New Customer Video Reveals "Hard-to-Reach" as a Misnomer

Posted by Ann Hoogenboom on June 8, 2018 at 9:30 AM

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In recent weeks, we’ve written about our research on Hispanic customers. Internally, we’ve labeled this as our “hard-to-reach” work. Throughout the energy industry (and many others), this is a common label used to refer to a group of people who have historically shown lower levels of engagement with programs, services, and/or products.

However, through this research focus, we realized that labeling an entire group of people “hard to reach” is simply wrong.

Our research goal was to look at consumer interest in energy efficiency and renewables among people typically categorized as “hard to reach.” Our results confirmed low awareness of energy efficiency, but they strongly contradicted the “hard-to-reach” label when it came to interest in programs and products. You can see it for yourself in this video.

The findings showed that Americans, regardless of their ethnicity or cultural heritage, have similar views and shared decision drivers when it comes to energy. People care about saving money, protecting the environment, improving their home, and enriching their community. And, interest is sky high. Over 95% of the Hispanics we surveyed are interested in energy efficiency products: smart appliances, WiFi thermostats, LED bulbs, etc.

So, if the drivers are similar, regardless of ethnicity, and interest is high, then why should Hispanics be harder to reach than renters, millennials, baby-boomers, small business owners, or any other targeted audience segment? Are we calling them “hard to reach” because English isn’t necessarily their first, or primary, language? Because cultural differences exist? And because communicating with them is harder for us?

That’s simply not acceptable.

It’s time to relieve customers of the burden of “hard to reach.”

With the media channels and targeting capabilities available in today’s marketplace, the Hispanic audience in particular should be easier to reach. In fact, Google reported years ago that Hispanics are ahead of the curve when it comes to digital. They actually lead in the adoption of new devices. Rather than “hard to reach,” they could be the audience most sought after by marketers.

Our POV? 

Awareness of energy efficiency programs is low, but interest in energy saving products is high. Our research leads us to believe that the Hispanic market’s lower level of awareness is a symptom of missed messaging and the misconception of “hard to reach.” From a marketing point of view, all it takes is consistency with the right message, in the right place.



Our next EnergyWire will highlight where we go from here and how best to overcome the aforementioned misnomer. Stay tuned for that and an accompanying full report on how to move away from “hard to reach” and toward the opportunities of a largely untapped market.


Ann is KSV’s Mission and Brand Manager. Her experience in marketing and communications is deeply rooted at the intersection of sustainability and energy with fellow certified B Corps. And whoever thought Superman had the best capes never met Ann. Read more from Ann here.