Midstream programs are a great and cost-effective method for utilities and energy efficiency organizations to reach new market segments, and provide streamlined programs for your customers and trade allies. Below are some considerations for lighting specific midstream programs.
- Understand how a midstream offer would fit within your overall program needs. What are the gaps in your program and how would a midstream offer fill those gaps? Do you need to reach more small customers, rural customers or specific savings types? Let the need dictate design.
- If a program wanted to target small customers – a hard to reach customer segment – it could establish a midstream offer lamp limit. This design element would naturally serve the needs of small customers, and if a large customer wanted to purchase some lamps through the offer they could use it as a way to test lamps and then purchase the rest utilizing the regular program.
- Build trigger points to adjust the offer as needed. No matter how long you plan you will never fully understand how an offer will be received until it is out in the market. If you build in mechanisms to adjust your offer, you can keep the program moving at a pace that meets your goals.
- Incentive levels are great mechanisms to adjust volume up or down. You could also increase the measures to broaden reach. Finally, you could utilize additional methods for customers to participate (distributor, post-purchase or online methods.)
- Make it simple. Don’t underestimate the busy lives of distributors and customers. You are competing for a fraction of their time and the easier you make data collection, payment submission and processing, the more successful the offer will be. This does not mean you have to compromise on data or program integrity; it means you need to place burden where it matters the most.
- Talk with your evaluation group and establish the most important tracking mechanisms, and find ways to simplify the rest. Maybe the utility account number is a must have, but customer signatures are not. If this is the case, customers could email their applications to the distributors as a means to facilitate the account number identification.
- Listen to the market. Listen to your distributors and customers, they may have great ideas that will make your program better. These could include ideas on how to collect data, conduct spot checks, and promote the offer.
- Evaluate and check your assumptions every year. This is true with everything, but bears repeating. Check your offer once a year. Are the goals still valid? Do they need to change based on new market realities? Technologies and markets are changing fast and you need to make sure you adjust to take advantage of these shifts.
For more information about adding a midstream program as part of your efficiency suite of offers, the Association of Energy Services Professionals (AESP) has a detailed, three part article about navigating the ins and outs of midstream programs. Click here to read more.
If you have any questions about midstream programs, please contact me.