4 essential ingredients you want in your marketing brief

A marketing brief is a deceptively straight forward document that should never be underestimated. Why? If you thump one out quickly and only include the basic headline stuff – what you want, when you want it, how much you want to spend – you’re missing out on some critical content.

Like anything, it’s easy when you know how. Here are the top three omissions that separate the OK briefs from the great briefs.

  1. Why ‘the why’ of any marketing brief is so important?

Without getting too carried away, set the scene a bit – particularly if you haven’t worked with the agency before. Help us help you! Give us some background that will help us do our jobs better and (most importantly) deliver a service you’re going to love. Some ground to cover:

  • Why is this project important? What are your objectives? (raise awareness, increase sales, build profile, attract a target demographic/market to engage/connect with something = channel, product, content, offer)
  • How does it align with your company or marketing strategy?
  • Does it fit with work you’ve done before or work you’re currently doing?
  • Does it represent a new area/channel/direction for your company?
  • What about the drivers behind it – market, competitor, consumer, industry?
  1. Why ‘the who’ of any marketing brief is as much about your company as it is about your target audience?

Who are you (company description) and what do you stand for (brand)? Also, who are your competitors? Again, this is crucial if you’re working with an agency for the first or second time.  Your project – whatever it is – is a chance to reinforce the key attributes of your brand and to position yourselves with a point of difference to your competitors.

And the obvious ‘who’ is your target audience. Trust me, this section requires more than words like ‘the general public’ or ‘our industry’. Get into the detail – this is where the gold can be found! Some more ground to cover:

  • Business or consumer? Younger or older? Male or female? State or National?
  • What drives them? What do they want? What do you offer that aligns with these drivers?
  • Have you done other projects or campaigns to engage them? What has worked before? What has fallen flat before?
  • Are there any barriers for this audience in connecting with your brand, services, products?
  • Have you done any prior research into this target audience (even older research reports/analysis can be helpful)? Please note with this one that you don’t need to provide this information but you’d be surprised how often we hear from clients that they have some relevant research when we’re halfway through the project!)
  1. Why ‘the how’ of any marketing brief is much more important than ‘how much you want to spend’?

So at this point we should have all the basics covered – your objectives, audience/s and associated drivers and barriers. Now comes delivery and measurement – and this is important to clarify because there are a range of options, which generally differ from client to client.

  • How will you evaluate whether your strategy is right?
  • How will the ‘project/activity’ be promoted/delivered across your existing channels?
  • How will it be delivered across new marketing channels (if budget allows)?

And here is some food for thought in terms of the channels you can use. This is just the tip of the iceberg! There are a growing number of both online and offline opportunities here and your agency can provide some advice on where you will likely get the best ROI:

  • Online channels: your website, social media including your own presence and potentially targeted advertising and influencer blogs/articles.
  • Offline channels: print/billboard advertising, printed promotional materials, merchandise and in-store/partner promotions.
  1. Finally, and possibly the most important of all, how will you ‘measure success’?

Here are a few measurement options to get you thinking about what you want to get out of your next brief:

  • Raising awareness/Engagement metrics: website traffic, social chatter, page/video/blog views and comments/shares, downloads
  • Sales/Lead generation: subscriptions, downloads, form completion, online/offline sales (split between new and existing products and services along with any relevant up selling or cross selling promotions)
  • Attract a specific target market: web and social analytics, sales research and reporting

You’re ready to go!

If you can follow all of the above, your agency will have what they need to deliver you what you want much earlier in the process. The major issue with marketing briefs that cover the bare minimum is the inevitable back-and-forth of changes and tweaks that come throughout the creative process. This can mean additional costs and delivery delays, which no-one wants. Cover all your bases from the start and you’ll get an outcome that hits much closer to the mark. If you’d rather someone guide you step by step through the process, we’d love to help.