How to Brief a marcom consultant

Often, when it comes to advertising / marcom briefing, the attitude and approach displayed by a few senior managers / leaders, is amazing!

A couple of years ago, I came across a very senior person from a leading Co from the services sector, who wished to promote one of the services offered by the company thru social media. The service itself, I was told, has been running for quite some time, but has not been adopted by customers to the Co’s expected levels till then.

In absence of a clear and concise brief, I asked a few historical questions related to the project, e.g. its current usage, awareness, adoption, etc., core problems being faced with the service, the company’s past efforts to increase adoption rates, PLUS why did the company feel social media was the right way to solve the problem.

The response I got, just amazed me! He expected these answers to be coming from me!

Now, in a normal set-up, every marcom consultant usually comes up with insights gained through some sort of research, based on a hypothesis floated by the client. However in this case, the response made me feel strongly that the client didn’t have any support feedback mechanism in place while launching the service! Isn’t it largely a waste of his marketing budgets?

While briefing for any marcom campaign, follow the FIVE basic requirements: 

1)      What’s the marketing PROBLEM you’re facing? – In fact, without a proper understanding of your marketing problem, you’ll be directionless about the need-gap areas of your marketing program. Identifying need gap areas will lead you to the next question.

2)      What’s the OBJECTIVE of your marcom campaign? – Without a clear-cut objective, you should not approach any consultant / agency. Otherwise, there’ll be a general tendency for them to respond with an objective definition that suits their understanding of the project, and not necessarily yours.

3)      Who’s your core TARGET for the campaign? Who are the influencers? – Often many marketers fail to define this, or consider that “all” groups within their product usage segments are their core targets. This is a flawed way of marketing communication. Your core target actually drives your brand’s personality to some extent. The influencers feed in to the ecosystem in which your brand’s personality survives. Hence you need to be extra careful!

4)      What’s the proposed DOMAIN of your marcom campaign? – The geographic / psychographic / usage / or any other segment domains defines the playing field for your marcom campaign. The clearer the domain is, the more effective is your investment.

5)      What’s the RESULT you’re expecting after the campaign is over? – Try to clearly specify the result you wish to achieve, if possible in numbers. When not possible in numbers, try to establish a qualitative factor that would decide the campaign effectiveness.

If you’re planning to invest in a campaign, without having a clear knowledge of the above factors, your investments stand to be ineffectively utilized or lost! And yes, DO NOT propose a solution to your problem while briefing, even if you know that’s the correct one! If you do wish to still, give enough details on THE REASONS behind your assumed solution(s).

About shantanu.sengupta
I'm a passionate Strategic Marketing professional who deeply understands the interplay of Technology, Collaboration and Design that drives brand innovation and growth in a post-recession world today. I believe that marketing solutions cannot be found by referring to historical case studies, esp. since no two marketing problems are the same. As a result, instead of adhering to a jargonised approach to marketing, I follow Design Thinking principles, challenge existing norms and processes, and search for innovative ways to solve marketing problems. I specialize in developing and implementing marketing and communication strategies across B2C and B2B channels, with a clear focus on brand development and customer engagement that increases future brand value.

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