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IA ramps up Smart Irrigation Month initiatives

June 23, 2014 -  By

SIM_COLOR(1)-1Get ready, set, go save water! The Irrigation Association (IA) will once again name July the Smart Irrigation Month for the ninth year in a row. The month includes a new social media program, a proclamation process and a contest.

Why is this important to landscape and irrigation contractors? Recognizing Smart Irrigation Month and becoming aware of year-round water usage can differentiate a company from its competitors.

“Contractors can brand themselves as more of a green company, which is a first choice for most people,” said Noreen Rich, senior marketing manager and foundation director of the IA.

Water is a major component in the Green Industry and conserving it is a way to be socially dependable for the many years to come.

“Contractors should help manage water if they want to continue to be in business in the future,” Rich said.

It all comes down to supply and demand, she said. Homeowners demand green grass and are sometimes unaware of the large amount of water they’re using. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, nearly 9 billion gallons of water per day are used for lawns and gardens throughout the nation. Smart Irrigation Month is an initiative to influence professionals to supply water users with the knowledge and products they need to help save water.

The IA’s Smart Irrigation Month committee has introduced a new social media program, a Thunderclap campaign, to get the word out to the public. If 100 people join the campaign by July 7, Thunderclap will send a message about smart water use via participants’ social media channels for all their friends or followers to see. The committee thought this would be a unique new way to reach thousands of individuals with its conservation message, Rich said. If the campaign does not earn 100 supporters, the message will stay put. As of press time, the campaign has 81 participants.

“This will help broaden our exposure of the campaign,” Rich said. “(It’s) a way to get more people to promote the message.”

The IA is also backing an effort to get states and cities to proclaim July as Smart Irrigation Month. This year 13 states and municipalities have issued proclamations and 10 are in the process.

The purpose is to encourage more proclamations and local participation, so the Smart Irrigation Month message can reach more people.

“Our goal for next year is to really partner with local trade organizations in each state,” Rich said. “Provide the organizations with resources and direction on ways they can promote Smart Irrigation Month to their own members.”

Additionally, during the month of July companies can participate in the Smart Marketing Contest, a marketing competition for Smart Irrigation Month campaigns. The winners, those who promote Smart Irrigation Month in the most creative and effective ways, will get recognition and the ability to present their campaigns at the annual Irrigation Show & Education Conference in Phoenix in November.

“It’s a way to give recognition to industry companies who go above and beyond to promote,” Rich said.

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