Crafting an Effective Digital Marketing Brief

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Writing a digital marketing brief is essential to aligning your marketing goals with the digital agency you hire, as well as all stakeholders involved in the business. It acts as a blueprint providing you with the necessary structure to achieve your desired strategic digital marketing goals.  The task can be challenging, as you will have to understand quite thoroughly certain concepts you may not be an expert in.

Answering these questions will guide you to understand which information you should include in the brief.

Set the scene-What is your company’s story?

Outline to the agency what your mission is as a company as well as provide any background information, so the agency can understand your company’s roots and true purpose.  Providing a story to the the agency will inspire them and give them a deeper understanding of your brand identity. Then get into a more detailed explanation of your overarching business goals.  Maybe the main goal is to increase revenue this year. Or perhaps you want to improve your market share.

Who is your target audience, and where are they?

Consumers today utilize many different digital sources for information and influence. It’s important to understand which platforms are most popular among your target audience.  To truly understand who your customers are and where they spend their time online; provide your agency with existing personas your company has already crafted and bring your customers to life with a personality/identity. I.e.: one target demographic are female millennials like Amanda; aged 26, living in New York City, educated, upper-middle class, spending four hours a day Instagram, and running marathons etc. If you need to start from scratch or update your major demographics, you can get a better understanding of the audience by using various surveys and polls. You can also, of course, use data from BrandTotal to develop your personas since it includes detailed audience demographics of brands similar to yours.

What are your digital marketing objectives? (Be CLEAR!)

Be very specific as to what it is you want to achieve online. Maybe you would like to increase brand awareness among a specific market. Or to improve the consideration statistics and conversion (purchase) rates, but don’t know how to most effectively. Maybe you would like to focus on your existing customers and work on retaining them. Or maybe you’re looking to penetrate into a completely new market. The clearer you are on what your marketing goals are, the more likely you will achieve your desired outcome.

What are the emotions you want to evoke in your customers?

It’s important to provide the agency with reasons and rationale as to why customers should believe what you say, subscribe to your feed, follow your business online or buy your product. Emotional marketing generates the most feedback, and it is vital to making your content go viral. Viral campaigns such as the ALS Foundation’s #icebucket challenge and Disney’s #Shareyourears raised awareness through tapping into customer emotions, and you can use these for inspiration. You can also look at other company’s publicly published creatives by browsing on their social profiles, and if you use BrandTotal can get inspired by other brands’ more targeted and personalized campaigns that you wouldn’t see on their public pages.

What is the messaging you want to convey?

Every business has a brand identity, a tone and message that is behind each communication piece. The agency should know and understand this as it will help to carry out and enhance the identity you have worked so hard to build.

What are the current channels you use and are they successful?

Prioritize which channels you are currently using that provide your digital marketing efforts with the best customer responses. Provide detailed KPIs to the agency along with any other metric information. Let them know if you want more of the same, or are willing to experiment with other channels. Very often, channels are selected after you have a message and a detailed audience. If you know your audience and your message - the channel selection should fall into place.

What is the timeframe for your digital marketing project?

You should know when you want to complete this by, as many outside factors may affect it such as known product launches by competitors, or weather considerations. In most cases, timing is imperative. Maybe your product or service is more relevant for a specific season, or there is a major event or holiday coming up. You and your agency must have deadlines in place to ensure a smooth and successful process.

What is your end goal for this digital marketing campaign or set of campaigns?

Once a timeline is in place, provide what your end goals are for the digital marketing efforts. Would you like to gain 10,000 new subscribers? Generate $15,000 in new online purchases? Maybe you aim to go viral with thousands of shares and likes. You must clarify your goals so the agency knows what to aim for.

Who are your major competitors?

Every industry has competition, and you must know who your opponents are specific to your niche.  An explanation of how your product or service is different from the competition can help the agency craft campaigns that use their weaknesses to build on your strengths.  With a tool like BrandTotal you can gain insights on what your competitors are doing online and reverse engineer their marketing strategies.

A detailed brief which answers these questions, will provide your chosen digital agency with the effective background to put together a plan to achieve your marketing goals. After you and your agency have answered these questions and you are in sync, you can get the ball rolling on your digital campaign. However, it doesn’t end there; be sure to conduct ongoing meetings, follow- up calls and ask for feedback. The brief is just the initial step of a long process.


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