Below the Line Sales Promotion
BTL sales promotion is an immediate or delayed incentive to purchase, expressed in cash or in kind, and having short duration. It is efficient and cost-effective for targeting a limited and specific group. It uses less conventional methods than the usual ATL channels of advertising, typically focusing on direct means of communication, most commonly direct mail and e-mail, often using highly targeted lists of names to maximize response rates. BTL services may include those for which a fee is agreed upon and charged up front.
BTL is a common technique used for “touch and feel” products (consumer items where the customer will rely on immediate information rather than previously researched items). BTL techniques ensures recall of the brand while at the same time highlighting the features of the product. Another BTL technique involves sales personnel deployed at retail stores near targeted products. This technique may be used to generate trials of newly launched products. It helps marketers establish one-to-one relationship with consumers while mass promotions, by definition, make it difficult to gauge consumer-response, except at the time of sales.
Examples include tele-marketing, road shows, promotions, in- shop and shop-front activities, display units. The terms “below the line” promotion or communications, refers to forms of non-media communication, even non-media advertising. Below the line promotions are becoming increasingly important within the communications mix of many companies, not only those involved in FMCG products, but also for industrial goods. Below the line sales promotions are short-term incentives, largely aimed at consumers.
With the increasing pressure on the marketing team to achieve communication objectives more efficiently in a limited budget, there has been a need to find out more effective and cost efficient ways to communicate with the target markets. This has led to a shift from the regular media based advertising. In other words, below-the-line sales promotion is an immediate or delayed incentive to purchase, expressed in cash or in kind, and having only a short term or temporary duration. Below the Line uses less conventional methods than the usual specific channels of advertising to promote products, services, etc. than Above the Line strategies.
These may include activities such as direct mail, public relations and sales promotions for which a fee is agreed upon and charged up front. Below the line advertising typically focuses on direct means of communication often using highly targeted lists of names to maximize response rates. Trained sales personnel, often young women, are deployed at Retail Stores, near the shelves of targeted products. These young women convince customers visiting these shelves about the better aspects of their brand compared with others. This is ideal for new launches as it generates trials, which if successful result in repeat sales.
In addition, above the line is much more effective when the target group is very large and difficult to define. But if the target group is limited and specific, it is always advisable to use BTL promotions for efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Say, for example, if a pen manufacturer is going to promote its product, it may take the ATL route, but if a company manufactures computer UPS, it will certainly take the BTL route, as the target group is very limited and specific. More recently, agencies and clients have switched to an ‘Integrated Communication Approach. ‘