BTL name originally was all of the concept different to advertising, where the Ad Agency didn´t get a commission: Below of the Line where the Ad Agency got commissions.
Now a days, concepts like promotions, push girls, brand activations with sampling or not, guerrilla & street marketing are more frequently used….all of them would be part of the concept of BTL.
Technology is also having a strong impact on BTL actions, it´s a big mistake to develop a BTL action without having an interaction with social networks or at least with a web page.
On the other hand, BTL investments are still quite big, BTL actions are hard to implement and control and many times being problematic for the marketers accountable for it because execution will have always something to be criticized.
- When should I invest in BTL actions? No written rules, however there are some key factors to take in consideration:
- Shopper journey: Is there a need to get in direct touch with the product? Innovative products, new flavours, technology innovations need to be tested by the consumer, but we need to be sure we show an EXPERIENCE that is going to be well evaluated by consumers.
- Access to the target: We need access to a significant number of consumers from the target in one single place. Otherwise we will have an action too expensive for any budget.
- A promotion well linked to sales: If we are able to link a mechanic to the sales of specific outlets or channels with an auto-financial mechanic, no doubt to execute.
- How should I measure the BTL?
- As media: Even when BTL is not the best media to generate massive awareness, we need to evaluate as a media in terms of number of contacts/interactions and cost per contact.
- Social: Interactions of the social engagement we generate with the activity and the value or cost of those interactions. I´ve have had so powerful ideas that the BTL actions drives alone interactions in social networks, also I have had actions where it´s necessary to invest in social ads to promote the action. One generated value, the other generated a cost.
- In terms of ROI: Linked to a promotion, we will have a direct return on sales and gross margin, probably it´s not profitable, but we must have the right view on this and know if we win or loss.
- Brand Impact: We need to know if the experience we show is strong enough to change perception. We should know this before starting…..and validate during the action.
At the end, BTL is a necessary element of our commercial mix, however we need to measure the impact, plain it efficiently and link to sales as much as possible. Creativity it´s important, but we can´t look only at creativity to decide, many agencies focus only on that and it´s an incomplete criteria to decide
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