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Brandonomics from Savage - David Quin

David Quin

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How do you market a low-interest service to consumers? Well, first you build awareness. Robin Tooms interviews David Quin, director of brand and communications strategies at CenterPoint Energy.

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Robin: Hello and welcome to this edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies. I am Robin Tooms, Vice-President of Strategy at Savage and I'm here again with David Quin, Director of Brand and Communication Strategies at Center Point Energy. So David, welcome back to the show.

David: Robin, great to be back.

Robin: Well wonderful. Last time you were here we were talking about the True Cost portal, but what I wanna know now is what is the difficulty behind marketing electricity shopping for consumers when that is not on our mind every day? How do you let us know about this?

David: Well, actually you put your finger right on the challenge, which is I think most of us spend more time thinking about where we'd like to go out to eat tomorrow night than we probably do for what is one of our larger purchases that we make over the course of a year, which is who are we gonna pick for an electric provider. So the challenge I think for us is how do we break through in a low interest category, number one. Number two, how do we sustain or deepen that engagement. So our marketing strategy focuses initially on creating awareness. Folks cannot come and use my True Cost.com if they don't know it's there. So we're calling it our big bang coming out approach. So we're leveraging mass media. We're also taking advantage of our natural gas utility relationship where we have an opportunity there to use bill inserts and envelope message reminders from our sister company to help create awareness that the service exists, here's how it works. There's a second challenge, too, which is that even if you're now ready, you visited the website, you're thrilled to be there, you may not be in a position to select an electric provider. You may be under contract for another six months or three months. So we get that. So what we're doing with True Cost is encouraging folks to take an initial tour, but come and register and we will send you reminders. We will make sure that when you're now in a position to act to select a new plan, we'll make sure you know.

Robin: So that awareness building makes a lot of sense. What would that look like moving forward? What would your marketing strategy be like for your phase 2?

David: I think in phase 2 we wanna look at getting more personal contacts. So once that base level of awareness is achieved that, again, we think mass media is very effective for, we wanna get out in the community. We're looking for more face-to-face opportunities.

Robin: Okay. Well wonderful. Well, David, thank you for sharing that behind-the-scenes look at your marketing strategy for True Cost.

David: My pleasure.

Robin: Wonderful. Well join us next week for another edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies.

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