An Overview of ATL, BTL & TTL Marketing[Definitions And Examples]


ATL, BTL, and TTL is the terms being used in marketing these days with frequency. The terms ATL, BTL and TTL are stands for

ATL – Above the Line Marketing

BTL – Below The Line Marketing and

TTL – Through The Line Marketing

The terms ATL, BTL came into existence or were used when Proctor and Gamble paid advertising firms separately (through varied rates) for their suppliers who dealt with more direct promotional effects.

The term TTL is of recent origin that explains about a more integrated marketing approach combining both the widespread and direct approaches rather than traditional ATL/BTL separation.

The Above the Line Marketing is geared towards rising brand awareness thereby bringing the product or service a vast reach.

The BTL marketing approach involves providing free product samples through direct contact with people in local towns and cities.

The BTL marketing campaign is the best solution for small businesses serving a local market catchment area. The TTL marketing campaign is being used nowadays for increasing overall brand awareness while targeting individual segments or prospects with direct response efforts once the customer or client is in the marketing funnel.

A successful TTL marketing campaign enables small businesses to reach and focus on conversions through tools and resources at their disposal such as social media networks, PPC platforms such as Ad words etc.  

Choosing ATL, BTL, or TTL – What to choose in this age of digital marketing

The traditional separation of ATL, BTL and TTL depends upon the following kinds of media for marketing activity. For instance – Above the Line Marketing works best when you choose media such as –

  • Television
  • Radio
  • Newspaper/magazine ads

In the case of BTL – Below the Line Marketing activity works best when you choose

  • Door to door sales
  • Telemarketing
  • Direct mail
  • Exhibitions

As far as TTL – Through The Line Marketing is concerned these campaigns work well with the integration of ATL and BTL campaigns. Nevertheless, in this age of digital marketing the differences between ATL, BTL and TTL is becoming blurry. The social media profiles that we see today can be regarded as Above-the-Line marketing campaigns because they are set up and published or posted for all to see. The Below the Line marketing campaigns these days may include –

  • Intelligence-based telemarketing
  • Targeted leaflet drop
  • Shopping centre stand/Mall stand
  • Local Sports team sponsorship
  • In-person demonstrations
  • Door-to-door selling
  • Direct mail marketing
  • Catalogues
  • Email Marketing
  • PPC/Social media ads
  • Remarketing
  • Post-sales coupons/incentives
  • Point to sales promotion

When measuring the success of ATL, BTL and TTL campaigns it involves taking into account the different types of measurements. For instance, in case of ATL campaign which is designed to reach a wide audience with brand building types of content, the types of measurement include-

  • Frequency – the number of times prospective customers of the target audience see the ads
  • Reach – Total number of people who see your ads
  • The number of impressions – How many times your ads have been displayed across various mediums.

When measuring the success of BTL marketing campaigns, you should be able to measure the following types of events such as-

  • Conversion rates – from your websites, blogs, coupon offers etc
  • Click through rates (CTR) from digital ads
  • Open rates such as emails, marketing automation campaigns
  • Website blog/landing page visits
  • Followers and subscribers – on your blog, email lists, social media profiles etc

In the case of measuring the success of TTL marketing campaigns, you have to take into account a mix of both the ATL and BTL elements by measuring the options available in both ATL and BTL marketing campaign.

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