According to Utility Dive, one of the major trends in the energy industry for 2017 is the persistence of uncertainty. It’s not only our Chief Executive’s rhetoric that has thrown the sector into chaos; there are simply too many moving parts in today’s energy market—providers, energy resources, federal and state policies, and technologies—for energy companies and energy marketers to find a clear path to success.
The smog may be lifting, but the air is anything but clear
Uncertainty often causes businesses and their customers to hold off on major capital investments and partnerships, as they wait for the proverbial dust to settle. For example, even as energy storage makes major gains in deployment and its prices fall, many commercial customers hesitate to commit, as they warily eye possible changes in incentive programs and question their returns on investment. City councils and school boards—even those touting sustainability—find it difficult to muster a majority to approve budgets for renewable energy investments. And project financiers increasingly reject all but the most well-backed developers.
As top executives apply the brakes, so do their marketing departments. Campaigns, branding work, and various content projects are put on hold as marketing managers await new direction. This deferral not only affects the workloads and budgets of marketers and their immediate staff, but also those of their internal and external stakeholders and contributors.
Like volatile weather patterns, lack of clarity is the new normal for content creators
Waiting out these storms of uncertainty may seem like prudent risk avoidance. But marketers who do so may risk losing mindshare to more confident competitors who stay the course and continue to communicate with their target audiences. It helps to have a solid brand strategy to guide the content development efforts in times of doubt. A company’s brand—what it is and what it does in contrast to other companies—shouldn’t vary with the short-term whims of the market.
But even in the less-than-ideal but all-too-familiar scenario in which the brand is “evolving,” content creators must maintain an ongoing dialogue with their audiences. In a crowded, noisy market, a company that stops talking, ceases to exist. Intrepid product managers, sales reps, and other evangelists may be highly effective with their audiences while on the podium or in the conference room. But they need adequate and continuous support for their messages in the form of updated websites, product literature, customer success stories, press materials, and other content.
Seasoned marketers will realize, of course, that the challenges of sustaining content creation in the face of industry turmoil are not exclusive to the energy industry. But what happens in this sector cascades to all the others. Energy, after all, is what keeps the lights on for all of us.
Do you have questions? Or a pressing deadline?
We're ready with answers and prompt creative solutions.