Retail Energy Provider – Flipping the Growth Switch Back to “ON”
The market for retail power and gas first became deregulated in the late 90s on a state-by-state basis. Texas was the epicenter for this market movement and spawned several strong competitive providers, such as our client, who fanned out into other markets as they became serviceable. Customer growth was good until the recession of 2008, when the flow of working capital, necessary to hedge energy futures purchasing, was virtually choked off. Our client wisely managed pricing for existing customers and drastically reduced operating expenses, including all marketing. The retail energy provider ultimately weathered the storm by early 2010 as the entrepreneurially oriented management team moved aggressively to structure a large funding package to invest in customer growth and the infrastructure to support it.
Our interim “C” level marketing executive, with deep experience in wireless and internet business, considered to be very analogous to the retail energy service model, were brought in to build and operationalize a sales and marketing capability.
The objectives were clear and very ambitious:
• Build from scratch, a world class marketing organization.
• Establish a national brand platform to enable future expansion.
• Launch service in 3 states opening markets within 18 months and achieve market leadership.
• Deliver gross sales and net customer base growth per annual company business plan.
Our interim Chief Marketing Officer successfully:
• Developed the annual marketing plan and budget to fund the establishment of the marketing
and customer acquisition capability.
• Architected and staffed a new 30 person team including:
- Market management, direct marketing
- Indirect door to door and telemarketing vendor management
- Built a world class online direct marketing and social media team
- Established Public Relations capabilities
• Re-launched the brand and deployed a world class website and e-commerce platform.
• Deployed a new online and social media group, effectively an in-house agency, elevated the
company’s brand to second most followed, and “liked” on the web in less than one year.
• Fashioned new, relevant customer propositions, offers and competitive but profitable pricing
structures for all 14 markets.
• Seized on the opportunity to play on an equal footing with competitors many times its size in
two newly deregulated markets.
• Deployed a fully integrated campaign blending traditional brand awareness advertising,
online direct marketing, locally oriented social media and a 2 month schedule of experiential
• Generated the highest brand awareness of any new market entrant, 26%, and according to the
regulator’s figures, the company won more than half of all subscribers – by far the largest share.
• Exceeded its annual growth plan and grew its customer base by over 35% on a net basis.
The company continues to grow in current markets and opened new markets as they become serviceable.
In 2014, the company filed for, and ultimately introduced an IPO.