Navigating the Winds of Change: Challenges of Marketing in the Renewables Sector

Written by Curtis Cregan

As the world embraces the urgent need for sustainable energy solutions, the renewables sector has witnessed remarkable growth in recent years. However, alongside this growth comes a unique set of challenges for marketing professionals. In this blog post, I will explore some of the key obstacles faced by marketers like myself in the renewables sector and shed on my experiences in the last 2 years at The Electric Storage Company. Join me as I attempt to navigate the winds of change, and help lead the charge on the path to a cheaper, smarter, and greener future. (It’s all pun and games here!)

Educating the masses:

One of the fundamental challenges in marketing renewables is educating consumers about the benefits and significance of clean energy sources. Many people still lack a clear understanding of renewable technologies and their positive impact on the environment. One of the main challenges for me was getting my head around such a complex product like PARIS (and the thousands of acronyms that come along with it). For those who don’t know me, I haven’t come from a technical background so I won’t pretend to be an expert, I will leave that to our ridiculously talented engineers and developers. After all, it is my job to translate the complexities of their work into everyday speak.

Effective communication strategies, such as engaging content, visual storytelling, and simplified explanations, can help dispel misconceptions and inspire individuals to embrace renewable energy solutions. Here at The Electric Storage Company, we believe in the change that our product can bring to people’s lives in their homes and in their businesses. We only have to look at Project Girona to see the positive impacts that renewables and data science can bring.

If you’re not familiar with Project Girona, The Electric Storage Company worked with a range of stakeholders to install batteries, solar PV, and PARIS software into 60 properties in Coleraine. In total the project saved £26,995, that’s an average of £450 per household. Through the use of renewables and generating their own clean and green energy an estimated 40.02 tonnes CO2 less was produced (that’s 19 cars off the road) and 31,340 kWh of exported energy, that’s enough to power 10 homes for a year! Those numbers don’t tell the full story either, this project took place before the astronomical price rises over the last year and a bit.

Check out this article for some more information:

Overcoming Perceptions and Misconceptions:

The renewables sector often faces skepticism and resistance from consumers who may perceive renewable technologies as unreliable or expensive. Addressing these misconceptions is crucial. Marketers need to showcase the advancements in renewable energy, highlighting improved efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and long-term savings. Leveraging real-world success stories, testimonials, and case studies can help build trust and confidence in renewables, countering any negative perceptions that exist.

Navigating Policy and Regulatory Landscape:

Government policies and regulations significantly impact the renewables sector. Marketing professionals must stay up-to-date with the ever-evolving landscape to ensure compliance and capitalize on available incentives. Keeping track of relevant legislation, tax credits, and subsidies allows marketers to position their renewable energy solutions effectively. Collaborating with policymakers, industry associations, and advocacy groups can help shape favourable policies and create a supportive marketing environment. Admittingly, my workload on this front has been vastly reduced with the government in Northern Ireland being ground to a standstill. Seems like a century ago

Greenwashing and staying true to your moral compass:

In the renewables sector, there is an increased risk of greenwashing, where companies falsely promote their products or services as environmentally friendly. Trying to remain vigilant and ensure our messaging aligns with the company’s core values and genuine commitment to sustainability. At The Electric Storage Company transparency and authenticity are paramount to building trust and credibility with consumers.

When The Electric Storage Company was with 4 pillars the foundations of what the business wanted to achieve that was:

1. Decarbonise – TESC wanted to produce a solution that enables the reduction of CO2 for both commercial and residential customers.

2. Decentralise – We want to increase energy self-sufficiency and control of their energy.

3. Digitalise – At TESC we were born in the cloud and we believe that a digital-first approach can empower our customers.

4. Democratise – We aim to provide access and choice, we enable our customers to choose and effectively integrate renewable energy within their homes and premises.

Having these core principles in place has often provided a gentle reminder of what we are trying to achieve. Temptation can be there to stray from these values in the search for success but we are a business that was built with the customer at the centre and often acts as the lighthouse in foggy waters.

Niche Targeting and Segmentation:

The renewables sector encompasses a diverse range of technologies and solutions, each catering to specific markets and audiences. Effective marketing requires targeted messaging and precise segmentation. “Everybody is different” is the message we often get from the data team. Each business or home is different to the next and this creates its own challenges in terms of consumption profiles. However, by studying the behaviour of these use cases we are able to draw similarities that may help or hinder your thinking. However, as frustrating as it may be sometimes it takes a wrong turn to get to the right place.

We are in a relatively new space and understanding the unique needs, preferences, and motivations of different customer segments allows marketers to tailor their campaigns accordingly. Personalization, digital marketing tools, and data analytics can play a pivotal role in identifying and reaching niche markets within the renewables sector. However, in a world where AI seems to be taking over it is easy to take the lazy route and let chat GPT do the heavy lifting. I have found that the most successful way of understanding our customers is to listen to them. (Big shock there, I know) We have a great relationship with many of our customers and they provide us with constant feedback and insights that can help us place ourselves to help others.

As the world transitions towards a sustainable future, marketing professionals in the renewables sector face distinctive challenges. By focusing on education, dispelling misconceptions, navigating a greenwashing tightrope, highlighting the advantages of renewables, addressing infrastructure limitations, and embracing targeted marketing strategies, these challenges can be overcome. As marketing professionals, it is our responsibility to drive awareness, change perceptions, and promote the adoption of renewable energy solutions. Together, we can usher in a greener tomorrow and create a brighter, cleaner future for generations to come.

Thank you for making it to the end of my piece and I hope that you enjoyed it or were at least mildly amused.