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  • Angela Lee

Get ahead of energy market volatility with 5 tips for Demand Generation

2022 was tough to plan for with a considerable amount of volatility in the energy markets. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its use of gas supply as a weapon of war caused tight supplies and rising demand which fueled high energy prices. Market volatility made it hard for utilities to differentiate against other energy providers.

2023 will be another challenging year as energy consumption will continue to grow and prices will remain high. We head into another year of potential uncertainty in '23, companies will be tightening their belts and looking for opportunities to lower their bottom line in areas like their energy costs. It’s time to reevaluate every aspect of your marketing program to determine what is working and what is not when it comes to your targeting, channel mix and content strategy. Plus, ensure you are a united front with sales. Teamwork and tight coordination will help strengthen your overall efforts and drive better results.

Here are 5 tips to help stay ahead in your Demand Generation efforts in the energy space is 2023 ...

1. Reevaluate your Total Addressable Market (TAM)

Whether you are a new company or a long-standing one, it’s important to do a diagnostic on the size and make-up of your TAM annually. As you asses risk in the energy market, ideal contract length and type of product (fixed vs index) that will help you determine what size and type of companies that might be interested in your offering.

Does it make sense to go after large enterprise companies with a 10-year fixed plan or is it less risky to try to go after more shorter-term mid-market sized businesses? Utilizing firmographics, you can begin to size your target audience via 3rd party B2B data sources.

As a gut check, take your existing customer data and see if it truly aligns with the TAM you are now seeking to target. You might ask yourself the following questions to see if your expectations match the reality of your existing customer base:

  • What role was in the ultimate buying position for your closed won deals?

  • Is there a specific MWh range that provides the best margins?

  • With volatility, is it best to go after smaller companies with shorter contracts vs. large companies with long contracts to mitigate risk?

  • Are there certain verticals/company sizes that have closed faster or seem to have a better LTV that you should prioritize?

Don’t be afraid to pivot. In a volatile market, the companies that are more adaptable tend to fair better.

2. Continue to build a diversified data portfolio

Too often we see B2B programs with just one data source (i.e. ZoomInfo). Testing multiple sources and rotating to avoid fatigue is key. List testing is an important part of optimizing marketing efforts for addressable tactics. Build a testing plan with a mix of high-value data sources that will most accurately identify the right businesses and contacts within the TAM. This mix usually consists of large, compiled data sources and vertical lists.

If you have a customer file with enough data, you can use that to build a predictive model on top of a compiled data set. Often, it makes sense to explore a “trigger” strategy that helps you determine a key decision moment or “intent” to buy for a business and capitalizes on it.

3. Create a channel plan calibrated to LTV

Start with an overall assessment of how each channel is doing and trends throughout ‘22. Which channels are up, and which are down? Is there a seasonality to the effectiveness of any of the channels you utilize as energy demand fluctuates throughout the year?

In the assessment, ensure you are comparing apples to apples across channels and looking at the metrics that really matter at the end of the day. If possible, look at the cost vs. the potential life-time-value of a customer.

While looking at the amount of leads each channel can bring in is important, what’s more important is that those leads are qualified, ultimately convert to sales and are profitable. The number of leads alone can be a bit of a vanity metric without the rest of the story. We’ve seen very effective channels for driving qualified leads with big opportunities, like direct mail, be overlooked because cost per lead was the KPI.

Once you have a clear picture of prior learnings, lean in where appropriate and map out the budgets and spend accordingly.

Don’t underestimate the power of an omni-channel approach. Identifying a list of known prospects and creating a “surround sound” effect with channels that are more awareness focused running in tandem with strong direct response channels can often drive the highest response.

4. Have a clear content calendar with resourcing against it

Content is king when it comes to attracting new leads. It’s your “offer” to get the opt-in and stay in front of leads. Ultimately, you’ll need even more content to have a robust and successful nurture program as well.

We’ve seen a lot of programs struggle with not being able to pump out enough content to support marketing budgets, causing fatigue in the market. Often, you are working with a very finite universe of companies and once they’ve seen your LinkedIn ad 10x times, you begin to see a diminishing return before you’ve even spent much of your budget.

The energy sector has relatively fast news cycles as markets fluctuate, new energy sources come online, and legislation is passed. It’s important to produce content quickly to ensure it’s still relevant. However, planning ahead where you can is what allows you to have some diversity in your offerings and take some bigger swings. It’s good to map out the content and assign resourcing to it. If you have a content team, great. If not, asking each team member to commit to a few efforts a year works, too.

Pro-tip: Don’t let the ship sail. Hot-topics generate the most engagement so the key is to create a process that generates content quickly and efficiently.

5. Ensure tight coordination with sales

Ensuring sales is enabled with the materials they need including knowing the details of the latest products it makes sense to push given volatility in the market and changes in legislation around energy markets to stay informed is key. With longer sales cycles, that marketing has a clear indication of where each lead is within the pipeline to communicate accordingly, are more important than ever.

Consider helping sales draft the communications in each step of the journey and then allowing them to add personalization where needed for a more 1:1 approach. Plus, include general marketing centric communications with further content to address questions, hurdles, and differentiators. Segment by value or vertical for continued optimization over time.

Paying close attention to when leads engage with the content and having sales follow up immediately when it’s top of mind can be a great one-two punch that yields better results.

Happy planning!

With our consultative approach at Pragmatic and 20+ years of experience in the energy sector, we love to partner with our clients to create a roadmap for the year. Don’t hesitate to reach out if we can help you build a plan that aligns to your goals and addresses your challenges for 2023.


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