Strategic Marketing: The Importance of Integrated Planning

Strategic Marketing: The Importance of Integrated Planning: Many think that Facebook Ads and Google AdWords are the panaceas and that strategic marketing starts and ends in a sales funnel, but it is not.

In recent years, concepts have passed that have contributed to distorting reality and have led some professionals and individual entrepreneurs to think that everything could solve with a well-designed funnel and a (paltry) investment in direct advertising on Facebook or AdWords.

Nothing could be more wrong!

In traditional marketing, two fundamental concepts have developed related to the communication channels that activate with the customer and how they are exploited by companies to achieve their goals: this is the concept of Above the line (ABL) and below the line (BTL). To these must be added a more modern idea, which lies precisely in the middle between the two, that of through the line (TTL).

The difference between Above The Line and Below The Line

With the expression Above The Line (above the line) we mean a whole series of communication activities that aim to increase the notoriety and the consideration of the brand or product (brand awareness) having as objective the broadest possible audience.

A typical example of ATL is television advertising. However, this classification includes all those activities that allow a wide diffusion of the message and the possibility of reaching a defined but quite a heterogeneous market segment.

The activities that can be considered Above The Line are:

  • Television advertising; internet advertising (social media and display circuits);
  • Print advertising (traditional or digital);
  • Static and dynamic outdoor advertising;
  • Sponsorship of national and international events;
  • PR (conventional or digital).

The main objectives of a strategy that adopts ATL tools could be:

  • Reach a new market;
  • Build or strengthen your brand;
  • Inform the public;
  • Stimulate needs;
  • Attracting potential customers.

The Below The Line marketing, on the other hand, brings together activities that have nothing to do with brand awareness, but rather with the sale of goods and services and therefore with what is called an economic conversion.

What are the main tools of Below The Line marketing?

Among the BTL tools, we can include all those that allow you to communicate with an audience that has somehow shown interest in your brand, a specific product or that of a competitor within the same sector of your company. So, we have:

  • Direct marketing (SMS, newsletter, chatbot, WhatsApp, etc.
  • PPC advertising on search circuits;
  • Remarketing;
  • Digital Marketing automation;
  • In-store marketing and visual merchandising.

Therefore, among the objectives of a BTL strategy we can include:

  • The sale of products or services;
  • The acquisition of new customers;
  • The stimulus of word of mouth;
  • Acquiring new affiliate;
  • The consolidation of its position in the market;
  • The loyalty of the acquired customers.

BTL activities have higher conversion rates than the more easily measurable ATL and ROI. However, we must take into consideration the fact that the Above The Line activities, although slower to bring quantifiable results in terms of profitability, contribute more to creating a link between the customer and the brand and therefore are more stimulating for Retention.

The new strategic frontier: Marketing Through The Line

Keeping the two strategic areas separate (the one above and the one below the line) can be counterproductive in terms of overall business performance. For this reason, it is advisable to use integrated strategies that take into account a combination of the two areas, to obtain the best possible result.

It is a matter of wisely balancing activities related to the consolidation of brand identity and events connected to the implementation of conversions.

Within the definition of Digital Marketing strategies, it is quite simple to plan activities that can easily cross the line and allow more excellent performance than using only traditional channels. The journey of the consumer (the customer journey) is carefully analyzed, and all the activities are inserted there where needed, based on the step in which the customer is (awareness, consideration, convention, retention or advocacy). However, the marketing objectives cannot be exclusively linked to conversions, just as they cannot relate only to the growth and positioning of the brand.

Today marketing funnels have become paths aimed only at direct sales, and BTL strategies have become hypertrophic, cannibalizing every other activity in the name of conversion at any cost.

But marketing is the construction of value for the consumer, not just for the company.

The advantages linked to TTL planning connected to the very nature of digital media that allow a more refined analysis of the results and a better review of the strategies themselves. The latter is a fundamental step to be able to optimize performance and avoid dispersion of the budget in low-impact activities with results that are not adequate to expectations. Author Bio: Claudia graduated from the college of Melbourne, and after that, she started working with a company called Reinstated Pros who do a consultation on how to reinstate amazon account. In the meantime, she manages her blog because Claudia loves to travel around the world.

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