A campaign can be loosely categorized as “above the line” and “below the line”. Promotional activities carried out through mass media such as television, radio, newspapers, etc. are overwhelming.
The terms “below the line” promotion or communication refers to forms of non-media communication, even non-media advertising. Below the line campaigns are becoming increasingly important in the communication mix of many companies, not only for fmcg products but also for industrial products.
Some of the ways in which companies do BTL (below the line) promotions are exhibitions, sponsorship, PR and promotional campaigns such as giving away goods, trade discounts given to retailers and customers, reduced price offers on products and giving coupons, can be redeemed later, etc.
BELOW THE LINE SALES PROMISE
Below the line, sales promotion campaigns are short-term, largely consumer-oriented incentives. As the marketing team grows under pressure to achieve communication goals more efficiently with a limited budget, there has been a need to find more efficient and cost-effective ways to communicate with the target market. This has led to a shift away from standard media-based advertising.
Hugh Davidson’s definition of below-the-line promotion:
“An immediate or delayed incentive to purchase, expressed in cash or in kind, and of only a short or temporary duration”.
Methods below for sales promotion
1. Price offers
Price promotions are also commonly known as “price reductions”. These can be done in two ways:
(1) Discount from the product’s normal selling price or
(2) More product at regular price.
However, price promotions can also have a negative impact by spoiling the brand’s reputation or just a temporary boost in sales (during sales) followed by a lull when the sale is cancelled.
Coupons are another, very versatile way to offer discounts. Consider the following examples of using coupons:
– In packaging to encourage repeat purchase
– In coupon books sent in newspapers, where customers can redeem the coupon from the retailer
– Clipped coupon as part of an ad
– On the back of the receipt
The main goal of the coupon campaign is to maximize the redemption rate – this is the proportion of customers who actually use the coupon.
When using company coupons, ensure that merchants have sufficient stock to avoid customer disappointment.
Using coupon promotions is often best for new products or perhaps to encourage slowing sales of existing products.
3. Gift with purchase
“Gift with purchase” is a very common promotional technique. In this system, the customer gets something extra in addition to the normal item purchased. It works best
– Subscription-based products (e.g. magazines)
– consumer goods (e.g. perfumes)
4. Competitions and prizes
This is an important tool for increasing brand awareness among the target consumer. It can be used to increase sales temporarily and ensure usage among first-timers.
Here, the customer receives a refund after submitting the proof of purchase to the manufacturer.
Customers are often suspicious of these systems – especially if the way to get a refund seems unusual or cumbersome.
6. Regular user / loyalty incentives
Repeat purchases can be encouraged by frequent user incentives. Perhaps the best examples of this are the many loyalty or user systems used by airlines, train companies, car rental companies, etc.
7. Point of sale displays
The shopping habits of people living in metropolitan cities are changing. People prefer big retail outlets like Big Bazaar over local kirana stores. Most of the purchasing decisions are made with the help of sales points in these retail outlets.
SOME GREAT EXAMPLES OF BTL PROMOTION
Most of the big brands are following BTL promotion because the prices of media-based promotion are increasing, advertising clutter has increased and impulse buying is increasing.
Some interesting examples are:
Most educational institutions, such as career starter, Time and PT, organize informative workshops and free tests for students, which provide a direct interaction of these institutions with the target customer and thus a suitable platform for selling themselves.
Ringtones and music videos on mobile phones help the entertainment industry to promote a music video or movie dirt cheap compared to media promotion.
Several companies sponsor sporting events to promote their brand, but today media companies like Hindustan Times organize weekly events across the country where companies can set up stalls, display banners and posters and organize fun activities. These events give companies a platform at a very low cost to promote their brand and increase visibility among target consumers. These companies also give out discount coupons to the winners of the games, which in turn increases the sales of the products and ensures that first timers also try these products.
Pepsi organized an inter-school cricket event for 425 schools in 14 cities, which did wonders for the company by promoting the brand among the right target customers almost for free.
Most pharmacy companies do BTL promotion by acquiring shelf space through doctors to display their products, or again by distributing free calcium tablets through doctors, knowing that for the patient, the doctor’s personal advice would be more valuable compared to a commercial advertisement. .
Another interesting BTL promotion was by NIKE, an athlete dressed in Nike sportswear was seen jogging on an elevated treadmill all day on National Highway 8, Delhi.
BTL promotions are now becoming more common among all large companies, considering their effectiveness due to “individual customer promotions” at a price much lower than standard media promotions.