Walk The Line

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A historical perspective on how the balance of power in marketing has shifted away from the traditional advertising agencies to embrace a much more holistic and down-to-earth approach that is championed by customer relationship marketing and a non-traditional approach

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Walk The Line

  1. 1. The History of ‘Above the line’ vs. ‘Below the line ’ (not that it matters in the current marketplace, except as a frame of reference for today’s ‘unstrung’ digital universe) Strategic Creativity
  2. 2. In the beginning, in that mindful mecca of marketing - P & G - there was the . It was the bottom line of the brand manager's annual budget. Those things 'above the line' were marketing activities considered essential to a brand's success in the course of a year. Those things 'below the line' were non- essential, discretionary activities that may or may not be required… depending on… well, depending on a lot of things. Let’s look at how the original laws were laid down, and how they have changed with the passing of time…
  3. 3. Strategy = smart Tactics = necessary Say no more above the line below the line TACTICS
  4. 4. Marketing was far from “integrated”. Different specialties were separated into different lines of business above the line below the line TACTICS
  5. 5. Broadcast vs. Narrowcast? Cluster bomb vs. sniper? Collateral damage vs. precision? above the line NARROWCAST below the line TACTICS
  6. 6. Hmm… different strokes for different folks. Rather puts the cat among the pigeons, doesn’t it? the prevailing attitude above the line NARROWCAST TACTICS the prevailing attitude below the line
  7. 7. “Knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world - not in a closet.” Lord Chesterfield above the line NARROWCAST below the line TACTICS
  8. 8. Brands rule! But which approach is more engaging? (CLUE: great brands inspire emotional commitment) NARROWCAST TACTICS
  9. 9. What has taken place over time is that 'above the line' initiatives have lost much of their allure - for a lot of reasons, including cost, changing tastes in media, and lack of trust in big business. Meanwhile, the resourceful folks ‘below the line’ have experimented with all kinds of innovative, non-traditional ways of reaching customers. The balance of power has shifted. Accordingly, the 'above the line' folks have become interested in extending business 'below the line' . However, let's look at what has often happened when they have tried to do so...
  10. 10. What the *#@!? You can’t get there from here? NARROWCAST TACTICS
  11. 11. There is an unwritten rule that it’s not possible to go from 'above the line' to 'below the line‘. Why? Because 'below the line‘ initiatives require a different kind of attitude - hands-on, project-based, results-focused - it’s an attitude that’s difficult to embrace once one has tasted the delicious fruit and agency-of-record budgets 'above the line‘. However….
  12. 12. Movin’ on up. We finally got a piece of the pie! NARROWCAST TACTICS
  13. 13. Ahah! It is possible to go from 'below the line' to 'above the line'. All it takes is starting from the bottom, letting your clients educate you about the realities of running a marketing and sales organization, then building on that educated foundation - broadening your horizons to encompass the larger perspective that ‘above the line’ responsibilities open up to you. And never forgetting where you came from. Actually, in the end, we’re all meeting 'at the line' today via the new line of communication that is the . And who do you think is going to have more skill and understanding to (Even a monkey knows that!)
  14. 14. © Articulate[d] by Andrew Crighton 127 Kingswood Road Toronto, Ontario m4e 3n4 CANADA ac@iprimate.com

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