Why write a marketing brief?
There are many benefits in writing a marketing brief whether for an agency or for your colleagues. Writing a brief helps clarify your thinking and then ensure your colleagues are on-board. In turn this helps focus effort on meeting your needs and thus better achieve your business outcomes. So where to start? Here is an example marketing brief containing questions to answer, and also some stylistic tips and headings.
Types of marketing brief
There are two main types of marketing brief. Either for a strategic or for an executional piece of work. So first, if you have a marketing or brand strategy summarise that in your brief. A marketing strategy will define your products and customers. And a brand strategy defines what makes you different and better.
If you don’t have a marketing or brand strategy, or don’t feel confident about it, then this may suggest you have another need.
Headings for your marketing brief
Background to brief
First, describe the problem you wish to address i.e. what has happened to prompt your need. Also any context or information on why now, work to date, and how your issue or challenge fits with other initiatives within the company.
Business and marketing objectives
Next, describe your business and marketing objectives – your business and marketing aims. First describe your business aims in monetary terms. Then as a goal, mission or vision. Describe marketing objectives in terms of customers and products, and thus sales and market share. Typically, we flesh-out objectives as part of project work, so don’t worry unduly if you can’t dot the i’s and ts.
Make clear what you want the project to deliver? For example, do you require a communication campaign, a new or improved product, service or brand, or a plan to launch a new business? If possible include a few words on what you hope success will feel like too.
Envisaged process, scope of work and guidelines
Also include any pointers or guidelines, such as ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ and why in your marketing brief. Specifically cover timing, budgets, and any decision-making criteria. This guides on the scale of work as well as makes sure a solution is affordable and achieves your desired outcomes.
There is no need to be too prescriptive as this risks stifling a creative response to a brief. Though do set out any pressing ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’.
Who are the key decision makers i.e. those who sign-off and act on the outcomes of this work? Clarifying the stakeholders helps us anticipate your needs and design a process to get everyone on-board with a plan. Good stakeholder management is most important on more complex projects. Such as strategy, change, and especially when lots of people are involved. It starts with sharing and agreeing your brief with them.
Style and tone
Throughout use plain language and clarify any technical, or unusual in-company terms or acronyms in your marketing brief. This helps as some marketing terms have different meanings in different companies :-).
For an aide-mémoire, download our handy marketing briefing guide.
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