BTL Baatein: Mandeep Malhotra, The Social Street… Powered by VISCOMM

09 Oct,2015

Known as one of the best brains in outdoor and experiential advertising and marketing in India, Mandeep Malhotra is co-founder and CEO of The Social Street. With a Masters in Business Advertising from Australia, Malhotra has over 15 years of professional experience in outdoor media. Prior to his stint as President, DDB Mudra and Head of MudraMax, he has worked with Ogilvy & Mather, Rediffusion DY&R and Bates India amongst others.


In this edition of BTL Baatein, Mandeep Malhotra on the important role BTL plays in helping being in touch with prospects on the ground in the process of brand-building.


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

There is no such thing as BTL. These definitions are outdated, but for the purpose of larger audience I will answer:

a. Technology might be bridging gaps between brands, but people-to-people engagement is the biggest generator of word-of-mouth publicity.

b. Marketers need to generate experiences in whatever medium chosen. Print/ TV/ Radio/ Digital/ social/ OOH/ Promotions/ Events all coexist and complement each other. Some case studies prove multiple effective touchpoints deliver x multiplier then two medias in silos.


What would you say is that the importance marketers given to BTL activity in their overall marketing plan? Is it getting its due?

FMCG brands have been giving importance for experiential marketing for sure. The other categories are already working their marketing plans to ensure accommodating most of them. Some wake up late, some wake up early đŸ™‚


Would you say that there are certain types of marketers who have a greater affinity for BTL? (e.g. FMCG, durables, auto, etc.)

Absolutely. Till you donĂ¢â‚¬â„¢t get the consumer to experience or educate them, monologue mediums cant beyond a point deliver sale. Some brands have understood really early in the cycle of building brands that you have to be in touch with prospects on ground. The journey from mind-heart-wallet is well experienced one on one.


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

ATL still gets the major chunk. It would be fair to say 7-10% budgets go into generating experiences, split between events, promotions and sampling.


In terms of generating results especially from consumers and in B2B, do you find BTL a surer shot avenue than ATL?

Where you have a concentrated audience, one to many (focused) formats work the best. The audience usually has the hint of what is coming their way, therefore concentration levels are higher.


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?

Most of our clients measure success rate by conversions/ impressions or leads generated on promotions campaign. For large events, you usually get feedback from word-of-mouth instantaneously.


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?

There are no lines but yes the best way of geotargeting specially when in a large country like India, distribution takes its own sweet time. BTL works most effective. We do campaigns for clients which link BTL to OOH as gratification. Recently, a great campaign was done for one such client. The proof of the pudding lies in the prospective consumer becoming the brand ambassador for the campaign itself.


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