Marketing is entering a new normal, where brands must compete for ever more demanding customers in markets that are increasingly competitive and commoditised. In this environment, data analytics and marketing automation are everything, transforming the nature of marketing into a data-driven, customer-centric operation that unifies business disciplines across above- and below-the-line activities. New normal marketing will affect every company in every sector, but here I’d like to look at what it means for utility companies.
The transformation of utilities marketing
Until recently, utilities have relied on basic marketing techniques, such as TV ad campaigns or large sponsorship deals. Many utilities’ marketing departments were therefore relatively unsophisticated. Even when digital technology first started transforming marketing in other industries, change at utility companies was limited: initially focused only on search engine marketing to try and compete against the emerging price comparison sites.
Today, however, utilities have no choice but to modernise their approach to marketing. This is because of the advent of new start-up utilities that excel at using data-driven marketing techniques to win market share. Responding to consumers’ increasing appetite for rich and convenient experiences, companies such as Ovo Energy, First Utility, and, more recently, Bulb Energy, have rewritten the rulebook on utilities marketing. These companies are using data to know more about their customers than ever, to target them more successfully and to deliver value-add services that build loyalty.
The benefits of data-driven marketing
If incumbent utilities are to compete, they must put in place new skills, platforms and processes that leverage data and automation to deliver more sophisticated and low cost customer experiences.
In fact, data-driven marketing holds the key to success across customer acquisition, retention and service. This is because data-driven techniques enable utilities to profile the customer on an individual level, helping utilities better target their campaigns. Here are some key instances where this capability will prove useful to utilities:
We’re entering a new age, where customers are taking more control of their relationships with brands, and expect more in return for access to their personal data. Fast-moving utilities can use this trend to their advantage, creating customer-experiences that build customer intimacy and enable a new range of hyper-personalised, context-aware services.