A Propane Profile: PERC’s Paula Wilson

May 1, 2017 By    

When Paula Wilson joined the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) as director of industry engagement in January, she had to feel right at home.

The Philadelphia native has been with PERC from the beginning. Her involvement with the council, including as a committee member and councilor, spans 20 years. She also has served as its chairwoman and, in the last year, lent outside marketing support as PERC launched its national consumer education campaign.

Now, the former marketing director at AmeriGas returns to PERC, and LP Gas Editor-in-Chief Brian Richesson sought to learn more about her new role.

LP Gas: What is the foundation of your new role with PERC?

Wilson: My main focus and priority is to create and strengthen [PERC’s] relationships directly with marketers.

PERC has been pretty consistent in making connections with nationwide companies and meeting with them once a year about PERC resources. We felt we needed to do better outreach with regional companies and other multistate marketers. So that’s been my focus, going out and conducting in-person meetings with marketer companies. I try to get face-to-face time with the owner, president, CEO, COO and the management team – and ideally somebody from sales and marketing – to make sure they’re engaged with PERC offerings and resources and learn how we can best support their needs.

It’s a sit-down to talk about attitudes and where they think PERC priorities should be. It’s an open discussion about their opportunities and challenges over the next one to three years and seeing how that fits with PERC strategies. Most importantly it’s bringing that discovery and those findings and conversations back to PERC staff so we can help to enhance PERC relationships and services with industry members.

I also have a new responsibility as the staff liaison to the [PERC] Advisory Committee. I’m also collaborating with staff on marketer outreach programs and with Pat Hyland (PERC’s director of industry programs) on state association visits and special projects.

Blue the dog seems to be resonating with consumers, Wilson says. Photo courtesy of the Propane Education & Research Council

LP Gas: So you are meeting with marketers on more than just the national consumer education campaign?

Wilson: I try to cover the full scope of PERC’s programs and outreach with marketers. I want it to be an open and candid conversation with them, but I also have specific questions to make sure I capture their thoughts and needs and bring that back to PERC staff: How likely are you to recommend PERC to one of your colleagues or other marketers? If they say not that likely, you know you have more work to do. I’m trying to gauge their satisfaction with how PERC is now and how we’re working with them.

LP Gas: Can you explain your strategy to connect with marketer companies?

Wilson: I have a target list of 22 marketers this year. I have 13 meetings planned, with most occurring at their offices, and I’m also meeting with others at [the National Propane Gas Association’s Propane] Expo and at the Western Convention. My first meeting is in mid-March, and I’m scheduled through June. It’s pretty good geographic coverage.

LP Gas: What are your thoughts on the national consumer education campaign, now in its second year?

Wilson: From a consumer perspective, we saw good results – at least a 13 percentage-point increase in favorability [toward propane] of people who saw the ads. That’s good from where we came from, especially after all those years of not being out there [in the consumer market due to a government restriction].
Blue [the dog] seems to be resonating with consumers; that’s why we want to stick with that theme. We have a commitment for three years with this campaign.

This year there’s more focus on residential applications, whereas last year was a general introduction of the product. As always, the challenge and opportunity is getting marketers involved in this and, in general, promoting their company at the same time ads are running.

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