What is line advertising?
Below-the-line advertising is an advertising strategy where products are promoted in media other than radio, television, billboards, printing, and movies. The main types of online advertising systems include direct mail campaigns, trade shows, catalogs, and targeted search engine marketing. Below-the-line advertising methods tend to be cheaper and more targeted than above-the-line strategies.
Key points to remember
- Below-the-line advertising is an advertising strategy where products are promoted in media other than mainstream radio or television.
- Below-line advertising campaigns include direct mail campaigns, trade shows, catalogs and targeted search engine marketing.
- Above-the-line methods are ideal for general brand awareness, while below-the-line tactics are preferable for fostering direct relationships with potential customers.
Understand advertising below the line
Below-the-line advertising aims to reach consumers directly, instead of throwing a wide net to reach a mass audience. Rather than running a national ad during a successful TV show, an online campaign might instead focus on a store demonstration of a product that consumers may want to investigate in person. This allows for a more tactile experience, where a seller can answer direct questions and better explain the products. Here are some examples of advertising below the line:
Targeted online marketing
Businesses can target specific demographics with their advertising campaigns, such as the age of a consumer or the industry of a business. LinkedIn, for example, allows marketers to target specific people with sidebar ads based on their profession or the groups they belong to on the website.
Companies continue to advertise by direct mail, especially older demographics that are not as often online as the younger generations. Catalogs and postcard mailings are still popular and effective marketing tools.
Trade fairs and presentations
Companies often present their products and services through local chambers of commerce. Banks organize mortgage seminars to answer questions on mortgage lending, interest rates and housing affordability in an effort to recruit new clients.
Of course, there is no perfect marketing tool that works every time. Instead, companies often subscribe to multiple strategies. For example, a business can send direct mail flyers announcing an upcoming event it is hosting at the local convention center.
Above Line Advertising vs. Below Line Advertising
Above-the-line advertising is designed to reach a mass audience. The epitome of above-the-line marketing is a Super Bowl television ad, which costs millions of dollars for a few seconds of air time, but instantly reaches tens of millions of consumers worldwide. On the downside, statistically speaking, a significant percentage of these viewers may not characterize the target consumer of a business.
Conversely, online advertising affects fewer people but is more selective about its audience. In most cases, online advertisers initially do extensive market research to identify a target niche of buyers who are more likely to buy the products. Once the target demographic is identified, online advertising reaches consumers in a more personalized and direct way.
Above the line casts a large net against below the line, which uses a proverbial fishing rod through direct mail, in-person contacts at trade shows, or paid search engine results that appear when consumers enter specific queries.
The return on investment (ROI) of a campaign below the line can be higher compared to a line above the line, because below the line is less expensive and easier to monitor.
Benefits of Below-the-Line Advertising
Lower costs are arguably the biggest benefit of advertising below the line. While television and radio ads tend to be expensive, direct mail and search engine marketing are much more economical. And below-the-line methods can be increased or reduced inexpensively and easily.
In addition, below-the-line methods make it easier to track conversions with targeted consumers. Example: although there are several strategies for monitoring the effectiveness of television and radio advertising, it is difficult to measure the overall impact. Asking customers how they heard about a company, for example, can provide unreliable answers because people sometimes remember their experiences incorrectly. On the other hand, email and search engine marketing precisely tracks the links that consumers click on, to provide businesses with more accurate information.
Online marketing promotes superior customer engagement, which is essential in today’s modern business landscape. While above-the-line methods are ideal for spreading general brand awareness, below-the-line tactics are preferable for fostering more meaningful relationships with potential customers.