SaaS Marketing Blog

How to write a watertight marketing brief

14th May 2014

Briefing external suppliers who will be creating marketing for your business is rarely straightforward. All too often instructions get lost in translation and, in our increasingly digital world, it can be difficult to make 100% certain that you and your supplier are on the same page. This usually results in a long process of rectifying changes and sending back work for editing.

This isn’t just time-consuming (and very tricky when you’re working towards a deadline) it can also create bad feeling between you and your chosen supplier. This is just one reason why getting your marketing brief spot on and absolutely shipshape is so important. If you want more successful projects and a faster-turnaround of projects here are 9 tips to help you write the perfect marketing brief…

1. Make your introductions

It may seem extraneous to the task at hand, but ensuring your supplier knows who they are creating work for is crucial. If a supplier isn’t clear on the brand, their ethos, what they do, their brand guidelines and their corporate identity, it is next-to-impossible to create pitch-perfect work.

The feel could be too formal or too colloquial, representations of products and services may be vague or even incorrect, so take time to familiarise your supplier with your brand thoroughly before you do anything else.

2. Clarify your goals

It’s quite common for businesses to commission work without sharing the “whys” and “wherefores” with their supplier. If your provider doesn’t know the strategy behind the work they are undertaking, how can they possibly ensure that the work they produce achieves the effect you are looking for?

It may be time consuming to share overall strategy in a marketing brief, but the more information suppliers have and the better they understand their role in your plan, the more effective the finished product will be.

3. Identify the target market

Once you’ve introduced your provider to your brand and your goals, it’s time to acquaint them with your target market. Again, the more information they have, the more “en pointe” and precise the ultimate product will be. You can create buyer personas to help your supplier to really get under the skin of your target market and produce even more effective work.

4. Benchmark your competition

This is a very good way to show your provider exactly what you’re looking for. Browse your competitors and share them with your provider. Split them into two – a group of examples you think get things right and a group of examples where you think they’ve got things wrong. Include details to convey precisely what you do and don’t like. i.e:

  • Like: High contrast typography, multimedia resources, casual ‘young’ feel
  • Dislike: Style of photography, scrolling window feature

5. Be precise

Miscommunication and misunderstanding is a big problem with marketing briefs and it really pays to be precise. DOs and DON’Ts with examples can be helpful. For instance, if you are requesting an article from a copywriter here are some pointers you may want to provide:

  • DO reach out with friendly language which appeals to a younger audience.
  • DON’T use overly colloquial language, bad language or unusual slang.

This approach doesn’t just tell your supplier what to do, it also gives them clear parameters which ensure they don’t misunderstand your requirements and go too far in other directions.

6. Be firm on budget and timescales

If you have a budget be transparent about it., Be firm, clear and precise, especially regarding what you expect for your money. If you don’t have a budget a ballpark budget is ok.

Share timescales with milestones if it is a larger project.

7. Set goalposts

You’ve already outlined your goals but, if you intend to have an ongoing relationship with a supplier, you may want to have structures in place which measure performance. Whether you’re going to be measuring things like enquiries from specific adverts or calculating how much traffic blog posts on your website generate, outline the process and your expectations.

8. Be engaging

Have you ever tried to wade through a dull as ditchwater marketing brief? It’s not the most fun you can have in the office and it can be difficult to give something extremely unstimulating your full, undivided attention.

Make sure you make your brief as engaging, enjoyable and readable as possible. Don’t be afraid to be light-hearted (as long as it doesn’t interfere with clarity) and make sure you break each section down with clear titles and bullet points to make all information easy to digest.

9. Have a discussion

If possible, talking over the phone or in person is a good way to ensure the message has been received loud and clear. If you have time, get in touch once the brief has been received and read to confirm you are on the same page and that there are no niggling questions and uncertainties.

Xander Marketing works with SaaS businesses as their outsourced marketing department. To find out how we can help your business to flourish with greater visibility and better lead generation, book your free consultation today or, of course, you could always send us your new, fantastic marketing brief if you’re ready to get started!

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