A well-formatted marketing brief provides a solid foundation for any campaign, ensuring that an internal or external team is aligned on everything from timelines to KPIs. This week, we're sharing how to write a foolproof marketing brief for any team.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.