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Direct Marketing Creative Briefs: It's Who You Know That Counts

Apr 11, 2013, 4:29:22 PM

Where does great creative begin?

Not with the writer or the designer. Not with a brainstorm or a concept, an image or a message. When it comes to driving response, great creative starts with a good creative brief. And a good creative brief starts with the customer or prospect.

Get inside their heads.

Most every brief includes a description of the product or service, the company and the offer. But good direct marketing isn’t about what you know—it’s about who you know. To engage and motivate our prospects, we need to know about them. What makes them mad? Happy? Proud? Afraid? It’s emotion that drives response, after all. (Reason is important, too—it justifies the emotional decision.)

Say, for example, that we’re marketing term life insurance. To sell it effectively, we have to touch on the emotion of fear. But what are our prospects afraid of?

  • A young father is afraid of leaving his growing family without a secure future.
  • A middle-aged couple is afraid of losing the home and treasures they’ve worked so hard for.
  • An older woman is afraid of leaving bills unpaid and being a burden to the loved ones she leaves behind.

The more we know about the people we’re talking to, the better we can tap into the emotions that drive them—and drive higher response.

Take a walk in their shoes.

Other factors that influence our prospects can also help inform creative.

If you sell jellybeans, and your prospect sees daily ads for half-price jellybeans from your competitor, you probably won’t do well promoting your price. By knowing the competitive environment, creative can focus on your advantages, such as your freshness or variety of flavors.

If you’re promoting dental services to young professionals, you might think that price is most important. Until you realize that they work 10 hours a day—and that weekend hours are even more compelling. To offer the right solution, we need to understand their challenges.

Some of this may seem obvious or intuitive. And some of it is. But it’s not always included in the information you provide for your agency or creative team. That leaves us to make assumptions, or to spend precious time searching for knowledge that you already have.

So share. The more you can tell us about your customers and prospects, the more effective your marketing will be. (And don’t even worry about keeping it brief.)

4-11-2013 12-21-44 PM

Melinda Risolo

Written by Melinda Risolo

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