Why marketers are falling in love with BTL activities ?
Why marketers are falling in love with BTL activities ?
Thursday - Mar 12, 2009
Savreen Gadhoke - Televisionpoint.com | New Delhi In a move to to engage the consumer with the product more actively, brand marketer's tend to innovate with selective opportunities. As lives of consumers have become much diverse, the number of consumer touch points too has increased, It has become imperative for the marketer to have a composite marketing strategy to make sure that maximum touch points are covered.
And perhaps this is what makes below-the-line (BTL) as important for the marketer as above-the-line (ATL). Over the last couple of months, a whole lot of marketers have resorted to BTL activities to create awareness about their products and services. So what is it that makes BTL so talked about these days ?
According to industry estimates, BTL marketing has grown by 20 per cent in 2008. This is only an estimate though, as the BTL industry is still an unorganised sector and it has witnessed good growth from 2006 up to the first two quarters of 2008. Post September 2008, the economic slowdown had an impact on marketing spends.
Priya Monga, business head, RC&M, explains, "BTL is a more focused approach strategically driven toward generating favourable results. We have seen FMCG and automobile clients going active with on-ground activations, but in the last few months, we have also observed retailers, banking institutions, food joints and media jumping into this pool to influence their TG."
Recently, various companies across sectors devised BTL activities. While Max New York Life (MNYL) Insurance launched a 'Wheel of Fortune' game in all Spencer's retail stores across Delhi to enhance its lead generation exercise; Hewlett Packard (HP) created 'Experience Zones' in airports to promote its newly launched Elite Books with corporates & executives.
Media fragmentation onto various devices has not only helped BTL agencies to get more accurate results, but also to ensure that brands have more touch points with the TG. Tata Tea, in a campaign for encouraging people to vote, centred its communication round a website www.jaagore.com. The site was used to get voter registrations through a campaign that comprised a TV commercial, OOH and on-ground activation in colleges and offices.
GM's Chevrolet Spark organised a BTL activity 'Jeevan mein umang, Spark ke sang' to promote the newly priced Spark in small towns & cities. CavinKare's Chic Shampoo too launched a school campaign 'Choo Lo Sitharon Ko' to educate school going girls.
In the retail space, RPG-owned Spencer's retail also created two campaigns to target children & women. Frito Lay's Kurkure, Maruti Suzuki, Nokia, Nivea, Honda Motorcycles, et al, have also invested heavily in BTL in the last few months. But the similarity ends here. For in all the above mentioned instances the objective of undertaking a BTL activity was different.
In the media space, Sab TV, the comedy channel from MSM India, devised an interesting route to reach media planners and buyers during the launch of Bhootwala Serial, India's first horror comedy. Breaking the clutter, promoters dressed in scary ghostly costumes went across all agencies like Zenith Optimedia, Lodestar, Lintas Media Group, Starcom, Madison, Maxus, Mindshare and Mindshare Fulcrum.
And this is precisely what makes BTL so important these days. Deepti Dang, marketing head, commercial and SMB, personal systems group, HP India avers, "Advantage of using BTL is that you get an opportunity to have a face-to-face interaction with the customer, who gets to feel and experience the product."
Adds Anisha Motwani, executive vice-president, marketing, MNYL, "BTL works because it's an active media rather than passive, you can engage one-on-one with the customer and take the process of communication forward through awareness."
Motwani proudly proclaims that the exercise was successful in generating around 3,000 leads each day; Dang also revealed that the activity helped them to move their business.
Vineet Trakroo, vice-president, marketing, CavinKare, said, "The activity helped us to introduce the brand to school girls and to associate Chik Shampoo with power of confidence."
Another critical advantage of resorting to BTL is that effectiveness of each penny spent can be easily monitored and evaluated. Says Dang, "A BTL activity is far easier to measure since a 'close look management' is followed."
RC&M's Monga adds, "ROI can be easily calculated and this adds greater accountability." The marketer exactly knows how many consumers were reached and compare that with real sales figures to substantiate whether the BTL campaign was successful or not.
On the contrary, a mass media campaign like a TVC may cost ten times more than a BTL exercise, but to substantiate it with actual sales is cumbersome. On the face of it, while ATL is more of a brand awareness and recognition exercise, BTL is generally more sales driven.
Many take BTL as a more cost-effective tool to reach out to their target audience as compared to mass media since BTL activities are carried out in specific areas keeping in mind the demands of the demographics. However Motwani argues, "It's a myth that BTL is cheaper than ATL, as mass media is still far more effective in terms of cost per contact."
Be that as it may, the reasons why BTL has picked up as a concept recently are manifold. Growth of retail has provided with a favourable environment for marketers to capture their audience.
Various companies also club BTL activities with their CSR initiatives. A case in point being Nokia's Take Back campaign, an e-waste recycling programme. As part of this initiative, Nokia will encourage people to dispose of mobile handsets in an ecologically friendly manner.
For this Nokia has set up recycling bins across its priority dealers & care centres. BTL also makes for a viable proposition especially when the Indian economy is heading towards a slowdown and companies are extra-cautious of the money they spend on marketing their products.
Rise of integrated campaigns encompassing all mediums of advertising has also raised the usage of BTL. The fact that BTL is fast emerging as an effective tool to reach out to the target audience cannot be denied. However, marketers need to be cautious of few of key critical elements.
Says Motwani, "Segmentation of the target audience is very critical for the success of the campaign." Like mentioned earlier, each campaign is devised with a distinct objective, which has to be reiterated throughout the course of the campaign. And here the ground staff plays a very important role.
Avers Monga, "Operation & implementation becomes very important since the on-ground activity is done manually and it is imperative that the planning has been replicated exactly on ground."
Environment too is very critical for transaction to happen, where the customer is in a frame of mind to evaluate the product. Choice of activity, duration, location, et al are other factors that determine the success of a BTL activity.
BTL may prove to be beneficial to marketers to enhance their sales and generate consumer interest toward their brand. Monga professes, "For long-term gain, BTL should not be a one-time exercise but an annual effort."
And perhaps this is why companies are allocating almost half of their advertising budgets to non-traditional media including BTL. While the non-traditional media may never be able to replace the effectiveness of mass media, nevertheless the strategy of engaging the customer with the product is definitely a well thought of strategy especially during the current times when each penny counts.
Copyright 2005 - 2009 Televisionpoint.com. All rights reserved. A Bhash Media Private Limited Company. This site is best viewed in Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher versions, at a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels.