Consert Offers Ten Tips for Marketing a Utility Program

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As utilities continue to roll out new, innovative programs and services, communication with customers will be key to engagement. To assist utilities in marketing those programs, Consert Inc., an intelligent energy management company headquartered in San Antonio, offers ten tips on the most effective ways to communicate to customers

As utilities continue to roll out new, innovative programs and services, communication with customers will be key to engagement.

To assist utilities in marketing those programs, Consert Inc., an intelligent energy management company headquartered in San Antonio, offers ten tips on the most effective ways to communicate to customers:

1.    Get real. Not every customer is going to want, need or easily adapt to new programs. Set realistic expectations before getting started.
2.    Plan the work – work the plan. Whether flow chart, Gantt chart, bullet points or a wall filled with sticky notes, chart a course that includes a timeline for all deliverables. Let everyone know who is accountable for what and when. Besides helping the marketing team to focus, executives will have a clear understanding of the scope of work and deliverables.
3.    Massage the message. Get buy-in for any new messaging, taglines or slogans from company leadership, legal and other staff before drafting copy for brochures or the website. Less is more when getting the word out. Try a few versions and ask for feedback from your spouse, mom or favorite teenager.
4.    Give customers a heads-up. Plan to send a letter introducing customers to the new program. This is a good opportunity to test different messages to see what gets the best response. Email all online customers an introductory letter. Include a letter in paper bills. Include a link to the letter in all social media engagements.
5.    Host a public seminar introducing the new program. Provide the seminar online as a webinar. This engages customers and is a perfect platform for Q&A.
6.    Educate customers. Provide customers with a FAQ sheet. Include in bills, online and social media properties.
7.    Get the word out. Implement an advertising and public relations campaign. Investigate free ad placements. Determine likely media for customer recruitment ads. Contact local media and recommend story ideas. Distribute press releases, invite media to the new program seminar and offer satisfied customers as interviewees. Make sure utility spokespersons are media trained. Take advantage of public service announcements to spread the word.
8.    Listen to your customers. Have opportunities available for customers to provide feedback on the new program – embrace the good and not so good as opportunities for improvement. Link to surveys at three months, six months and one year post installation. Find out from them what they’d like to see or how they’d like to be contacted about new opportunities.
9.    Don’t forget the family. Engage utility employees - if they are involved in the program, they can be the program’s best ambassadors. This enables utility employees to talk first hand to customers about the program.
10.    Get social. Encourage conversation with customers through a social media plan. Monitor comments and respond accordingly. Make it easy for your customers to refer their friends and family.

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About Consert Inc.
Consert Inc. is an intelligent load management technology company. Consert’s Virtual Peak PlantTM load management system is the only solution proven to provide reliable, real-time, fully-integrated load management through the pairing of utility and consumer offerings. Consert, recent winner of a CTIA E-Tech Award and a CS Week Expanding Excellence Award, is a partner with Hometown Connections and Texas Electric Cooperatives and is a member of the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative. A demonstration of the application as used by a residential consumer can be viewed at http://bit.ly/ConsertAtHome. For more information, visit Consert.com. Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/consert. Follow us on Twitter @Consert Inc.

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Amy Needham
Pierson Grant Public Relations
919-270-9377
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