Differentiation in Gas and Electricity Marketing: The Green Way

By: Chip Wood | Green-e

  1. Know Your Green Statisticians: LOHAS, BBMG, NMI

The best way for your marketing and sales teams to engage with market trends is through available research on buyers.  Energy buyers are made up of the same decision makers as any other commodity, allowing you to apply traditional research on sustainability and green product purchases to your own branding and sales processes.

Some public summary data (along with purchasable reports) is available from Market LOHAS , Natural Marketing Institute , Nielsen, BBMG, and others.

Knowing the data allows you to understand buyer motivations and target your messages to receptive segments.

  1. Decide if Green Product Certification Benefits your UVP: Green-e

In many markets, having additional “shelf space” allows brands to expand.  Does having multiple products allow your prospects to choose you over your competitors?  If bundling and product diversification have been keys to your sales expansion, consider whether adding a certified option gives you another “category” of product for bundled electricity, or carbon-offset natural gas products.

As many know from experience, Green-e is the leading certifier of green energy and carbon offset products.  Green-e certification adds an additional margin cost for that customer class, but also allows you to charge more, when proper benefits marketing is used to support the pitch. Consider whether your customers are “asking for it,” or if having a certified product opens up a class of customer you are seeking to grow.

For more information on certification, contact me at chip.wood@resource-solutions.org

  1. Co-opetition: What Green Marketing Tactics Can You Learn from Competitors?

Paying attention to your direct competitors’ moves in the sales arena is one of the best ways to stay attuned to opportunities for innovation in sales in any market.  Consider whether tactics used by innovative electricity sellers in regulated markets translate to competitive ones (particularly CCAs and Munis).  Watch for signs that a competitor is quickly growing sign-ups, or avoiding churn and analyze recent changes in their public sales tactics for lessons you can apply at home. 

In some cases, you may find an industry competitor who is primed to “partner” with you because they don’t geographically compete. Would they be willing to share best practices over a drink?  As a sales person, I was often found in discussion with my counterpart at a direct competitor – what better way to assess recent evolutions in their sales processes?

Join industry associations and attend conferences like Energy Marketing Conferences, National Energy Marketers , and Renewable Energy Markets  to find these connections.

About Green-e and the Center for Resource Solutions

A program of the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions, Green-e is North America’s leading independent consumer protection program for the sale of renewable energy and greenhouse gas reductions in the retail market. Green-e offers certification and verification services through Green-e Energy, a renewable energy certification program; Green-e Climate, a greenhouse gas emission reduction certification program; and Green-e Marketplace, a program that provides forward-thinking organizations a simple, nationally recognized logo they can use to communicate their renewable energy and climate commitment to their customers and stakeholders. To learn more about “Green-e Certified” products and programs available in all 50 states and Canada, visit http://www.green-e.org.


Chip Wood is Director of Green-e and the Center for Resource Solutions