What is below the line marketing?

Companies are always on the lookout for new strategies to gain competitive advantage over their rivals and stay ahead in the rat race. An advertising campaign requires stringent planning and effective methods of execution because one small, bad publicity and the company will ‘go to the docks’. Companies need new strategies and methods so they can be spotted from the milieu. However, to make a business strategy effective, the channels of expression must also be good enough. There are basically two types of advertising techniques known as ‘above the line marketing’ and ‘below the line marketing’. Let us examine what below the line marketing is.

Below the line marketing

This includes trade shows, catalogs and direct mail campaigns. The beauty of this kind of advertising is that it is highly focused and inexpensive, when you consider the other popular forms of advertising like radio, television and the internet. The main aim of below the line advertising is that you aim to reach a particular segment of audience, in television, however, the story is entirely different unless it is on a niche channel like the kids channels, travel channels and so on. If you send out flyers or brochures for instance, it would reach the intended target, so there is no wastage. This kind of marketing is sometimes centered on specific locations, where only people of that area would see them. Sometimes notices are put up in the local stores in a community to attract the interest of the people living in just that area; this kind of advertising really works to bring in the desired result.

Apart from brochures and flyers, these are also common below the line methods:

  • Sales promotions
  • Direct marketing
  • Sponsorship
  • Personal Selling
  • Public relations

If the idea is to generate information about your brand, then this method would really work, because it reaches only those clearly defined consumer groups. Apart from the regular below the line methods, you can join a kind of partnership with other companies with the common goal of generating awareness. A joint effort is sure to attract the attention of several people. For example, if you run an electronics goods company in a community, you could join hands with an organization that supports clean, green environment. Through social cohesion, you can inspire people to buy green products, such as yours and highlight the environmental issues of not following the green method.


Sponsorship is another ingenious method of capturing the attention of the people you are intending to target. Where there is a relationship that is positive and comfortable for both parties (the sponsor and the sponsored), there would be profit. You can choose to sponsor a sports game, any game that is increasingly popular in a particular area/country. Sponsorship would help build brand awareness and create consumer engagement.

Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail marketing still works strongly to generate interest among the target segment, if done in the proper way. Many consumers and marketers may perceive direct mail to be an old-fashioned tactic, but it surely works. If used sensibly, it would produce results that were not possible with other marketing tactics. This is because direct mail is an active form of advertising and when a catalog appears in the mailbox of an interested targeted customer, it would certainly not go waste. Provided there is a stunning message and realistic images, nothing beats the power of direct mail marketing. Websites and emails are all secondary when compared to this. To chart the cost of this below the line marketing method, you need to have a clear idea about the reach and wide of your direct mail campaign.

Email marketing

Email marketing is a form of below the line marketing and is usually done by an expert who concentrates on online marketing techniques. Though, like direct marketing, you are communicating directly with the target segment, you need to concentrate more on having a landing page that converts. Attractive content in the email is what that would generate interest in the consumer when they see an email for the first time, and preparing such content requires talent and experience. Email marketing is inexpensive, but when your target segment is spread far and wide, this mode of marketing technique is highly effective.

Door-to-Door Marketing

Marketing takes on a personal level when it is on a door-to-door level. This is also a common form of advertising that can be done successfully only if there is a highly trained marketing staff in your team. The function of this team would be to build customer trust among the intended target segment because there a thin fine line between being persistent and being annoying. Too much persistence would get you thrown out because it becomes annoying. Insurance policies are sometimes sold through door-to-door marketing because the agent walks in (of course, after an appointment), talks about the policies and plans offered by his company and tries to make a sale.


A company can develop a long term relationship with its customers by being creative and service driven. In phase of changing customer interest, below the line marketing would be more efficient in generating interest because it is possible to reach them more successfully. Apart from the above mentioned methods, you can create stunning graphics and well-worded content to bring out your pamphlets, stickers, handbills, brochures and promotions. As you can tailor the message, you can modify it to reach different targeted segments. Place the messages at strategic point of sale places and you are likely to get huge returns from it.

Interesting links about the topic:
Difference between ‘above the line’ and ‘below the line’ marketing
Below line advertising

Pictures: Flickr.com/ Verrall/ Tendenci

The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.

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