2016 Utility Communicators Industry Survey

Questline surveyed utility communicators from across the nation to see what's going on in utility email. Scroll through for insights from your peers.

about the survey respondents

What type of utility do you work for?

Municipal Utility (Muni) – 29.4%
Investor Owned Utility (IOU) – 45.6%
Rural Electric Cooperative (Co-op) – 25%

how many customers does your utility have?

what audience do you primarily communicate with?

Residential Customers
Small Business Customers
Large Business/Managed Accounts Customers
Residential 55.9%
Small Business Customers 62%
Large Business/Managed Accounts Customers 77.9%

about the emails they are sending

the top 10 topics communicated via email

  1. Energy Efficiency
  2. Newsletters
  3. Rebate Programs
  4. Outage Communications
  5. Corporate Communications (rate case, community involvement, PR)
  6. Storm/Outage Preparation
  7. Paperless Billing Sign-Ups
  8. Seminar/Training Invitations
  9. Transactional Notifications (billing notifications, account sign-ups, appointment reminders)
  10. Welcome/Onboarding Emails

which of the following email strategies are you currently using?

Automation is the most popularly used email strategy, with almost 1 out of 3 utility communicators surveyed using automation. Behavioral and Profile Segmentation are the next most popular.

36% of those surveyed aren't using any of the above email strategies.

how frequently are you communicating with your customers via email?

about the success of email

what is the most important objective for your email marketing strategy?

  1. Customer Satisfaction – 54.4%
  2. Program Enrollments – 26.5 %
  3. Public Relations/Communicating Corporate Citizenship – 11.8%
  4. Brand Awareness – 4.4%
  5. Reduce Costs – 1.5%
  6. Other – 1.5%

over half of those surveyed listed Customer satisfaction as the most important objective.

How effective do you believe the following channels are at achieving your business objective? (percentage is those who answered very effective and effective.)

  • Email – 92.5%
  • Bill Inserts – 78%
  • Direct Mail – 74.6%
  • Social Media – 71.6%
  • Press or Public Relations – 64.2%
  • Landing Pages – 61.2%
  • Paid Search or Online Ads – 44.8%
  • Webinars – 23.4%
  • Blogs – 17.9%

Email was found to be 19% more effective than Bill Inserts and 24% more effective than Direct Mail.

Email was ranked as the most effective channel for those surveyed regarding their corporate objectives. 92.5% of those surveyed found it highly effective or somewhat effective.

88% of those surveyed said email was effective or very effective at achieving customer satisfaction, the most important objective for the majority of the surveyed audience.

79% said email was effective or very effective at achieving Program Enrollments, the second most important objective for email of those surveyed.

about the Challenges of email

In what area do you have the biggest challenge in email communications?

how has your email list size changed in the past year?

Increased a lot 20.6%

Increased a little 48.5%

No change 30.9%

how are you growing your list?

Residential Customers:
  • Contests/giveaways
  • Call center asking for email addresses
  • Easier access, improved website functionality to collect leads
Small Business Customers:
  • Personal contact and visits
  • Contests
  • Rebate applications
  • Customer referrals
Large Business Customers:
  • Account managers making personal contact and visits
  • Direct mail pieces