← Briefing 101
Deep dives
Finishing touches

Defining your marketing challenge 🩺

Ewan Patel
Co-founder & CSO

We usually don’t go looking for problems. But in your marketing brief, a good problem is worth its weight in gold. If you’ve ever seen an ad and thought, “What are they even trying to do here?”, then you’ll know what it looks like when someone hasn’t been able to find the right problem.

What is a problem statement in a marketing brief?

There are a three types of problem you need for your marketing brief. These are the Business Challenge, the Marketing Challenge, and the Communications Challenge. They form the basis of the objectives you include in your brief (you can read about how to set objectives here), and in turn they guide the entire campaign right from the start.

Business Challenge

This is the problem affecting your business’ bottom line. It’s usually tied to money - sales, revenue, profitability.

Marketing Challenge

This is the problem causing your business problem that can be solved with marketing. These are behaviours that consumers are taking that you’d like to change, stop, or start, like store visits, basket sizes, clicks and shares and more besides.

Communications Challenge

This is the problem causing your marketing problem that can be solved by a piece of communications. Typically, these include awareness, consideration, preference, or brand associations.

How to write a problem statement

Problem statement formula

The first thing you need to do is research your problems. Your business reports, econometrics, recent campaign performance - any and all data sources showing that you do indeed have three problems to solve.

Once you’ve got all that, we’ve designed a formula to help you write three problem statements for your brief in no time:

Problem statement example

Tesco were losing market share to their biggest rivals. This was a direct result of their food quality perceptions being low where research showed 'quality of food' was the biggest driver of supermarket choice. A years long focus on price had led consumers to believe that Tesco's food was lower quality than its rivals (even if in blind taste tests, the food was actually pretty good). So, Tesco needed consumers to associate their brand with quality. They'd eventually do this with their Food Love Stories campaign.

Use this formula to write each of your business, marketing and comms problems, and you'll be well on your way to a focused brief.

Of course, if you want to make writing a great brief easy, you can always try Briefly 🌱