Sid Bharath
April 20, 2021

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Marketing Campaign Brief

Successful marketing campaigns don’t happen by accident. Your entire team needs to be on the same page, using the same strategy to achieve the same goal. 


And to make sure that happens, we have an unbeatable tool in our content marketing arsenal: the campaign brief.

What Is a Campaign Brief?

A campaign brief is the foundation of your marketing campaign. It lays out the goals for the campaign and makes sure every piece of the campaign is on target. 


A campaign brief ensures there are no discrepancies or misunderstandings about the target, the messaging, and who’s responsible for what. It gets everyone aligned, which ensures the campaign can achieve the outcomes you’re looking for.


In this article, we’re going to cover five elements every campaign brief needs to have. We’ll then cover four nice-to-haves that will take your brief to the next level.


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5 Must-Have Elements in a Campaign Brief 

While there are plenty of campaign brief templates out there, the best and most comprehensive ones are the ones you write yourself. Just as any great recipe begins with the right ingredients, here are the most important elements for your marketing campaign brief: 

1. The Details About the Campaign and its Background

Introduce your campaign brief with a brief description of the campaign:


  • The campaign’s name
  • The product or service being promoted
  • The goals of the campaign
  • Your target launch date


Your first priority is to clearly articulate why you’re building this campaign in the first place.


“Whilst a written brief is essential, one of the keys to the success of any good brief is defining and articulating the precise marketing challenge you’re trying to solve. Only once you have achieved absolute clarity on this key aspect can you then proceed onto the proceeding stages with confidence,” says Gavin Llewellyn


In the introduction, you should also include timelines for each stage of completion so that all of the necessary parts are in place before it’s ready to launch.


In addition, to help prevent any bottlenecks from gumming up the gears, include information as to who’s responsible for the campaign and who ultimately has the authority to sign off on it so that when it’s time to launch, there’s nothing left to slow you down. 

2. Information on the Channels and Platforms You’ll Be Using

This might seem redundant, but it’s important to specify the channels you’ll be using so that Marketing and Design can put their heads together and create a consistent look and feel across the entire user journey. 


This process may even go in reverse. In some cases, the creative team first brainstorms the design idea and Marketing comes up with platforms to match and amplify the idea. There is no one “right way” when creating your campaign brief template. Use the methods that work best for your unique needs. 


“Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.” — Joe Chernov, VP Marketing, Pendo.io

3. The Details About the Product or Service Itself

This part may also seem redundant on the surface, but it’s actually important to go into detail about your product or service in the brief itself. In this section, you’ll highlight the features and benefits that should be included in the campaign. You’ll also begin to develop the messaging that will be used throughout the campaign.


The idea is to give everyone involved the big picture as well as the granular details:


  • What are the product’s best features?
  • How do those features help improve the lives of the target audience?
  • Can you prove it? If so, how? 


A common mistake when creating a campaign brief is to assume your design team knows everything you know about your product. The truth is, there may be gaps in how much they (and you) know about what you’re promoting. 


Putting this information in a campaign brief not only ensures everyone has access to the same details, but also ensures that the voice, tone, and style of your campaign are unified, on-point, and on-brand. 


“At its very core, marketing is storytelling. The best advertising campaigns take us on an emotional journey — appealing to our wants, needs, and desires — while at the same time telling us about a product or service.” — Melinda Partin, Senior Director of Marketing & Digital Strategy, UW Medicine

4. The Campaign’s Budget

As marketers, we understandably like to dream big. To that end, we also like to imagine that budget-wise, the sky's the limit to make our vision reality. Rarely, if ever, is that the case.


Including the campaign’s budget in your campaign brief will help set a clear number in terms of what can be spent in order to achieve your goal. It also helps rein in the excitement of creative urges and splurges. 


The best way to do that, according to Steve Olenski, the CMO Whisperer, is to constantly look for ways to cut costs. “Can you get a better price with a different agency? Can you get similar exposure using a cheaper channel? Do you really need that automation tool that costs hundreds of dollars a month? Spending less for the same results means a higher ROI — and freed up money to spend elsewhere.”


Of course that doesn’t mean that we should put a damper on the design team’s enthusiasm, but being clear about spending up-front will help prevent a waste of resources and help keep everyone on track and in-the-loop about expectations and actual budget constraints. 

5. Information About Your Target Audience

This is one of the biggest parts of the campaign brief. Who is your target audience? Why are you trying to reach them? What need(s) do they have that aren’t being met or served by what’s already out there? And how is your product or service aiming to change that? 


Another important note to keep in mind is that just because you say your product or service will solve their needs doesn’t actually mean it will. What proof do you have that your offer is the perfect solution? How do your target customers feel about your brand and how does that align with the perception that you want to create in their minds? 


Oftentimes there can be disconnects here, so outlining this information in your campaign brief will help everyone understand who you’re marketing to, why they should care, and how your campaign will connect those dots. 


Note: it’s a good idea to create a collection of video testimonials that you can include in this section. Not only do they help your team know your target audience — including the words they use to talk about your product or service — testimonials are powerful proof elements. Include them in every part of your campaign.


“Instead of one-way interruption, web marketing is about delivering useful content at just the right moment that a buyer needs it.” — David Meerman Scott, Keynote Speaker & Author

Also Don’t Forget About…

There are also a few other points that, while not strictly required by a campaign brief template, are nevertheless nice to have for added clarity.  


The Context Behind the Campaign. A campaign shouldn’t be in a silo by itself. Instead, think about the customer problem that your campaign is offering to solve. What opportunity are you presenting to the end user? 


When creating your campaign brief, you may discover that a lot of other great ideas also come to light that don’t quite fit this campaign. Don’t discard them. Save them for future campaigns. 


Prior Data and Findings. Nearly every campaign will give you some nugget of information or detail that you didn’t have before. Including this in the context of your campaign brief will help the creative team do their part more effectively. 


Be sure to include any relevant notes on similar social media brands, competitors, your own brands strengths and weaknesses versus those of your competition and any other relevant data that can paint the full picture for everyone involved. 


What You Want Your Audience to Do. This might sound like a no-brainer, but putting the end result goal in the campaign brief can make the difference between creating a campaign that’s designed to get leads, versus a campaign that’s engineered to sell. 


Clearly spell out the campaign’s call to action and the next steps you want the customer to take.


Incorporating Brand Guidelines. Having brand guidelines, including your style guide as well as your overall tone and voice guides, can be helpful to fall back on as you create your campaign brief. 


This ensures that the design is unified across platforms and that the language and messaging reflect your brand across multiple channels. 


Turn it into a Campaign Brief Template

These five elements are the core of a strategic campaign brief. By incorporating them into your brief, you’ll find it much easier to create a campaign that actually achieves your goals. 


But don’t stop there. Much of the information in your brief can be reused in other campaigns. By turning your brief into a campaign brief template, you’ll never start from zero, reinventing the wheel when you need to architect a campaign. 


Having a template will reduce your time designing the campaign and help you quickly adjust to new needs, platforms, and markets. 

Wrapping Up

Creating a campaign brief that can continually be used in this way helps turn goals into clear and concise objectives. It can also give you and your team specific areas of improvement that you can continue to build upon. 


What elements do you include in your campaign brief?