How to achieve good value from your marketing agency


Working with agencies involves time and money, so driving greater value is vital and comes from managing these costs whilst maximising your return on them.

It’s not unusual to see some of the basic agency management techniques being side-lined, usually at the clients’ expense.

One of the easiest and most overlooked ways to help your agency help you is the humble Creative Brief, a vital tool in producing great quality marketing communications. As the great David Ogilvy once said, “Give me the freedom of a tight brief”.

Whatever your marketing project is, the Creative Brief ensures that your marketing activity is fully thought through before the agency meter starts ticking.

So, what comprises a good Creative Brief?

Here we take a look at the ten points of our standard Creative Brief to see why each one is so important in helping your agency create great work and therefore great value for you:

1. The Background – The why?

- What is the background to this communication?

- Why are you doing it?

- Has this been done before? How can it be improved?

2 Objectives

- What do you want to achieve through this activity (footfall, revenue, followers, etc.)?

- Is there a primary objective with secondary objectives? What are they?

3. Target Audience – The Who?

- Who are we talking to and what insight do we have about them?

- Why are we talking to them in particular?

- Have they bought from us before or are they prospects?

4. What do we want them to think?

- What do you want them to take away from this communication?

- What opinions or perceptions do we want to change?

- How do we increase their desire for your product/service?

5. Campaign Formats

- Is the campaign made up of social, print, out of home, radio, etc.?

- What are the sizes and limitations of the format?

6. Competition

- Why should your audience buy your product or service instead of the competitors?

- What is your competitive differential?

- How does the competition position their product or service?

7. How does the target audience respond?

- What do you want your audience to do as a result of this communication?

- Do you want them to click, visit, buy, call, vote, etc., etc.?

- What incentives are there for them to respond?

8. Mandatory elements

- What are the sacred cows? What must be included or adhered to? Logos, prices, T&C’s brand guidelines, imagery, links, etc.?

9. Budget

- The budget has a huge effect on the creative concepts your agency might propose.

- Give the agency some idea of available budget so that they can present realistic proposals and not waste their time .... and your money.

10. Timings – The When?

- What is the timetable from brief to deployment?

- When do you need to see creative proposals?

It is important to point out that a good written brief is an addition to, not a substitute for a spoken brief.

In summary, the better your brief, the better their work. The better their work, the better the results.