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What is ATL and BTL in Accounting, Marketing, and Advertising? #ATL #BTL

Posted on the 02 March 2018 by Jaideep Khanduja @PebbleInWaters

ATL (Above the line) and BTL (Below the line) are very fundamental concepts in marketing, accounting, and advertising. The meaning, obviously, varies according to the field. For a common man, both the terms look quite amusing and confusing. But in a real sense, they have a deep meaning. And probably every professional in these three fields would be well conversant with these terms. So let us start with advertising and understand what these two terms mean there. The origin of these two terms in advertising reflects 1954. It was initially P&G (Proctor & Gamble) that was paying different rates to their advertising agencies on the basis of what actually they were doing. Basically, it is a differentiating factor between direct advertising job and promotional job. Above The Line, advertising uses mass media exhaustively for promoting a brand.Its main purpose is to increase reach to the target audience.

What is ATL and BTL in Accounting, Marketing, and Advertising? #ATL #BTLPhoto on Visualhunt

On the other hand, Below The Line advertising asserts more focus on the individual consumer. So while Above The Line advertising involves extensive use of conventional media like radio, television, print, and internet, BTL is more about leaflets distribution, stickers, brochures at POS (point of sale), banners, placards, promotions etc. ATL involves the same message to a wider group of consumers. BTL, on the other hand, involves product demos, samplings, etc. targeting smaller groups. Like, malls, housing societies, corporate offices, etc. Now, let us see what these terms mean in Marketing. Above The Line or ATL Marketing means a sheer focus on brand building. So, more or less, it resembles what we do in Above The Line Advertising. Of course, Marketing and Advertising have a lot of overlap in their activities. On the other hand, when we talk about BTL Marketing, it refers to a complete focus on direct marketing.

ATL and BTL refer to direct and indirect marketing

That means below the line marketing will account directly for conversions. When it comes to marketing, there is another term TTL (Through the Line) marketing. It means a balanced combination of ATL and BTL marketing techniques. Finally, in Accounting, the line means Gross Profit. Hence, Above the Line refers to income statement that includes sales and costs. These costs could be the cost of service or cost of sale. Similarly, the sales. On the other hand, Below the Line in accounting refers to opex or operating expenses, taxes, interests, etc.


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