Nicor Gas is a natural gas distribution company serving more than 2.1 million customers in northern Illinois. energySMART, a Nicor Gas program, offers rebates, services and products to help Nicor Gas customers become more energy efficient in their homes and businesses. energySMART is currently in its 6th program year and has engaged more than 600,000 customers in 93% of the 646 communities served by Nicor Gas.
The energy efficiency marketing team developed and implemented the multicultural marketing strategy to achieve deeper reach and provide broader access to energySMART across Nicor Gas territory. The strategy was a two-year effort including research and analysis, engagement with community partners and stakeholders, and execution of a multi-channel marketing and outreach plan. The results were astounding – 95% of customers that received a free energy-saving kit through a multicultural event or multicultural marketing tactic had never engaged in energySMART before – in fact, many had not even heard of the program until the Nicor Gas team conducted outreach or advertised in the context of their culture.
Nicor Gas' multicultural marketing strategy for energySMART not only increased adoption of energy efficient products in underserved markets, but also demonstrates a marketing strategy that can be implemented at a low cost and is easily replicable by any utility, government agency, non-profit agency or implementation contractor as a best practice for marketing energy efficiency across the Midwest.