In the past year, Irish utility company Bord Gáis Energy has pulled off the “world’s most successful marketing campaign ever” for an electricity retailer, according to VaasaETT Global Energy Think Tank.
Between February 2009 and 2010, Bord Gáis Energy won nearly 21% of the occupied residential electricity market in the Republic of Ireland.
According to Helsinski-based VaasaETT, which compiles customer switching trend data for the electricity industry, the Bord Gáis Energy campaign was the most successful ever for an electricity company when measured in terms of the percentage of residential customers in the market who were won over a 12 month period.
VaasaETT chief executive Dr Philip Lewis said Bord Gáis Energy’s success proves there is no such thing as a safe customer for incumbent energy companies.
“Markets that are uncompetitive now can become active very quickly if the conditions are right. In the coming few years we will see the same happening in other markets around Europe and elsewhere.”
Dr Lewis stresses that the significance of marketing should not be overlooked. “Energy companies typically fail to achieve sufficiently simple, clear and appealing campaigns. Energy may seem like a simple product to sell but few companies have ever managed to win many customers in this market.”
Only five national markets have ever managed a calendar yearly level of switching above 20%: the Australian markets of Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, plus the UK and New Zealand.
Bord Gáis Energy’s head of marketing Nicky Doran said: “The right price point, the simplicity of the message and great creativity were all major factors in the success of the campaign.”
He said the internet played a significant role, with as many as 30% of customers switching online.