First ever ‘BTL Enclave’ organized by IICE

First ever ‘BTL Enclave’ organized by IICE

April 9, 2015

“Below the Line” media campaign or activation has become a recent buzzword among all commercial entities that are willing to take their product or services to the rural Bangladesh. In last ten years we have seen many communication agencies have evolved focusing such rural or urban activation. A recent study from US has shown that in global phenomena, company’s expenditure over Below the Line and digital presence are higher than their traditional media expenditure.  As a developing country Bangladeshi companies are also focusing now to reach the untouchable population, where traditional media is yet to reach due to many obstacles.

Innovation and Incubation center for Enterprise (IICE) has recently organized a day long round table session on BTL industry and its prospect for the South Asian Countries. The event took place on 11thFebruary, 2015 at the Holiday INN Hotel in the beach city of Pattaya, Thailand. The event was supported by International Finance Corporation (IFC)’s Business Edge program and one of the leading Bangladeshi BTL agencies Windmill Advertising Limited. The major focuses of the session were to understand the present practice of Below the Line services in South Asia and its future prospect. The round table was also tried to pin point the need and strategy of various stakeholders’ role and support for the development of the sector.

“The BTL Enclave”-as the titled of the round table was participated by 21 practitioners of BTL sector from Bangladesh, India and Nepal. Presided over by IICE Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Bushra Alam, the 1st session of the Round table intended to understand the BTL practices in South Asia and its journey. Speakers talked about how the below the line evolved in South Asia, and on which perspective. The Door to Door campaign or interaction with customers at the Point of Sales (POS) were introduced in a time when companies started manufacturing small SKU of products and tried to reach remotest part of Bangladesh through these types of activation. In that aspect a much credit goes to multinational companies and also their counterparts who introduced these activations and below the line initiatives in early 90’s. But the growth of the overall promotion and reaching last mile of population through various interactive vehicles are seen from early 2000 in Bangladesh and India.  Speakers from India, Bangladesh & Nepal of the session shared their respective countries’ BTL activity evolution and expansion and now-a-days digitalization of this industry. Speakers also became anonymous regarding the fusion of ATL and BTL activity and termed it as TTL (Through the Line). Most of them also emphasized on more and more innovation in BTL industry incorporating media and digital marketing planning. At present today more than 200 agencies in various forms are involved to serve and reach consumers in different markets to aware and promote a market worth of BDT 200 million plus. The growth of purchasing capacity of youth population, understanding of better living culture and also few economic positive parameters have boost to convenience that the market and the sector will be double in size within next 5 years. More than 5 lacs youth are at present involved in this part time activities round the year in many roles and also supporting economic parameters to go in a positive notion.

The BTL Enclave was organized in 2 parts. The second part was the discussion session, which was moderated by leading marketing consultant of Kolkata Mr. Abeer Chakrovarty and Mr. Reazuddin Mosharaf, Lead Consultant of IICE. It was illustrated in the floor that below the line activities are considered as a costly venture in respect to traditional media but its effectiveness is higher beyond doubt. Also the sector required measurable parameters for these initiatives so that Companies can justify their expenditure on these vehicles for any communication. It is also been highlighted that companies still consider the BTL activities as a complimenting initiative to the Traditional media campaign. As a result non-biased media campaign based on the product merit and requirements are yet to brief to agency from Clients or companies end. It is observed that multi cultural society like Dhaka City or New Delhi has a positive impact on such POS interaction or activation roll out rather than small city or rural areas still to date. Speakers also suggested that stakeholders should work closely to understand the potential of the industry and also to take the optimum benefit of the BTL channels for tapping consumers and reaching them on a cost effective platform.

The BTL Enclave was an initiative of IICE Global, which is a Non-profit entity, working in Bangladesh and Nepal to promote Enterprise Development and Entrepreneurs and alternative channels of employment. Considering the BTL industry as a new frontier for engaging a large number of youth populations of the country, the event was hosted for the first time in Thailand. IICE aims to engage more and more youth population through such service sectors in Bangladesh in near future. In the presentation session, Mr. Sabbir Rahman Tanim, Chief Executive Officer of Windmill Advertising Limited also presented the future trend of Below the Line activities and talked about potential new projects which the agency has undertaken to face the challenge and trend associate to this sector in future. He expressed his concern that BTL must be rightly measurable and calculative rather than whimsically roll out to create the overall impact. He also talked about upcoming digital inclusion through BTL apps and few other upcoming new BTL tools from Windmill, which can be new kids in activation model in Bangladesh.
Among the speakers, Mr. Aman Ashraf Faiz, Managing Director of Gazi Tv, Mr. Nirmallay Roy Chowdhury, Founder and Managing Director of The Radicles, Subu Shrestha, and Director of Windmill Advantage Nepal presented on the Activation status and BTL activities of their respective country from Bangladesh, India and Nepal. A small presentation on how Private sector can engage with Developing sector to reach last mile population and train them to engage for social awareness and create alternative livelihood was presented by Mr. Mahmud Hossain, PSE & Livelihood Program Manager of Winrock International, a project of USAID. Participants actively shared on the round table of the discussion where challenges and future prospect of the industry was debated.

The CEO of IICE expressed her great satisfaction about the event and expressed that The first ever BTL enclave create a hope to bring close all stakeholders and also exchange views of south Asian practitioners regarding the upcoming industry. “Despite of its challenges and yet to formalization, we aim to engage and coach more and more youth in this industry with the help of practitioners so that this potential industry can absorb unemployed youth in near future”- she mentioned. IICE also promises to have more of such initiatives in future with connection with industry think tanks such as Brand Forums and also other stakeholders to change the world for rural youth of Bangladesh.

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