Though the concept of energy hasn’t changed very much over the last several decades, both the overall energy industry and individual markets have evolved and undergone immense transformations. As one of many industries working to adapt amid an evolving landscape, the energy sector finds itself at the center of a narrative we’ve grown quite familiar with in recent years—change.
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Digitalization has shifted the dynamic between customer and service provider across the board, drastically changing the way we all do business. Much like water, energy has historically been considered a commodity, but as more and more options become available, even commodities can be shopped around for a better value. Customers are no longer interested in pure products matching their needs. They are looking for services that aim to solve their problems and improve the quality of their lives.[i] With this highly evolved and informed customer base in mind, companies are reconsidering some of their long-standing marketing strategies and implementing new ideas. In this blog, we will discuss some growing industry concerns, the latest energy marketing and communication trends, and a few ways our services can help.
THE STORY OF climate change
In the energy sector, branding is not just about the energy company; it’s about the story behind the energy being provided. Many of today’s energy customers are extremely concerned about climate change, and interests in solar and renewable energies have increasingly become more urgent for both energy providers and their customers. Companies that are engaged with their customers realize that each source of energy has its own story to tell, and this story is what gets customers excited. Currently, Georgia Power encourages its customers to learn about the company’s Solar Energy Program, and also stresses the benefits of driving electric vehicles that produce no direct emissions. Additionally, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, comprised of major oil companies such as Exxon, Shell, Chevron, BP, Total, and others, has expressed a commitment to reducing collective emissions by 2025, and ultimately achieving zero emissions by the second half of the century.
Marketing that focuses on these kinds of stories and demonstrates an organizational commitment to reducing the effects of climate change on the environment appeals to wider audiences, while continuing to nurture company relationships with current customers.
LESS PROMOTION—MORE EDUCATION
As with most communication strategies, tone is extremely instrumental to conveying the intended message to your target audience. With customers who are more enlightened than ever before, energy companies are now taking heed to understand their customers on a deeper level. For instance, major corporations may want renewable energy to meet their sustainability goals, while residential customers may be more interested in clean energy and being equipped with the technology and tools to efficiently manage their energy usage.[ii]
Because today’s consumers are innate knowledge seekers, companies are approaching content with more of an educational tone to better engage and influence their audiences. Companies that take this approach will be able to present the benefits of their services without overwhelming their target audiences.
SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT
In a world driven by consumers who thrive on the latest, most innovative technologies, it has become nearly impossible for businesses to prosper without engaging their audiences via social media. Currently, one of the most impactful ways energy companies are utilizing social media to reach their customers is during times of crisis, such as power outages. Through social media, companies have an optimal communication platform that allows them to post relevant safety information, provide service updates, and respond to customer inquiries directly from Facebook and Twitter. By utilizing social media as a means of communication and engagement, energy companies are able to remain responsive during dire situations, and effectively demonstrate to their customers that their concerns are not only being heard, but also being addressed in a timely manner.
KEEP AN OPEN-MIND
In a lot of ways, the energy sector has a unique challenge on its hands when compared to other major sectors. Energy companies are faced with the task of having to engage and market to an audience that has traditionally been a bit lackluster with regard to energy and utility services. Think about it for a moment. When was the last time you had a conversation about your current energy provider or considered the possibility of switching to another provider? In reality, as long as the lights are on when we get home, and we have working gas and air conditioning throughout the year, we don’t really give our energy services much thought. Energy companies are now working to reconnect and engage their audiences, and doing so requires some creativity and “out of the box” thinking.
Many energy companies are now using tactics like online games or interactive quizzes to educate and connect with their customers. These approaches are easier to understand by target audiences and have proven to be effective in informing customers on energy efficiency. By leveraging quizzes and games via social media, energy companies have been able to better inform their audiences, build brand awareness, and cultivate a renewed interest in energy.
In most industries, the secret to marketing success is largely dependent upon the ability to remain relevant by staying up to date on the issues that concern your target audience most. This fundamental rule is also remarkably important in the energy industry, where customers expect their energy suppliers to be able to discern their needs and provide solutions that help them manage their energy consumption. Energy customers also expect energy companies to utilize this intimate knowledge when communicating with them. We all know from personal experience what happens with mass, non-personalized communications. When you receive that flier in the mail about making $50,000 in one week, or read an advertisement addressed to you about the benefits of a reverse mortgage (when you don’t currently own a home), this is mass, non-personalized marketing. Non-personalized communication is typically written off as “junk” and immediately discarded.
In contrast, a personalized communication strategy can help capture the attention of your target audience, as well as cultivate and expand your business even further. In fact, “tests among utility and energy customers show that personalized information, including personalized URLs, empower and reinforce both email and direct mail communications.”[iii] Energy companies that customize communication to speak to the specific needs, interests, and concerns of their customers are able to maintain relevance and successfully captivate their target audiences.
The way people communicate and engage will continue to evolve and transform. As a result, companies within the energy sector are progressively revisiting and tweaking their marketing strategies to better connect with their target audiences. Companies that educate their audiences on energy conservation, continue to pledge their commitment to climate neutrality, and interact with their target audiences through personalized content and social media engagement, will continue to excel and transcend well into the future.
Are you interested in revamping your marketing strategy to educate and tune into your target audience? As a one-stop shop to all of your creative needs, from content development, to web design, to video, to graphic design, to animation, CATMEDIA specializes in delivering optimal creative solutions to supersede our clients’ expectations. So, why not transfer that some of that energy? Seize the moment, and contact CATMEDIA today.
What part does personalized marketing play in your marketing strategy? Share in the comments below and please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
[i]Venturini, Francesco. "5 disruptive trends that will change the energy industry forever."Pulse. LinkedIn, 24 May 2016. Web.
[ii]Wood, Lisa. "A Bold New Energy Vision. "Electric Perspectives. N.p., May & june 2016. Web
[iii]7 Considerations for Utility and Energy Response Marketing "Jacobs & Clevenger. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 July 2014.
CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).