Authors note: This is a translation of the new entry I just posted on Mekate.com
It’s funny you know? It is said that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, yet it is precisely a line which has created the longest distance between what brands want to do to communicate with consumers and what these want to see and experiment from brands.
I mean, after working for 14 years in the advertising and communication industry and having worked with traditional advertising, direct marketing, promotions, interactive marketing; above the line, below the line, through the line, on its side and even in the middle of it, I have never found someone who could tell me who was the arrogant genius who decided that communication could be divided and even classified in to above and below.
I can almost imagine a character worthy of the biggest villain in a James Bond movie, Siamese cat on lap and all, locked behind the crystals of the highest floor in his corporate tower, which event though has hosted his throne for years, now has been transformed into his very own cell.
Why? Let me elaborate. According to the ATL/BTL division, a medium is considered above the line when it has a massive reach and below the line when it establishes a one on one contact with consumers, right?
Then what happens when we have a platform like the Internet where we can reach 27.4 million people in Mexico alone and 1.172 billion worldwide? Should we consider it Above the Line then? But what about its ability of helping us reach those 27.4 mm users on a one to one basis? Should we then call it Below the Line?
And what about all the other marketing communication disciplines like P.R, Shopper Marketing or Direct Marketing with which we can also reach millions of people with one single campaign? (Just ask the postal service who their biggest clients are, I’m sure you’ll find some big brands among them).
You see, from my personal and professional perspective, the strategies, tactics, actions and even media cannot be divided into above or below the line anymore, in fact they never should have! The efforts that a very few people are still doing to keep this kind of division alive so they can still try to keep the thinning budgets on their hands are facing and big and inevitable change.
Today any marketing communications professional, be it a strategic planner, media planners, marketing director, brand manager, creative director, copy writers on an accoutn executive, must understand that fortunately for our industry, our client’s and specially for consumers, there are very diverse disciplines and media that allow us to connect with consumers in many different ways, thus letting brands acomplish their ever growing objectives while making themselves available for consumers whenever, wherever and however they want to contact us.
So put this into practice: erase the line once and for all and stop preaching that you do “integrated campaigns” and really start doing so. Do this and I’m sure you’ll have loyal customers for a long time.