The next time you need to brief your marketing agency for a project of work you would like them to undertake, you might like to consider the following structure. I have been using this for many years and it is generally well received by agencies as it gives them a clear understanding of what it is they need to do for you.
A good agency brief breaks down into the following sections.
Where are you now? This could include an overview of the whole business and the current marketing situation. It might include company turnover, market share, trends, market reach in terms of geography and applications, typical customer profiles, previous marketing campaigns and their results, brand perception and perhaps a SWOT analysis to provide a snapshot if internal and external issues facing the company.
Where do you want to go? What’s the new position you are aiming for once this marketing activity is underway or completed? An explanation of the organisations aspirations and any existing marcoms objectives.
Explain how the company intends to achieve its objectives in the widest sense and include any other elements from the marketing mix that form part of that strategy. This will help the agency to develop and integrated marketing communications approach to the market.
Include here details of the tactical elements already in place or planned as part of the above strategy. For example, the marketing strategy may refer to the use of PR or exhibitions and why those activities support the strategy, but here more detail can be given to the actual Public Relations activity undertaken or the specific exhibitions used and why they have been selected as appropriate to the strategy.
Define as well as possible the profile of the target audience. Why do they buy your product/service, what problems are to be solved, what is the financial implication of these issues to the target customer, why does your offer meet their needs and how might it do so better than anyone else?
Describe the budget and any penalties for overspend.
The timescale and any deadlines such as an exhibition where the results of this brief are needed.
Who is involved in the decision making process and what are their roles? Who should the agency contact if they have further questions? Who does the agency report to?
How will performance be evaluated?
This approach to developing the briefing document falls into a neat acronym which makes it easier to remember – SOSTT + 4M’s.