New better briefing best practice guide to address industry shortcomings

The best way for a client to brief an agency was co-authored by BetterBriefs and Mark Ritson.

UK marketers estimate that over a quarter of their marketing budget is wasted on poor briefs and misdirected work. This is just one of the arresting new stats from BetterBriefs who have released new data on the shortcomings of marketing briefs in the United Kingdom.

Accompanying this data and to improve the standard of briefing on a global scale, BetterBriefs will also be unveiling a new best practice guide, The best way for a client to brief an agency, co-authored by Mark Ritson and in partnership with the IPA. Both of which were officially unveiled at the IPA Business Growth Conference.

New survey results on briefing in the UK

After shocking the world of advertising last October with the alarming truths about the significant misalignment between marketers and agencies regarding briefs on a global level, the new findings of 508 marketers and agency staff from the UK (the largest UK sample ever on the topic) are equally astounding.

The UK data reveals the following:

  • UK marketers estimate that 26% of their marketing budget is wasted on poor briefs and misdirected work.
  • Only 6% of UK agencies are clear on the strategic direction in the briefs they receive from their clients. 
  • Three in four (73%) UK agencies believe the briefs they receive from clients aren’t good enough.
  • Only 30% of UK marketers say they have clear evaluation criteria in place to assess the work coming off the brief.
  • UK marketers responsible for writing briefs don’t lack for experience or seniority; 74% are over 35 years old; 72% have more than 10 years’ experience as a marketer; and 64% carry the title of ‘senior’ or ‘director’.
  • Too many briefs are unclear on the target audience; only 38% of U.K. creative agencies are clear on the target group in the briefs they receive from clients: even a third (34%) of UK marketers themselves are unclear on target groups in briefs.

A new best practice guide to better briefing

To help rectify the current bleak state of briefs on a UK and global scale, BetterBriefs has also co-authored a best practice guide with Mark Ritson and in partnership with the IPA.

This new guide draws on BetterBriefs’ global and UK research data to provide a practical tool to help marketers write better briefs, underpinned by rock-solid strategic thinking. It also aims to create a shared understanding between marketers and agencies as to what constitutes a good brief (and briefing). Chapters cover: The importance of briefs; Marketing strategy shaping briefs; Writing briefs and Briefing the brief.


Say BetterBriefs co-founders Matt Davies and Pieter-Paul von Weiler: "The purpose of this guide is to help clients write the best possible briefs for their agencies. It comes at a watershed moment. Marketers have more tools at their disposal than ever before to connect with consumers and to measure the effectiveness of what they do. Except none of this matters if the one thing that everything hinges on – the brief – isn’t clear, isn’t thought through and isn’t right."

Ultimately, we all want the same thing: more impactful and effective work that delivers better business results. This guide is all about facilitating this.

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

Says Joyce Kelso, Associate Director of Marketing, IPA: "At first glance, it is hard not to feel deflated by these UK findings regarding the poor quality of briefing. We clearly still have a lot of work to do. What is positive though, is that with this hard work comes real opportunity. Not only have BetterBriefs helped to identify the problem, they – along with Mark Ritson - have helped to come up with a solution that could really boost our industry’s capabilities. This new best practice guide will prove invaluable in helping to rectify the issues highlighted by the research from which we will waste less time, energy and resource and direct our people to what they do best: provide innovative solutions to clients’ problems. I strongly encourage all agencies and clients to get hold of their free copy."

The UK report is available for free download from

Download 'The best way for a client to brief an agency' best practice guide
Last updated 01 May 2024