Millennials want more encouragement on energy efficiency... from their utility?
KSV’s 2015 market research presents an interesting opportunity to energy services companies: 60% of homeowners (between the ages of 25-34) believe their energy provider could do more to encourage energy efficiency.* These customers, these Millennials, actually want to hear more from you. (Shocked?)
The median age of first time homebuyers is 31. This falls well below the propensity models and targets that most energy services companies use, missing a big opportunity to reach an audience that is actually wanting and willing to listen.
New homes and first homes are a big opportunity to start encouraging energy efficiency. First time homebuyers have never renovated a home, never prioritized home projects, and are more open to help. Many are left confused on where to begin, prioritizing aesthetic upgrades over potentially more sound, and certainly more ROI driving E.E. upgrades.
On top of that, this generation brings a whole new customer to the industry. One that is increasingly aware of their choices and opportunities when it comes to their energy use. It’s up to you as companies and us, as marketers, to make them comfortable, confident and engaged in what you can or do provide them.
Losing the one-size-fits-all approach is a must. This group wants to hear from you, and believes you can do more to encourage energy efficiency… but if you’re not talking to them through personalized and relevant communications, they’re gone. They will not seek you out. They know in today’s digital world, they shouldn’t have to. If you want their attention, you’re going to have to court them.
The Brookings Institute describes this generation as:
· Socially conscious: Prioritizing social causes that align with theirs, including the environment.
· Distrusting big companies.
· Favorable to government regulation.
How can you prove them wrong? How can you surprise them? This is where you’ll find success.
Put your services into a context that they actually value.
KSV’s research shows that this younger generation values smart technology and the control it provides them.
J.D. Power’s “Consumer Engagement” study (which provides great insight on how this industry can better market to these customers) supports this idea of control:
“Gen Y [Millennials] is inclined to take control of their energy usage, with more using programs such as online energy calculators and social media tools that allow them to be hands-on, compared with Pre-Boomers and Boomers, who tend to favor rebates and programs that allow them to be more hands-off.”
What kind of messages are you sending these customers? We know they care about the solution, but they may not care about your offer, which in turn… means they won’t click, call, or act.
Deliver the right tools and technology that allow them to run their homes the way they want to.
The same J.D. Power study referenced above states, “Social media tools for comparing energy usage offer the highest boost in overall customer satisfaction, BUT [and it’s a big one] only 5 percent of customers are even aware of these tools and less than one percent of customers have actually used them.”
In KSV’s research, we heard that only 1% would go to their utility for a home-related issue. Looking at the above, it’s because 95% of them don’t know you have the solutions. The answers.
Offering the tools is simply step one. Delivering them to the right customers in the right context is the ever-important step two.
KSV has more than a decade's experience communicating about energy efficiency programs and products. Maybe we can help you. Get in touch with Lauren Bell to talk about your current challenges and opportunities, and we'll work on some solutions.
*KSV National Consumer Research on Homeowners and Energy Efficiency, 2015.
Ashley Nicholls / Director of Energy Strategy, Principal / 212.366.4000 / firstname.lastname@example.org