Do you live in a state where energy (gas and electric) is deregulated? Well I do! The great Commonwealth of Massachusetts deregulated energy back in 1998 and as a marketer I couldn’t be more excited. Almost to the point that I have a self-proclaimed “Man Crush” on Energy Marketing!
Yes, a “Man Crush” or “Bromance” about electricity. I think I’m the only one, besides Thomas Edison, to publicly admit that. But here’s the thing, as a marketer, I get to witness companies who sell a commodity, compete for my business. The energy industry is a 220 Billion dollar industry here in the United States, and it is one of the last government sanctioned monopolies left in this great land. For many of us (22 states in fact), we have the opportunity to choose our electricity provider and watch companies battle for our business. Some of them have taken on some interesting marketing approaches:
- Price – This is probably the most popular approach, as selling on pricing and overall household budget savings is an easy way to reach the consumer's heart through their wallet. Who wouldn’t want to save a few dollars?
- Service – Offering the promise of exceptional service. With more options to choose from, the natural air of competition helps every provider step up their game.
- Rewards – Offering rewards point to a customer’s favorite hotel or airline based on total spend. The opportunity to earn something additional while lighting your home… Now that’s attractive!
- Affinity – Targeting affinity groups offering discounts based on group involvement in a predefined savings program.
- Green – A percentage of spend goes toward funding wind or solar energy. Oh the feeling of doing good!
No matter the approach taken by these organizations, they all have the luxury of technology to aid them in their customer acquisition efforts to make them targeted, compelling and relevant.
So let’s break down the tools these marketing departments have to work with:
Data – The ability to understand the behaviors and view of our customers and prospects is stronger now more than ever. Used correctly, BIG DATA can be a game changer.
Document Creation – With web-to-print solutions, you can update mail packages quickly and easily as new rate data becomes available. Speed to market is critical in the retail energy space and technology is here to support you.
Production – High speed digital color is revolutionizing the Direct Marketing industry. No need to order and manage form stock. With the equipment available today, the average consumer (my mom) will not know the difference. What that means is, if you are marketing to several states, you can personalize every detail of the mail piece with rich full color. No longer do you need to live in a monochrome world! Also, there are some serious postal savings to be found here.
Trackability – With mail tracking software available in the marketplace today, marketers can now manage call center staff with a high degree of sophistication, based upon mail delivery. Additionally, integrated campaigns can be precisely timed.
Integration – Speaking of campaign integration, a direct mail piece followed by an email is stronger then any single channel. As noted above, mail tracking has made this easier than ever.
CRM – Lastly, CRM databases are at a level of sophistication today that enables you to tie all of these pieces together to truly understand the lifecycle of your prospects and customers, who are responding to the offers and insights you must leverage for your next campaign.
So as you can see from a marketing standpoint, the current Retail Energy marketplace is kind of cool. If you live in one of the 22 states where energy is deregulated may I suggest you closely monitor your mailbox. You may be pleasantly surprised at some of the strategies being leveraged to win you over.