Marketing Energy – My Role at Corona
Written by Gillian Thompson, Marketing Manager, September 2017.
When talking to fellow marketers about working in the energy industry, I’m often faced with questions around how we differentiate a product that everyone needs, is more often than not chosen on price, and that everyone likes to grumble about!
It’s true that energy is a commoditized product to a certain extent, and unlike luxury goods, consumables, mobile phones, houses or any number of consumer goods, it’s not the product itself that takes centre stage. What we’re selling a service, and that’s what makes marketing, brand-building and finding those key differentiators so important.
It certainly challenges me as a marketer every day, as it means building those connections to our many audiences – customers, brokers, industry influencers and staff members alike – and so people, communication and relationships are the cornerstones of our marketing strategy.
I’ve been at Corona for just over a year now and it’s safe to say that every day brings something new – and it’s that variety in my job that I love, it challenges me to harness and develop a broad range of skills, including analysing sales figures, reviewing broker activity, creating customer newsletters, writing articles such as this one(!), rolling out new products, organising events and leading a small team.
The energy industry is in a constant state of flux, it’s subject to political scrutiny, price fluctuations and many other influences including even the unpredictability of the weather. All these factors mean that responding and adapting to change is something we’re very used to doing. In a highly regulated industry, we have to make sure that we are compliant, that we have the correct information on our website and that we’re communicating the correct offers to our customers.
The way consumers and businesses behave is also changing the industry. Whilst industry giants can have a reputation for being slow-moving dinosaurs, technology and consumer demands are forcing change. We want to stay ahead of the game, and to change and adapt before we’re forced to. We like to think that the size of our business allows us to remain agile – we’re big enough to make things happen, and small enough to move quickly – as we’ve demonstrated on a number of occasions. As a good example, Corona Energy was one of the first companies to launch AMR, long before smart meters became a hot topic – remaining as relevant today as it did in 2009.
Climate change and the public’s awareness of it brings opportunities in the form of renewable energy, energy-efficient lighting, time-of-use tariffs and battery storage, to name only a few. Technology is also changing the way that businesses, in particular small businesses, interact with their energy supplier. Many of our customers are fully self-serve, meaning that they use our online portal, ‘myCorona’, to manage their accounts online, and with ‘myQuote’, our online quote and contracting tool for brokers, contracts can now be priced and committed online too. Whilst relationships are and always will be important – ease of use and online access are becoming ever-more significant to our millennial buyers.
Our channel partners, the third party intermediaries who sell on our behalf are a key focus area for both sales and marketing teams at Corona Energy. We have always been strong at building solid and long-lasting partnerships, and we continue to grow our partner network.
As an established supplier with over 20 years’ experience, Corona Energy’s competitive edge comes through our extensive industry knowledge, systems and services enabling our supply of around 12,000 business customer accounts.
We have started to leverage this strong platform to provide the back-end support to companies wishing to white label our services and being a white-label provider in this way gives us access to a host of new opportunities to grow and expand.
Launching new products and services to our customers is another area that marketing is heavily involved in. We are currently running campaigns for our ‘myQuote’ broker tool and our New Connections product, working with our Sales team to encourage brokers to bring us their new meter connections which we process and manage end-to-end with help from our excellent third party meter installer. We rely heavily on our Sales department in these endeavours and work closely with both the SME and Corporate sales teams to develop plans and supporting materials to help them win contracts large and small.
To conclude, I’d like to say a few words about the Corona strapline: ‘We believe in making a positive difference today’. To those leaders or managers who believe having strong values and a mission statement is unimportant, the Corona Energy model demonstrates that it really can be the bedrock of the company and its culture.
We are a company that really believes in and lives by its values. They are a constant thread that runs through everything we do, part of our fabric. It is the attitude and conviction of each and every member of staff to make a positive difference in their day to day that makes the company the success it is. You’ll see the message in our offices, in our voices, in our customer care and in our emails.
We believe in making a positive difference today.