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Navigating the Hispanic Market

This item is part of the Special Issue - 05/2018 - Customer Care, click here for more

Estás interesado en aprender sobre cómo ahorrar en tus facturas de energía?

Sí, muy interesado, me interesa bastante. Absolutamente.

Translation: Hispanic customers want to learn how to save on their energy bill—they are very interested, absolutely—just the same as any other population segment.

Of course, the connection between saving money and energy efficiency is nothing new.

But using a combination of quantitative research and our “hit the streets” qualitative research, we asked: What else is important to Hispanic customers?

Here’s what we found, over half of the Hispanic market:

  • Desires to be more environmentally responsible
  • Makes key decisions in support of home comfort

People want to save money, they connect energy efficiency with saving money. This is the price of entry. Whether we like it or not, Amazon has forced all of us into a world of thin margins. And price is a weak differentiator for brands. Stronger longer lasting brands are built on emotional connections.  

Additionally, in our research with the Hispanic market, half of respondents lacked the knowledge they need to make good energy efficiency decisions, and a significant number lacked even basic awareness about energy efficiency.

We asked about what they are doing at home, in their daily lives and in their communities that isn’t strictly focused on energy efficiency, but that could connect them with saving money through energy efficient products and programs.

Our findings? DIY (do it yourself) is key.

They are improving the comfort of their homes.

Over half of the customers surveyed had done home improvement projects over the past year, primarily kitchen and bathroom renovations and aesthetic improvements such as painting and refinishing floors.

The idea of LEDs has been adopted.

Over 40 percent of the population selected LEDs as the energy efficient product they were most interested in. But we found that their purchasing behavior doesn’t match their reported interest.

They want to purchase smart home products.

This market segment reported purchasing more smart home products in the last year (12 percent of Hispanic customers surveyed) when compared with white and African American populations (9 percent and 7 percent respectively).

Another 40 percent reported interest in purchasing ENERGY STAR® rated appliances and smart home products in the future. We found no difference in interest to purchase across ethnicity.

Energy services and product company translation: big opportunity.

The aha moment.

  1. Promote products that have been adopted—like LEDs—as the gateway to other products. Connect LEDs with other products both in your communications and in store promotions. This population is more likely to purchase in store than online. Power strips, weather-stripping and other simple DIY energy efficiency products that can easily be used during home renovations should be cross promoted with LED products.
  2. Create greater brand value through the emotional benefits of home comfort and acting in support of the environment, which a large part of the population values as energy efficiency benefits.
  3. Use traditional communication methods targeted directly at the DIYer. Partner with home improvement apps, publications (on and offline) and social channels. Over a third of this segment prefers Spanish over English so communicate in Spanish. And don’t forget the traditional channels. The Hispanic customer is asking for knowledge and education, and they prefer regular mail. 

While we often talk about this market in “hard to reach” terms, our research shows that it shouldn’t be so hard. When we compared white, African American and Hispanic populations, we found that ethnic background is not a major influence on interest in energy efficiency.

We know that Hispanic populations spend more of their income on electric bills than the average family. The ACEEE has identified energy efficiency as an underutilized strategy in reducing high energy burdens by as much as 30 percent. And we know that awareness is low.

Use the three steps we’ve outlined to get creative with focusing on the DIY customer. Our research is telling you that if you build it, they will come—after all, it worked for Kevin Costner, why not you?

Originally posted at Energy Wire.

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Ann Hoogenboom's picture

Thank Ann for the Post!

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