back to top

A poor brief is pants

December, 2012

Appointing a PR and marketing agency: where do you start? The first, and most important thing to do is develop and agree a brief, which is realistic, deliverable and above all is consistent with your company’s broader business plan.

Then it is crucial to consider how best to deliver the brief, whether it’s by investing in an in-house marketing team; outsourcing it all; or a combination of the two.

What’s certain, though, is that a company can't just appoint an agency and leave them to get on with it – fundamental to a business’ marketing success is having the support, and active involvement, of senior directors.

If the decision is taken to outsource some, or all, of the marketing it’s essential to create a shortlist of potential agencies to respond to the brief and then manage the pitch process. Identifying suitable agencies can be achieved by researching the web, by asking industry peers, or sounding out journalists you respect.

To keep the whole process manageable it’s standard practice to offer the brief to no more than about seven agencies, preferably fewer, and then shortlist those to pitch down to three. If you are struggling to whittle down the list to three, you could always invite them in for a coffee and a chat to see if there’s the all important chemistry between you.

Brief encounter

Deciding to strengthen your marketing is easy. The challenge is translating your strategic marketing goals into a clear brief that you give to a prospective agency or in-house team to respond to. Understanding and agreeing what you want your marketing to achieve is at the heart of the brief.

The key elements of the brief include:

  • Clear objectives and priorities
  • Defined targets and markets – a cliché but it holds true: SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timebound)
  • The budget to be invested in the marketing
  • A response from the agency as to their creative approach to delivering the brief
  • The team it would appoint to support the client
  • Details of recent projects they have delivered in the form of case studies
  • References and testimonials

As already touched upon, a key part of the selection process will be assessing the chemistry between the prospective agency and the client. As a result it is essential that the pitch process includes the agency’s team who will actually do the work, and not just the polished pitch team.

In a future article we’ll consider the questions you should ask when the prospective agency is sitting across the desk from you at the pitch, with the last article considering how to make it all work after you’ve appointed your agency. In the meantime if you need help defining your marketing strategy and writing a brief, contact Maxim.

posted in: advice, marketing, media relations, public relations,

we'd love to work with you

get in touch