The Versatility of Advertising: Types of Advertising and Promotional Channels


Since 1869, advertising agencies have performed successful advertising campaigns spreading the word about your products and services, attract customers and generate sales at often-discounted rates. Believe it or not, advertising has the power to create an impact on people’s minds more than the product itself. Among all the ad noise that is created while watching your favorite TV programmes, the creative ones grab and maintain the viewer’s, reader’s or listener’s attention. The rest is just noise which most people will avoid or ignore.

Your target audience will tell you the most suitable advertising option in a cost-effective way. The type of advertising you use to promote your product should reflect it in the right environment. Below are the various types of advertising and promotional channels you could choose from:

But, before that, let’s list out the different types of advertising and promotional channels, there are three categories every advertising and promotional channel falls under, which are:

Above the line advertising:

Above The Line (ATL) advertising is where mass media is used to promote brands and reach out to the audience. These include conventional media like television and radio advertising, print as well as the internet.  ATL is generally used for a broader reach and usually untargeted to the audience. ATL advertising tries to reach out to the mass as a consumer audience and the sole purpose of ATL advertising is building brand awareness and goodwill.

Above the Line Advertising Channels

Broadcast Media

Television and radio are two traditional broadcast media long used in advertising. The TV offers creative opportunities, a dynamic message, and broad audience reach. It is typically the most expensive medium to advertise through, though. Because local affiliated stations usually serve a wide local audience, you also have to deal with waste when trying to target a small town marketplace. TV watchers typically have a negative attitude toward commercials, and many have DVRs at their fingertips. Unless your ad is like the Super Bowl ad, no one is bound to look at yours. Radio and TV both have brief messages, meaning they disappear once the commercial spot ends. Radio is relatively affordable for small businesses and allows for repetition and frequency. You don’t have the visual element of TV, and you have to deal with a distracted audience since most listeners are driving. A mass-market form of communication including television and radio, broadcast advertising has, until recently, been the most dominant way to reach a large number of consumers.

Print Media

Print may take a back seat to the many digital forms of advertising now available to marketers. However, if there is one thing that’s certain about advertising, it’s that being different is good. And when consumers tire of digital ads, a return to printed pieces and the tactile feeling and permanence they provide is definitely in the cards. Typically, print can be split into three subcategories:

  • Periodical Advertising: If it’s in a magazine, a newspaper, or anything else that comes out at regular intervals, then it’s periodical advertising (aka a print ad). For decades, print ads were the gold standard for advertisers and their clients. To grab the center spread of a big magazine or the back cover of a newspaper meant millions of people saw the message.
  • Brochures, Leaflets, Flyers, Handouts, and Point-of-Sale Advertising: Although some of these media can be placed within the pages of newspapers and magazines, they are treated as a separate entity, usually because they have less chance of being seen. From something that sits on a counter or customer service desk to a glossy car brochure, small print media offer a more intimate and long-form way of engaging the consumer. Use this approach when you have more information than you can cram into a print ad.
Outdoor Advertising/Support Media/OOH

Also known as out-of-home (OOH) advertising, this is a broad term that describes any type of advertising that reaches consumers when they are away from home. Think of billboards, advertising posters, walls, bus and rail media, street furniture, specialty signage, digital, mobile billboards, sports media and more even those big digital boards in high traffic areas, all of which offer their own unique impact. All of these are known as Outdoor Advertising forms or support media. Support media include several options for message delivery than normally add to or expand campaigns delivered through more traditional media. Each has pros and cons, but collectively, they offer ways to reach a wider audience in a local or regional market or to increase the frequency of message exposure to targeted market segments.

Below the line advertising:

Below the line (BTL)  advertising is more one to one and involves the distribution of pamphlets, handbills, stickers, promotions, brochures placed at the point of sale, on the roads through banners and placards. It could also involve product demos and samplings at busy places like malls and market places or residential complexes. For certain markets, like rural markets where the reach of mass media like print or television is limited, BTL marketing with direct consumer outreach programmes make the most sense.

Below The Line Advertising Channels

Direct Marketing

Direct marketing is an interactive approach to advertising that has picked up in usage in the early 21st century. It includes direct mail, email, and telemarketing. These are direct response efforts to create an ongoing dialogue or interaction with customers. Weekly or monthly email newsletters, for instance, allow you to keep your brand, products and other messages in front of prospects and customers. Telemarketing is a way to survey customers and offer new products, upgrades or renewals. Direct mail is the most common format of direct marketing where you send mailers or postcards to targeted customers promoting products, deals or promotions. Direct marketing has become more prominent because it allows for ease in tracking customer response rates and helps advertisers better measure return on investment. Either of the ATL techniques mentioned above can be incorporated into direct mail. It merely means that your printed pieces are mailed directly to the consumer. This is a technique that has been and continues to be, abused by inferior marketing agencies that have turned the craft into junk mail. If it is creative and intelligently conceived and executed, direct mail can be a fantastic way to engage the customer. Do not count it out.

Product Placement/Media Placement

Product placement is where you offer compensation to a TV show, movie, video game or theme park to use your product while entertaining audiences. You could pay a TV show, for instance, to depict your product being used and discussed positively in a particular scene. This ad method is a way for companies to integrate ads with entertainment rather than as an explicit advertisement since customers have found ways to avoid messages delivered through more conventional media. If you have ever seen a movie and wondered, “Wow, they sure are riding a lot of Royal Enfields in this scene,” or “Does everyone in this TV show drink Coca Cola or use only Lakme’s facewash?” then you are noticing product placement. It’s a way that these films and shows get funding, and is an excellent way for advertisers to reach a targeted demographic.

Through the line advertising:

Through The Line Marketing, abbreviated as TTL is an integrated approach, where a company would use both BTL and ATL marketing methods to reach their target audience and generate conversions. Let’s say a chocolate company could launch a nationwide Youtube campaign that would show different video ads to different target audience based on the demographics, featuring a promotional code for a discount on purchases made at a special occasion. As you can see, this is a combination of both of the other forms – ATL in terms of its broad reach, BTL in terms of its targeted nature and conversion focus.

Through the Line Advertising Channels

Digital Marketing

Being on the internet can be a cost-effective way to attract new customers. You can reach a global audience at a low cost. Many customers research businesses online before deciding whom to buy from. A well-designed website can entice customers to buy from you. There are many ways you can promote your business online via paid advertising or improve your search engine rankings. The other way goes here: If you see an advertisement via the internet, then it is classified as online advertising. More or less, there are ads on this very page, and most other websites you visit, as they are the primary revenue driver for the internet. Another avenue of online advertising is native advertising, which is the digital variation of the old print advertorials and sponsored content. There are many digital marketing strategies including placing ads on popular websites and social media sites.

Where these were the different types of advertising and promoting channels, Media Buying is known the buying of advertisement space from a company operating media properties. Media Buying can guarantee you a higher rate of success if it is planned properly. Choosing which media or type of advertising to use is sometimes tricky for small firms with limited budgets and know-how. Large-market television and newspapers are often too expensive for a company that services only a small area. This is where the importance of Media Planning comes into consideration. The process of combining the exact media vehicles to be used for advertising to garner profitable results is known as Media Planning.

We combine the best of branding and advertising for your product or service and communicate your brand values and provide the best of media buying and media planning services for you.

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I'm a writer and I do not simply pen down my thoughts. Rather, I'm someone who puts down the entire conversation between my inner mind and me. I make sure that my mind is jaded and tired but happy when I'm done for the day.

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