If you’re thinking about or actually looking for a good search marketing agency, the quality and detail in the brief can make or break the potential success of your project.
Not only will a good brief help your potential agency to develop a tailoured response, but the process of creating it can help you really get to grips with what success actually looks like for your business.
While most retailers have a good idea in their head of what they are looking for, it’s surprising how many miss off vital information when briefing an agency. If you’re starting the process, or even if you’ve not had the response you were looking for, we’ve created this handy guide along with a template to help you get the most out of the briefing process and set both you and your agency up for a winning campaign.
What’s in it for you?
Writing a brief isn’t just about giving information to your agency, it can encourage you to ask questions about your business that help you to get into the right place to get the most out of your marketing agency.
Ensuring you have key structures in place such as a business plan with realistic objectives, commercial targets and dedicated resources will give your agency a clear steer on where they focus their activity.
What should a brief contain?
As a successful agency, we know how important it is to understand your business inside and out, the opportunities and obstacles and what success looks like both for project and beyond.
We want to know what your biggest pain points are and how we can make life easier for you, not just in terms of hitting your targets but how we manage our relationship and where we can help you get internal buy in from other teams.
Don’t be afraid to over-share, the more information we get the better but the key areas to cover are:
How did you get to where you are now? How has the company grown and developed? Why are you looking for this work now? Have you been using an external agency and if so why are you now changing?
What are your key products and services and what potential changes to the industry could affect you? Most agencies will be able to research your industry to some level but you are the experts so tell us what we need to know.
Are you launching a new product soon or do you have other plans to change and grow your business? Tell us about those too, they might affect the approach we take. Providing agencies with some commercial information is also helpful, which products or services are your biggest earners, have your sales or profit margins increased or decreased recently? What are your expectations around results and timeframes for seeing these?
Who are your competitors? You know who your are competing with in your industry so let your agency know, these could be current competitors as well as those you are hoping to compete with as your grow. What is it about them you’d like to see included in your activity and why? All of this gives us a much better idea of how you see your business and where you want it to go.
Do you know your brand? This is more than just a list of products and services, a good brand strategy underpins your entire business plan and will ensure your agency builds a proposal that is inline with your online personality rather than activity that goes against your core values.
Who are your customers? Provide as much information as you can about your customers, what they like, what they don’t like. Is there a target audience you’d like to engage with more, who drives the bulk of your revenue. Developing customer insight and personas might be part of your brief so give your agency some steer.
What budget is available for the project? Let your agency know how much you have to spend and when you are hoping to see results? Some agencies have a minimum spend and you don’t want to waste your time or theirs going through a proposal when it might be too small for them. It also allows your agency to tailor their brief to work within your budget rather than outlining a project that is way out of scope, however creative it may be.
The ideal way to approach the briefing process is to think about your prospective agency or agencies as a partner and help them to provide a response you are both happy with. It can be tempting to see the process as a way to ‘test’ an agency’s ability to work out what you want, when in fact the right agency is the one who delivers a project that helps you to meet your overall objectives.
The most successful working relationships are built upon a matching of approaches and the ability to build a strong relationship between the client and the agency, so getting this first stage right could save you from a costly mistake down the line.