If there’s one constant at the intersection of design, technology and marketing, it’s how quickly practitioners in these disciplines can reach a misunderstanding whenever they need to collaborate. Often, when creative and marketing people hit snags and fail to progress projects smoothly, it’s because the briefing party didn’t provide all the necessary details, and the receiving party didn’t understand everything it was told, but figured it would catch the details later. But before we continue, I know many of you are here for the download, and might not have patience to read much, so without further ado, here we go….
Get your copy of the template here.
If you want to understand how best to use it, keep reading… 😉
Marketing campaign brief templates = less headaches
Working regularly with creative and engineering professionals, I’ve learned that a good way to help everyone communicate effectively, is by creating and using shared brief templates people can refer to as a common source-of-truth.
Since creating campaigns is one of the most commonly repeated tasks for any marketing department, it’s a good idea to have a campaign brief template ready. The template included here should work well for SMEs, manufacturers, and startups.
The 28 page briefing template available for download here is the result of nearly thirty years of working in design and marketing, and making every possible mistake you can imagine (…and a few that you can’t). My goal is to help you improve collaboration, reduce confusion, and avoid some of the pain my team and I have experienced over the years. My only hope is that you find this useful…
Using the marketing campaign brief
The brief template is designed to help you describe to your collaborators, in the most effective way possible, your aspirations for your marketing campaigns. Much of the information in the brief’s first section is most relevant when working with partner vendors for the first time, and you might not need to refill it for them each time you work together. On the other hand, remember, it’s always helpful to fill in as many sections of the brief as are relevant to your project, and too much information is better than not enough…
The first section of the brief is dedicated to introducing your company and providing a clear understanding of your overall brand and marketing communication guidelines. Some of the sections you’ll be asked about are listed below:
Your brand vision is an inspirational reflection on the ideal state your organization is striving for. It should describe the aspirational outcomes of your company’s activities for the world at large – In other words, it’s why you exist.
Your brand vision must be inspiring enough to draw in your audience and connect them with your goals. Typically this segment answers questions like:
- What are our hopes and dreams?
- What problem are we solving for the greater good?
- Who and what are we inspiring to change?
Your brand’s missions describe what your organization plans to achieve – What it’s doing and who it’s supporting. Your brand’s mission explains what your company wants to accomplish by delivering its products and solutions to its target market.
Core values state the principles and beliefs governing your company’s culture and outlook. They serve as the standard against which every decision and action you take can be assessed and evaluated. Choose them wisely, and be true to them always, because they impact every aspect of your professional life. For example, identifying with your company’s core values can be a primary factor in determining the success of any new employees joining your team.
All too often we see briefs where the description of the target audience is incomplete at best. It’s really important to dedicate the time needed to understanding who your clients really are – Who are the decision makers on the other side? What are their goals? What do they need in order to be successful? I find it helps me a lot when I include personas based on actual people I’m familiar with.
Understanding the clients’ pain points is key to highlighting for them exactly how the precise benefits of our solutions are most likely to meet their needs and help them achieve their goals. As a rule of thumb, it’s always good to enter this type of empathetic mindset whenever we’re planning a marketing campaign.
Experienced marketers and sales professionals are successful at their jobs because they’re familiar with the typical objections and concerns their clients have about their offers and know how to address these during the sales process. By doing so they help their clients make positive buying decisions with full peace of mind. Key to this process is being ready with the objection responses in advance.
Corporate Identity / Brand Guidelines
The best way to ensure marketing materials made for you always match your marcomm brand guidelines is to have a shareable organized and clearly labeled folder containing working files of all your company’s brand guidelines, logo, and identity materials available to all your provider partners. Samples of what that might look like you may find in work we did below:
- Sample #1 – Brand guideline for Japanese identity verification startup Trustdock.
- Sample #2 – Brand guideline for Thai-French task automation startup Beehave.
- Sample #3 – Brand guideline for Thai HR company RLC.
Since familiarity and credibility are highly related, and since we know our company very well, we tend to overestimate its credibility, and the extent to which others trust it. It’s a good idea to think about how you can convey your credibility to a person who’s hearing about your company for the first time. Typically we tend to trust companies that can provide strong 3rd party validation for themselves by sharing:
- Stories about their key accounts and accomplishments.
- Impressive visuals of their facilities – Factories, buildings, installations, etc.
- Free offers – Everyone enjoys a freebie – This download is an example of how i’m personally leveraging this, and the fact that you’re reading this, is proof it’s working…
A pivotal insight is some timely bit of information that explains why that target audience is likely to respond positively to the campaign at this moment in time. For example, it may be the client belongs to a seasonal industry, and they only make purchases in the first quarter of each year.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Your USP is the specific benefit that makes your offer stand out from competing available alternatives. It’s the one fact you want your audience to remember about you, because it’s THE fact most likely to make them choose YOU.
Channels, Benchmarks & KPIs
What channels will you be running this campaign on, and what’s the performance you can expect from each channel based on the historical data you have available? The table offers you the opportunity to select 2 KPIs for each channel, and suggests that you include for each KPI:
- Any existing benchmarks you have.
- Your target performance for the campaign.
It’s important to keep expectations realistic in light of existing benchmarks. Marketing improvements usually happen in a slow and gradual process of evolution, and not due to sudden revolutions…
Including the budget allocation in the same table helps make sure you’re directing your funds towards the channels that are proving to be most effective for you.
When writing instructions for creative and execution professionals it’s a good idea to focus on WHAT you want and WHY you want it, but leave people free to figure out the HOW of things for themselves. You don’t want to stifle your team’s creativity, or cause them to lose interest in your projects. If however you do have particular instructions regarding the execution it’s a good idea to refer to them through the questions in the two following sections. See References, and Comments.
There’s nothing new under the sun, and any campaign you’re thinking about can probably be improved by looking back at inspiring work from others, and selecting what you wish to adopt and adapt for yourself. Often the best creative projects come around when an idea or concept from one field is transferred and adapted to a novel implementation in another. In our own experience we’ve repeatedly seen mechanics and ideas from B2C campaigns in FMCG gradually moving and being adopted into slower more traditional B2B marketing.
Comments, Doodles, Extras
“A picture is worth a thousand words” is a huge cliche, because it’s TRUE. It’s much easier to sketch a layout to someone, and highlight the priority of information that way, than to explain it to them verbally.