How to brief your agency on your next marketing project

how to brief your agency on your next marketing project

Supplying accurate information to your agency wil get you a more creative, more effective and better value for money end product.

Our job at Awemous involves many things, but one of our main jobs is peering into client’s minds to work out what they actually mean when we start a project. This is the detective part of running an agency and is often the hardest thing we do… we aren’t mind readers!

But did you know there’s a way to take the guess work out of projects for everyone involved? It’s called The Marketing Brief.

A brief is basically a written document you send to your design or marketing consultant to help them figure out what’s in your head. When we have a brief, we can design a creative and effective solution to your problem.

Many times though, we often have to begin projects with little more than a line like: ‘I need a DL leaflet by tomorrow about my product.’ Sometimes we can gather more information about what the leaflet needs in it, what products it’s about and why you need it. But often we stumble around making a leaflet with little content to go in it under the pressure of a tight deadline, only to discover that it’s actually for an event that’s happening in two months time and it needs to cover a range of products and it didn’t have to be DL.

This is not how to get the best out of your agency or your budget.

A Marketing Brief solves this problem.

This is where you put your thoughts into a coherent written format so we can talk about what the solution might be. Think of it as the start of a conversation. Without a brief we have to attempt to figure out what the problem is that you’re trying to solve – which can turn into a game of guess work.

Nobody expects War and Peace as a beginning to any new project, but just a simple email can help get those thoughts buzzing around your head into the germ of an idea. With all marketing campaigns and projects, what we need to get to is The Problem. But often, a client (you) will leap past the Problem and go straight to delivering the Solution ie – “we need a DL leaflet” instead of “we need something as a leave behind after a sales meeting”. This misses the point of getting a creative agency involved. Getting a dialogue going between the parties ensures all the great minds work together on solving the problem and making your business a success.

Many times the reason a client will try to solve the problem internally and often not even share the problem with their agency is a Limited Budget. That’s OK, we understand. There isn’t a company or small business in the world that doesn’t have limited resources. Unless you’re Google and Apple, everyone runs to tight budgets and we know that marketing is often (mistakenly) the first item to go in difficult times. But if you make the decision on budget alone, then you forgo the chance of doing something that could work much harder for you, something more effective and something that makes the most efficient use of your budget.

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Your Brief should include:

The Problem – a brief description of what’s going wrong, what’s happening or what you’d like to achieve. eg. We need more sales or Product X is struggling in the market because no-one knows about it.

A Budget – how much is there to promote you / your service / product ?

The Target Audience – who are we talking to? Business to Business or Consumers? People in Birmingham or Scotland? Old or Young? Men or Women? Everyone?!

Product/Service unique selling points (USPs) – what exactly is amazing and different about your product or service from everyone else’s? Are you more local, cheaper, faster, stronger, available in more colours, better looking? Anything that sets you apart in the eyes of a consumer differentiates you. There’s always something if you delve in far enough.

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So to sum up what we’ve covered:

Don’t do this – A phone call which goes, ‘Make a leaflet about Product X. It has to be DL and finished by tomorrow. I’ve emailed over 5 pages of text and the only image we have of the product – I guess you can work something out from that. I have a printer lined up for it and they’re expecting artwork.’

But do this instead – An email which says, ‘Product X is struggling. No-one knows about it, although it’s brilliant. It’s got these key features, it is cheaper, more environmentally friendly, and our reps love it. We need to get more exposure of it with our core customers somehow. eg. Big box retailers in Birmingham. I was thinking a DL leaflet but maybe you guys have some ideas? Give us a ring later today to have a chat and then can we schedule in a meeting next week, how about Thursday AM?, and discuss your proposals. I am happy to put together some text based on your design and we have lots of professional high resolution images of the product. In terms of budget I can put maybe £xxx towards it so don’t go overboard but if an idea’s strong you never know…


So you can see how the more information you can give your agency the better the outcome and to make that process a little easier we’ve put together an enormously awesome briefing sheet that guides you through the points above and includes some additional advanced level things to think about. Download your copy by clicking the image.

Here’s to your next enormously awesome creative project!

The Awemous Team