Guest post by our speaker, Tim Elliott

Throughout my 20+ years as a marketer I’ve always been fond of a framework and recently I have been using the I.D.E.A. framework in projects.

The beauty of this, and frameworks in general, is the ease of use and adaptability to almost whatever you point it at.

I’ve just put together a marketing strategy workshop for a client using the I.D.E.A. framework so thought I’d share the bones of it here.

The strategic framework is called I.D.E.A.

The I stands for imagine, D for design, E for execute and A for amplify.

Let’s go a little deeper below.


This stage answers the why questions and the what questions. For example: 

  • Why is this important to the people we serve?
  • What do I want to achieve?
  • What are all the possible things we could do to deliver the outcome?


This stage answers the how questions. For example:

  • How are we going to do what we imagined? 
  • What do we expect to happen at point X? And what’s next?
  • Decide or design who does what and when


This stage looks at tools and tactics that make it easy for you to take action. 

Depending on the plan you have designed, it’s now time to take action. You need to have a mindset of test and learn. Even though the outcome may be long term or short term, you need to set learning horizons. 

For example:  12 month marketing strategy to achieve X

  • Horizon 1: 3 months in 
  • Horizon 2: 6 months in
  • Horizon 3: 12 months

Another example: 5 year plan to exit

  • Horizon 1: 12 months
  • Horizon 2: 36 months
  • Horizon 3: 60 months

This stage will, of course, include analytics – as Seth Godin says, it’s important to measure what you do, but you should probably only measure half as much and do twice as much with what you learn.


This is the kernel of a good marketing strategy. If all you did was to amplify the good work you did, you would win. That, however, does depend on if you do good work.

In relation to the full framework, amplify shows you how to amplify the work you do more than the activity that works the best from the previous Execute stage.

That brings us to the end of this introduction to the simple adaptable I.D.E.A. framework. This is based in the tenants of human-centered design and divergent and convergent thinking.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found it useful, if you did, buy a ticket to MarketEd.Live where you can see me and my colleague Paul Chapman on stage talking all things strategy and answering your questions.