How to write a great brief? The top 6 things to include in a marketing brief
Writing a good marketing brief is an art not a science, but process helps!
It has been said that a brief should be exactly that – brief. This in my past experience normally comes from Advertising professionals who are always focused on the “Big Idea” and are time poor. That works well for agency’s with clients that have worked together long enough to know the brand and how to deliver that single creative proposition. but it may not be ideal for enterprise and small business who may not have that deep relationship which some corporates and national and international agency’s share.
But what do you need to do when you a smaller business and you have a million ideas and are looking to start work with a new agency, designer, web developer and internet marketer to create you a great campaign, website or promotion? Well, like any business you can have a million ideas but you most probably will not have the funds to pay for them all! So, a brief is a great way for you, the client, to focus on what you really need and can afford to invest.
Also, a good brief will help you and your supplier get to common ground and understand what your requirements or needs are and how they can best support this.
To create this, firstly you need context, who are you writing your brief for and what are they going to do for you? If this gets you thinking then we know the process is already working!
As a quick step guide I have noted 5 general top areas to cover in your brief which are;
- Target Market
OK, lets start to discuss these top 5 categories to include in your brief.
What are you planning on doing it and why? Say for instance you are looking at running an email campaign. The agency which will help you create a campaign will need to know what sort of email campaign you want to run and who will be receiving it. For instance is it going to existing customers as a newsletter or are you looking to send to prospects who have sent you?
This sounds easy right, well sometimes in the rush to get everything in this can be missed. If you do not set objectives you will have issues with the context of what you are trying to create and why. Objectives help you keep in a single frame of reference what you are trying to achieve.
It keeps you and the people working with you on the brief focused to the objective. in this case a customer email which may be communicating a new product to existing customers by email. So there is a general communications objective and potentially also a sales target, to sell more ‘stuff’ to people who read the email.
3. Target Market
The whole point of a brief is to ensure that your allocating your resources to hit your objectives. The best way to make sure that this is a success is to include who will be receiving this email like demographics and customer preferences to make the communications targeted.
You or your company should know who you’re targeting with the communication. The target market can be by interest for instance, customers who have recorded a preference in their customer data with you for a type of product or service. Or, it can be defined by a ‘segment’ of customers which your company looks to target. To ensure the communication is read and acted upon by the customer it has to be relevant. by knowing who you’re targeting this will help with; design, language and the offer to name a few.
If you do not include your requirements so the agency knows what they have to do and not do for you this can be a confusing and expensive exercise. By being exact with what you need to have created, coded and reported on will aid in the cost effectiveness and success of your activity.
With an email for instance you may require that it is tested before it is sent to ensure it can be displayed properly on email software or browsers, get through SPAM filters or be in a HTML format, Text format or even in a mobile message format. By being precise with what you need improves the success of the communication by reducing errors and giving you a consistent process which you can reuse.
This is the single most important component of the brief for you and your agency. Not because of the cost/investment in itself but because of how the budget will be used. The budget has to be realistic otherwise you will be on the back foot and any ‘extra’s which pop-up along the way will be added in at extra cost. The other important fact is Return on Investment or RoI.
Before you get to the brief stage you should have created a business case or profit estimate for running the activity. This is of course a forecast as when dealing with humans and marketing you can never 100% predict if they will all buy – even if it is free! So you and the agency should have a response rate in mind and a sales rate or conversion rate so you can calculate the success of the activity in real terms.
If you run an activity and you do not take the time to review;
- what went well
- what did not go well
- what we can do better next time
If you do not take the time to do this then really your wasting 90% of the effort. Every time you run a promotion or a campaign you should look to learn from the experience which will add to your teams expertise. If you do not, and many do not, then you are wasting a lot of time and effort. This is the scientific bit, if you create a process and you follow all the steps consistently, with refinements over time. You will be on the way to creating great outcome for your business.
Well there you go, the top 6 things by adding in learning!
Also, if you would like this in an open source word template, then please find one located here. I hope you find this useful.
Till next time, The Integrati team.