The term ‘alternative energy’ is well-loved and well-used. People are on board with the whole concept of it. They feel like they’re part of something important just for having uttered renewable or alternative energy buzzwords like “geothermal,” “solar power,” and heck, even “Tesla.”
So why aren’t consumers investing in it for their homes and businesses?
One obvious-to-us reason is that many alternative energy companies tend to lack marketing know how and/or focus. How do we know? Growth on the supply side of alternative energy is healthy, especially in Nevada where our abundant natural resources have wooed super brainy Warren Buffet (now owner of NV Energy). And yet, demand from both residential and commercial consumers is not growing at the same pace.
The good news is that the subject of alternative/renewable energy marketing and advertising has been extensively studied. Evaluating trial-and-error methods over the past several years has given way to clear direction on how to reach potential alternative energy consumers through advertising and communications, and to effect action. One such group, drivingdemand.lbl.gov that is run by the Lawrence Berkley National Lab, shares a few lessons (which we’ve conveniently paraphrased for your reading pleasure):
- Consistency and persistence will prevail. Since alternative energy isn’t tangible, it takes extra time and patience to sway decision makers. Stay the course — keep communicating, especially if you’re an alternative energy company.
- Measure, measure, measure. Implementing data collection in your advertising and marketing efforts from the get-go will pay off in the long run. If you truly understand what strategies and tactics work best for your alternative energy consumers, you’re bound to win the solar, wind and geothermal wars.
- Use the buddy system. Partnering with trusted contractors brings a level of comfort that even the most reputable renewable energy companies alone can’t obtain. Having a local presence will up the ante when it comes to customers’ comfort level.
- Rebates and incentives speak volumes. People always want a deal. Give the people what they want. Make incentives as much a part of your alternative energy communications strategy whenever possible.
To Estipona Group, which has developed strategic marketing, communications and whatnot across numerous industries for 22 years, these findings are far from a newsflash.
“Marketing helps change habits. Period,” said Edward Estipona, president, brand strategist and fearless leader at Estipona Group. “In the case of renewable and alternative energy, people think it’s something they should definitely do — down the road. If alternative energy companies want to drive more business, they need to embrace strategic communications — sooner rather than later.”
Estipona went on to identify some key marketing principles that are almost always true, regardless of industry: getting the word out is hardly ever a one-and-done proposition; one message does not fit all; tracking results begets better results; and strategic alliances are like a filthy rich friend — they always bring more to the party.
That being said, the alternative-energy-specific marketing research findings are a bit of a score. Thanks to the work of numerous agencies (like the Berkley Lab and the Renewable Energy Markets Association, just to name a few), we don’t even need to extrapolate or generalize. We have cold, hard facts about what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to alternative/renewable energy marketing. How’s that for a head start?
For our alternative energy friends: When you’re ready to become as efficient and effective with your marketing as you are with alternative energy, we’re — dare we say, energized to help you create more demand.
That’s what we do.