2009-2020 Marketing, Education & Outreach Strategic Plan
The mission of Mark eting, Education & Outreach (ME&O) is to increase ratepayer [consumer?]
participation in cost-effective demand side management activities (including CS I, DR and AMI)
and to encourage behavior changes that save energy, reduce GHG emissions and support clean
energy solutions for 2009 and beyond.
The primary objectives of the ME&O task force are to:
1. Assist in the development of a long-term and coordinated int egrated strat egic plan for
marketing, education and outreach for all demand-side options with a particular focus on
energy efficiency, including energy efficiency investments and behaviors.
2. Develop an ME&O plan that can achieve coordination of relat ed marketing, education
and outreach programs such as demand response, solar installation incentives,
conservation, low income program and greenhouse gas emission reduction.
3. Increase effective online res ources for public education on the full range of EE efforts.
4. Explore the use of a recognizable and trusted brand for California‟s DSM customer
products and services.
The goal of a long-term strategic ME&O plan will be to shape a culture in California that
understands clean energy options as a way of life with long-term implications rather than
expectation of immediate results. Many consumers believe that they are already doing everything
they can to save energy; therefore, a key objective of the strategy to maximize participation will
be to convince consumers that they can d o more – and how they can do more.
Goal of ME&O
California‟s citizens fully engaged as partners in the state‟s energy efficiency, demand side
management and clean energy efforts, well educated regarding what they can do, and how to
Strategic Considerations & Emerging Trends
The most basic and pervasive opportunity for utilities to influence energy efficiency behavior is in
the home. Changes in attitude regarding home energy use are likely to influence the consumer‟s
choices and actions at work, in the community, etc.
Global warming is a real and perceived threat. A majority of Californians are aware of climate
change and believe that its impacts are occurring now and in the future, yet many still do not
understand how they can take action to reduce their carbon footprint. The desire to reduce
personal global greenhouse gas emissions creates an opportunity for acceptance of energy
efficiency solutions that was not readily available in past energy efficiency program cycles.
Customer research by SCE indicates that three out of four Californians have a desire to
participat e in energy conservation. Our challenge as a state in the short and long term is to drive
statewide participation at the level necessary to achieve the vision and goals for energy
A review of ME&O discussions by the market sectors involved in this strategic planning effort
indicates that specific, credible and appropriate action guidelines are essential to increasing
participation in EE programs in all sectors. The target audiences for each of these sectors will
need to be educated on energy efficiency, DSM and clean energy by utilizing the best practices of
marketing and advertising, including social marketing.
Technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, creating new opportunities for disseminating
energy efficiency information to consumers. Californians are quickly moving beyond their
television screens and newspapers into a digit al world that offers multiple plat forms for
information exchange. Handheld devices, PDAs, laptops, and cell phones are now the cultural
norm, potentially providing viable „portable‟ mediums for delivering real-time EE information to
75% of US households have eit her DSL or Broadband. In California, the penet ration rate is even
higher. Over 12 million unique visitors are online each month in the state; social net works (e.g.,
MySpace, FaceBook, YouTube, weblogs) are increasingly popular and influential forums for peer-
to-peer information exchange. Word of mouth and peer-to-peer information exchange, whether on
products or ideas, have proven to be effective motivators for action.
The Internet offers tremendous, cost effective opportunities for creating and maintaining an
ongoing EE dialogue to promot e behavior change. The P UC ruling calls for the development of a
statewide Energy Efficiency Web Portal; the potential for this portal to include social networking
components should be explored in parallel with this effort.
Next generation „smart met er‟ technology is poised to transform the market by allowing customers
to proactively manage their energy use and save money. Through the integration of home
networks and wireless, „smart home‟ technology will enable everyday electronics and hous ehold
appliances to communic ate with each other, the consumer and the manufacturer.
Shifts in California‟s demography indicate that by the year 2050, more than half of all Californians
will be Latino. Studies also show increasingly high levels of concern about global warming, air
pollution, and air quality. Concern and awareness are particularly high in minority/low income
communities, as these communities are disproportionately affected by air quality issues.
In low-income areas where many minority communities are concent rated, more than 30% of total
household income is used to pay for necessities such as rent, utilities and maint enance. Inc ome
constraints limit their ability to take on additional costs. It is imperative that marketing, education
and outreach efforts offer customized, cost-effective solutions that will increase participation in
California‟s statewide energy efficiency, demand response and clean energy programs amongst
growing minority populations.
ME&O must include approaches that are based on an understanding of the differences in
cultures. For example, all marketing and educational campaigns should include competent and
„in-language‟ DSM solutions with appropriately shaped messages to maximize program
participation, market transformation and long-t erm EE behavior adoption. Beyond the message
itself, a campaign should consider the most relevant vehicles for delivering the message. There
are opportunities to utilize community “opinion leaders,” such as fait h-based organizations, It is
possible to imagine rapid change across varied cultural communities if messages are delivered
by the right source.
California‟s long term plan for energy efficiency must provide target ed, customer -focused DSM
programs and clean energy solutions that fully leverage the rapidly changing demographic and
Unlike mainstream marketing, which is designed to promote purchas e of a specific product,
energy conservation often has invisible or intangible benefits to a consumer. Moreo ver, the
pursuit of energy efficiency may require sustained efforts by the consumer, both in gaining
information and implement ation. The techniques of social marketing – i.e., the use of marketing
tools to achieve specific behavioral goals for a social good – offer the means to motivate
consumers to make a long-term commitment to change.
To realize this potential, marketing messages must be developed in the context of increased
understanding of a diverse public. A crucial component of this understanding i s an understanding
of the barriers that exist for consumers who are attempting to take action. The marketing plan
should endeavor to create a common, understandable language for the public, avoiding technical
and conflicting terminology.
Most importantly, the role of social marketing should be to convince consumers that they can be
empowered through education and specific tools to make a difference. Through this Task Force
process, we should investigate the value of identifying a social marketing ex pert t o guide
development and implementation of marketing efforts.
Local governments in the state have established program s and channels for reaching
individuals in all market sectors. There are opportunities at the city, county and regional
level to leverage investments and messaging.
The impact of mark eting efforts can be increased if all actions and messages are consistent
across all messaging sources. A clearly defined brand can provide a single point from which
expanding, concentric circles of communication and influence can emanate. Clarity and precision
in defining a statewide clean energy brand is essential. Managing a brand is equivalent to
managing an asset, and the funds that are invested in a brand must be effectively managed going
The term “brand” is not meant to solely connote a logo, tag line, or name, but rather “a collection
of perceptions in the mind of the consumer." Clear delineation of what the California energy brand
encompasses is a key to the development of unified messages and actions that bring consensus
and alignment. Given the complexity of the market that is being be addressed, and the range of
programs and organizations that could pot entially fall under a statewide energy brand, this
subject requires (and deserves) intensive study.
A key function of developing a brand is to position it uniquely in the mark etplace and to
coordinate it with other beneficial and supportive brands. It should be noted that existing equity of
other brands related to energy use (Flex Your Power, Energy Star) should be considered.
As a beginning step, it will be necessary to take stock of the existing equity in the current
statewide brand to determine whether or how it should be re -shaped. The next step would then
be to define the statewide brand going forward. A key part of brand development efforts would be
to identify who “owns” the brand – i.e. who manages and speaks for the brand, defends it,
ensures that it is established and utilized. It was the consensus of the gr oup that a government
entity would be the likely owner in order to promote authority and consistency. It is also important
to evaluate whet her it would be desirable (or even possible) for such a brand to also encompass
related initiatives such as CSI and AB 32.
The CP UC decision requests an “integrat ed, comprehensive approach to ME&O.” There are two
functions that are essential to this: 1) gathering comprehensive data including individual EE and
DSM efforts by public/privat e utilities and government/public interest groups so that synergies and
opportunities for efficiency and effectiveness can be identified; current brand equity; trends in
demographics and technology; and 2) providing an ongoing point of coordination for the ME&O
programs of the various IOUs.
These functions should be established in order to begin to effectively move forward in a timely
and coordinated manner. This workshop process has provided a forum to begin outlining steps
for coordination, including a brief that reviews current EE, DSM, CSI, AMI decisions and program
budgets as it pertains to marketing and out reach, and should continue going forward in providing
guidance in developing a long-term strategic plan.
Strategic Marketing Approach
In order to accomplish the long-term goal of maximizing energy savings and changing long term
behavior, a highly integrated marketing effort that includes all stakeholders with responsibility for
energy efficiency must be implemented consistently across all sectors. This effort should be
designed to move consumers through a continuum that goes from awareness to attitude change
to intent to take action (see Exhibit A).
Exhibit A: Marketing Approach – A Continuum:
Stakeholders create awareness
message and drive attitude
program design, change
CUSTOMER Change in Attitude
from Apathy to
Action/Inaction CYCLE Participation
Stakeholders drive Call customers
behavioral change Intent to Take Action to action
Each cycle is completed to move customers to increasingly complex actions.
(for example: from Time of Use to CFLs to Solar)
This process will be accomplished by utilizing a multi-level model whose purpose and roles are
clearly defined (see Exhibit B):
Exhibit B: Integrated Marketing Approach:
INTEGRATED MARKETING APPROACH
Bundled marketing leverages personas to
craft messaging and bundle.
• Cross sell opportunities
• Provides customers with choices and
• Increase awareness of options
energy savings benefits • Provides cost efficiencies
• Leverage FYP, Energy
Star, and other Targeted Marketing, Education, and Outreach
partnership opportunities Targets specific personas by campaign.
• Targeted to likely respondents
• Test new message and media mix
• Partner with retailers and other third
A brand should be developed that is clearly defined and imbued with meaningful int angible
qualities that bring cons ensus and alignment to mark eting ef forts in all sectors. This will empower
Californians to become full partners in EE, to know that something tangible exists that they can
support through their choices and actions, for their own benefit and for the benefit of the state and
the environment. While the initial mark eting focus will be on residential and small commercial
customers, the brand must also be appropriate for supporting marketing of the programs that are
developed to attain the goals for all sectors covered in the PUC ruling.
Messaging campaigns will be developed and implemented utilizing social mark eting techniques to
build awareness and change customer attitudes and perc eptions. The campaign will be multi-
channel and multi-lingual to reach California‟s diverse customers. This statewide overarching
campaign will serve as the attitudinal „air cover‟ to increase awareness of and consideration for
energy-efficient goods and services. The statewide message campaign must create a heightened
„sense of urgency‟ and must include both emotional and intellectual components to effectively
motivate and provide customers with the tools to change their behavior and permanently adopt
energy efficient lifestyle practices.
The statewide ME&O campaign will providee a wide range of action-oriented solutions targeted to
"personas" identified through statewide segmentation research. „Bundled‟ marketing efforts will
bring together demand response, energy efficiency and CSI programs to provide customers with
a full array of EE and DSM options.
Highly targeted vertical program mark eting efforts will be executed to drive results, targeting
those with the highest propensity to participate. These efforts will be multi-channel and will also
leverage strategic partners across the spectrum.
Mark eting efforts should encompass more than energy efficiency. The ME&O task force
recommends that this includes all statewide efforts – EE/DR/CS I/AMI and other customer DSM.
An ongoing function should be established to provide a clearinghouse of information about
existing mark eting and outreach efforts and coordination bet ween individual IOU ME&O activities.
For the present, ME&O task force members agreed that they should continue to meet to promote
optimal and integrat ed DSM marketing efforts. This work would i nclude discussion and
development of various marketing plan component discussed in this long -term strat egic plan
Ensuring that the 2009-011 program port folio includes specific M & O program that:
integrates EE and other DS M for residential and small commercial customers, primarily,
but not exclusively.
Joint marketing of EE, DSM, CSI and AMI
Development of new initiatives for limited English population.
Integrating outreach efforts of GHG reduction as motivators for EE, DSM, and CSI
behavior change for residential and commercial customers.
M & O programs follow the best practices of mark eting and advertising including social
marketing. (E.g., target market segmentation, understanding of values and motivations
for each target audience, design of message and message delivery options for each
target audience, pretest of message concepts and ads, evaluation of campaigns
including the metrics of determining behavior change.)
Developing a strategic roadmap the design and implementation of statewide branding
Develop a roadmap for a Social Marketing approach.
Gain an improved understanding, from existing or new research, of the scope and
realities of the 2020 market;
Develop a plan to undertake res earch to refine the statewide customer segments.
Develop a plan to undertake res earch that will describe segmented interests, awareness,
attitudes of cons umers related to EE messages and current understanding including
Messaging research; conduct focus groups on messaging as developed to ensure it will
engage the customer.
Determination of clear objectives and metrics
Develop a roadmap to improve int egration of technology into marketing outreac h and
Examination of regulatory rules
Provide assistance to the CP UC efforts to develop a statewide Energy Efficiency Web
Coordination of strat egies and messages with providers of similar, related interest and
services such as local governments, community based organizations, businesses,
municipal utilities and possibly other state agencies.
Review early feedback from statewide marketing evaluation to assist in refining strategic
plan and brand development.
Review composition of on-going taskforce to insure all appropriate parties are
represented in order to develop overall strategic direction through 2020.
Review of current EE, DR, LIEE, AMI and CSI decisions as they pertain to marketing
and outreach, including programs and budgets.