ATL, BTL and TTL marketing: features, differences and examples

ATL, BTL and TTL marketing: features, differences and examples

Regardless of the times we live in, marketing will never go out of style. While you are creating products/services that are useful to your target audience, you will need to use the best marketing tools and techniques to reach your customers. For decades, effective marketing has allowed companies to build their brands and encourage customers to interact with them.

Marketing is the art and science of getting what you’ve been looking for. When you create a marketing campaign, there are many factors taken into account that will help you develop the right strategy for your business.

One of these factors is the marketing approach you can use. There are different ways to engage with your audience: you can go straight to the masses, appeal to a specific group of people (or an individual), or use a combination of both approaches.

What is ATL marketing?

ATL means “above the line”. ATL marketing is a marketing approach that is not targeted at specific individuals or groups of customers. With its help, marketers distribute their messages to the masses, without taking into account the needs and preferences of a select few.
ATL, BTL and TTL marketing

ATL marketing is often carried out on a large scale without marketers being in direct contact with their prospects or customers. You can use this marketing approach if you want to expand your brand’s reach, increase awareness, and reach a wider audience.

ATL marketing doesn’t place much emphasis on conversions. The goal of this approach is often to use mass marketing strategies to spread your word to the masses. The ATL campaign focuses more on the media platforms used to disseminate brand messages. Anyone with access to selected media platforms can receive your ATL marketing messages.

Examples of ATL marketing

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

In the era of digitalization, it is important for businesses to establish their presence online. SEO allows your company’s website to rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs). Most companies operating in various industries are looking for professional SEO services to increase brand awareness and visibility on digital platforms.

Marketing strategy of a successful company
Marketing strategy of a successful company

A competent SEO company will help you rank higher in search results by making the necessary changes to your website (on-page SEO) and building links to drive more traffic to your site (off-page SEO). With billions of searches performed on Google and Yandex every day, SEO allows your brand to stand out from the crowd by making it an integral part of your ATL campaign.

Social Media Optimization (SMO)

Another important and very relevant example of ATL marketing is social media optimization (SMO). As more and more people join social media, brands have begun to focus on improving their digital presence on these platforms. By creating official accounts on the right social media platforms, brands can spread their messages and reach their audience effectively.

Targeted SMO services can help you optimize your ATL campaign by building a base of leads and subscribers. If you are consistent in creating and publishing relevant content on social media platforms, you can attract more people to your brand and gain more digital traction.

Public Relations (PR)

Public relations allows you to organically spread the word about your brand to the public. Whether you want to make a big announcement about your business, raise public awareness of your new offerings, or simply revitalize your brand’s image in the marketplace, a PR campaign can help you get the job done without pushing a sales pitch.

ATL, BTL and TTL marketing

For example, if you own an IT company and want to make your potential clients in India aware of the use of new technologies in your business, you can contact a PR agency in India to prepare an attractive PR article/press release. This will allow the country’s leading media outlets to cover your story, helping to convey your message organically and authentically.

Apart from being an important example of ATL marketing, PR also allows you to build fruitful relationships with the media, manage crises and enhance your brand’s reputation in the industry in which you operate.

Television and print advertising

For decades, advertising has remained one of ATL’s most widely used marketing activities. This allows brands around the world to reach their audiences through many different platforms. Even though TV and print advertising are quickly being replaced by digital alternatives, they are still helping brands gain more exposure across the board.

How to build a content marketing strategy?
How to build a content marketing strategy?

Even in the age of Google banner ads and YouTube, it’s a matter of prestige for a brand to get a spot during the Super Bowl halftime show or be mentioned in a top magazine.

Outdoor advertising

This is a space where brands can be truly creative! Outdoor advertising allows marketers to capture the attention of their audience while being as minimalistic as possible. Basically, this is because people looking at billboards and billboards do not have enough time to read long texts.

When used correctly, outdoor advertising can become a truly fruitful example of ATL marketing. This method will help you increase your brand recall, even if potential customers don’t immediately start interacting with your business.

Main advantages of ATL marketing

Wide coverage

The biggest benefit of ATL marketing is the reach of your brand. It allows you to use mass marketing strategies to reach a wide range of audiences who may read your advertising messages. Because the goal of an ATL campaign is not to promote immediate conversion, it allows you to get your brand in front of more people. This often helps existing brands restore their image and allows new brands to increase awareness in the market.

ATL, BTL and TTL marketing

Creating your brand

We live in an era where competition is intense in all major industries. If you want to stand out from the crowd of competitors, it is important to create a strong brand with a unique personality. ATL marketing allows you to distribute creative advertising messages to your audience, helping you successfully build your brand. Especially if you are entering the market with a new brand, ATL marketing is the ideal approach to best disseminate your advertising messages.

High review value

With the media platforms used for ATL marketing, you can create advertisements and promotional messages that increase your brand recall. It was ATL’s effective marketing campaigns that helped brands such as Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Nike imprint their images in the minds of the audience through advertising. Even if your prospects don’t buy your offerings right away, your brand will linger in their minds long after they read your messages.

High penetration

Media platforms such as television, newspapers and the Internet can reach the farthest corners of the world and educate potential customers about your brand. Since there is no need to directly interact with your audience, ATL marketing helps you deliver your messages wherever your chosen media platform can reach.

Main disadvantages of ATL marketing

Costly approach

Since ATL uses mass marketing strategies, it results in brands spending a fortune to reach their audience. Media platforms such as television, newspapers and magazines are quite expensive when it comes to publishing/broadcasting your advertisements. If you’re planning to create an ATL campaign for your brand, make sure your budget allows for effective use of your chosen media platforms.

Cause of distraction

Billboards and advertising billboards, especially in the case of outdoor advertising, often distract people driving along the road. Although creative advertising texts are very attractive, their use for outdoor advertising can lead to unexpected accidents on the road.

Why is content marketing so important?
Why is content marketing so important?

Risk of replacement

Media platforms such as television, newspapers and magazines are rapidly being replaced by digital alternatives that can be accessed at a much lower cost. As digitalization becomes more common, clients across the board are moving away from traditional media platforms – reducing the value of these platforms used for ATL marketing campaigns.

Reaching the wrong audience

With ATL marketing, you cannot control the people who examine your advertising and promotional messages. Although this marketing approach helps you reach large masses, it is likely that a significant portion of the recipients do not belong to your target audience. This causes you to lose the effectiveness of your ATL campaign, no matter how well designed it is.

What is BTL marketing?

The full form of BTL means “below the line.” BTL involves targeting an individual or group of potential clients to distribute advertising messages.
ATL, BTL and TTL marketing

BTL marketing is aimed at attracting your customers in a more personalized way. This method involves assessing the specific needs and preferences of your target audience and tailoring your marketing campaigns based on them.

In the case of BTL activities, the focus is on conversions rather than increasing brand awareness. Most companies planning a BTL marketing campaign have already established their brands and the audience is aware of their existence. This marketing approach revolves around convincing the audience to make a purchase and increasing revenue. In other words, BTL marketing is a more sales-oriented approach.

Examples of BTL marketing

Sales promotion

Sales promotion is a set of marketing strategies that are aimed at attracting customers and increasing sales over a short period of time. The goal of sales promotion is to increase revenue by providing customers with interesting offers and discounts.

Sales promotion is one of the most frequently used BTL activities. It involves persuading prospects and customers by providing them with incentives such as free trials, free coupons, samples (samples), personal discounts and more.

Viral marketing: examples of successful campaigns
Viral marketing: examples of successful campaigns

Although sales promotion reduces your business’s profit margin, it allows more people to use your brand’s products/services who otherwise wouldn’t. If your offers are truly good and resonate with your customers, they will continue to do business with your business even after your sales promotion campaign ends.

Direct Marketing

As the name suggests, direct marketing is a BTL marketing method in which the marketer directly interacts with a potential client or customer. Previously, direct marketing involved sales representatives physically visiting the homes of their existing and potential customers to sell them on their brands’ offerings. With the advent of digitalization, direct marketing has moved to digital platforms.

Whenever a person makes a purchase, the details are recorded with the merchant, ideally on their CRM (customer relationship management) platform. This data is then used to contact the interested customer across multiple channels to look at similar products or make another purchase of the same offering.

One of the best and most effective examples of direct marketing is Amazon recommending products to users based on their previous purchases. Such BTL marketing techniques personalize the services offered by brands, making their customers feel special.

Advertising newsletter

Most brands are in the business of creating personalized sales emails to convince their potential customers to make purchases. From providing exclusive offers to asking customers to opt in to online newsletters, email marketing allows you to reach each of your customers based on their purchasing history, needs and preferences.

ATL, BTL and TTL marketing

However, it is advisable to obtain consent from your customers before sending them promotional content related to your brand. If they have given you their consent, make sure you give them the opportunity to withdraw at their convenience.


Brands often decide to sponsor certain events to reach their target audience. Here, businesses associate their names with the events where they are advertised and where the organizers talk about them. If the audience attending a particular event is your target audience, you can reach out to them and convince them to check out your offerings at the relevant event. Based on the weight of the event, this BTL marketing method will give you the support you are looking for.

Brand activation

Brand activation is a set of actions that allow your audience to interact with your business and discover your offerings. This example of BTL marketing is commonly used by new and growing businesses. This is where you can be as creative as possible to get the support you want from your clients.

User Generated Content (UGC) – What is it and how to use it?
User Generated Content (UGC) – What is it and how to use it?

There are different ways to use brand activation to improve your ROI and generate more revenue. You can create a physical storefront and invite customers to try your offerings before they buy them. If you’re ready to make the most of modern technology, you can use AR to provide your prospects and customers with an immersive experience while introducing them to your brand and its offerings.

Exhibitions and fairs

This is one of the most cost-effective ways to optimize your brand’s BTL marketing. Some businesses choose to participate in trade fairs and exhibitions where they can expect large numbers of visitors. By participating in such events, you can attract potential clients by being creative and optimizing your exhibition hall.

Main advantages of BTL marketing

Personalized approach

In the case of ATL marketing, it is impossible to create television or newspaper advertising that will be individual for each reader. On the other hand, BTL marketing allows you to personalize your marketing processes for each client you serve. Whether you choose to do this physically (exhibitions and fairs) or through a dedicated software platform (email marketing), you can be sure that each customer is treated uniquely.

ATL, BTL and TTL marketing

The personalized approach of BTL marketing allows you to build long and strong relationships with your customers.

Immediate feedback

Most BTL marketing methods allow you to get immediate feedback. When you interact directly with a customer or prospect, you often tend to get a “yes” or a “no” without any delay. Even if a potential customer isn’t sure they’re ready to buy right now, you can always record their details in your CRM for later use. This immediate feedback reduces the time your sales reps spend generating leads.

Higher ROI

The main difference between ATL and BTL marketing is the emphasis on conversions. Because BTL marketing is focused on closing deals, it provides a higher ROI than an ATL marketing campaign. In addition, BTL marketing costs are significantly lower, further increasing the profit you make from each sale. If you intend to make more money by combining marketing and sales, you should definitely go the BTL marketing route.

Native Advertising: Effectively Integrating Marketing into Digital Content
Native Advertising: Effectively Integrating Marketing into Digital Content

More control

With a BTL marketing campaign, you have more control over the audience viewing your advertising messages and the services you are willing to provide. This allows you to tailor your processes based on the different prospects you encounter. BTL marketing also allows you to easily track your marketing processes and the ROI you get from them.

Getting to know your brand

One of the main reasons why BTL marketing is successful in driving conversions is because it allows your customers to become familiar with your brand (product). Whether you provide them with free or discounted samples of your products or allow a free trial before purchasing, your customers get a first-hand experience of consuming your offerings. This allows you to establish a better and more personal connection with your customers.

Main disadvantages of BTL marketing

Tedious research

Most BTL marketing efforts require extensive and tedious research—much more than the research required for ATL marketing. Brands may have to hire specialized resources and spend a lot of time before they can actually reach their potential customers.

ATL, BTL and TTL marketing

Limited coverage

While BTL marketing is effective for targeting a specific group of audiences, it limits the reach you can achieve with your marketing practices. If you want more people to know about your brand and ensure it has a wide presence, BTL marketing may not be the best alternative.

Advanced data management

The core of BTL marketing is data management. To provide personalized experiences to your customers, brands need to record every action they take, as well as the specific needs and preferences of their customers. For organizations that are not equipped with adequate resources, extensive data management can be complex and tedious.

Short-lived success

If you offer your customers exclusive offers and close deals to increase conversions, your success will likely be short-lived. When you implement BTL marketing, you always run the risk that your customers will stop interacting when you stop making offers to them.

Low review value

In a hugely competitive market, some brands are offering short-term incentives to their customers to increase sales. This can convince audiences to engage with a brand based solely on the incentives offered. In most cases, this does not help maintain the image and brand recall.

ATL marketing versus BTL marketing: what to choose?

Brands often face the dilemma of choosing between ATL and BTL marketing when creating their marketing campaigns. When it comes to ATL and BTL marketing, there is no objective answer.

ATL, BTL and TTL marketing

The marketing approach you should choose depends on many different factors, some of which are listed below:

Marketing goal

At the end of the day, every marketing decision you make revolves around the goal you want to achieve. If your marketing goal is to attract audience attention to your brand and reach a wider audience, you should choose ATL marketing. On the other hand, if you are looking to increase your sales and increase your income, BTL marketing is a better choice.

Marketing budget

Brands often spend a fortune on their marketing campaigns. If you are willing to spend a significant amount of money to reach your audience and can afford expensive campaigns, you can make the most of ATL marketing techniques. On the other hand, if you have a limited budget and are not willing to spend a lot on marketing, you can go for BTL marketing.

Preferred media platforms

The media platforms you prefer also dictate your marketing approach. Essentially, it depends on the platforms your target audience frequently uses. If you want to target your customers through high-value media such as television, newspapers and magazines, you should plan to create an ATL marketing campaign. On the other hand, if you want a more personalized campaign using platforms such as email, mobile and web, you can choose the BTL marketing technique.

What is TTL marketing?

TTL means “through the line”. It is a marketing approach that combines ATL and BTL marketing techniques. TTL marketing is a more holistic way to connect with your audience and convince them to buy your offerings.
ATL, BTL and TTL marketing

This approach gives marketers the best of both worlds. While this method allows brands to reach a wide range of audiences, it does not lose focus on conversions. TTL marketing is a fairly new approach that is thriving in the era of digitalization. It promotes mass engagement by distributing promotional messages on a large scale and driving interaction at an individual level.

To implement a holistic TTL marketing campaign, brands often use traditional media platforms such as television, radio, newspapers, magazines, etc. to reach large masses and tell them about their business. Once they succeed in building brand awareness, they will begin to engage with prospects and clients on a personalized level through targeted marketing (especially on digital platforms).

This combination of ATL and BTL marketing allows brands to go the extra mile to establish their presence in a highly competitive market and achieve their desired ROI.

Examples of TTL marketing

360-degree marketing

As the name suggests, 360 degree marketing is a comprehensive and holistic way of promoting your offerings. It follows general and targeted approaches at different levels.

Especially large brands with large resources prefer to attract their audience using multiple platforms. While you see McDonald’s ads on TV, you also receive personalized emails and text messages from the brand. This way, you can have complete control over the channels you want to use and how you want to reach your audience.

Viral Marketing: How to Organically Spread Information
Viral Marketing: How to Organically Spread Information

However, it is important to note that “360 degree marketing” is not limited to high-end businesses. Using cost-effective media platforms, startups and SMEs can also make their presence known and create a niche in the market with the help of a good TTL marketing campaign.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is an ideal example of TTL marketing technique as it embodies the essence of ATL and BTL approaches. While a banner ad on Google or Yandex can reach millions of potential customers, email marketing with a smart call to action allows you to personalize your marketing processes.

From SEO and SMO to content marketing and PPC advertising, every digital marketing tool can be considered a really good example of TTL marketing. With the need for digitalization steadily increasing, it is safe to say that TTL marketing through digital platforms is not going away anytime soon.

In the coming days, more and more brands are likely to make the much-needed shift to digital marketing as it offers them the benefits of ATL (wide reach, recall value, brand awareness, etc.) and BTL (cost-effectiveness, personalization, immediate feedback). communication, etc.) marketing.

Digital PR

While traditional public relations is largely a part of ATL marketing, digital PR is an effective TTL marketing technique. This new approach to PR has gained momentum over the past few years, allowing brands to distribute organic advertising messages across multiple digital platforms.

ATL, BTL and TTL marketing

As the name suggests, digital PR consists of PR activities carried out through digital platforms. It involves creating and publishing online press releases and PR articles. With all the leading media houses of the world having a digital presence today, digital PR helps brands reach out to the public through digital platforms.

Brands are also partnering with content marketing experts and bloggers to share their range on suitable online platforms. This is a very effective way to combine the essence of ATL and BTL marketing. Since PR articles are freely available online, they can be accessed by anyone with links or who accidentally stumbled upon the articles while browsing. Moreover, these articles contain links to the websites/apps of the promoted companies, allowing for a more personalized approach to marketing.

In addition to the benefits digital PR offers in organic marketing, it can be combined with other digital marketing tools to improve the resulting effectiveness. For example, PR articles published online can be indexed higher in Google using SEO. Publishing these articles on social media will help you optimize your SMO. This is where digital PR has a greater advantage over traditional PR.


This is all you need to know about ATL, BTL and TTL marketing to become more familiar with the marketing approaches.

However, this is just the tip of the iceberg! If you want to succeed in your marketing campaigns and build a loyal customer base, it is important to choose the most suitable marketing approach and go deep into it correctly.