One third of marketing budgets could be wasted

The global research by BetterBriefs was unveiled at EffWorks Global 2021

In collaboration with research partner Flood + Partners, the BetterBriefs Project initiated by leading Australian strategists Matt Davies and Pieter-Paul von Weiler, reveals the staggering and uncomfortable truths about the confusion, misalignment and miscommunication between marketers and agencies.

The survey is the largest ever done on this topic representing the opinions of over 1700 marketeers and agency staff from over 70 countries. The study releases the following:

Marketers and agencies are on different planets:

Marketers (80%) think they write good briefs, and only 10% of creative agencies agree. Over three quarters of marketers (78%) think the briefs they write provide clear strategic direction, with only 5% of creative agencies agreeing. And when it comes to language, marketers (83%) believe that the briefs they write contain clear and concise language, with only 7% of agencies agreeing.

Briefs are essential but neglected:

Marketers (89%) and agencies (86%) agree that it's challenging to produce good creative work without a good marketing brief. However, despite their importance and value, almost all marketers (90%) and agencies (92%) agree that the brief is one of the most valuable and paradoxically most neglected tools marketers have to create good work.

The impact:

Poor briefs erode marketing budgets. Respondents estimated that a substantial 33% of the marketing budget goes to waste due to poor briefs and misdirected work. And rebriefs happen too often with marketers (69%) and agencies (73%) agreeing, leading to loss of time, money and fueling frustration on both sides.

Says Janet Hull OBE, IPA Director of Marketing Strategy and Executive Director IPA EffWorks:

"How can you say what you mean if you don’t mean what you say? Which is precisely the issue that this thorough research brings to the fore: you can’t produce good work without a good evidence-based brief with realistic outcomes and sensible budgets. They are the building block of the client/agency relationship and the campaign outcome.

A bad brief results in wasted time, money and patience all round. But let’s turn a negative into a positive here. Now we know the extent of the problem, we are also presented with an opportunity to improve the briefing process and reclaim the third of the marketing budget lost to bad briefs – which is why we will be adding this to the list of our EffWorks R&D priorities for 2022.

Matt Davies and Pieter-Paul von Weiler, BetterBriefs Project co-founders, commented:

The aim of the BetterBriefs project is to jumpstart more informed conversations about briefs. They should direct and inspire, not confuse and frustrate. Our results demonstrate the sad reality of the current state of the industry. Marketers and agencies should communicate better with each other."

Research partner, Vaughan Flood, Flood + Partners, also commented:

"This is a truly revelatory study. It highlights the scale of the marketing brief problems and the perceptual gap between marketers and their agencies. Fortunately, it also shines a light on ways to move things forward in a positive direction."

The data revealed in this global launch is the first step into creating better briefs.

Find out more about BetterBriefs
Last updated 10 November 2021