Why is BTL gaining more importance these days?
Earlier, rather than it being a structured as marketing services, people used to look at it as promotions being done separately, shop-front activities being done differently, product placements, etc. been done differently, etc. Now more and more brand managers are clubbing it into a single BTL format. They want an agency that can possibly give a solution for all that.
Is the increasing presence of BTL felt only in the FMCG and the durables market?
What kind of ATL and BTL mix would work for a startup operation?
How many companies are spending a substantial amount of money on BTL these days?
The difference with ATL is that the vehicles of delivery are fairly very well established. For e.g., out of a great idea and great strategy, I create a great TVC and I give it to established television channels to run it on their vehicles, and nothing goes wrong.
When it comes to BTL, I still need to have a great strategy and a great creative idea but I need to implement it on ground. I’ll need to do promotions, I’ll need to do road shows, and I’ll need to do one-on-one interaction. And if I don’t implement it well, the possibility of a BTL campaign backfiring is very high. If I am a consumer and the person interacting with me doesn’t do a great job, that particular campaign will fall flat on its face. So the moments of truth on a BTL are too many.
What is the ROI on these BTL initiatives?
Recently, for example, we ran the “Grand Kerala Shopping Festival” campaign with the Kerala government and they spent close to Rs 15 crore on the entire festival. It was a six- month initiative, and at the end we were able to increase the VAT collection of the state to the extent of approximately Rs 75 crore. This is hard money-to-money comparison but we also had to built the brand and do a lot of ATL with that campaign. The deal is if you cannot really measure the return on investment on a BTL campaign, then it’s not really a good campaign.
As compared to ATL, what is one big advantage and disadvantage of BTL?
While there’s nothing stopping you from launching a conventional mass-media based strategy, which would only help you in your brand creation, according to experts, it might be a good idea to initiate a BTL campaign and check which way the wind would blow as per your sales.
“We are an innovation driven company, so we are continuously launching new products. Our products have new and exciting features, which are required to be communicated to the consumer and therefore require investment in the form of above-the-line (ATL) AND BTL”, says V Ramachandran, director, marketing, LG Electronics India.
Besides fine-tuning the product and brand, another big reason for a startup to favorably consider this tool is the cost factor. BTL offers a wide spectrum of dirt cheap to more expensive activities, starting from distributing pamphlets, brochures, newspaper inserts, etc. to holding seminars and product launches. “Unlike traditional advertising, the impact of BTL activities is far more measurable, since it is less about brand building and more about increasing sales”, says Singh.
Besides new products and startups, another natural fit are companies with a niche, but geographically spread-out customer-base, such as that for precision engineering tools. In such cases, a seminar or trade show may bring you a much bigger bang for your buck than a TV ad. Sometimes, even if the product can have a national appeal, a company may choose to start off with just one town or city. BTL options such as pamphlets, mall events etc. fit the bill in this case. “We have always (nationally as well as internationally) been more of a BTL-led brand, given that our customers are specific and not mass market,” says Chaturvedi of Baskin Robbins. “In India, the popular and regular activities are leaflets, cross-promotions with retail chains or outlets and school contact progrmmes,” he says.
The BLT industry is fragmented with many small players dotting the market and doing a bit of everything. The industry size was estimated at Rs 13,200 crore in 2006. However, despite all the hype, BTL initiatives cannot be the answer to all your marketing requirements. Its biggest strength, an extremely focused approach, is also what prevents it from being a complete marketing solution. Besides the absence of cost-effective scalability to address a mass market, BTL activities may also require a higher involvement of the organization than an ad-based approach.
written by marketing strategy, June 14, 2010
written by marketing strategy, May 18, 2010
written by Quantama, January 31, 2010
written by Vijay Singh, November 06, 2008
written by Anil Malik, October 27, 2008
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