13 reasons why energy companies should unplug from traditional marketing

The energy industry is going through a rapid transformation at a time when it has a perception problem: People use electricity daily but when the lights go out, so does consumer trust a characteristic along with reputation that are crucial to millennials and Generation Z, my daughter’s increasingly tech savvy generation. On top of that, over 60% of consumers have negative feelings toward energy suppliers who often find it challenging to explain the complexity of their supply chains, and the raw demand they are facing.

Consumers demand energy companies be sustainable, keep prices low, be more transparent and also be innovative when thinking about energy production. The evolution of the “sharing” economy has disrupted many industries, most notably hotels and transport thanks the Airbnb and Uber. Energy could very well be the next major sharing economy, therefore education is key to advance new technologies that can help disrupt it.

Much more than previous generations, millennials are socially conscious, especially when it comes to the environment and who they buy products and services from. Considering most millennials and Gen Z growing up behind them are connected to mobile devices, the way energy companies interact with them must change. Therefore content strategy should be about storytelling, personalization and conversation. The younger generation wants to feel like they are being heard, by humans. So if you are trying to engage with customers, don’t rely on chatbots - not yet anyway.

Quality content marketing can educate, build trust and engage your target audience. Trust is a big issue for millennials. In one survey, a whopping 83% of millennials agreed with the statement that “there is too much power concentrated in the hands of a few big companies.” If that’s true, your brand needs to stand out and your customer target should be for the long-term, not just short-term goals. Keeping customers happy, engaged makes word of mouth storytelling easier and more valuable to energy companies. 

Let’s keep it very real - utilities are simply not seen as cool, especially when you compare them to the likes of Google, Tesla, Amazon, Apple, BMW, Nike, YouTube, Netflix, Virgin Atlantic, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram. We can change that and help you find your voice, the one customers actually want and need to hear. 

The millennials are not only the utilities’ customers of the future, but are also their future workforce

Roughly 95% of millennials say that friends are the most credible source of product information. Therefore how energy companies create and disseminate information is critical - there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to modern energy marketing. 

80% of Millennials agree that America should transition to 'mostly clean or renewable energy by 2030. That’s huge! Millennials want energy providers that are focused on sustainability and have incorporated renewables. 

79% of Millennials favor reducing carbon pollution to deal with climate change - so energy companies need to not just be innovative when it comes to product development - they need to change the way they communicate their tone and corporate messages. 

The personalization of energy is here. Most “C-level” energy executives we speak with regularly at Blue Phoenix tell us they need to connect with consumers like never before - but they don’t know how. Therefore language is key. The energy storytelling needs to be more easy to understand. Period. 

According to The Shelton Group, consumers ages 25-44 (millennials plus their counterparts up to 10 years older) make up 37% of utilities’ customers. And 36% of them would change providers and/or buy electricity from someone else if they could.

This is not your father’s energy sector - The Internet of Things (IoT) will result in 50 billion connected devices by 2020 according to Cisco Systems. 

Millennials want their energy services bundled: they’re busy and they want to go to a single source for all things home management. Therefore products and services need to create a clear benefit - either financially or environmental - or ideally, both. 

Agree or disagree with our thoughts on this subject? Did we leave any other reasons out you think are important to this conversation? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you.