Difference Between ATL and BLT Marketing Techniques (With Table)

Marketing has proven to be a successful means of differentiating one’s product from others, helping the company or service provider to increase the value of their product in the eyes of their target audience. The positive effects of marketing include breaking barriers, improving the supply-demand chain etc. A side back of marketing is that the customers can be very unpredictable, their preferences might keep on changing which makes it difficult to set proper financial targets for the company or service provider.

There are 3 main types of marketing. ATL stands for, Above the line, BTL stands for, Below the line and TTL stands for Through the line.  In these full forms “the line” is something that separates direct target campaigns from general and widespread aimed ones. We see “the line” slowly disappearing now with the widespread use of platforms that are widely accessible to the public.


The main difference between ATL and BTL is that ATL applies for mass promotion, i.e., it is for a large audience at the same time and for the same thing whereas for BTL the audience is targeted to individuals or an extremely small group of individuals for a particular product of a company in the market. Even though both the marketing techniques have an effect on consumer purchasing decisions, the strategies followed are quite varied in effect and so the companies have to decide which form of communication will be the most suitable form depending on their targets.  

ATL stands for Above The Line marketing. This term was coined in 1954 after Proctor and Gamble started paying advertising firms separately and were paying them different rates than other suppliers who dealt with direct promotional aspects of their company. It plays a major role in promoting and popularising companies along with the work and services provided by them. This form of marketing plays a huge role in increasing the company equity highly.

BTL stands for Below The Line marketing. This term was also coined in the same year as ATL, that is in 1954. It was the 2nd type of marketing done by Proctor and Gamble with their suppliers and advertisers. BTL marketing plays a huge role in increasing the sales matric of the company products or services provided. It is aimed only at individuals who are considered to be the ‘Targeted Customers’ of something.

Comparison Table Between ATL and BTL

Parameters of Comparison ATL BTL
People targeted for the marketingATL marketing is targeted at mass audiencesBTL marketing technique is aimed at individuals
Aim of the type of marketingATL is done to establish a brand name in the market.BTL is done to secure sales from the consumers in the market
Rate of success of the type of marketingSuccess for ATL marketing is difficult to measureSuccess for BTL marketing is easier to measure as there are direct response rates received.
Who has more control over marketing?The external marketing agencies have more control over what to do, why and how.The business itself has more control over the product, audience and promotion techniques as well as the know-how
Finances needed for both the marketing typesATL marketing is costly because businesses need to hire external marketing agencies to do some jobs for them.BTL marketing is comparatively cheaper as the marketing team of any particular firm/business can do

What is ATL?

The Telecom sector is a huge part of Above The Line (ATL) marketing, vice – versa ATL plays an important role in promoting telecommunication. It is mainly concentrated on 3 things – increasing brand awareness, reaching a large group of people who are ideally future customers and hyping up the brand equity. Some advantages of ATL marketing are that it allows for a wide reach, better connection with audiences and effective brand building. ATL can be done on mediums like Radio, Television, Magazines, Newspapers etc. The Sine Qua Non for ATL is reach, frequency and brand upliftment

What is BTL?

BTL marketing is mainly done by outdoor marketing like banners, billboards, posters etc, or by sending E-mails, texts or calling the targeted audiences. It mainly focuses on conversions, generating new leads, getting new and more regular customers and increasing sales. The two main advantages of BTL marketing include specificity which makes advertisements memorable for targeted customers and it secures better return in investments. The Sine Qua Non for BTL is ROI, cost per lead and New customers acquisition.

Main Differences Between ATL and BTL

  1. BTL marketing is based on ratings that are received by the viewers whereas ATL marketing is based on increasing branding.
  2.  ATL marketing focusses on increasing the reach of the company to the market and eventually the consumers. BTL marketing focuses on Return on Investment (ROI) for the companies.
  3. ATL marketing concentrates on the frequency it has created of the company amongst the consumers, sellers and retailers for a company. BTL marketing concentrates on the cost per lead, which is an online advertising pricing model.
  4. ATL marketing focuses on brand upliftment. It wishes to create a name for the brand, company or service provider. BTL marketing focuses on pushing sales and getting new customers for products being sold or services being provided.
  5. A lot of ATL marketing is done online or through virtual platforms that have large scale attention dedicated towards them. BTL marketing is mostly done on ground or in various physical forms for promotion.


ATL and BTL are both extremely popular marketing techniques all over the world. ATL is usually used for start-ups and similar companies/service providers and BTL is usually used after companies have established a name in the market for themselves. Thus both of these are interconnected but still very different.


  1. https://www.business2community.com/marketing/everything-need-know-atl-btl-ttl-advertising-01902793
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/174578660301500102
  3. https://www.proquest.com/openview/90c3a8c7ad8588cb9debfcfa077bcf93/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=2044944 http://dspace.bracu.ac.bd/xmlui/handle/10361/4323