For the past 25 years I have been helping customers communicate. We have helped Marketing and Development Directors do everything from Towel reduction campaigns for the YMCA and fundraising materials for events at Dodger Stadium, to websites for cemeteries and magazine publishing. Think words, design, print, web…. I’ve done it. But some projects have been more successful than others…
Who Are You And What Do You Want?
Many businesses fail to communicate the two most important answers, 1) Who they are (what they stand for, who they serve, their unique differentiator), and 2) What they want (objectives, budgets, timeliness, success measures, etc.). Though asking these questions may seem redundant, they will be the basis for success of any communication effort. A basic question that often gets a pause is “what do you want them to do when they read this?” e.g. do you have a call to action? Are you expressing it?
The Advent of the “Marketing Brief”
A marketing brief is used as a foundation for a campaign. It should give creative directors and copywriters what they need to know in order to carry out the plan. It also provides an “expectations” function. It charts out the purpose of the campaign and sets some measures of accountability. Whether you are working with in-house staff or an agency, marketing firm, or developer, it keeps everybody on the same page.
It has four main purposes:
- Explain and communicate the purpose of the initiative
- Set the tone and solidify the target segments
- Set success measures
- Reduce confusion among stakeholder
The 10 Musts in Planning a Marketing/Communications Campaign
- Don’t make assumptions: Take time to include a brief background of the company as well the product and/or service you are marketing.
- What are you trying to accomplish? Stay away from jargon since clarity is key.
- Communication objective: What are you trying to communicate? What’s the message? Are there pain points that you want to use in the copy of the marketing initiative? Test the clarity: Put your marketing brief to the test by reading it and asking yourself “If someone that is not familiar with my business read this, would they clearly understand what I’m trying to accomplish?”
- Target market: Who are you targeting? Are there multiple segments? Who should the message be written for? In what way?
- Marketing deliverables: Based on your objectives, communication needs, target market and execution plan, what deliverables will you need? Will you need email copy, a postcard, a web landing page, or perhaps a one-page flyer? All (Integrated Marketing)?.
- Mandatories: Are there mandatories that have to be included in your marketing deliverables such as “call to action” or disclaimers? What about your logo, telephone number, website address or social media links?
- Timeline considerations: What’s your timeline look like? How soon will you need to launch the marketing initiative? Working backwards, how soon do all the parties need to start working on this? Response deadlines?
- Tracking and goals: What are your goals for the initiative and how will you track the success of the campaign? Does success mean more inquiries or product sales? Or possibly free T-shirts that will keep the word spreading beyond the campaign time? How will you monitor these efforts and what does success look like? Be specific, remember this is what you will come back to later to determine whether the initiative worked or not.
- What budget considerations need to be taken into account? How much money do you have to spend? This will determine marketing vehicles that are considered for execution.
- Who are the key decision makers? Have they signed off on what you are requesting?
Oh…. If we could only always work like this…..