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Marketing brief – cheat sheet


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This 10 step cheat sheet for writing effective marketing briefs is a useful, easy to use guide and aide-memoire. When you need your team or agency to hit the ground running, there’s no better starting point than a solid marketing brief.

If any of the 10 steps in this cheat sheet don’t apply to your project, that’s fine – just leave them out. And if you think we’ve left off any important points that should be included in a marketing brief, please let us know!

If you cover-off the relevant points in your marketing brief, you can be confident you’ll have a professional foundation for your project. Everyone involved will have a thorough, consistent understanding of the job at hand – and be able to get going, fast.

We hope you find our 10 step cheat sheet to writing an effective marketing brief helpful.

Published in: Marketing

Marketing brief – cheat sheet

  1. 1. 10 STEP GUIDE TO A GREAT MARKETING BRIEF Hit the ground running – write a great marketing brief Bill Vallis – The Four Peas
  2. 2. CHEAT SHEET Writing a solid marketing brief is a crucial step to creating more effective programmes and campaigns. This 10 step cheat sheet provides helpful prompts, ensuring that your brief is bang on the money. With your colleagues, team, partners and suppliers all on board, you can deliver well planned, more creative, better managed campaigns – with results to match. Answer the following 10 questions within your marketing brief to give your project – and everyone involved – the perfect start.
  3. 3. 10 POINTS TO COVER 1. Campaign requirement & overview. 2. Main objective. 3. How the communication will be experienced. 4. Target audience. 5. Audience challenges / product/service benefits. 6. Single minded proposition. 7. Supporting rational & emotional 'reasons to believe & buy’. 8. Offer / response. 9. Brand guidelines, assets and mandatory inclusions. 10. Project deliverables and deadlines.
  4. 4. 1. CAMPAIGN REQUIREMENT & OVERVIEW. What's the big picture: who is the campaign talking to, and what’s the main purpose? Include anything happening in your world that the agency team should know – market activity, opportunities or challenges. If the campaign is part of a wider programme, summarise the strategy and objectives. As background information, cover-off: product/service age; market share/position; competitor activity; market positioning; sales or other tactical objectives; etc.
  5. 5. 2. MAIN OBJECTIVE. What is the main objective; the purpose of the campaign? What effect should the campaign have on recipients? What do you want them to think, feel, or do?
  6. 6. 3. HOW THE COMMUNICATION WILL BE EXPERIENCED. Details on the context in which the campaign will be seen: eg ‘talked through’ in a one-to-one scenario? Or mailed out ‘cold’? Include any relevant information such as customer databases, mailing lists, media details (publisher; readership; frequency; editorial slant, etc)
  7. 7. 4. TARGET AUDIENCE. The more precise and detailed, the better. If you have market segmentation analysis, share it. If it’s a B2B campaign, make sure you go beyond work roles to include demographic and customer persona information: you’re still marketing to humans! How does your audience currently think, feel and behave in relation to the product/service category generally, and your brand specifically?
  8. 8. 5. AUDIENCE CHALLENGES / PRODUCT/SERVICE BENEFITS. For each target audience, what is the key challenge they face, or need they have. And why are they currently not buying? Primary benefits What is the single most persuasive or compelling statement we can make to encourage the audience to take action? Secondary benefits List secondary benefits that need to be included, in priority order. Don’t forget to include detailed product information in the brief. Clearly prioritise benefits, and include any relevant supporting information and resources.
  9. 9. 6. THE SINGLE-MINDED PROPOSITION Express what’s being offered as a single thought, in one sentence – the most motivating and differentiating thing we can say.
  10. 10. 7. SUPPORTING RATIONAL & EMOTIONAL 'REASONS TO BELIEVE & BUY’. Back-up /substantiate the single-minded proposition. What else can we say to achieve the objective?
  11. 11. 8. OFFER / RESPONSE. What’s the underlying promise? Is there a specific offer to drive response (time limited incentive; giveaway; free info; etc?) What sort of response are you seeking: is there an immediate action required? Eg website visit, online signup, email, telephone, etc? Include all relevant contact details, smallprint or legalese.
  12. 12. 9. BRAND GUIDELINES, ASSETS AND MANDATORY INCLUSIONS. If the service has a defined set of associated brand assets, identify them clearly. These may include formalised brand values, promise, tagline, design style and tone of voice guidelines, etc.
  13. 13. 10. PROJECT DELIVERABLES & DEADLINES Defi ne the project deliverables, including the relevant digital/ physical campaign format details. Who are the stakeholders in the campaign? Describe the sign-off process, the final project artwork/production deadlines, any key interim phases, and expectations over next steps.
  14. 14. HAVE WE MISSED ANYTHING? If any of the 10 steps above don’t seem relevant to your marketing briefs, that’s fine – just leave them out. And if you think we’ve missed any important questions, please let us know.
  15. 15. THINK OUTSIDE THE POD Bill Vallis E: T: 01225 447 496 M: 07906 416 445 Twitter: @BillVallis LinkedIn: