A well-formatted marketing brief can make or break a marketing campaign. Briefs provide a solid foundation to ensure that an internal or external team is aligned to execute the strategy. Still, for many, compacting all your product information, internal convos, brand nuances and dynamics of the decision-making into a few pages causes dread.
Of course, there is no magic formula, and every brief is different and must be tailored to certain requirements.
In this article, we're sharing the things you can do to help give your brief the best chance of success - alongside our interactive template and guide to writing the perfect brief, available here.
1. Set clear, realistic goals in your marketing brief
Unclear goals can confuse a team and take away from the main objective. When writing a brief, assess your business goals and long-term business plan. By doing so, you’ll be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses and discover new opportunities.
Not only will you be able to focus on what’s important, but you will also be giving the agency you’re wanting to work with a clear and succinct understanding of what it is you want to achieve from the brief.
Clear KPIs are crucial to the brief - but try to ensure you're not spreading your ambitions too thinly. As Alex Guest said in this piece, 'The project shouldn’t matter; a new website and a lead generation campaign both can and should be quantified in terms of how their success will be measured. A word of caution: try not to choose KPIs that are diametrically opposed to one another: if you want to dramatically increase revenue and simultaneously increase ROI, don’t compromise. Choose the most important KPI and commit.'
Defining SMART goals can help to ensure you're not casting the net too wide, nor getting too into the nitty gritty. SMART stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Aspirational, Realistic and Time-bound.
Examples of clear goals for your brief:
- For broader marketing briefs - your revenue target, number of leads, or increases in traffic
- For channel specific briefs - the most important metric used to measure meaningful success, such as a target Cost Per Lead, or conversion rate.
If you're not 100% on your goals - get some independent advice. Don't assign a concrete goal unless you're sure it's justified, and what you're willing to hang your hat on as a metric for success.
2. Write the brief for the Customer, Not for Yourself
Very often when writing a brief, brands can focus too much on what they want rather than what it is their customer wants. Don’t just try and replicate what your competitors are doing, because what works for them won’t always work for you.
This is also a great time to outline your customer demographic in clear detail. Where possible, build as detailed a persona as possible for the people you're targeting - this will allow you to ensure that there's a focus on getting more from the right audience, not just anyone.
Put your personal preferences aside and always have your customers at the forefront of everything you’re putting in the brief. What do they like, what do they expect and what is it that they want to see? Writing a brief can be a good way to underline your brand values, so ensuring that your focus is on external results over internal satisfaction is key.
3. Define What Will Be in - and Out - of Scope
It might be obvious, but many people overlook giving detail about what it is they want the execution to look like. Is there a certain focus or platform strategy that your brand is recognised for, or are there tactics that should be avoided? It might be that you have tried a certain media strategy in the past, and it hasn’t worked for you.
Provide an overview of your other marketing and advertising activity that you’re currently running or planning to run alongside. This means sharing the good, the bad and the ugly - taking the time to be transparent about how you see the campaign playing out helps set the tone for the people who are trying to implement it.
If you're looking to implement a multi-channel campaign, or run something alongside existing work, be clear about what will not be changing as well as what you're open to working on. When you're launching a marketing project with multiple stakeholders, excitement and willingness to deliver can lead to 'expansion' of the strategy, so clarifying the boundaries of the project is crucial.
Examples of defining what's in and out of scope in a marketing brief:
- You are open to creating a new landing page for the campaign, but not amending the existing website
- Creatives for a campaign must still align to the existing brand in line with brand guidelines
- Though the project has room to scale based on performance, it will initially only launch on XXX channels
4. Avoid Filling your Brief with Jargon
Just because you know what ‘boiling the ocean’ and ‘open the kimono’ means, not everyone will. Don’t overcomplicate a brief by filling it with jargon and meaningless information.
The language in briefs should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. Of course, while you should be as precise as possible, you should also be open to new ideas and fresh perspectives. Sometimes, what you put down on paper will not be possible to execute in real life, and putting the brief forward might open you up to other ways to achieve your primary goal.
5. Include Insights and reporting requirements
The one area where you shouldn't worry about conciseness is in the data. Insights and performance metrics should be at the centre of any strategy.
Customer insights and data from previous campaigns can act as a beacon for agencies/partners when forming their response. Knowing how and where your products and services are used, and by whom, are like gems to an agency.
It’s also important to define what metrics you use to measure success and anchor your brief to these. Whether it’s an SEO strategy or a new website build, both can be quantified in terms of how their success will be measured.
6. Going External? Let The Team Know What Will Grab Your Attention
If you're putting your brief out to market, a response must be attention-grabbing. The agency/potential partners will be competing for the work, so they will need to impress when it comes to detailing how they would deliver your vision.
You can help them do this by being open and transparent about what will make you really take notice. You could include them to ask the following:
- What would be something our brand could do that no other brand has done before?
- What will cause our audience to feel something and take action?
Sharing what you're looking for from an agency or external partner helps keep things on the rails, whilst allowing them to present ideas that are outside of the box.
Interactive Workbook: The Ultimate Guide to the Digital Brief
Ready to get your brief together? For digital campaigns, whatever the channel, our Ultimate Guide to the Digital Brief includes guidance, common mistakes, and an interactive template for you to build a proper, robust brief.
If you're working on a brief for your own requirements, get in touch today. GO! manage the entire agency qualification and appointment process on your behalf, only recommending agencies that we know will fit the bill.