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Marketing Brief

Learn the components and requirements of an effective marketing brief.
The DMA copywriting survey asked copywriters for their single biggest barrier to creating great work. Their answer… the brief!

The brief is a critical requirement when contracting specialist services from both internal and external resources.

The role of the marketing brief is to make sure everyone is on the same page. It helps communicate what’s required, by whom, by when, and what the budget is.

Steps for Writing a Marketing Brief

Always remember to tailor your brief to what you are requesting. For instance, a data brief will be different from a creative brief. However, the core elements will be the same. To help you, we’ve created a briefing template with twelve headings to ensure you’re providing all the relevant information.

1. Description: Here you should open with a short overview of the project in plain language. It might help to think of it as an elevator pitch. This will introduce the reader to the project, what you are doing, and why. Keep this brief. 30-50 words is a reasonable limit.

2. Background: Start this section by introducing your organisation as a whole, what you do, and your position in the market. Next, explain the project and how it plays into your organisation’s wider objectives. Ask yourself: What background information does the reader need to know to contextualise this project?

3. Objective: Now is your opportunity to go into the details of your goals. Ask yourself: Are you driving awareness or sales? What metrics will you use? How will you measure the campaign as a success?

4. Product: Here you should outline the product, and it’s parameters. Ask yourself: What is the product? What are the key features you are looking for? What will make it distinctive?

5. Single-minded proposition: Similar to a USP, the single-minded proposition should be a single sentence that describes the most important thing about the product or campaign. Ask yourself: What is the one thing that you want your target audience to take from the project?

6. Audience: If you already have a customer persona, add it here. The more you can describe your audience, the easier it will be to target them. Ask yourself: Who is your target audience? What will appeal to them?

7. Join the Discussion (CTA): The Join the Discussion (CTA) is the part of the content that encourages the audience to do something. Ask yourself: Where do you want to direct your customers? What do you want them to do?

8. Competitive analysis: It’s always useful for your reader to understand the market you are working in. Give them a brief overview of your competition. Ask yourself: What’s if your position in the market? Who are your competitors? What are their strengths/weaknesses? How do you plan to stand out?

9. Channel assets: Now you’ve outlined your goals and target audience. The next step is to determine where your audience spends their time and how best to target them. Ask yourself: Where should the campaign live? Which channels do you want to use to promote your campaign? Are there any channel-specific requirements?

10. Budget: It’s time to talk money. Ballpark figures are fine, but the more precise the number, the better. Ask yourself: How much can you allocate for this project? How will this be earmarked between channels?

11. Timing: Here you should fill in your deadlines and milestones. Ask yourself: What is required? When does it need to be completed by?

12. Approval: Now that you have your timings, you need to assign responsibility for sign-off. Ask yourself: Who is responsible for signing off each aspect of your project?

You can’t just expect agencies, teams and colleagues to understand what needs to be done. In most cases, when the final result is not what you were expecting, it is probably because the provided brief was not good enough.

No matter how much effort you put into the brief, there can always be areas of misunderstanding. Take the time to talk through the brief with the other party to make sure they’re clear on what is required.

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