Examples of referral programs at leading utilities brands

To understand why utilities (natural gas, electricity and water suppliers) are increasingly looking to harness positive word-of-mouth to gain new customers via referral marketing, we need to look at the challenges utilities marketers face.

First, as the name suggests, a ‘utility’ is something that’s seen as interchangeable commodity, and if you switch gas, electricity or water supplier you get exactly the same gas molecules, electrons and water flowing through your pipes and cables. And so, at least in developed countries, changing supplier doesn’t typically impact the nature or regularity of the supply of gas, electricity or water to your home or business. So it’s hard to compete on product, other than by offering some nice apps and IOT applications to monitor and control your usage. And being a regulated business means that there’s usually a whole heap of red tape that restricts the kind of marketing that can be done, and what can be included in product bundles.

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