E.E. Customer Motivations: The Planet and the Savings are Important, but...

Posted by Lauren Bell on October 15, 2015 at 2:29 PM

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 2.24.01 PM WATCH customer video.

Successful E.E. marketing is a balanced conversation around the real benefits of energy efficiency. The upfront cost matters. The lower bills matter. The long term savings matter. Saving the planet matters. Preserving resources matters.

The secret sauce though? Is understanding the disconnect between what people say matters and what actually motivates.

This week the team hit the road to ask people why energy efficiency matters to them. WATCH some highlights here.

Saving the planet and saving money clearly makes people feel good, but are they really motivated to take personal action?

Our 2015 market research tells us that people feel optimistic about the impact of energy efficient technology. Out of 1,350 participants…

  • 73% believe energy efficient technology can reduce carbon emissions and delay climate change.
  • 86% say the world will be better off because of energy efficient technology in the next 5-10 years.


  • Only 18% participated in a utility E.E. program and less than half made an E.E. improvement to their home in the last 12 months.

On top of that,

They trust tried-and-true conservation behaviors (turning off lights, turning the thermostat down, shortening their showers) more than upgrading home appliances and technology to reduce consumption.

  • 53% say practicing conservation behaviors is the most effective way to reduce energy consumption.
  • 32% say upgrading energy efficient technology is the most effective way to reduce consumption.

Where’s the disconnect?

There’s a great article in Triple Pundit on the psychological factors at play here (The Psychological Barriers of Sustainable Living) –

There’s status quo bias, it’s easier to do things the way they’ve always been done - wait until the furnace dies then buy whatever is cheapest - than to proactively spend money on energy efficiency upgrades.

Then there’s analysis paralysis, in which too many options – like the amount of options in the light bulb aisle – leads to no decision or the conventional decision.

A third barrier is hyperbolic discounting, in which people have trouble calculating benefits when they’re long term, like the lifetime energy savings of an efficient hot water heater or an energy efficient retrofit of an office building.

To overcome these barriers we need to also promote short term, non-energy benefits that hit home emotionally, in the way that saving the planet or saving money do, like comfort, health, safety and employee productivity.

These benefits get the customer’s attention because they’re not ideals, they’re demands. If you can help deliver on the things that make their lives easier today, and those solutions also deliver on the customer’s dreams for tomorrow, your message will work.

Dave Treston / Senior Strategic Planner / dtreston@ksvc.com / 802.862.8261

Topics: Customer-Centric Marketing, customer demands, Customer Engagement, Customer Insight, customer motivations, utility communications, Utility Marketing, energy efficiency, marketing

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