Marketing briefs that work

Producing a great brief is the first critical step towards an effective direct marketing campaign. The brief can be compared to a road map which allows your agency to understand what your goals are and how best to achieve them. To overcome the challenges of producing a great brief we look at guidelines that will get you started. We also include a briefing template for you to use.

Key factors of an effective direct marketing brief

Strong marketing briefs:

1. Have clear objectives

2. Are focused and specific

3. Are logical and brutally honest

4. Are rich with insight

5. Are the sum of client, agency and research input

Weak marketing briefs:

1. Lack a strong product offer or enough detail to develop one

2. Are focused on the client’s needs, not the customers

3. Are vague and incomplete

4. Include unsubstantiated claims and benefits When developing your brief try to include the following areas of information:

Establish what you know about the target customer

Where information is available, try to paint a picture of your customer. Describe who they are, what they are like, what they like doing, their attitudes, preferences and behaviours. This can include:

a. Providing the raw target data

b. Providing psychographic and demographic information

c. Outlining why customers make their purchasing decisions

d. Establishing what the customer is solving, what is their pain area

e. Providing any customer feedback and commentary you have

f. Establishing the tone of voice that is appropriate

g. Outlining any customer segmentation you have used

Outline the competition

Describe who your competitors are and what you know about them. Outline the product or service they offer in competition to this campaign.

a. What is their market position?

b. Are they a; market leader, budget supplier, premium provider?

Communicate your product or service benefits

Describe how your product or service benefits the customer:

a. Include primary and secondary benefits

b. Outline the unique selling proposition USP

c. Provide any existing customer testimonials and feedback

d. Provide any third party endorsements

e. Show how your product is different from the competitors

Define your marketing objectives and what success looks like

Make sure you effectively describe what marketing or business objectives will be achieved by this campaign.

Objectives should be SMACO – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Clear, Ownable Examples of this are: Generate x number of sales leads Raise customer awareness from x% to y% Increase number of sales calls by x% in y months Enroll x new members by y date.

Provide a powerful call to action

How will you encourage customers to take action or make contact with you?

a. Are you going to use any specific contact or conversion channels i.e. drive to web, free call, pre-paid reply etc?

b. Are you planning to incentivise actions with a special deal or offer to motivate the customer?

c. Do you have any offer history to show what worked in the past and what didn’t?

d. Are there any examples of successful competitor campaigns that had a successful call to action?

Included external market considerations and mandatories

Are there any:

a. Legal, regulatory, social, economic, seasonal or environmental factors that should be considered in developing a response to this brief?

b. Design, size, format, distribution or production considerations?

c. Graphic guidelines, logos and other graphic support required?

d. Concepts that should be avoided or has not worked well in the past?

e. Wording or language that must not be used in the copy?

f. Other communications planned/happening around your campaign period?

Provide a marketing budget for your campaign

Where possible, provide an indication of your budget to allow the agency to provide a realistic response. This can be as a total campaign cost or as a cost per lead or cost per sale.

Include timings

Let your agency know:

a. When do you require the initial agency response by?

b. When is the activity scheduled to go live?

c. What does the agency need to allow for in their timing plan? E.g. Internal approvals

d. How does the timing of this activity tie in to other marketing activity? We hope that this information is helpful when you next brief your marketing partner. If you would like to use our free briefing template just visit our Free Marketing Templates and click on the agency briefing-long link.