Tomorrow’s energy won’t sell with yesterday’s marketing plan

July 8, 2011 By    

As we approach propane’s second century, your business will need to adjust to the dynamic and challenging energy market.

Today’s energy consumers are better informed and have more choices than ever. Their parents didn’t have much, if any, exposure to the Internet, digital media, social media, cell phones and the 24/7 news cycle. Informed energy consumers are using such information tools to consider efficiency upgrades, conservation measures and energy switching, just to name a few things that can have an effect on your business. Your company needs to market its way into that conversation.

Take a critical look at your marketing plan to see if it gives you the edge you will need to compete in tomorrow’s energy market. If you have not made any adjustments to your marketing strategy or tactics in the last year or two, you are falling behind some of your competitors.

Revising your marketing plan may inspire a change in your business model as well. I see it happening across the country as some marketers gear their business models to create and take advantage of new opportunities.

Here are six things you need to consider in reviewing your marketing plan:

1. Am I doing the right things to protect and keep my market segments?
2. How can I increase business with my existing customers?
3. Have I taken a fresh look at market segments in which I am not currently involved?
4. Does my advertising reach customers/prospects where and when they are open to an energy conversation?
5. Am I training myself and my employees for tomorrow’s energy market?
6. Will I allocate resources and have the discipline to implement a new marketing plan?

Customer retention should be an important part of your marketing plan. Losing a customer, picking up the used propane tank and finding a new customer is an expensive alternative to building customer loyalty.

Most of your customers are underutilizing their tank capacity by not having all available energy applications on propane. For example, is it time to start selling tankless water heaters or form a partnership with someone who does?

Have you built up enough courage to consider new market segments such as propane lawn mowers and autogas? You can’t wait for the phone to ring to find these prospects.

The propane industry has never been known to be an early adopter when it comes to advertising. A Yellow Pages ad didn’t feel too risky. Now some propane marketers are abandoning phone book Yellow Pages ads in favor of a host of other media opportunities to reach new customers.

Is your website a dead site? Have you investigated social media and how it can be used in your business? Even us old baby boomers are more tech savvy than you might think.

Be prepared for tomorrow by increasing your knowledge of the energy business. Encourage your employees and make opportunities for them to follow your lead on learning more about the energy world in which they live and work.

Train for new markets with PERC’s Marketer Technology Training program. See the schedule and learn more at www.propanecouncil.org/MTT. Visit www.propanetrainingacademy.com and the PERC builder website www.buildwithpropane.com for great training courses and learning tools that you and your builders can use.

Don’t forget about CETP or equivalent training and training offered at trade shows and conferences. Employing a well-trained employee group is sending a safety message to your customers that won’t scare them.

Whether you have tweaked your marketing plan or done a complete makeover, you must be prepared to carry through with the renewed strategy and the tactics that will enable you to reach your business goals. You want your propane business to become a good old business, not just an old business.

About the Author:

Comments are currently closed.