To get a functional brief in writing, you need to create a document that communicates enough for an agency to put their heart into getting the job. This means transparent and easily understood. Some marketers are loathing to make the client budget known upfront, and two issues spring to mind in this case.

The first is that you’ll ultimately be working with one of the agencies that get your brief, and trust is going to be an important factor in the success of the job. Secondly, an agency cannot be expected to come up with a brief that blows your hair back if they have no idea what budget they’ll be allocated.

I have seen many lost opportunities for real impact because marketers were not transparent with budgets, which is one of the reasons the IAS has always advised clients to give – at the very least – a ballpark figure.

Next is an understandable message. Given that comprehension is subjective, we suggest reading your draft brief to colleagues and noting that if just one person doesn’t understand something in the brief, there will be other agency staff who find the brief unclear too.

Rather than waste time on semantics, make sure it is written in a way that the 'job to be done' stands out for anyone who reads it. If your brief has been created for outside resources, include a short background of the company as well the product and/or service you are marketing, even if it’s a well-known brand.

Note who you are targeting and create a list if their multiple segments and identify the targeted segments. Should you have marketing vehicles you’d like to use in mind, add that into the brief; however, also state whether or not you are open to using other mechanisms as well.

I’ve found agencies often come up with ideas that may not be strictly to brief but could be extremely valuable when given the option of adding other platforms. Then, highlight the overall business objective of the campaign and the expected outcome – sales, brand awareness or launch.

Indicate how you expect to measure the campaign’s success, and also give a snapshot of your timeline. Lastly, make the brief as concise as you can without losing any of the fine details, such as disclaimers. Remember, your brief provides a management function and should enable you to verify results, too.

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