BTL Baatein: Vandana Verma, Leo Burnett… Powered by VISCOMM

30 Sep,2015

Vandana Verma has worked with leading organisations in the two decades that she has worked in the marketing services sector. Teamwork Films, TIC Integrated Marketing Services, Big Live, Ogilvy & Mather where she headed North at Ogilvy Action Live, Mudra Max (VP and Country Head, Mudra Celsius) and since 2012 as with Leo Burnett where she is now Executive Vice President and Head of Experience. In this edition of BTL Baatein, Vandana Verma speaks on how experiential is the oxygen brands need to survive in the marketplace, and more…

What is the importance of BTL in the world of advertising and promotions?

Experiential is the oxygen brands need to survive in the marketplace. While mainstream advertising works as an announcement platform for most brands, experiential initiatives help brands cover the last mile and trigger purchase decisions.


What would you say is that the importance marketers given to BTL activity in their overall marketing plan?

Marketers today understand the need for Experiential. They do realise that experiential solutions is the only way to deliver communication that is targeted at a specific kind of audience. It gives marketers a chance to tailor their message in a more personalised way and establish a stronger connect with consumers.


ROI measurement on traditional platforms is fraught with issues, but not in the case of Experiential. Tracking down campaign performance in an accurate manner is easier and less complicated in Experiential and that’s a huge plus. Marketers are increasingly becoming fans of Experiential. No wonder we are seeing so many agencies enter this space.


In Experiential, one can gather feedback easily and take corrective actions immediately in case of any crisis.  Something mainstream advertising can never achieve.


Are there certain types of marketers who have a greater affinity for BTL? (eg FMCG, durables, auto, etc)


My answer would be NO. The average spends on experiential across brands is about 35-40%, which has risen from 15% three years ago. Activations are most commonly used for sales promotions, branding, launches, channel partner appeasement, channel expansion and lead generation. There are different objectives for different activities. These requirements would remain across categories of marketers.


Typically what is the break-up of spends….ATL v/s BTL?


35-40% BTL, balance ATL and Digital.


Can you also specify the range of activities that you propose to undertake as part of the below-the-line advertising and promotion for your clients?


Leo Burnett Experience is a specialist unit that offers holistic experiential solutions to clients including activation, events and exhibitions and rural marketing across metros and 5,000 small towns and cities. We function in an integrated manner by collaborating with a multi-disciplinary team of strategists and creators.


In terms of generating results esp from consumers and in B2B, do you find BTL a more sureshot avenue than ATL?

Strategy driven experiential solutions have always guaranteed results for our clients. Going forward we will explore new ways of solving business problems for our clients.


While sales and salience are good indicators of its success, what are the attributes you/your clients look at to measure the success of a BTL campaign?


ROI is an obvious measure and every client would use that as a measurement tool, but what clients also look at is the quality of engagement your idea brings to the table. Experiential also seamlessly enables integration across all other media. Most agencies struggle in this regard as they lack the skillsets and the capabilities to enable real integration. Integration of specialists to solve a single brand problem. That’s what makes us unique.


There are many organisations who often do new launches almost entirely on BTL aided with an outdoor and/or digital blitz? Your view on this. Given rising media costs, do you see BTL managing on its own, without ATL?


We are still at an early stage where clients do not truly understand the role of BTL in growing their business. Most still treat it as just one part of the media mix. However, we at Leo Burnett, are blessed with some clients like Bajaj Auto, Mc Donalds, ITC foods, Coke etc., whom we have partnered in their journey building where BTL plays a substantial role.


I don’t think any major brand entirely depends experiential to achieve what it wants to in the marketplace. Integration is key.


Do you have a view on BTL? Would you like to engage in a conversation on BTL marketing and promotions? Write to us at with BTL Baatein in the subject line


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