Chapter 11 Get the Most out of Marketing

Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.

—Henry Ford

An incumbent energy company had long given customers a dozen standard offers. Marketing created demand through e-mail and media campaigns, and inside sales reps followed up to qualify leads. Then, seemingly overnight, new entrants began siphoning off customers and the company abruptly realized it needed a new approach.

The company’s president asked marketing to conduct consumer research to understand the root causes of churn. The research combined direct interviews with, and surveys of, customers with data analysis of energy use from bills. This revealed three clusters of customers, each with different sets of influencers, and each requiring a different retention approach. After building a detailed tactical implementation plan for each segment, the company targeted a 6 to 9 percent increase in revenue to reverse its fortune against new attackers.

One segment consisted of large companies in energy-intensive industries. They wanted a supplier that could not only handle complex RFPs covering contingencies for downtime, but also provide advice on optimizing energy use. They had specific goals for their emissions footprints and wanted regular consumption data and benchmark comparisons. Marketing found out that it was manufacturing executives, not those from purchasing, who were the key influencers and set up programs to meet such requirements, ...

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