Written by Kia Irving | UK
on April 15, 2021

There are many reasons why you might work with a marketing agency. You might have projects that need specialist skills you don’t have in-house. Or you don’t have the resource to run certain projects.

Whatever the case, you want your kick-off meetings to be as efficient as possible. That way, no one’s wasting any time (or budget!) on pre-production.

This guide aims to help you equip yourself to do that: have all the necessary tools upfront for your marketing agency's brief. You might not need to have full, in-depth answers, but it’s a good idea to have considered these areas.

A marketing brief should accomplish 4 critical points for the team:
  • Explain the purpose of a given marketing strategy
  • Detail the measurements that will determine the success of a campaign
  • Identify the audience and expected outcomes of the project
  • Set clear goals, timelines, and responsible parties for the marketing campaign

First things first: be clear on why you’re working with a marketing agency

In keeping with one of my favourite cult-like, motivational courses, start with the end in mind. By knowing what you want to achieve in the beginning, helps align everyone.

Have a think about:

  • Why are you engaging with an agency?
  • What in particular do you need help with?
  • Is this a specific project or on-going work?

Up next: what do you want to achieve?

At the start of a new project, we begin by defining “what do you want to be famous for?”. But it’s good to establish this at the start of your agency relationship too. A lot like the above, now is the time to focus on setting the project goals.

For example, if you’re looking at a website rebuild, you might want to consider your key drivers for success. Or even something more tangible, like replacing legacy tools so you can put in place new services. You might have aspirations for an eCommerce website or a new CRM platform that you current set up doesn't do.

Why your team structure matters to us

For us to be able to immerse ourselves in your business, it’s good for us to understand the team structure. Even if they aren’t working with us.

By understanding the decision making chain, we're better equipped to set realistic timings. It also helps understand and plan how we provide deliverables in a way that suits everyone.

How does this all link up?

Let’s say you’re engaging with your marketing agency for a rebrand and website build. From the points above, we would want to know:

  • The background on why you want to rebrand.
  • Why you want a new website.
  • Who manages your website at the moment? Is there anyone outside of your team involved? For example, technical support for your website.
  • What other teams might need to get involved? (e.g. There may already be an in-house designer who isn’t working on the redesign but will help update assets later)

Now we’re cooking on gas: what are we working on?

Once the background on the who, what and why is established, it’s time to get on with the project scope. We will work with you to detail what’s including, what’s a no-go and where there’s flexibility.

Project details:

  • What’s in scope (e.g. I want to run a lead generation program utilising PPC and inbound marketing)
  • What’s not in scope (e.g. we will create our own content, we just want help implementing the technical set up)
  • If you need help with messaging, we will need to know more about your brand messages. Don’t worry if you don’t yet know exactly what you want to say!
  • What do you want your leads/customers to do? (e.g. Do you want them to download a guide, sign up for more information, buy something etc.)

Excellent, so here’s what we need

Once we’ve scoped out the project, we need a few more things from you to help us immerse into your world. You might not have these, and if not, we will work with you to solve that. They include:

  • Your marketing plan.
  • Your brand guide.
  • The existing channels you are active on (e.g. website, any micro sites, social media).
  • What your technology stack looks like. What systems do you use and do any of these ‘touch’ your website or sales processes?
  • An outline of your products/services offering.
  • Any no go areas (e.g. whether it’s something you’ve tried in the past that hasn’t gone so well, or have strong opinions on).
  • Your existing audience outline.
  • Your ideal audience/personas.
  • Existing content and content/thought leadership strategy.

These assets help us get to know your business, your customers and from there, how to frame the next steps. Sometimes these will be recreated in the project we are working on, they are still helpful in guidance.


Finally, it always comes down to budget in one way or another. Most of the time there’s a version of your project that can be scaled to most budgets. And within that, if you’re running PPC or sponsored posts, there’s another budget to apply and work with.

Summary: briefing your marketing agency

By providing as much information as possible, you’ll see a more efficient process. Marketing agencies thrive on detail and love to immerse in your brand culture. But if you don't have all of the assets above, or you aren't sure what they are, please feel free to ask for help!

Contact us

UP is running a briefing MASTERCLASS for UP members:

UP+D&AD Masterclass: writing briefs & briefing creative teams



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