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Working with agencies can be stressful, especially if you’re entrusting them with the key to your future success… your marketing. But if you brief a marketing agency right, they can bring a wealth of experience and fresh ideas to your campaigns. Helping you achieve your aims and objectives in ways you may not have thought of alone.

No matter how experienced and professional the marketing agency are, you will find little success if you’re hoping they will advise you on what is best for your business without sufficient information. It would be like giving a taxi driver money and asking him to take you somewhere to eat… How far are you prepared to travel? What kind of food are you after? What have you eaten before that you didn’t like? Do you want 5 Michelin stars or would you be happy at the chippie?

A marketing brief needs genuine thought. Depending on your previous marketing activities, you may need to do some research (or include this in the budget for the agency) to help you define your target market and appropriate communication channels.

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So what should go in the brief? This list is a starting point and there maybe some area less relevant to your goals and others specific to your area or type of business:
•    Explanation of your company.
•    Who is currently doing what with the marketing?
•    Your current marketing/advertising channels.
•    Current or previous marketing plans.
•    Your business model.
•    Your products or services and there lifecycle position.
•    Your Unique Selling Point.
•    Any industry specific seasonal periods.
•    Customer profile/ target audience.
•    Top competitors and what they have been up to.
•    Stakeholder relationships, e.g. suppliers.
•    Who controls communication channels, such as your website.
•    Provide access to tools such as Analytics and Ad Words.
•    A clear budget.
This process will help you identify clear and specific objectives rather than something woolly and generic like increasing brand awareness, traffic and revenue. Your objectives should be unique to you and they must be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-targeted.

SMART goals will generate a clear path and identify exactly what success will look like. Your agency can help, but you need to have a strong idea of what exactly you want them to achieve, they may see an additional opportunities in the picture you paint for them. But you need to paint that picture with as much detail as you can.

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Sounds daunting right? Don’t worry, a good agency will be able to fill in some of the gaps. The important factor is that you drill down what you want them to achieve, consider these and add your measurable targets:

•    Increase conversion rate
•    Increase in repeat business
•    Maximise transaction value
•    Enter new markets/demographics
•    Increase market share
•    Geographical growth

The more thought you put into your goals the better the more your agency can focus on a specific area. Success will be easier to see, with clearer metrics showing the growth you are after.

Ultimately, a good agency will ask you plenty of questions and will want to be sure you are focused on the right growth factor, picking holes in your research and criticising your analysis to come up with the best strategy. Don’t be put off, the more you know and the more they have to question, the better the results will be.

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About Lisa Cooper

Lisa Cooper is a photographer and marketing writer working for Print-Print Limited, promoting business and building your brand through quality print marketing. If you’re interested in small business promotion then please get in touch info@print-print.co.uk