Proven Ways to Talk to the C&I Customer

Posted by Ashley Nicholls on January 19, 2018 at 9:45 AM

AESP’s national conference is around the corner. At KSV, we love seeing people come together to talk, share and learn about sustainable energy. 

For AESP in the past, we’ve focused on customer engagement. We’ve spoken about targeting large C&I customers with native advertising, co-presenting with our client, Erin Motta from National Grid. 

Erin is a senior marketing analyst in the energy product marketing area of National Grid. 

This week, we’re sharing an interview we had with Erin after an AESP gathering that covered some of the questions remaining after the session.

Check it out below; it discusses how using native advertising helped National Grid win in the C&I space.

@ashKSV: There were a lot of questions that we didn’t get to answer during the conference, so we thought we'd explore a couple of those topics.

One of the questions was about the strategy for choosing native as a vehicle for this audience. How did we arrive at it? How did you feel when we suggested this channel? Did you know what it was?

@ErinM: We were excited. I hadn’t done a native campaign before, but I think it is where advertising is headed: more relevant, more personal, better content. I did know what native was, but I hadn’t really considered it for a large C&I audience. And as for how we arrived at it, it was part of a much bigger strategic plan. KSV and National Grid develop big, overarching strategic plans for the year based on business goals.  

@ashKSV: Right. It’s important to note that there is no silver bullet, no one channel or single message. 

@ErinM: Right. And for our large C&I efforts, our messaging is really tailored to our end-customer and what matters most to themthe KPIs for their business, and how those things intersect with what National Grid can offer. 

@ashKSV: Another question was about how native works exactly, and I know that one of the things that surprised us involved where this message was getting served up successfully.

@ErinM: Yes. So, this is where native is really different. Native is its own channel, so instead of choosing media for your message to run on, you choose your audience that you want to speak to and the native publisher finds them online, sometimes in unexpected places, and delivers your message to them as content. So it’s not really an ad; it’s content that your audience will enjoy, sponsored by your brand.

@ashKSV: Which speaks to the fact that in order for native to work, it’s got to be great content.

@ErinM: Exactly. We actually tested three different types of content: an article, an infographic, and a video. All of them performed really well, but it was the infographic that was a total slam dunk. 

@ashKSV: OK. And as a final question, what was the biggest thing you learned from this native campaign?

@ErinM: Well, we learned a lot. We learned that native as a channel requires a different approach to our brand standards; that just because you’re speaking to large C&I customers doesn’t mean that you have to rely on traditional channels or messages; that this audience, like every other, is hungry for great content that helps them solve business challenges.  

@ashKSV: So we’re exploring more native?

@ErinM: We’re exploring more native. And [doing] more experiments. It’s one of the things we really value about our relationship with KSV, that you guys understand our business so well and you have a “test and learn” approach, so we’re constantly trying new things. 

@ashKSV: We sure are. Thanks, Erin. 

On February 20, KSV will be speaking again at AESP, in New Orleans. And we are going to be sharing our newest insights on how to successfully bring sustainable energy into the C&I space. We’ve conducted research and we’ve tested and executed our findings, too. Over the next month leading up to the gathering in New Orleans, keep an eye out for more on the C&I customer. We’ll go beyond sharing tips for getting in the door and focus on total marketing approaches.


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Ashley Nicholls. A.K.A. KSV’s Executive Director of Client Services and Strategy, energy marketing wizard, ‘nuff said. Read more from Ashley here.


Topics: Customer-Centric Marketing, Utility Communications, Data and Analytics, Digital Transformation and User Experience, Innovation, Marketing Strategy and Best Practices, Audience Segmentation