writing a marketing brief

Tips on writing a marketing brief

I have clients that come to me without a marketing brief. They know they need to do something. Beyond that, they need guidance and help in understanding what it is they need. At the beginning of any project, I start by helping them to define their brief. The more information that a brief contains, the better the project outcome.

To help you to think about what makes a good brief, I have collated important questions and considerations. Take a look through and reference it when you need to write a brief.

Marketing Brief

1) Introduction

  • How and why has the need for a marketing brief arisen?
  • Describe the scope and purpose?
  • Does it form part of a more significant programme of work/business strategy?

2) Background

  • Highlight the opportunity or problem that you are addressing?
  • Do you have any learnings/research/market insights or competitive analysis on the issue?
  • Are there any previous results to consider?

3) The task

  • Non-Campaign-based task, e.g., collateral: In summary, what are you looking to communicate? (include purpose of the material, target audience, what is the expected outcome, positioning, key benefits and features, how it works, typical applications, legal considerations, what it comes with, call to action, supporting material)
  • Campaign-based task: What is the offer? (include features, duration, price, T’s and C’s, etc.)

4) Key message

  • What is the proposition that the communication piece needs to convey?
  • Explain what customer need you are addressing.
  • How does this compare to competitors?

5) Communications objectives

  • Explain what the activity is targetted to achieve?
  • What measures/targets are to be used, e.g., awareness/image, shift/lead generation/sales?

6) Target audience

  • Who are we talking with? Go beyond broad categories – provide as much specific information as you can.
  • Describe their attitudes? Do we know anything about their lifestyle and the way they work?

7) Tone and manner

  • How do we speak to this group of customers?
  • Can we develop a rapport with or relate to them?

8) Brand fit

  • How does this fit with the brand proposition?
  • Does it help build the brand?
  • Name the brand values are you emphasising?

9) Considerations

  • Design treatment, supply brand guidelines
  • Are there any best practices or internal processes to follow?
  • Call to action

10) Channels to market

  • How will this communication piece be delivered?
  • What dependencies/links are there?
  • Explain how you will progress the leads?

11) Timings

  • What are the start and end date of the campaign/when is the material required?
  • What factors may impact timings, i.e., legal/regulatory compliance, photography, etc.?

12) Budget

  • Specify budget details
  • Measurement and reporting

13) Approvals

  • List who needs to be involved

Usually, working with a third party should be a collaborative endeavour. A successful relationship with any third party is a two-way process. Supplying a brief and openly communicating will ensure you receive the best possible return on your marketing investment. Typically it will save you time and the cost of multiple reworks. Often, one of the best things you can do at the start of any project is to pick up the phone or meet face-to-face. This extra level of engagement enables the brief to be discussed and dissected to ensure everyone is singing from the same sheet.

Penny Thorn