No matter who is designing the website (you, a freelancer, or a web design firm), the creative brief (see the following section) will help clarify your wants, needs, goals, and marketing message. If you can’t draw a straight line, don’t worry. Even the most unartistic person can sketch out the basics of a website or landing page that will serve marketing goals.
Web designers are hired to bring their creativity to the table, but their first priority shouldn’t be earning a design award. The first priority is to build the most effective marketing-centric website for the target audience. A great website is fast, interesting and useful. Remember this. Look at the home pages of Google, eBay, or any of the top online retailers. Function triumphs over form most times.
The Web Marketing Creative Brief
Even if you’re creating this website on your own, don’t skip the creative brief. Like a good business plan, it will help inform you about marketing distinctions and critical communication points, and keep you on track. The insights you’ll glean from completing the competitive analysis alone are priceless and well worth your time.
If you’re managing a team of web designers or serving as the marketing liaison to gather wants and needs for a larger marketing team, the creative brief is essential. Graphic artists and web designers do not always know what is in the heads of the marketing professionals they work for. Taking some “quality time” to draft a creative brief will help facilitate the hiring process and/or design management of logos, banners, marketing collateral, and so on.
Being a proactive communicator and having a common communication point (via a creative brief) will spare the need for art therapy, unnecessary drama, upset, confusion, and financial anxiety. We do not plan to fail, we fail to plan. So plan. Whether you are a web designer who needs to better manage the marketing professionals you work for, or a professional trying to manage the website development process, this brief will keep miscommunications, well, brief.
If organizational leaders hire someone to design or create marketing materials, they must still be a partner in the process. Some of the biggest problems in the website design and development process stem from leaders who do not know what they want to communicate, do not have clear/aligned online marketing goals, and have not done enough preplanning to help designers and developers execute their wants.
This creative brief can be completed and shared with in-house web designers; shared with graphic vendors; given to designer candidates; or used to get accurate costs for work like websites, banner ads, and landing page design. The brief is also a great tool to consolidate internal marketing manager opinions so the artist gets one set of directions! Key points to incorporate into a web marketing creative brief follow. Be brief—stick to the facts.