A new approach to segmenting marketing and advertising activities and suppliers

A new approach to segmenting marketing and advertising activities and suppliers


You know, for an industry based on creativity and innovation, we can really get stuck in a rut.

Take the way we segment the work that advertising agencies do. Many people still call it ‘Above the line’ and ‘Below the line’. And we even have ‘Through the line’.

Has anyone actually seen this line?

When I ask people what it means, they usually resort to giving me examples of what is above the line — like TV ads and what is below the line like direct mail. But ‘through the line’ seems to mean integration of above and below.

But here is a not-so-interesting fact.

The line refers to the old agency invoice. There was a line on the client invoice and everything above that line was media related cost including production, which incurred the 10% media commission. And everything below the line was non-media related and so no media commission.

But where does digital sit? Is that above or below the line?

The problem with this approach is it is functional in a world where functionality is converging.

At TrinityP3 we have developed and been using a strategically based process that classifies the services required to deliver the strategic requirements of the brand.

Every brand and every category and every market can have its own specific strategic requirements. So we use this to classify these requirements using what we call the three Ss.

And Simple.

Strategic is the where the role is essential in defining and driving the strategic requirements of the brand. For traditional categories this is still often media and creative, but for B2B brands it could be eDM and events.

Specialist is where the requirements need specialist skills. This could be functional such as data analytics, mobile marketing, but can also be segment specialist such as youth or music.

And Simple is where the requirements are literally simple, and often a commodity. This can include processes like printing, mail house, sales promotion. Depending on the needs of the brand strategy.

The more strategically important the requirement the higher it sits. And each level requires a different approach to selection, engagement, management, and even remuneration. It even helps you define how each works together to maximise collaboration.

The 3 Ss – Strategic, Specialist and Simple provides you with a framework to strategically segment your brand requirements but also your suppliers to provide those requirements.

TrinityP3 — Strategic Marketing Management Consultants

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