Sunday, June 18, 2006

Is BTL all tactical?

It is more prone to more quicker and measurable success and hence I think it is more tactical then some of the mass media options. However, in a recent meeting with a brand owner, I observed the brand owners dilemma – where-in the “awareness” of his brand is on a high, however, the conversions at the last mile is what was missing. This is where he requires tactical approach and he turns to a BTL agency like ourselves.

His challenge is not about positioning or awareness – is challenge is about conversions and success.

Awareness (read ATL) for the top 3 to 5 brands in any category across most geographies is very high and is similar. While there could be a favored brand – however, it would be touch to get a brand which is “way far out”. The brands are cluttered together at the top without any specific reasons for one being far better than the other.

Take a classic case of a Coke vs Pepsi – which is better, which one is so special that the customer will move out of a restaurant if he is not served his favored option – unfortunately unless the customer is a mystery shopper J, he or she is willing to switch based on the salesman’s pitch or availability. While this is true for the 50 cent cola it is also true for high end televisions, shampoos and soaps.

I believe this is when advertising needs to shift towards tryvertising. The brand owner needs to re-think on percentage allocation towards brand building or awareness – when does the spend become an unnecessary burn and hence waste.

Strategically using tactical promotions, activations and campaigns ensure wins at the last mile – at the point when the decision is being made and at the point when choosing between “the top few brands” is not an earth shattering decision for the customer as it is for the brand owner.

The one on one connect at the last mile, where-in the concerns of the customer are highlighted and addressed, the brand proposition translated to product proposition and where the interaction move away from the 30 sec TV spot to a 3 minute interaction can change the customer’s current purchase and make him loyal for at least the next few purchases (esp. in case of small ticket purchases)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

BTL is the google way !!

Call it Below-the-line marketing, brand activation or promotional marketing ~ these are taking on the traditional advertising companies and winning. Promotions related spends are over the ATL spends for some time now (ref. for the Promo Spends Survey). Also the BTL spends are going to grow faster in the time to come. However, this is old news – interesting to discuss why and what works.

Ability to relevantly filter the TG and “almost” individually target with customized brand communication to initiate desired action is where we are headed. And that’s what the BTL communication is all about - not brand building but brand usage. Focused from concept to implementation on return generated on the marketing dollars.

I believe Google is the largest BTL agency around (for that matter the largest marketing and communication agency around – definitely the fastest growing). Adwords – the big revenue churner – is but a classic example of filtered audience {filtered by way of what you are looking for and where are you looking for the service }, served relevant and customized messages {geographic and content-specific} to initiate action {click thru} and the model is entirely ROI driven. The spillage of message on irrelevant audience or geography is no longer a concern.

Adwords revenues for Google (and hence spends which have moved away from the traditional advertisement pie) and the fast adaptation to the model by advertisers at enterprise level as well as SMBs is an indication of things to come.

While the agency business model is not going to be dependent on the final “sale” the closer the model can come to the sale the more future ready the model is.