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Award-winning utilities and energy marketing

Posted by Randy Mitchell on July 20, 2015

Some marketing awards shows are based on style points. They’re a magnet for multimillion-dollar TV spots and big household brands.

Other awards shows are big on shock value. Make the judges blush and you might bring home some hardware.

The Chicago Association of Direct Marketing’s Tempo Awards have always been a little different. And that’s a good thing.

The Tempo Awards are very demanding: Smart strategy, strong creative, insightful innovations and excellent results are the requirements for entering. In short, if you bring home a Tempo, it’s all about substance.

That’s why it was particularly gratifying when Jacobs & Clevenger won a First Place Award for Direct Mail at the 2015 CADM Tempo Awards on July 16. What made this award even more rewarding is the fact that it honored the agency’s work in utilities and energy marketing.

The winning work was produced for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and was targeted to small and medium-sized businesses in California.

Now, here’s the backstory on this Tempo Award winner.

Getting businesses engaged with their energy.

Energy is not interesting, especially to small business owners. They switch on the lights
or turn on the printer and it works. That’s about the extent of the “wow” factor when it comes to power.

In fact, there are only two times when small business owners actually think about energy.

1. When the electricity or natural gas goes out

2. When the monthly bill arrives

For this utilities and energy marketing campaign to work, that mindset had to change.

PG&E needed small business owners and managers to actually get engaged with their energy. More specifically, the utility wanted businesses to use its online resource called My Energy and a self-assessment called the Business Energy Checkup. Once businesses started using these resources, they could better manage their electricity and natural gas use and become more energy efficient.

But here’s the catch: In order to use My Energy, small business owners had to take the time to enroll first. And to this target, time is definitely money.

According to The Huffington Post, small business owners report that one extra hour in the day is worth more than $500. Which brings us right back to that first hurdle. How do you get hectic businesspeople to care enough about their energy to spend their valuable time on it? You’re about to learn the answer.

PGE_Fingertips_DM_Facebook Knowledge at their fingertips.

Business owners may not think about energy, but they do focus sharply on their bottom line. And in California, being an energy-efficient business is absolutely essential. The creative approach for PG&E leveraged these important facts by showing small business owners all of the resources they had at their fingertips.

Suddenly they could track their energy, compare their usage to other companies’ and see areas where they could save energy and money. That’s because My Energy put them in touch with information, savings and efficiency, and the conceptual approach captured that moment of instant accessibility.

This was also an extremely personal and relevant campaign. Each letter was targeted to the business’s world with energy-saving recommendations for their specific industry. At a glance, business owners and managers could see what other companies in their industry were saving. They could also learn about rebates from PG&E for becoming more energy efficient.

On the bottom of the letter was a tear-off reminder to set up a My Energy profile. This was key because small business owners could detach this helpful reminder and get to it on their own time. The letter also had a die-cut “notch” to call attention to the tear-off.

Finally, there was a highly visual brochure that captured the My Energy experience. By making the interface the hero, the brochure helped the target audience visualize the resources they had at their fingertips on My Energy.

But let’s cut to the chase: How did it work for PG&E? Did small business owners take an interest in their power and engage with My Energy?
A definite win-win.

The ultimate victory for any campaign is response. And that’s what this direct mail delivered. It started by driving strong web traffic. In fact, 18% of recipients visited My Energy.

It also drove enrollments: 75% of visitors completed a My Energy profile, which helped generate a strong 2.1% overall response rate for the mailing.

So now that you know the full story, there’s just one question left to answer: Which was better, accepting the First Place Tempo Award or delivering the excellent results? I say both, because in our eyes, they’re inseparable. To learn more about utilities and energy marketing that moves the needle, read our ebook on Driving Response in Utility and Energy Marketing.

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Topics: Utility Industry

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