How to take a good marketing brief

Whether you’re working client or agency-side it’s really important to get a good brief before you start a marketing project.   Here are my top tips for making sure you’re asking the right questions.

What is a brief?

A brief provides an outline of the client’s current situation and what they want to achieve. If you consider the marketing planning process as this series of questions then the brief should answer the first two:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • How will we get there?
  • How will we know we got there?

Why is a good brief important?

The brief should provide enough information for the marketer to make the right decisions about what course of action to take and how to evaluate it.  A good brief ‘sets the scene’ for the marketer and enables them to be sure their creative thinking will provide a solution to the client’s marketing problem.

What should be in the brief?

Company background:

  • What products/ services are offered?
  • What markets are you operating in and what’s your market position?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • Who are your customers and other stakeholders?

The current situation:

  • What marketing activity has already been done?  What worked and what didn’t?
  • Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
  • What marketing research/ information do you have?

Mission and objectives:

  • What is the company mission statement?
  • What are the over-arching corporate or strategic objectives?
  • What are the objectives for this project/ campaign?

Target market:

  • Who are you trying to reach?
  • What are their preferences?
  • What is their buying behaviour?
  • What is the likely reaction going to be to what you are going to say?
  • How do they want to be communicated with?

Messages:

  • What exactly are you are trying to get across?
  • What action do you want as a result?

Budget and timescales:

  • What money do you have to invest and when do you need to see results by?

Remember: an effective campaign relies on a good brief.

Is there anything missing from this list?  If you think so, leave me a comment below.

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