Market segmentation has changed the outreach game. Political campaigners knock on your door already knowing how you’ll vote. Ecommerce sites have more than a hunch about what other products you’ll likely buy. Have energy efficiency campaigns kept up?

Even before Google’s “ad preferences” or Amazon’s recommendation engine, market segmentation was a well-established practice in almost every organization. Consumer taste profiles guide new product development at Coca-Cola. Personas shape marketing messages at Levi Strauss.

Is market segmentation being used effectively to save energy? Yes and no.

For my article in Greentech Media today I talked with experts in market research, segmentation and targeting in the

graphic market segmentation energy efficiency
Attitudinal segmentation like this model from SMUD are getting common. Applying them to outreach isn’t.

energy efficiency business. They shared innovative examples of how they’re targeting narrow segments to improve the results of their energy efficiency outreach campaigns and reduce marketing costs.

A number of barriers also emerged in those conversations. CLEAResult talked about overcoming a buildings-centric mentality. Research Into Action talked about whether segmentation can be applied at utilities that are slow to adopt ideas from outside the industry. SmartWatt Energy examined the challenges of getting good data. Illume Advising revealed some of the cost factors. Energy Trust of Oregon talked about whether segmentation is really needed yet. Opower shared their thoughts about the future of segmentation and micro-targeting.

How Efficiency Is Learning About Market Segmentation From Internet Giants and Political Campaigns,” Greentech Media

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