Originally published on Revenuebuilderblog by Alan MacDougall.

Marketing automation is an extremely valuable tool in your marketing arsenal – even if you are unsure as to how you can use it to its full potential, the chances are that you are already using it in some way in your business already. The aim of this post is to explain why and how marketing automation can help your below-the-line (BTL) and through-the-line (TTL) marketing campaigns.

“BTL marketing is the type of marketing that is both targeted and response driven.”

“TTL marketing is the type of marketing that uses widespread, brand-building advertising alongside targeted, response driven marketing elements.”

How does marketing automation fit into the BTL/TTL framework? 

The clue is in the fact that – as you can see – both types of marketing have the targeted, response driven element in common and this is what marketing automation is designed to handle:

“Marketing automation excels in targeting and in generating direct response, therefore it is incredibly useful for both BTL and TTL marketing campaigns.”

We will take a look at this in greater detail below, although I would like to discuss Above-the-Line (ATL) marketing and marketing automation briefly.

A note on ATL marketing and marketing automation

The ‘fit’ between Above-the-line advertising and marketing automation is not as clean as it is with BTL or TTL marketing. Firstly, there is no direct response element attached to ATL marketing and there is generally much less targeting, which immediately removes 2 of the major benefits associated with marketing automation.

And, although the ‘Lines’ are blurring more and more these days, the traditional distinction of ATL marketing is that it involves print, radio, TV, outdoor and cinema advertising – none of which are really possible with marketing automation (at least in the terms we are going to discuss below).


“Marketing automation is not well suited to ATL only campaigns. However, it excels greatly in BTL or TTL campaigns.”

Of course, there are cases in which marketing automation can be used for ATL promotion, it’s just that the major benefits are not attached. One such example is that you could set one brand-building video ad to be shown across the entire nation on sites such as Youtube and others on the Display Network (almost indiscriminately – no targeting, set to ‘all visitors’) , although the ‘automation’ would only really be for scheduling and price/bid management.

3 ways in which marketing automation helps with BTL and TTL marketing activities

Here's a few other ideas - click to enlarge.
Here’s a few other ideas – click to enlarge (source)

1) Email marketing

We all use this one, although maybe not as efficiently as marketing automation would allow. Specifically, I’m thinking about well crafted autoresponder and lead nurturing campaigns, designed to warm cold leads up into hot prospects.

Sending email newsletter blasts to your list is great and encouraged, although autoresponders and lead nurturing processes take it one step further (at least).

This is important to BTL/TTL campaigns because the objective of both is to convert a lead into a customer. Marketing automation – through autoresponders and lead nurturing – does this perfectly.

2) Lead scoring

Marketing automation systems can also help you to identify which leads are your ‘hottest’ and which need to be warmed up a bit more. You could obviously do this yourself, although when your list gets to be of a certain size this becomes impractical and very difficult to manage properly.

However, good marketing automation systems take care of it all in the background, letting you know which of your leads are the most well engaged at any particular time.

This is obviously important to BTL/TTL campaigns because you want to know – at a glance – which leads from your campaigns stand the best chance of being converted now. Time is of the essence when it comes to converting leads generated online:

“Leads contacted within the hour are 7 times more likely to be converted than if you wait 24 hours.”

3) List management

Related to both points above, marketing automation systems can help you to manage your lists efficiently. I’m thinking along the lines of managing leads according to how they interact with your website and the content you send them . For example, some systems can manage your leads and move them in and out of lists according to:

  • The pages they visit on your website
  • The emails they do – or do not – open
  • The links they do – or do not – click
  • The e-Books they download

Knowing how your leads are interacting with your content is extremely valuable because it helps you to fine-tune your BTL/TTL campaigns so that they are delivering exactly the type of content that your leads are interested in. Of course, that results in higher conversions, which is what these campaigns are designed for.

To recap in one point 

The above points are clearly very important if BTL or TTL campaigns are to be successful. Put simply, this can be summised as:

“BTL and TTL campaigns have to be extremely accurate if they are to be successful – the combination of automated email marketing, lead scoring and list management offered through marketing automation makes this achievable.”