How to Brief an Agency: A Client's Roadmap for Success

Mathias Benninghoven
Mathias Benninghoven

Engaging a marketing agency is a pivotal step towards achieving your business goals. Whether you're looking to boost your brand, launch a new product, or revamp your digital presence, the clarity and comprehensiveness of your brief can make or break the project. To ensure that your collaboration is fruitful, here is a concise checklist of six key elements to guide you through briefing an agency effectively.

1. Go in with a clear purpose

Begin by defining the 'why' behind your project. This is your north star, guiding every decision and strategy. Are you looking to increase brand awareness, drive sales, or enter a new market? Be as specific as possible. A clear purpose helps the agency align its creative and strategic efforts with your business objectives.

2. Set a scope for your project

Detail what the project entails. Outline the deliverables you expect, such as branding, website development, social media campaigns, or all of the above. Then specify any must-have elements and deal-breakers. For example, set the concrete scope of the expected website templates, the integration of 3rd party modules such as eCRM solutions, or even give examples of your expectations in terms of animation, functionality or features.

Understanding the scope helps the agency allocate the right resources and gauge the project's complexity from the start, manage expectations and avoid unpleasant surprises for either side.

If you are not crystal clear about what you want to achieve with the project, what challenges you want the agency to solve, and why, you may want to work with the agency on an initial strategy or concept sprint to refine these questions. The advantage of this is that you can already see at this stage whether the chemistry between you and your agency is right.

3. Propose a realistic budget for your project

Let's talk about money, because that's often the indicator for both agencies to take part in a pitching process in the first place and for companies to be able to compare submitted proposals and make a sensible and financially viable decision. Long story short: There should be budget details. If these are not defined, you don't need to expect proposals, as working with a clear purpose is too time-consuming for agencies.

If you’re not willing to put a definite number on paper, rather work with a budget range, because it also shows that the client has realistically examined the project. In the end, no agency is going to start working on an awareness campaign in Germany for under 100k € per year.

4. Drawing a clear timeline to success

Timing is crucial. Provide a clear schedule, including the project kickoff, critical milestones, and final deadlines. If there are fixed dates for product launches or events that the campaign needs to align with, highlight these. A well-defined timeline ensures that both parties can plan their workloads and prioritize tasks efficiently.

5. Involving key stakeholders from the get-go

Identify who within your organization will be involved in the project, at what stage and in which capacity or role. This includes decision-makers, project managers, and anyone else who will provide feedback or input. Most of the time, an agency only has an outsider’s view of the client and its structure and dynamics. Knowing the key stakeholders and their specific challenges and needs allows the agency to understand the decision-making process and tailor their communication strategy.

6. Who will your project be for? Finding target groups.

Who are you trying to reach? Describe your target audience(s) in as much detail as possible, including demographics, psychographics, behavior patterns and user flows, persona models and any insights into their needs and preferences – based on clear analyses, studies and data and not on guesswork and from an internal viewpoint. The more the agency knows about your target group, the more tailored and effective their strategies and creatives will be.

"Give us the basic framework so that we can convince you with our suitable ideas/proposals."

This succinctly captures the essence of a well-constructed brief. By providing a solid foundation of your project's purpose, scope, timeline, stakeholders, and target audience, you enable the agency to bring their best ideas to the table. This not only streamlines the process but also enhances the potential for your project's success. Clear, comprehensive briefs are the bedrock upon which powerful, effective marketing strategies are built.

From insights to excellence

Creating a clear plan and framework of requirements for an agency to pitch or develop ideas for is no easy feat. Lack of overhead, resources or data insights are common reasons why the root cause of an organization's challenges are not properly identified and a marketing overhaul is not actively pursued.

But this is where an agency can meet the client half-way.

Here at Uhura Digital, our strength lies in the in-depth analysis and recording of data points, following our proven three-part approach to a campaign, website or other digital product – Discovery (1), Definition & Ideation (2) and Delivery (3).

Starting with the Discovery phase, we develop a profound understanding of your brand, defined target groups and the market environment. We – in close collaboration with our clients – do that by deeply analyzing strategies, actions and assets as well as identifying gaps and option spaces for the implementation of strategic goals for your brand and web.

If you are curious to find out more about how our strategic approach can help your brand or project, we can offer you free access to our defined questionnaires or feel free to get in touch at any time.

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