Bringing Utility Marketing into the 21st Century

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For every $1 a homeowner spends on energy, they spend another $1 on products and services that consume that energy. Utilities are largely focused on selling the electron but as the energy industry migrates to more of a services mentality, they need to examine ways to drive revenue from the back end of that equation. Tendril's Energy Services Management (ESM) Platform, with its segmentation and micro targeting capabilities, is addressing this opportunity by enabling utilities to deliver a truly personalized customer experience.

Brands in almost every other adjacent industry have shifted their focus and achieved success in marketing to the "customer of one." Utilities are significantly lagging in this area-after decades of delivering a critical commodity, the idea that consumers are not all created equal will require a major shift in how utilities think about themselves. Historically, utilities have relied on a "spray and pray" approach, delivering one option to customers, similar to their blanket distribution of electrons. This approach leads to lost opportunities and a high cost of customer acquisition. To make matters more challenging, a new class of players-such as solar, technology and telecommunications companies-is moving to deliver energy-related services to the home.

Utilities have unique advantages over these other energy service providers (ESPs). For one, they have mass amounts of data from millions of customers on energy consumption habits. Secondly, they have an existing relationship with consumers that are accustomed to getting energy from an electric utility. To survive and thrive in this new services model, utilities will need to make better use of that data and treat the customer more as an individual.

Tendril's ESM Platform provides features that make it a solution for achieving these goals. It is based on a physics-based building model that uses a data-driven and accurate approach to segmentation and micro targeting. Whereas most solutions rely on historical data to target products and services, the physics-based model combines meter data with other important information such as a home's square footage, age, and whether or not it has been outfitted with any energy efficiency upgrades. This approach is proven to have a significant impact over competing solutions, including:

• 30 percent increase in energy savings and

• 88 percent customer satisfaction rating

The ESM Platform leverages this data to segment the market and target the right offer to the right customer, every time. In particular, it allows utilities to predict a customer's propensity to act and provide highly relevant recommendations for reducing energy usage. Perhaps most importantly, the ESM Platform is also used to cross-sell and deliver new products and services, which opens up a new revenue stream for utilities. This includes, but is not limited to, solar panels, EV charging infrastructure, energy efficient windows and LED lighting.

The ESM Platform delivers this value through a four-step reciprocal process designed to optimize product and service offerings:

• Create Offer: Choose offer type, add custom inputs and leverage Tendril's physics-based building model to power a personalized and relevant customer experience.

• Define an Audience for Offer: Specify geographic constraints, demographics, building details, energy usage patterns, savings constraints and behavioral propensities.

• Market Offer to Audience: Provide final details, specify a channel outreach strategy, and schedule a launch date and time for the offer.

• Measure Performance: Monitor current and past offer performance to influence future offer design and calculate campaign return on investment.

This four-step process ensures utility offers are targeted and personalized, which is proven to increase opt-in rates and improve program efficacy. Understanding that consumers want to be communicated with over preferred channels is also critical to this approach. Tendril addresses this need by delivering offers over a range of vehicles, including a paper or email report, web portal or mobile application.

Big data and analytics have transformed businesses around the world. But, the benefits of these technologies have been slow to penetrate the utility industry. With its ESM Platform, which includes advanced segmenting and micro-targeting capabilities, Tendril is bringing the power of these technologies to energy providers. In doing so, the company is helping utilities create new revenue streams and improve their overall relationship with the consumer.

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April 2014
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