The 10 points to create a killer marketing brief

If you have ever wondered how to brief your marketing agency to get the very best work out of them then here’s a cheat sheet to help focus your thinking and inspire your next great campaign. It all comes down to the why, how, what & when…

But firstly, what is a marketing brief?

As a leading food and drink marketing agency we understand the importance of a comprehensive marketing brief, as a strong brief plays a pivotal role in creating a successful marketing campaign. This carefully crafted document serves as a blueprint for the entire team, ensuring everyone is on the same page. It empowers strategists to devise strong strategies grounded in insight and creatives to develop stand-out creative to deliver cut-through while keeping top-level executives and stakeholders in the loop. The marketing brief acts as the touchstone for the campaign and should be referred to regularly to ensure the campaign delivers against the brief. The best campaigns are not only driven by strong insight and the best creative minds they are driven by a clear and concise brief.

The following ten steps are an easy way to create your standout marketing brief. A marketing brief that will not only impress your agency but also ensure your campaign succeeds.

  1. Why are you doing this? It seems a simple enough question but getting your objective right can make or break your marketing brief. It isn’t the strategy you are looking to apply it is what you want to achieve. This might be driven by a challenge you are facing that you need to overcome, or it may be an opportunity you can exploit. Try to make it clear and single-minded to drive your marketing brief in the right direction from the get-go. Include all relevant background information and context including any learnings to date, competitor brands/businesses, stockists and market challenges/issues/opportunities and crucially your key objective and any secondary objectives.
  2. Who are we trying to reach/influence? Give as much relevant information on your target audience as possible. If you have any market research or personas include these. You may find your marketing brief is targeting a highly niche sector that can clearly be defined for the agency, equally you may be targeting a broad and disparate audience that simply has a shared interest in your product/service sector with little else to unify it. Whatever relevant information you can share around their consumption of media, shopping habits, drivers and influences include it here.
  3. What’s the ‘so what?’ about the product or service? What sets it apart and how will this be important to our target audience? The ‘So what?’ is a strong tool when it comes to a marketing brief. It can act as a simple way to focus your thinking and ensure your marketing brief clearly focuses on what is important to your target audience.
  4. How can we convince them? What are your RTBs (reasons to believe) or substantiation – e.g., awards, testimonials, patents, taste tests, etc. It is one thing to have a strong point of difference in a marketing brief, it is another to be able to back it up. Try to give as much strong independent evidence to arm your marketing agency.
  5. How do we want people to feel? What is the emotional connection we want to achieve? A marketing campaign should aim to drive an emotional connection, whether consumer or B2B, and the marketing brief should signpost this ‘feeling’ if possible. It could be FOMO, reassurance, excitement, appetite appeal, the list goes on.
  6. What do we want them to do? What is the ‘call to action’? Is it to click a link, fill in a form, buy a product, share on social, etc. This should be a practical and realistic action and may form part of a wider consumer or B2B journey. However, if you are offering up a broad marketing brief you may not be able to specify this. In this case you can request the agency make a recommendation aligned to your objective.
  7. What is the scope of the campaign? What activation channels/deliverables are you looking for when it comes to this marketing brief? e.g., digital, social, PR, DM, promo, integrated, or is it up to the agency to advise? In some cases, you may want to deliver a tight marketing brief that clearly sets out the scope and mechanics you are looking for. Equally, if you are working with an integrated agency you may want to leave the marketing brief broad and let them come back with their recommendation as to the marketing tactics they think will work hardest to achieve your goal.
  8. What must be included/adhered to or avoided? No marketing brief exists in a vacuum. There will likely be elements that the agency will need to factor into their proposal. This could be a logo, strapline, brand guidelines, existing photography, ambassadors, website, etc. Equally, there may be things you want the agency to steer away from, so make sure you always include them in your marketing brief.
  9. What’s the budget and timeframe? Giving a ballpark budget is essential when it comes to your marketing brief and helps the agency develop a realistic proposal with the best choice of channels/tactics. Of course, you also need to include the brief’s timeframe as they’ll need to know if this is a 3-month launch burst or a yearlong campaign, etc.
  10. What does success look like? What do you see as your core KPI for this marketing brief? This could be sales, reach, pieces of coverage, engagement, followers, ROI, uplift in traffic, data captured/downloads, etc.

Tips & Tricks

  • Try to be ruthless and keep your marketing brief concise and to the point. If you have reams of information aim to pull out only the key learnings in the brief. A brief is called a brief for a reason! Remember the agency can always ask for the whole insight piece if they want to delve deeper.
  • Make sure you gather input from all key stakeholders before sharing your brief with your agency. Make sure everyone has bought into the brief internally to avoid any issues further down the line.
  • Make sure one key person owns the marketing brief and the relationship with the agency.
  • Always try to run through your marketing brief in person.
  • Make time for Q&A with the agency and if possible, what is often referred to as a ‘tissues meeting’ where the marketing agency can run their initial ideas and possible routes past you to choose the strongest route.

But if this all seems like too much, you can always pick up the phone and speak to an agency to help you pull an effective brief together. At jellybean we are always happy to help and aim to work collaboratively with clients to help their food and drink brands succeed. You can get in touch with us here.