It seems that many consumers don't pay attention about energy efficiency until energy prices rise, there is a gas crisis or a rate increase. Any thoughts on increasing awareness and engagement by customers and consumers?

Tags: consumers, efficeincy, energy, marketing

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I saw a poll on this very topic. It said most consumers don't care about green, the environment or energy efficiency. All they truly care about is money. I think the best way to market energy efficiency is to mention how it will reduce your costs.


Silas Inman said:
I saw a poll on this very topic. It said most consumers don't care about green, the environment or energy efficiency. All they truly care about is money. I think the best way to market energy efficiency is to mention how it will reduce your costs.

Reducing costs, while important, are only a small part of the home performance business. If you aren't selling comfort and air quality in your presentation, you are missing the hot button on over half of your prospect base.

Countless times, I have encountered homeowners that have great energy bills, but they have humidity problems, unbalanced air distribution, or major air leakage from areas in the home that shouldn't be leaking.

Anyone who tells you otherwise is a rank amateur.
John Redmond said:


Silas Inman said:
I saw a poll on this very topic. It said most consumers don't care about green, the environment or energy efficiency. All they truly care about is money. I think the best way to market energy efficiency is to mention how it will reduce your costs.

Reducing costs, while important, are only a small part of the home performance business. If you aren't selling comfort and air quality in your presentation, you are missing the hot button on over half of your prospect base.

Countless times, I have encountered homeowners that have great energy bills, but they have humidity problems, unbalanced air distribution, or major air leakage from areas in the home that shouldn't be leaking.

Anyone who tells you otherwise is a rank amateur.

That is just the thing, you say anyone who tells you otherwise is a rank amateur, and that is the issue. The consumers are rank amateurs and they are the ones we are trying to raise interest in. This discussion is specifically related to Getting consumers interested in energy efficiency.

If you tell the average home owner they need to replace this or that their eyes are going to glaze over and they will shut you off. If you start talking about R values to Joe Public he is not going to give a care, he may take your word for it, but he isn't going to be any wiser or care anymore. If you say, your insulation is too thin and you are losing heat which is costing you money they will pay attention, they may even say well what other problems do I have? Because no one wants to lose money.

I guarantee you that even though those energy bills were great before when you fixed the humidity problems, unbalanced air distribution, or the major air leakage their bill got even lower AND they were more comfortable.

Getting people interested in something new requires a great deal of work and tricky wording. You almost need a degree in psychology. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a rank amateur.
Here in the suburbs of Atlanta, there is not a large outcry for energy efficiency. (Unless they do get that $400 gas bill in the winter.) That is why I focus on solving the homeowners comfort issues. I tell them if we can solve their comfort issues, it will also lower their utility bills.

When I interview the homeowner, I find out what their biggest concerns are and focus on those things when I perform an audit. I lead the homeowner around the house and involve them in the process so there is a connection with the findings and the home. This creates a tangible value they can identify with (especially at quote time). Then remind them that the improvements are permanent and they don't go away.

Remember, you are trying to create value for the customer. The payoff is a home that is more comfortable, healthier, durable, and less expensive to live in. The bonus is that the improvements will pay for themselves in a relatively short period of time.

Jon LaMonte said:
Here in the suburbs of Atlanta, there is not a large outcry for energy efficiency. (Unless they do get that $400 gas bill in the winter.) That is why I focus on solving the homeowners comfort issues. I tell them if we can solve their comfort issues, it will also lower their utility bills.

When I interview the homeowner, I find out what their biggest concerns are and focus on those things when I perform an audit. I lead the homeowner around the house and involve them in the process so there is a connection with the findings and the home. This creates a tangible value they can identify with (especially at quote time). Then remind them that the improvements are permanent and they don't go away.

Remember, you are trying to create value for the customer. The payoff is a home that is more comfortable, healthier, durable, and less expensive to live in. The bonus is that the improvements will pay for themselves in a relatively short period of time.
I think you hit the nail on the head Jon. You need to create value, whether it is in the form of comfort or money. There are many customers who are financially stable and could care less about the money aspect, for these customers I would advertise the comfort issue. That is the best thing about marketing. What works on one person does not always work on another. It is all about demographics and who you are aiming for.

Before you proceed you definitely need to sit down and talk to a prospective client first before you can know for sure. It is all very much dependent on location and markets as well. Since you can't hit every demographic with a single message it would all depend on which you wish to target. I think comfort is great, but will it bring in the largest demographic of customers, especially in this economy? Probably depends on the area.
I just got forwarded a great article from the Wall Street Journal (thanks to Mike Rogers from GreenHomes America) that suggests peer pressure is a key motivator to get consumers to save energy. Worth a read. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704575304575296243891...

Thanks for sharing.  You are right.  It was worth a read.

 

I've kept up with the EcoAlign market surveys over the years and from gleaning these reports, a profile of the typical customer has come into focus for me.  Basically, it's the same person I see in the mirror every morning.  Over 50, still remembers the gas lines in the 70s, created Earth Day, is worried about having enough money for retirement, is suspicious about all the green claims, the kids have finished collge, are at their peak earnings capacity and so have sufficient discretionary income to invest in energy efficiency.  If it's a couple, tends to be female.

 

Having said that, however, there is still a disconnect between this group's stated intentions and their actual behavior.  They want to do the right thing, they are just not sure what is the right thing.  Energy efficiency claims are just that, claims.  Experience has taught this group that it is better to see a sermon than it is to hear one.  I think this is why what their neighbors are doing can be so influential.

Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for the link Stephanie. Very interesting article!
Yes, very long... but worth it. Great article. I read a similar article suggestion that if you mentioned the amount of clients you had served or the amount of other people that had already done it. Like McDonalds saying served over 1 billion or if I said Join the 1.25 million other users! Then you get into should I put 1.25 million or 1,250,000 which looks better? We tried this approach slightly on our website. There is definitely a lot of work involved in getting someone interested in something new.
Beware of framing behavior solely on savings. There may be unintended consequences:

http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2010/09/public_perceptions_of_ene...

The issue of curtailment vs. efficiency is a very important one, esp. when looking at both participation and overall impact. We need to be clear about public perceptions in order to help us best frame the issues and we need to understand customer self-perceptions in order to persuade.
Every consumer will have their own motivation for saving energy - money, environment, because others are doing it, etc.

We're making saving energy more of a game with www.EnergyFlair.com. We're also giving people who want it a simple way to advertise the fact that they're taking action. Users earn virtual pieces of Energy Flair, or digital buttons, for reducing their consumption over time. They can then post their Energy Flair on Facebook and Twitter, increasing the visibility of their actions and providing a social cue for others to think about what they can be doing. They can also compare how much Energy Flair they've earned to their Facebook friends, adding in a competitive aspect.

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