From the perception of the current electric mobility market, it is clear that the previous "electric mobility customer" is characterized by special characteristics and a very special customer journey.
From the perception of the current electric mobility market, it is clear that the previous "electric mobility customer" is characterized by special characteristics and a very special customer journey. This article explains the background to this thesis and provides impulses for answering the question of how energy suppliers can successfully place offers with interested parties.
Electric vehicles become suitable for mass production
Electric mobility has left its niche and is slowly but surely entering the mass market. In the meantime, 17% of all German motorists are considering buying a car with a fully electric drive (BEV). For another 20% the purchase of a hybrid vehicle is possible. This demand meets a constantly growing range of models from major manufacturers such as Toyota, VW, BMW, Daimler, Nissan and the PSA Group. By 2021, these alone will have brought about 50 models with fully electric drive onto the market. In addition, various startups such as Nio, Byton, Uniti or e.GO want to position themselves and are relying on unconventional designs and digital highlights in the vehicle. The fact that electric mobility will prevail is not only due to the "emissions scandal" and diesel driving bans in German cities, but also to the increasing economic attractiveness of purchasing an electric vehicle. At the beginning of 2020, VW will offer the ID.3 at the price of a diesel Golf on the German market. This means that electric mobility in Germany is officially declared a matter for the "broad masses".
The Generation E
Although electric vehicles are increasingly no longer only appealing to ecologically conscious and/or technology-oriented people (the "early movers"), the previously identifiable target group is nevertheless a special one, because electric mobility is not only defined by the vehicle, but also by energy, services and supplementary mobility offers (such as car sharing, e scooters e-bikes, etc.). A "Generation E" is emerging, which combines conscious consumption with a sustainable lifestyle. The typical customer in this segment is responsible in environmental matters, fully networked, future-oriented and does not perceive locomotion as simply "getting from A to B". E-mobility does not end with your own car; Generation E is open to new energy topics and concepts that can be brought together with the electric vehicle. Its multi-faceted needs fundamentally distinguish this customer group from traditional customer segments in the energy market. From the point of view of energy suppliers, the "Generation E" is very attractive, not least because it can ensure increasing electricity sales by new consumers in households by charging electric vehicles such as electric cars, e-scooters or e-bikes.
Challenges for energy suppliers
In the beginning, from the energy supplier's point of view, the entry into e-mobility was often a marketing measure or a reaction to the request of the municipal shareholder for a prestigious charging station in front of the town hall. This first epoch has been overcome: Cities and local authorities see electric mobility as an important building block for fulfilling their air pollution control plans and are now putting hundreds of public charging points out to tender with high subsidies. This provides opportunities, especially for regionally based energy suppliers, which often have municipal shareholders, to build up a public charging infrastructure network and to operate it economically in the medium term. At the same time, this offers a first point of contact between regional suppliers and Generation E. Generation E, however, requires holistic solutions, innovative ideas and products. Suppliers are required to act as complete solution providers who fully cover the needs of the new customer segment. Most energy suppliers, and also car manufacturers now have similar entry level offers for their private customers. These classically include charging services for public spaces, wall boxes for the home garage or associated charging electricity tariffs. The needs are thus only partially satisfied. The aim should be to combine the e-mobility offers with other, new, partly digital offers in order to win and keep the customers of Generation E in the long term.
Marketing and competitors The classic marketing on their own website, via flyers and advertisements in the local newspaper does not reach the Generation E where they usually are. As a result, there is a risk that no competent solution provider in the field of e-mobility will be associated with the regional supplier or that other providers will occupy the customer's relevant set. The so-called "customer journey" of the new target group usually starts online, for example via videos, FAQs and information portals that provide a comprehensive overview of all aspects of e-mobility. Once interest has been aroused, interested parties would like to find out about various concepts on site, such as charging and the associated control via app, and touch the products such as wall boxes. In this field, dealers or vehicle manufacturers are currently more likely to operate their "flagship stores", sometimes on the prestige roads in major German cities: There, the vehicle and additional services such as wall boxes, mobility and energy offers can be touched and experienced. The right marketing mix of energy suppliers for the Generation E When considering the above-mentioned challenges for energy suppliers with a simultaneous view to the needs of the new target group, it becomes clear that the marketing of an (e-)mobility offer can no longer be depicted with relatively simple advertising or out-of-home poster advertising, even for regional suppliers or municipal utilities. Anyone with serious intentions in the e-mobility business field should be visible at the beginning of the customer journey and increase participation in the dialogue with the target group. In this context, awareness must be raised of the fact that Generation E is primarily active online on various platforms. Possible measures for reacting to the customer needs mentioned can be derived from content marketing. A suitable mix results from online offers in connection with stationary measures (e.g. advice in a regional advice center, not necessarily one's own). Digital information and advice platforms on all aspects of Generation E can be a good way of positioning offers. In the relatively complex world of e-mobility, cooperation with partners is essential: The important multipliers include car dealers, electrical installers, mobility service providers and transport companies. The distribution of the portfolio via comparison exchanges, social media, blogs or even communities and clubs in which Generation E is present increases the success of their measures. The prerequisite for success is a clear overall strategy for the new target group in the electric mobility business field. In addition to the appropriate offers, this also includes choosing the right channels and partnerships. Here, the "old" image of the household customer needs to be reconsidered and transferred to the new world of the mobile, digital, environmentally conscious customer. Our practical tip: Start by using the persona method to gain a view of Generation E and develop a better understanding of the new target group. The undefined mass of your potential customers is made tangible through personas and allows all parties involved to focus on the user requirements. The knowledge gained can be sharpened with information about interested parties and their consumption behavior for electric mobility offers. From this, the right channels, products, partnerships and measures can be derived.