To get people to turn off their electricity, we went online.
When West Penn Power had to meet state-mandated energy reduction goals, we chose an online strategy because of its effectiveness in reaching the utility's residential customers. This channel allowed us to provide customers with quick access to energy saving rebates, coupons and links to online tools, such as a Home Energy Analyzer.
We made breakthroughs by getting click-throughs. Our online media plan geo-targeted West Penn Power customers by zip code in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
We selected the zip codes with the largest populations, factored in demographic and lifestyle considerations, and placed the advertising on websites that matched up with customers' online usage habits. This maximized impressions and click-throughs, and minimized waste. We placed over a million dollars in online banners, page takeovers, sliding billboards and keyword searches. In less than a month, over 4,000 customers had used the Energy Analyzer and overall energy usage was in decline.
Local event marketing energized crowds.
Since West Penn Power had a rural service territory, we identified local fairs, festivals, Chamber of Commerce events and the Earth Day programs at Lowes’ to demonstrate the benefi ts of energy effi ciency. We built a stationary bike that was connected to incandescent bulbs and CFL bulbs, and invited people to pedal the bike to see the amount of energy it took to light each bulb. We also handed out rebates on CFL bulbs and Energy Star appliances, and distributed more than 50,000 CFL bulbs at 24 events for a potential energy savings of more than 4.2 million watts.
To demonstrate how easy it was to save money on electricity, we created a TV spot that showed how one homeowner got a lot more credit than he deserved.
Using outbound calling, we rang up some big numbers.
West Penn Power was also required to reduce electricity usage by 4.5% during peak demand periods - when electricity usage is at its highest. In order to achieve this ambitious goal, West Penn offered customers who signed up for their Smart Meter program a lower rate on their electric bill. Using past conversion data, we determined that we would need to reach a minimum of 10,000 residential customers to ensure an adequate number of sign-ups. We pulled zip codes based on high electricity usage and high customer concentration, and overlaid that information with our demographic profile. We then used an outbound call center to explain the benefits of the Smart Meter program and the effect it would have on a customer's electric bill.
The results were "electrifying" as we reached nearly 50% of our sign-up goal within the first four days of the program.
Focus groups led us to a bright idea.
In order to ensure that our message hit home, we went out and spoke to residential customers and businesses to determine what would motivate them to save electricity. We conducted focus groups, along with telephone interviews, across West Penn Power's entire coverage area, which included 22 counties in Pennsylvania and 7 counties in Maryland. The feedback proved to be enlightening.
We learned that people were willing to take steps to save electricity if it didn't involve a big commitment. This ultimately led to our campaign theme: "Doing a little can save a lot."