Mike Jeffs

What to Include in a Marketing Brief

What to Include in a Marketing Brief

Ok so firstly let me say its been too long since I last posted. However new year, new office and with new business.  With that a slightly worrying trend has emerged: the lack of a well briefed in campaign and project. The lost art of the marketing brief some might say. With this in mind I’ve looked to scour the web and some documents I’ve seen to try and pick the best bits out of what a marketing brief should include and then summarised them at the base of this article.

Introduction

Introduce others to your brand. Its that simple. I find it strange that people can deliver a URL and expect others to immediately understand context, target niche and tone of voice. You shouldn’t be in a position where you’re struggling to introduce people to your brand. If necessary just apply your elevator pitch.

Creative agency Harmony make some good points here on an introduction:

  • Who you are
  • The markets you operate in
  • A brief company history
  • Mission statement
  • Corporate objectives
  • Unique selling point
  • Your biggest product
  • Internal systems or processes the company rely on

These are before we’ve even talked about campaign or project specifics.

Project Requirements

What are you actually looking for in the agency’s response? BBR Marketing have a good list covering creative briefs which lists some really good points on covering the project summary. Including things like:

  • Project goals and reasons for needing the work.
  • How should the project contribute to the aforementioned corporate objectives?
  • Does the project aim to solve a problem?
  • Are there any key stakeholders, affiliates, partners or suppliers to the project?

There should certainly be a a reason why the work is required, whether that be to free up internal resource, drive traffic, increase conversions or something else these should definitely be included in the brief so you can measure the project’s effectiveness. Also what are the things that the project must include, is there a particular keyword, imagery or call to action that the project refers to? Or is the project looking to fix poor navigation, lack of content or accessibility?

Supporting Information

I like to think of supporting information referring to things like style, colours or layout, equally if it’s a creative or design brief then likes and dislike may be applicable here, there’s value in adding this information to your brief as it immediately excludes options from final designs:

  • Likes
  • Dislikes
  • Colour scheme
  • Layout
  • Style
  • Brand guidelines

Communication/ Technology

Perhaps not needed for all types of briefs but certainly still worth a mention is communication or messaging. What message should the output/project reflect. This could be Brand ABC is the most secure, safest removals company. Things to include and questions to ask yourself here could be:

  • Key messages
  • Are we restricted to any technology?

  • What platform is the current website built on?

  • Will you require on-going support and maintenance?

  • Are we targeting all popular devices, PC, Tablet, smart phone, android, iPhone, all major browsers?

  • What level of skill do you have for managing content?

 Proposal requirements

It’s important to factor in how you want people to respond which makes it easier to evaluate a response to the brief, particularly if you have a number of parties that the brief is being delivered to.

  • What will the successful agency need to demonstrate in the pitch/proposal?
  • What format should the response be in?
  • What is the budget available and if for multiple projects how is this budget broken down?

Timescales and Process

It’s important to keep to a deadline and equally offer a guide for when proposals or responses should be received by:

  • What are the deadlines for the project?
  • When will the contract start and for how long?
  • Are there any project milestones that need to be hit?

So what does that leave us?

Introduction

  • Who you are

  • The markets you operate in

  • A brief company history

  • Mission statement

  • Corporate objectives

  • Unique selling point

  • Your biggest product

  • Internal systems or processes the company rely on

Project Requirements

  • Project goals and reasons for needing the work.

  • How should the project contribute to the aforementioned corporate objectives?

  • Does the project aim to solve a problem?

  • Are there any key stakeholders, affiliates, partners or suppliers to the project?

Supporting Information

  • Likes

  • Dislikes

  • Colour scheme

  • Layout

  • Style

  • Brand guidelines

Communication/ Technology

  • Key messages

  • Are we restricted to any technology?

  • What platform is the current website built on?

  • Will you require on-going support and maintenance?

  • Are we targeting all popular devices, PC, Tablet, smart phone, android, iPhone, all major browsers?

  • What level of skill do you have for managing content?

 Proposal requirements

  • What will the successful agency need to demonstrate in the pitch/proposal?

  • What format should the response be in?

  • What is the budget available and if for multiple projects how is this budget broken down?

Timescales and Process

  • What are the deadlines for the project?

  • When will the contract start and for how long?

  • Are there any project milestones that need to be hit?

Header image via creative commons

About the author...

Mike is Commercial Director at Branded3, a digital agency with 3 offices in the UK. Mike oversees New Business and Client Services for the St Ives Group owned business. He has been in marketing for the last 15 years, 8 of those within Search, his previous companies include VisitScotland and BD Network. Speaking credits include; Content Marketing Association, Elite Business, TFM&A and Figaro Digital.

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Your reactions

  • Bonnie September 4, 2013 - Reply

    Fantastic post and thanks for referencing our creative brief article. Glad you found it helpful.

    • Mikejeffs September 4, 2013 - Reply

      Hi Bonnie – really good post on your site. Thanks for your comment.

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