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How to Write a Marketing Brief

Ten Steps to Creating an Effective Marketing Brief That Saves Time and Money

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A marketing brief is used to lay the framework and foundation of a marketing initiative or campaign.  This brief should give creative directors and copywriters what they need to know in order to carry out the plan.  It also provides a “control” function.  It enables you to verify marketing results at the end of the campaign and make a determination on whether or not it was successful.   It can also ensure that your campaign is launched on time and if not you’ll be able to verify delays.  

A good marketing brief can be the difference between success and failure. It can be used for internal use within your company or external use to share with outside resources such as your ad agency, copywriters or graphic designers.   While this document will take time to create, it can be used to get everyone involved on the same page.  I personally like to draft a marketing brief, share it with our outside resources and then hold a kick-off call.  This can eliminate any confusion or obscurity.

When constructing your marketing brief, remember that a marketing brief should serve the following purpose:

  • Explain and communicate the purpose of the marketing initiative.
  • Set the numerical and measurements for success in the campaign.
  • Set the tone of the message and identify the targeted segments.
  • Identify and set the goals of the marketing initiative.

You may be wondering what the difference is between a creative brief and a marketing brief.  Good question.   Creative briefs are often seen as too generic, complicated or hard to complete.  Your marketing brief should enable you to streamline the process and paint a clear picture of your marketing objectives and goals.

Keys to an effective marketing brief is to make it easy to follow, engaging, relevant, and factual.  Your requirements must be clear in order to end up with a result that not only satisfies you, but one you are  happy with.

Remember when creating your brief to stay away from using acronyms, industry lingo or jargon that those reading the brief might have trouble understanding.

As you go through the following marketing brief requirements, keep in mind that your marketing brief is meant to present a statement of objectives and a plan of action.  Marketing briefs can be used for public relations campaigns, advertising campaigns, positioning campaign, websites, marketing communications and more.

Ok, let’s get started.  What should you include in your marketing brief?

  1. Brief background of the company and product and/or service you offer.

If your marketing brief has been created specifically for outside resources, don’t make assumptions take time to include a brief background of the company as well the product and/or service you are marketing.

  1. Reasons and objectives for marketing brief.   What’s the purpose of the marketing brief? What are you trying to accomplish. 
     
  2. Communication objectives.  What are you trying to communicate? What’s the message? Are there pain points that you want to use in the copy of the marketing initiative?
     
  3. Target market.  Who are you targeting? Are there multiple segments?  Who should the message be written for?
     
  4. Execution plan.  How do you hope to execute the plan? Do you have marketing vehicles in mind that you would like to use or are you open? 
     
  5. Marketing deliverable. Based on your objectives, communication needs, target market and execution plan what deliverables will you need?  Will you need email copy, a postcard or perhaps a one page flyer?  Don’t limit yourself but be clear in the marketing deliverables that you are expecting as a result of the marketing brief.
     
  6. Mandatories.  Are there mandatories that have to be included in your marketing deliverables such as “call to action” or disclaimers?  What about your logo, telephone number, website address or social media links?  Mandatories are those things that your deliverables must contain.
     
  7. Timeline considerations.  What’s your timeline look like?  How soon will you need to launch the marketing initiative?  How soon will you need the deliverables in order to route and get improved in time for launch?
     
  8. Tracking and goals. What are your goals for the initiative and how will you track the success of the campaign?  Does success mean more inquiries or product sales?  How will you monitor these efforts and what does success look like. Be specific, remember this is what you will come back to later to determine whether the initiative worked or not.
     
  9. Budget.  What budget considerations need to be taken into account?  How much money do you have to spend?  This will determine marketing vehicles that are considered for execution.

Now that you have your marketing brief completed there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

  • Test the clarity.  Put your marketing brief to the test by reading it and asking yourself “If someone that is not familiar with my business read this, would they clearly understand what I’m trying to accomplish?”
     
  • Have you received feedback from cross-functional departments such as research and development, sales or product management?  The best briefs often include input from other departments outside of marketing.
     
  • Have your key decision makers signed off on the marketing brief and are they in agreement with what you are requesting?

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