With the temperatures on the rise, the competition in the Retail Energy marketplace is heating up in the 20+ states where energy is deregulated.  Retail Energy companies are being very aggressive in their acquisition efforts to lure customers away from their current electricity or gas provider. 

In a recent research engagement I completed for a client, I had an opportunity evaluate all of the Direct Mail packages being sent out over the past 12 months and when I was complete, felt like I had been transported back in time.  Back to the days of when cell phones were the size of bricks and credit cards companies were at war with each other in their fight for customers and market share.  By the way, this was only the mid to late 1990’s.

As we have all heard a thousand times there are now NEW ideas and the old is the new NEW.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  In any competitive situation, companies are always looking for an edge and a way to position themselves ahead of the competition.  Why not leverage a strategy or tactic that is proven to drive consumer behavior.  That is our job as marketer’s right? 

Do some of these offers sound familiar?

“Free Nights”
“Free Weekends”
“First 5,000 Customers Receive”

Or how about these Incentives?

“$50 Free Gift Card"
“Cash Back!"
“10,000 Miles!”
“x% Savings”

You see, as direct marketing has continued to evolve with technology many of the tried and true strategies that have been proven to drive consumer behavior have stayed the same.  What has changed is the sophistication in which we are able to analyze and leverage data and our abilities to communicate to our target audiences with offers we know that will drive response. 

While the strategies have remained the same, the technologies we utilize to deliver these strategies and segment our data have evolved to a state of sophistication where we are now able to launch sophisticated multivariate testing to reach conclusions faster than ever before with a high degree of personalization. 

So where does this all lead us? Easy! What is old is new again and what is new is driving results.  As you plan your strategies, do not forget what direct marketing history has taught you.  Be smart on how you inject new technologies and be mindful of what has worked in the past.  But make sure you leverage the data available to you on your customers or through third party providers to understand who your best customers are and what drove them to respond (offer, incentive, package etc.) .  It’s this combination of Innovation and Science that will deliver success.