It Takes a Village...
... luckily, public power utilities can leverage community ties! To successfully market an energy efficiency program, you need to know who your target group is, research market conditions, and understand market barriers - is it simply a matter of price, is the product not well known, or is it not readily available in your area?
Public power utilities have an advantage here because you are seen as part of the community and often have more personal relationships with customers and a superior understanding of their needs.
Developing a Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan should define target audiences, delivery channels, marketing messages, and timing of efforts.
- One marketing target is of course the end-user, but you will also need to market to key trade allies like contractors and retailers - they often play a major role in generating customer interest and participation.
- A variety of marketing channels can be employed, and again public power has an advantage because there are several local and low-cost options available, such as working with community agencies and local media outlets. The small size of some communities also creates greater opportunities for personal interaction and for "word-of-mouth" to spread more quickly among neighbors.
- Marketing messages are a key factor to program success. No doubt in this economic environment your customers are looking for opportunities to save money wherever they can. The resources here suggest heavily emphasizing utility bill savings, across all products. However, you'll also find more targeted motivational messages for specific product categories.
- Finally, consider timing. Certain products, such as heating and cooling equipment, have seasonal sales patterns. The program should be timed to capitalize on these sales peaks. In all cases, it's recommended that you give retailers advanced notice of the program to ensure enough product is in stock to meet demand.
Tell Us What You Need
CEEP and APPA are developing a toolkit about "Encouraging Consumer Participation," which will be out in early 2010. If you are seeking guidance in a particular area, please contact CEEP staff so we can address your needs in the toolkit!