Worldwide trends indicate that marketing efforts are shifting away from above the line. Below the line uses less conventional and more direct methods than regular advertising to promote products and services. Think direct mail, e-mail, public relations and promotions. These targeted marketing campaigns offer consumers the ability to respond and allow marketers to track the success of their efforts with little difficulty which is great for marketers who are under pressure to deliver. Below the line initiatives are more successful because they are customer-centric. Consumers have become more demanding and are responding better to messages that are more engaging and personal, that allow for two-way communication and interaction with the marketer.
“Marketers need to focus more and more on below the line tactics that are appropriate for the specific target market,”says Aviva Marock, MD of Pump Brand Ideas, who cites a recent Nedbank campaign as an example. “When the bank launched its new small business offering we proposed that it turn its branches into spaces that resembled small businesses. The bank agreed, and we settled on the florist concept. We turned each branch into a florist, complete with buckets of colourful flowers on display stands. One branch had more than 200 of them. The point of sale tied in with the theme, and there were posters advertising the campaign too.” Marock says the campaign worked because it was high-impact and different. “People simply don’t expect to see rows and rows of flowers when they enter a bank. Customers often enjoy the unexpected.”
However, she cautions, your campaign must always be relevant to the product or service you are marketing. “In this case, the florist concept worked really well because it tied in directly with the bank’s small business products and services. If there is no correlation between your ‘gimmick’ and your message, the campaign will fail.” Marock says Sony’s PlayStation Platinum range was another case in point in 2006.
The Platinum range for PSP is a collection of highly acclaimed and best-selling PSP titles that have been successful all over the world and are really well priced as a result. But South Africans saw it as knock-off stock and didn’t want to buy the games. “We developed a new payoff line and changed the point of sale to ensure the product does not look like it’s been discounted. The range is now being sold in spaces that work well and we have ensured that it is presented consistently wherever it is sold. All stores are now merchandising it in exactly the same way.” None of this is revolutionary says Marock, it’s just about finding ways to appeal directly to consumers so that you can make a product work.
“It’s almost impossible to name specific trends in below the line; what is really important is the fact that we are living in a world of heightened consumer awareness – targeted, customer-centric communications will be what delivers measurable results and concrete return on investment.” For more information, call +27 11 361 2200or visit www.pumpsa.com