The Irrigation Marketing Framework
The (ambitious) goal of the Irrigation Marketing Framework (IMF) is to help you succeed the marketing of your business or your project.
I started creating the IMF as I was looking for quicker ways to get my marketing right. I wanted to:
- Get methodical in the way of starting building a brand.
- List and order precisely the tasks to perform.
- Be systematic on how to market an offering (products and/or services).
The IMF is based on the following assumptions:
1. The goal of marketing is to communicate the right information about your offering to the right people at the right time.
2. There are 3 fundamental tasks to perform in marketing: targeting, communicating and measuring. Targeting and measuring are regrouped in task B of the IMF. Communicating is split between Tasks A, C and D.
3. Choosing how to deliver information is very similar to choosing which part of an irrigation system you want to build and use. The key is to know which pipelines and valves to open or close for the water (information) to arrive to the right plants (people), at an optimal quality and quantity (format). Hence the name of this framework: the Irrigation Marketing Framework.
How to use this list?
The IMF is a complete list of options and possibilities. It is similar to a list of useful ingredients to choose from in order to prepare a meal.
You don't have to use all of the ingredients, but, most importantly, you shouldn't. Some of them are almost mandatory (like water or salt), but others are optional. You choose what seems to be relevant to what you're trying to cook.
A. Define your brand and your offering
1. Create your brand assets
1.1. Choose your brand name
1.2. Create your set of logos
2. Detail the basic information about your offering
2.1. Craft your value propositions
2.2. Write the story of your offering
2.3. List the benefits of your offering for your customers/users
3. Set up your online presence
3.1. Choose your domain name(s)
3.2. Choose your professional email service and set up your email signature
3.3. Set up at least a one-page website
3.4 Create official accounts for you brand on community platforms
B. Be ready to capitalize on your customers/users
4. Try to know them thoroughly
4.1. Gather feedback with surveys and conversations
4.2. Identify their most common specificities
5. Try to satisfy them entirely
5.1. Create a support service system for your customers/users
5.2. Create a follow-up system for your customers/users
6. Amplify word of mouth
6.1. Collect and showcase reviews, testimonials and case studies
6.2. Create a reward program for referrals and loyal customers/users
7. Adapt and improve your communication
7.1. Determine the reach, the "action rate" and the Return On Investment (ROI) of your campaigns based on your customers/users
7.2. Centralize all your metrics in one dashboard or report
7.3. Adapt your combinations of pipelines and messages accordingly (see Tasks C and D below)
C. Choose favorable pipelines to inform and re-inform your target audience
8. Pipeline 1: Publish content on your own
8.1. Publish information on your website
8.2. Publish information on community platforms
8.3. Self-publish a book
9. Pipeline 2: Reach out to spread the word
9.1. Reach out directly to your potential users/customers (1 to 1)
9.2. Reach out to people who can inform their audience/network about you (1 to 1 to many)
9.3. Reach out to people through events (1 to many)
10. Pipeline 3: Advertise online
10.1. Advertise on search engines
10.2. Advertise on community platforms
10.3. Advertise on editorial websites
10.4. Advertise on aggregators
11. Pipeline 4: Advertise offline
11.1. Advertise outdoors on large formats: transport and billboard advertising
11.2. Advertise on television
11.3. Advertise on radio
11.4. Advertise in print media
11.5. Advertise outdoors on small formats
11.6. Sponsor events/organizations
D. Craft/produce optimized messages for the pipelines you chose
12. Choose a topic for the messages you want to deliver
12.1. Focus strictly on information about your offering: characteristics, price, discounts, giveaways
12.2. Use complementary information about your activity/target audience/industry
13. Prepare the right formats of messages
13.1. Write texts
13.2. Create images/Design visuals
13.3. Produce audio formats
13.4. Produce videos
Tasks 1 to 3 establish the positioning of your brand and of your offering.
A pipeline in the IMF is what others would call a marketing channel. The problem is that the term "marketing channel" is overused and has just become a vague concept. A marketing channel can be either a way of distributing a product, a number on electronic devices (TV and radio channels), a specific type of websites or specific way of going to a website (the default Channels in Google Analytics). To avoid this confusion, I chose deliberately the term pipeline. Pipelines are the main options available to reach your leads and your prospects.
Many resources list 10+ pipelines (or marketing channels), but many of them are quite similar or are not really pipelines. For example, SEO is not a pipeline. SEO is a prerequisite for creating online content, but SEO in itself does not enable you to reach prospects. The content you publish online does.
Task 4 is here to make us specify who are our ideal target audiences. The better we know our customers/users, the easier it is to identify what they have in common. From there, we can target prospects with the same specificities. This is an ongoing and virtuous circle. Of course, the most difficult part is to get the machine started with the very first customers/users.
Author: Dimitri Alamkan
Initial publication date: