’ve established your identity – in terms of colours, design and tone – you can use this on any piece of advertising you deploy.
These elements can be implemented for giant billboards on the highway and on each page of your website.
However, it’s important to remember that the manner in which you do this will be different for each distribution channel. For example, the design of your flyers shouldn’t be executed in the same way as your website. They must relate to each other, while still sticking to best practices for their unique space in the marketing arena.
Draw attention to all channels
Of course, one of the simplest ways to tie ATL and BTL together is to use each channel as a way of pointing to the other. For example, if you’re in retail, you can upload your catalogues onto your Facebook page and then tell people to visit your stores for more information.
However, this must be backed up at each branch, with posters for example. On the other hand, you can make sure that your flyers always have your website’s URL printed on them. Whenever you get the opportunity to use the various platforms open to you as a way of promoting each other – take it.
Remember, with a unified brand voice, each marketing channel that you deploy serves to reinforce your message every time someone comes into contact with your company.