Project Briefs are not useless. They’re misunderstood.

SET THE EXPECTATION before you move into a campaign full throttle. We as marketers have gone too far too fast when we design our campaigns, especially the lonesome silo-ed email deployment.

Raise your hand, discreetly if you’re in the office right now, if you’d admit that fifty percent or more of your promotional emails were scheduled way in advance, but the creatives only get a day or two of turn around time before the deployment date.

Are you moving too fast? Slow down and get it right

Timing matters. How do you create memorable experiences with your subscribers with embedded creative mistakes, miscommunication, and derailed campaign strategies? Why does the executive team think conversions always equal purchases? Because. You haven’t set the expectation…in writing.

Project briefs

To some, project briefs are a thing of the past. To most, project briefs are still utilized. To all, project briefs have lost their meaning. We get into such a rush with deadlines and other priorities, that we’re not laying the foundation of our campaigns properly.

And especially working together be it in your own team, cross departments or with an email marketing agency it is important to clearly communicate. At a high level, the strategy and brief probably exists; but, when you get down to the channel, the summaries and specs aren’t drafted at the same caliber.

I’m not here to tell you everything you need in your brief, but I will give a few suggestions that can set you on the right foot. The great thing is, these aren’t complicated [and sometimes you just need a reminder].

Here’s the mash up for you dissect and make your own checklist. Be sure to explain why this email even exists. It’s not trivial. Be sure to convey its relationship to your marketing strategy and channel strategy.

What is the purpose of your email?

Tell the audience what the purpose of the email is. Readership? Awareness? Relationship? Hygiene? Conversions [as you define it]? Other functions related to email’s acquisition, nurture, and retention positions? Will there be multiple creatives?

Include relevant KPIs and the metrics you’ll use to measure those. What do the KPIs mean? Define success and failure and next steps. Attach a task order with the specs and requirements from your creative team to execute the brief’s contents.

Detail your project brief with STAR

The point is, it’s good policy to provide as much detail as possible in a project brief because that should be the foundation upon which your teams build a campaign. Set the expectation so that every team knows what they need to understand and deliver to yield the greatest value from your emails.

Here’s the project package that our team uses, because I like modified methodologies and acronyms:

S (situation) – Project Brief

1. Situation & Background
2. Objective
3. Test (if applicable)
4. Risks
5. Teams
6. Deliverables
7. Timeline

T (task) – Task Orders

1. Overview
2. Deliverables
3. Specs
4. Teams
5. Hours

A (action) – Testing/Implementation Brief

1. Type
2. Why
3. Metrics
4. KPIs
5. Measurement
6. Assumptions and Success

R (results) – Results Documentation & Next Steps

1. Summary
2. Performance Overview
3. Next Steps

Jordan Lucas

Jordan Lucas, Director of Accounts at AudiencePoint. Jordan is a multi-disciplined marketer. With a background in the digital space, he has worked with clients in numerous verticals including: financial, education, media, and retail. Jordan’s channel experience is in email marketing, digital strategy and UX optimization, and he’s worked agency side in client facing capacities as well as internal analyst roles.