Geek looking at data

The Power of Segmentation - Part 2

Published Jul 9, 2014, 03:28 PM by Rupen Seoni
eablog-rupen-utilities-p2-1In my last post, I talked about the changing dynamic of the utilities sector in Canada and how data-driven analytics are the key to better understanding your customers.

But how does this process work? How can you put it to good use? When we think about the Canadian market, we already know it’s filled with a diverse mix of consumers from many different backgrounds and many different values. At Environics Analytics, we have previously highlighted neighbourhoods characterized by high ownership of energy-efficient appliances in large Canadian cities to show how these households differ across the country. 

Through our experience, we’ve helped utilities learn more about who the owners of energy efficient appliances are and what motivates them to buy. In order to gain some insight into these consumers, we’ve looked at the following information through the lens of our PRIZM segmentation system, which classifies Canadians in one of 66 lifestyle types:

1) Who owns energy efficient appliances, and

2) Who’s motivated by environmental protection 

This owner profile can be split into four quadrants based on those two variables. The top right shows the PRIZM owner segments who exhibit above-average rates compared to the Canadian population for both variables. The bottom left contains owner segments at below-average rates on both variables.

Canadians can be mapped according to their environmentalism and propensity to buy energy-efficient appliances. Above are the 66 PRIZM lifestyle clusters mapped on these two themes, along with the percentage of Canadian households falling in each quadrant. To illustrate how the information could be applied, we have shown how the strategy would be different depending on where target consumers fall.

What we found


Those who own energy efficient appliances and value environmental protectionism.

The high/high profile makes up 29.7% of the Canadian population. One interesting PRIZM segment in this quadrant is Young Digerati, who are 29% more likely than average Canadians to own energy efficient appliances. They are also 42% more likely than the general population to be motivated by a concern for environmental protection. These are the people who buy energy efficient appliances to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases.

Here is some more information about Young Digerati consumers: 


Those who own energy efficient appliances but do NOT value environmental protectionism.

Another interesting profile concerns the high/low profile (38.7% ofeablog-rupen-utilities-p2-5155ca5532cde67f6a821ff0000150083 Canadian population). If they are not motivated by environmental concerns, then what drives them? Let us look at one segment in this group: Urbane Villagers. These consumers are 40% more likely to own high efficiency appliances, 52% less likely to be concerned about the environment, but 43% more likely to be motivated by new technologies. People in this cluster are driven by owning new technologies, which is why they purchase energy efficient appliances.

Here’s a little bit more about Urbane Villagers:


Other profiles: 

The low/low profile makes up 13.8% of the Canadian population and the low/high group consists of 17.8% of the population. Here we find segments that are neither concerned about the environment, nor keen on having the latest appliances, while others likely would be open to purchasing energy efficient appliances, but may be limited by financial factors.  These are the insights provided by segmentation that can yield marketing opportunities for utility companies anywhere in Canada.


Big City Blues
 – They’re 54% less likely than average Canadians to own energy efficient appliances, and 78% less likely to value environmental protectionism. 

Rooms with a View – These consumers are 61% less likely average to own energy efficient appliances, and 64% more likely to value environmental protectionism.

What this means

Segmentation is a powerful tool that can be used to predict consumer behaviour relevant to the energy sector. By knowing more about your customers, their interests, values and motives, you can gain valuable insight into how to reach them. Whether you are looking to improve your conservation programs, improve customer experience, or understand who to target for service contracts, this data-based method can give you the information you need to make a difference in customer response to your initiatives.
To learn more about segmentation and hear from industry experts on how they used demographic segmentation to understand their clients, please join us for our free webinar. Our featured speaker is Cory Slinger of Horizon Utilities, who will share how they doubled conversion rates for their conservation program. Please register for our webinar scheduled for this Thursday at 1:00 pm

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